“Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War” Explores Impact of US–Soviet Conflict

The nine-part doc examines how two global superpowers have irrevocably altered the course of history.

By Roxanne Fequiere, Netflix

While the the Cold War ended in 1991, even a casual appraisal of current headlines reveals that relations between the United States and Russia — the one-time center of the Soviet Union — remain tense, to say the least. The global repercussions of the Cold War continue to ripple through the current geopolitical landscape to this day, but it can be difficult to understand just how a mid-20th century struggle for ideological dominance continues to ensnare countless nations in ongoing unrest.

Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War, a nine-part documentary series from director Brian Knappenberger, provides a comprehensive appraisal of the events that led to the Cold War and traces the conflict around the world and through the decades.

“Lessons that we thought were learned were not learned,” author Lesley Blume says in the doc, describing the state of the world today as “an ongoing tide” of the history that came before it. 

In order to tell this story, the series draws on more than 100 interviews with subjects ranging from past and present world leaders (Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas) to historians as well as everyday people whose lives were drastically altered by the events of the Cold War. As the history unfolds, each episode considers the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine as an example of how the history being examined is directly tied to the events of today. “Nearly every part of the war in Ukraine is an echo of the Cold War,” Knappenberger explains.

Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War premieres on March 12.

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