Her Majesty with 12 U.S. Presidents: Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. 🇬🇧🇺🇸
With the end of the Second World War in 1945 and the death of fascism, the temporary wartime alliances forged in the darkest days of late 1941 - between the British Empire, the United States and the Soviet Union - quickly began to show deep cracks.
A few weeks after the release of the Long Telegram in February 1946, which would inspire the Truman Doctrine, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech in Fulton, Missouri. The speech called for an Anglo-American alliance against the Soviets, whom he accused of establishing an “iron curtain” from “Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic”.
It was clear by 1947 that ideological difference had become intolerable and in September of that year the Soviets created Cominform, uniting the global
communist movement while tightening political control over Soviet satellites.
Over the following decades a policy of containment would be pursued by the Western Bloc, usually led, and on occasion too far, by the United States. This, driven by the Domino Theory, that should one state fall it would collapse an entire region, led to a number of not-so-small proxy wars: the Malayan Emergency, Korea, Vietnam. On 13 August 1961, the Soviets erected a barbed wire Berlin Wall, something which would quickly grow in substance. Europe was divided, quite physically in two. When the Soviet Union went nuclear on 29 August 1949 the stakes of confrontation had risen exponentially, triggering an arms buildup on both sides; which, under Robert McNamara, settled into a state of Mutually Assured Destruction. European maps became the atomic battlefield and as crisis came thick and fast in the early 1960s the fate of life on our pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known, rested upon the cool minds of just a few men. Living at the gates of annihilation, they peered through and stepped back, time and again.
Big spoilers ahead for Stranger Things and Twin Peaks.
Stranger Things is rife with nostalgic pop-culture references, but here’s one that struck me immediately that I haven’t seen commented on anywhere else: the discovery of Will Byers’ “body” in Stranger Things’ third episode, “Holly, Jolly”, is shot almost identically to the discovery of Maddy Ferguson’s body in Twin Peaks, “Drive With a Dead Girl”. The central law enforcement figures of both series exit their cars, sirens blazing, and are shot in a tracking closeup facing the camera as they approach a lakeside, where a body is being brought to the surface. It’s that final slice of context (discovery of a body by a lakeside) that makes me think this is more than coincidence.