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Star Trek And The Cold War

2280 words - 10 pages

On September 8 1966, Star Trek the Original Series premiered to American audiences for the first time and was given a vision of the idealized future of space travel. Set in the 23rd century, the series follows the adventures of the crew of the Starship Enterprise as the “seek out new life and boldly go where no man has gone before. ” Although the Science Fiction television show was set in a timeline into the distant future, many of the episodes centered around current themes of the 1960s, especially around the Cold War. The Cold War was an ongoing conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union since the closing days of the Second World War. The Cold War was at its height in the 1960s with the Cuban Missile Crises, the emergence of the space race and the Vietnam War. This conflict transcended all parts of society and television was no exception. Gene Roddenberry, the creator the Star Trek series, was a former military pilot that held strong beliefs that “The Strength of a civilization is not measured by its ability to fight wars, but rather by its ability to prevent them”. Star Trek used its unique appeal to television in order to glorify American idealism along with opening criticism to the United States Foreign Cold War Policy.
The Starship Enterprise was part of Starfleet, the scientific space exploration branch of the United Federation of Planets whose peaceful mission is to explore the galaxy. Lead by the strong leader Captain James T. Kirk and his first officer, the Vulcan, Spock, the Enterprise was made up of diverse group of people from all branches of the Galaxy. The Federation represents the United States, a country that is a melting pot of different cultures that blend together to make one unique nation. The Federation was inclusive to all races and ethnicities, which were represented by different members of the crew. You had a Japanese crewman in Sulu, a Russian in Chekov, a Scottish man in Scotty, and something unique for the time, an African- American Women in a leadership role in Uhura. Gene Roddenberry wanted to display to America a timeline that racism and sexism were not prevalent in the daily politics of the crew. However, one thing that could not be ignored was the foreign threats of the federation or the nation. As scholar Sarantakes argued, “Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the series complained, ‘today in TV you can’t write about Vietnam, polices, labor management, the rocket race, the drug problem realistically’. The format of the series provided away around this barrier”(Sarantakes 79).
There are many different forms of governments and no government is without enemies that challenge the philosophy and supremacy of that government. In the Star Trek Universe, the main threat of the Federation is the Klingon Empire. The Klingons are warrior race that are belligerent and find on honor in killing. Their goal is to spread their own influence on weaker planets in order to gain more territory in the galaxy. This sets...

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