Introduction: Representations of Peace and Conflict

Stephen Gibson, Simon Mollan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In one of the most grimly effective depictions of nuclear war, the film Threads (Hines & Jackson, 1984/2005) traces the build-up to and aftermath of a nuclear attack on the United Kingdom. At first barely noticed by the film’s main characters, the media reports of escalating tensions in a distant conflict form a backdrop to the everyday lives and concerns of a young couple and their families in early 1980s Sheffield. The conflict swiftly escalates as the Cold War powers become involved, and when the first nuclear strike occurs one of the most disturbing portrayals of the sheer futility of war begins to unfold. The viewer is left in no doubt that things can never be the same again – not for the film’s principal characters, nor for humanity as a whole. The closing scenes depict a barren and desolate landscape, some 13 years after the war, in which the remaining humans live a brutal husk of a life. In this post-apocalyptic world, communication is reduced to a series of barely recognizable grunts and fragments of words. Language itself has been degraded as all sense of meaningful existence is lost.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRepresentations of Peace and Conflict
EditorsStephen Gibson, Simon Mollan
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781137292254
ISBN (Print)9781349334865
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameRethinking Political Violence
ISSN (Print)2752-8588
ISSN (Electronic)2752-8596


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