Red Joan is no Dr Strangelove. It is difficult to accept the premise of this film. Did Red Joan really believe that mutually assured destruction is an avenue to world peace and that it would prevent the use of nuclear weapons. By developing equal nuclear capability across nation states such as United States, the soviet union, Germany and Britain, this would ensure that none of those states would actually use the ultimate weapon.
Firstly the facts don’t bear it out … the US used a nuclear bomb on two occasions, at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki but when both the soviet union and the US had nuclear capability they came within a hairs breadth of nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis.
Nuclear material has been used against Iraq and Afghanistan to penetrate the armour of tanks. This has resulted in many children having birth defects as a result of radiation.
I found the portrayal of Red Joan as a young woman quite unconvincing. I wonder what the real Red Joan would have thought of this depiction of my life.
The ‘real’ Re Joan was a committed communist; Norwood said she had gained no material profit from her actions. In a statement Norwood read at the time of her exposure, she said: “I did what I did, not to make money, but to help prevent the defeat of a new system which had, at great cost, given ordinary people food and fares which they could afford, a good education and a health service.” While she said she did not generally “agree with spying against one’s country”, she had hoped her actions would help “Russia to keep abreast of Britain, America and Germany”.
In 2014, newly released files from the Mitrokhin archive suggested that Norwood was more highly valued by the KGB than the Cambridge Five.
One interesting aspect of the film is fictional Red Joan’s defence is not dissimilar to that of Julian Assange, that he is not a spy but someone trying to reveal the truth about wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He wanted all to share the knowledge ‘so that the horror of war could be averted’.
Keep uranium in the ground!