Roger Stahl discusses Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA Took Hollywood with WSWS via World Socialist Website 


RP: Could you speak about the movie Godzilla and how the original version, which was conceived of as a warning about the dangers of nuclear war, and what the latest version of this film has now been transformed into?

RS: It is useful to step back and look at how nuclear weapon proliferation and stockpiling has been normalized by Hollywood and the Pentagon over the years. Godzilla is a good example. You’re right that since the first movie in the ’50s, the franchise has been a critique of the bomb and nuclear proliferation, which is one reason why there has been no Pentagon support all the way through to 2014.

It’s not the only reason. There was a version made in 1998, which starred Matthew Broderick. In that movie the military are a bit like the Keystone Cops. They fire missiles at Godzilla but miss and take down the Chrysler Building. The military don’t look good and so the entertainment office objected and denied assistance.

The military did fully support the 2014 version of Godzilla, though, which showed them in a heroic light. More importantly, it turned the anti-nuclear narrative on its head. The military took out references to Hiroshima, and suddenly nuclear weapons are part of the solution to the monster problem. This was a huge PR victory for those intent on holding us all hostage to an accidental Armageddon.

The military denied help to the producers of the next version of the film in 2019. We don’t know the exact reason—maybe there was less of a heroic role—but the tragic thing is that the narrative of “nukes save the day” persisted.  That’s after just one intervention by the DoD.


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ref. 米「ゴジラ」原爆批判のせりふ削除していた 国防総省が脚本に抗議 2014年映画 via 沖縄タイムス

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