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The Hunt for Red October 1


The Americans & the Soviets

Cold War thrillers reveal secrets, above all that the Cold War was not a war. Spies fought; black ops. The American military was not asked to sacrifice for God & country. The private war must therefore reveal to us the men’s virtues & problems. We see the death & injustice; we see that these men cannot appeal to their fellow citizens.

The movie opens with the captain of a Soviet submarine. The ship appears small against the vastness of the sea. But it is gigantic compared to human beings. Man is quickly conquering nature. This captain quotes the Book of Revelations & Oppenheimer’s words from the Bhagavad Gita. He is not in his right mind, thinking about the end of the world… When he kills Putin, the political officer, he quotes: Whither I go, thou canst not follow me (John 13:36).

The captain, in his first speech, reminds his crew of the war between Americans & the USSR, of their fathers & older brothers who had fought, & of their newfound power. They have a submarine against which Americans are defenseless. The sailors sing patriotic songs as they set their course. The Russians show an elegant taste & a military spirit. Also, among them are the most despicable spies. Russians are slaves. This Lithuanian captain wants to betray the USSR. A gentleman to the last, he lets Moscow know; they promptly send their fleet to destroy him; the Americans learn the latter fact, but they are blind to the former. The Joint Chiefs, in an emergency session, exclaim: Oh, my god, they have a madman. This summarizes the attitude of the American leadership in the Cold War.

In his second speech, the captain tells his officers: There is no going back. – He had sent a letter to Moscow. One officer had complained that the killing should have been decided among the officers; he alleges the captain has political reasons, & deeper reasons. Another had complained that the killing is horrible; he fears the Soviet fleet will destroy them. Another had warned that the crew might revolt. In private, the captain lets his right hand know he worries less about the Soviets, whom he knows, than about the Americans, whom he is anxious to meet. We see the mind of a general.

The deeds of the captain reveal him to be a great pilot. When his crew first see their deaths, they ignore their captain’s excellence, which saves them. When their own fire upon them, they no longer know what’s what. The captain called the Cold War a game of chess. He does not fear death, which reveals his noble soul. But he does not love war.

The Cold War thriller. Find it. See it.