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The Beatles And The Cold War

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on 24 January 2014

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Transcript of The Beatles And The Cold War

meaning of the song
This song was originally written to ridicule the political situation in the USSR at the time. When asked about this song McCarty said:

"It's tongue in cheek. This is a traveling Russkie who has just flown in from Miami Beach; he's come the other way. He can't wait to get back to the Georgian mountains: 'Georgia's always on my mind'; there's all sorts of little jokes in it..."

Paul also presents a very stereotypical image of the people in the USSR. the lines:
"Oh, show me round your snow peaked mountains way down south Take me to your daddy's farm"
would reaffirm the commonly held idea that the USSR is a mainly rural and agricultural state. This would have infuriated the political leaders as one of their biggest accomplishments was the complete revolution and expatiation of the industrial sector.

where the beatles come in
To the communists in the soviet union (or the USSR) The Beatles really embodied the freedom and ideology of the USA and the rest of the western world. They saw this as a threat to the communist powers and had them banned along with other western bands such as the rolling stones and the beach boys, but this did nothing to quell Beatle mania which was sweeping the world. In fact this only increased their popularity, with listening to them seen as a kind of rebellion against the strict political regime.

The cold war
By Ciara O'Shea

The Cold War was a long period of tension between the democracies of the Western World and the communist countries of Eastern Europe. The west was led by the United States and Eastern Europe was led by the Soviet Union. These two countries became known as superpowers. Although the two superpowers never officially declared war on each other, they fought indirectly in proxy wars, the arms race, and the space race.
Back in the USSR
background of the song
This song was written by Paul McCartney while on a meditation retreat in Risshikesh, India with Mike Love one of the original members of the popular band ‘The Beach Boys’. The song was to be a parody of both ‘Back In The USA’ by Chuck Berry and 'California girls' by the beach boys. Paul used the harmonizing style made famous by The Beach Boys and uses the term "Moscow girls" which is a clear reference to the beach boys song 'California Girls
Although this song clearly condemns communism, in many places epically the united states, the meaning of this song was misconstrued and many thought the Beatles were supporting the actions of the socialist leaders. This misunderstanding lead to great controversy with the band once being accused of funding the small socialist party in the UK.
Flag and map of the Soviet union
Beatles books, albums and merchandise being publicly burned in protest
Paul McCartney and Mike Love in Risshikesh, India
Propaganda was used by both sides during the cold war to make the opposition seem weaker or more comical then they actually were.
American propaganda
Russian propaganda
The Beatles mocked american propaganda with this album cover which depicts the soviet union as a cute harmless bear cub
personal reflection

I picked this song because I have always liked the Beatles and think that their contribution during this period often overlooked.

while doing my project I discovered that the Beatles were not only meet with opposition in the soviet union but also in the united states
Full transcript