Segments in this Video

Sponsors: Faces of the Enemy (01:26)


Iranian revolutionaries chant "Death to America." An American preacher tells his audience we are at war.

Images of Enemy (01:58)

The narrator studies the images nations create of their enemies, believing that better thinking about enemies will lead to conflict resolution.

Ideological Murder (01:57)

David Rice murdered a family he thought were communists. His dehumanizing rhetoric was similar to that of politicians justifying war.

Seeking an Enemy (01:52)

Murderer David Ray says the Communists seek global control. He talks about his own economic struggles led him to seek a political villain.

Ideological Influences (02:08)

Murderer David Ray was influenced by Gen. Mohr's Christian Patriots; see Mohr's material.

Cold War Cartoons (00:59)

See U.S. and Soviet Cold War cartoons, portraying a rapacious enemy.

Soviets' View of History (02:31)

A Soviet commentator says the Soviets believe laws of nature, not active conquest, will bring world Marxism. The narrator debates him on whether this ideology is dangerous.

Views of Cold War (01:29)

A man says nuclear war is the greatest enemy. An expert says some in government view the Soviets as evil, while others see them as like us but believe states inevitably compete.

Choice of Enemies (03:02)

We fought in Vietnam out of a belief that Communist advance anywhere would devastate us. A professor argues that we can choose our battles.

Return to Vietnam (03:18)

A Vietnam veteran talks about his efforts at reconciliation with the former enemy after the war, and what it means to think of someone as the enemy.

Dehumanizing Propaganda Films (01:41)

Portrayals of enemies as subhuman mobilize societies to participate in violence. See a WWII film on the Japanese soldier and a Nazi film on "The Eternal Jew."

WWII Propaganda (04:22)

An expert contrasts Japanese and American propaganda and says such extermination propaganda led to continuation of the war after Japan's defeat was certain.

Dehumanization in Vietnam (02:33)

A Vietnam veteran talks about dehumanization by both sides in the war and relates it to the Mai Lai massacre.

Psychology of War (01:39)

An expert distinguishes the psychology behind murderer David Ray from those responsible for the Mai Lai massacre. Ray explains that he saw himself as a soldier in a war.

Appeal of War (00:52)

A psychologist talks about the appeal of war, which brings simplicity and clarity. Suicide declines and mental health improves.

Christian Patriot Movement (04:48)

Christian Patriot members preach war on communism and violent moral purification of America. The narrator confronts them over their influence on murderer David Lee Ray.

Editorial Cartoonists (03:13)

Editorial cartoonists say the nature of their medium requires dealing in stereotypes and caricature; they discuss the danger inherent in their work.

Fighting Evil (02:32)

A mythologist applies Schopenhauer's theory of compassion to the "The Empire Strikes Back" scene of Luke envisioning his own face on Darth Vader.

Warning the Enemy (02:52)

A Vietnam veteran recounts going into a tunnel to blow it up, feeling another person's presence, and warning this enemy soldier before planting the bomb.

Murderer's Self-Image (02:05)

The narrator gets murderer David Lee Rice to draw a self-portrait; he draws himself as a soldier. Rice's rhetoric is similar to that used to justify war.

Murderer's Feelings (03:52)

Murderer David Lee Rice says he is not evil and his killings were justified. He suggests that he is unable to deal emotionally with his murders.

War and State Decision Making (02:12)

An expert notes the idea that war results from states' being driven to seek power, and is not psychologically comparable to personal violence. The narrator says this sanitizes war.

New Ways of Thinking (01:48)

There are real enemies, but we should not portray them as monsters and ourselves as morally pure.

Credits: Faces of the Enemy (01:04)

Credits: Faces of the Enemy

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Faces of the Enemy

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The classic study of the process of dehumanization, released during the Cold War in 1987, follows social psychologist Sam Keen as he unmasks how individuals and nations dehumanize their enemies to justify the inhumanity of war. Using archival news footage, public service announcements, and editorial cartoons, Keen unveils the same frightening pattern in conflict after conflict - World War II, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, Islamic and Christian Fundamentalism - and prefigures the current War on Terrorism. First we identify ourselves as victims. Then we blame, demonize and finally dehumanize our adversaries, rationalizing our murder of other human beings. Psychologists Robert Lifton and Steven Kull explain how war and artificial enemies provide people with the moral and mental certainties they crave, giving them a sense of purpose in a sometimes-ambiguous world. Mythologist Joseph Campbell, providing a note of hope, suggests that underneath the mask of the enemy we ultimately recognize ourselves. This, Campbell further contends, may be the origin of compassion, brotherhood and altruism, in other words the inverse of war.

Length: 58 minutes

Item#: BVL57870

Copyright date: ©1987

Closed Captioned

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