Documentary Recommendation: The Untold History of the United States (2012-2013)
Quote from The Untold History of the United State by Oliver Stone: “Americans, like people everywhere, are in thrall to their visions of the past, rarely realizing the extent to which their understanding of history shapes behavior in the here and now. Historical understanding defines people’s very sense of what is thinkable and achievable. As a result, many have lost the ability to imagine a world that is substantially different from and better than what exists today.”
Executive Producers: Carlos Guillermo, Chris Hanley, Oliver Stone, Tara Tremaine, Robert S. Wilson, Serge Lobo, and Rob Wilson
Director: Oliver Stone
Writers: Matt Graham, Peter Kuznick, and Oliver Stone
Whether you like or hate or somewhere in between Oliver Stone for whatever reasons, he will continue to be interested in history and how the U.S. influenced the world. This 12 part documentary covers elections, wars, ideas, competition, and domination that you probably won’t find in high school history books. It starts with World War II and Franklin Roosevelt’s relationship with Joseph Stalin. It progresses into the time after the war when Democrats were scared of Henry Wallace and Britain’s desire to maintain their colonies. The third episode focuses on the atomic bomb and Harry Truman’s entry into politics. The Cold War and Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist tirades dominate the late 1940s into the early 1950s. It continues with Dwight Eisenhower and his fight against Communist influence. We head into John F. Kennedy and the CIA’s failure in Cuba regarding Bay of Pigs. When JFK dies, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon are all guns blazing into the Vietnam War. The eighth episode blazes past Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan and his strained relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev. There is a shift when George Bush and Bill Clinton are sworn in regarding how America is viewed by the world. The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars lead us into a state of heightened security especially after 9/11. Barack Obama is the last episode where security and economy are the two most important issues during his presidency. There were two prologue episodes during the early 1900s including World War I, Russian Revolution, Woodrow Wilson, and Smedley Butler. If Oliver Stone is correct that invasions often turn into long, unnecessary wars, started from greed, superiority, and narcissism, then many suffer directly and indirectly including demonstrators and revolutionaries if that occurs. I found most interesting his question of how much one country should try to influence another whether it be for dominance or altruistic reasons. It appears when it comes to U.S political elections and results, the jockeying for influence and power is still with us, and more so than ever with twitter debates and news coverage. Does it really matter who is ahead and who is doing what when it comes to space exploration, technological advancement, economic power, and social influence? To a degree, yes, because cyber attacks should be taken seriously. And yes because we live in a time of nuclear weapons. And even more of a yes because I’d rather not have any country invade another one for reasons not substantiated. And yes the concept of warfare and political dominance have been around for so long that it’s become a part of our social makeup, but remaining static is not good either. I watched this because I like history, but these were some of the questions Stone offered. In case your wondering, I’m undecided on who I would like to see elected as the next President of the United States. Yet, I’m looking forward to seeing how it all materializes.