October 25

Bridge of Spies

So, you saw Bridge of Spies, the latest film by Steven Spielberg.  This Cold War film looks at a lot of issues by taking real life events (the arrest of Rudolf Abel for spying, the U-2 plane shot down in 1960, the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961) and weaves them into a story about one man, Jim Donovan, played by Tom Hanks, who brilliantly negotiates the release of two Americans for Abel. Choose from the following questions / observations and complete at least three (all answers must include a response to #1).

1. How did the film portray Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union?  In what ways did the film humanize these tensions with the portrayals of Abel, Donovan, East German lawyer Vogel, Judge Byers, and the KGB minister (who helped negotiate the deal, whose name escapes me right now)?  Use specific examples from the film.  

bridge 12. Do you think Rudolf Abel was given a fair trial by the court of Judge Byers or was there a rush to judgement and conclusion?  Why or why not?

3. Should America have been spying on the Soviets like they had with the U-2 planes?  Why or why not?

4. What kinds of political and social pressures was Jim Donovan under at home for defending Rudolf Abel?  Why do you think he took the job in the first place?

5. What would make / drive someone to become a spy for their country?  It seems like dangerous work and there’s always the chance that your country could betray you or want you dead if you were captured (use Powers and Abel as examples).

I may come up with additional questions as I go along.

300 words minimum for your total answer.  Due by Friday, November 13. 

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Posted October 25, 2015 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

47 thoughts on “Bridge of Spies

  1. Isabella Levitt

    The film portrayed Cold War tensions very well through many different aspects of the film. A good portrayal of the tension included the obvious distaste Donovan’s family had in regards to his taking the job. It made it clear how tense the situation was, that all Americans understood it. The dynamic between Donovan and Judge Byers was a good representation of the tension, even though they were both Americans. The tension between them was similar to the tension between the two nations, as Donovan tried to treat the case seriously and Judge Byers didn’t seem to appreciate this, he was expecting Donovan to pretend to give it a shot (this shown specifically when Donovan went directly to Byers’ house to attempt to show him his point of view).

    I don’t think that Rudolf Abel was given anything close to a fair trial. There was an obvious rush to the conclusion that was come to. Since everyone in the court was American, it was naturally biased against the foreign Abel. All in the court assumed guilt immediately, as people took the side of their country with little evidence for or against Abel himself. Personally, I believe that if Byers was so sure that Donovan had no chance in proving Abel innocent, he would have humored him in giving him the extra time. In my eyes, it showed a worry that he would be proved wrong, and that it would look bad on their country as a whole.

    Jim Donovan, when defending Abel, was under extreme pressure. The American society as a whole would have a strong hatred towards him if Abel was not declared guilty, but his conscious was undoubtedly telling him to put his best effort into the case, otherwise he wouldn’t have tried so hard. Politically, still, most people around him put pressure on him to pretend to do his job, but not truly work towards the goal. It, in their minds, had to look like he was putting effort into it so it was a fair trial (which already made hatred come his way), but the effort couldn’t be enough to make it actually go anywhere. That is the reason people were so upset and shocked that Donovan wanted more time to work on his case.

  2. Ruby Kolender

    1. The film “Bridge of Spies” portrayed many Cold War Tensions as throughout its entirety. One aspect of the Cold War that was shown through this film was the building of the Berlin War. After the Soviets got to control part of Berlin, the Germans under the rule of the Soviets were furious by this agreement that they had to live by. This was shown very well throughout the movie, especially during Frederic Pryor’s treatment from the Soviets on the East side. This was also presented by the general, ongoing spying and fighting with words between the countries, along with the shooting down of the U-2 Spy Plane. Abel was a great representation that humanized the film. One reason for this was that he was completely calm about when he was caught spying on the U.S, which seemed odd to me at first. This gave such a good replica of the Cold War, however, because perhaps he was somehow forced or getting paid a lot of money to spy, like it is shown when he takes a really long pause to look at Donovan before he returns to go with the Soviets, since he was also treated so well by him for defending Abel until the end.
    2. I do not think Rudolf Abel was given fair treatment in court, and that Judge Byers decision was rushed. I think this is the case because the benefit of Abel did not even seem like it was considered, because they were so engaged on the fact that he was a Soviet Spy and nothing else. I do understand the rush of Judge Byers decision, however, because of what he could see around him that was happening to Donovan. Since Donovan and even his family were being persecuted on his decision to defend Abel, imagine what would have happened to the judge for giving Abel the benefit of the doubt. Despite knowing this, Judge Byers could have still taken the initiative to do what he truly thought was right.
    4. Donovan was clearly under tremendous pressure for defending Abel. From a different individual’s standpoint, it makes absolutely no sense that he would want to defend Abel, but despite being told to, there was a still a few reasons why it is a good idea to. The film did not seem to make it too clear as to why Donovan took the job even when he opposed it at first, but the reason he probably did it was to boost America’s image, and make us seem like the better country. After witnessing what the Soviets were doing to Powers when they captured him, it was crazy how much nicer the U.S was treating Abel. Donovan probably assumed that in the end, if people saw how much better the U.S treated their captured spies versus what the Soviets did, or that Abel told the Soviets how much better he was treated by the U.S, then people would want to support the U.S or not become communists. Even though this was true, Donovan was still under so much pressure because people would not want him defending a Soviet spy, along with the fact that his family’s life was in danger because of his risky decision.

  3. Connor Bradbury

    I think the film portrayed the Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union very well. It showed how stressed Americans were when it came to the Soviet Union and its actions in East Berlin. I think a hugely important part of the film was when it was showing the construction of the Berlin Wall. For me, it showed the true feeling of panic that was instilled in the people of both sides of Berlin. You could see people scrambling to get over the wall into West Berlin, because they knew if they got trapped in East Berlin, they would live in a world of brutality controlled by Communist Soviet Union. The film showed army personnel being heavily focused on their spy war with the Communists, and how much was riding on not giving up the secret weapon that was the U.S. spy planes. It also showed the people of the United States heavy with prejudice for Communists, and anticipating war. I think these tensions were humanized very well. In the Soviet spy Abel, Americans saw a piece of the Soviet Union on our turf. They wanted him dead, and they wanted him dead ASAP. As shown in the film, the people published newspapers and otherwise publicized Abel being our prisoner and advertised a death penalty with the preconceived notion that it was what he deserved as soon as he was caught on our land. Abel was the representation of the Devil that was Communism, and I think he greatly scared and angered Americans. In Donovan, the minority was shown. This minority was the one that hesitated to lump all people from East Berlin and the Soviet Union into the group that was labeled ENEMY. Donovan represented the slim part of the nation that wanted Abel to have a fair trial as given to any and all criminals, and didn’t want the government of the United States itself to be corruptly bias against him. In the movie, he was publicly looked at like a turncoat himself on trains, as people connected him to a Soviet spy and immediately hated him because he was Abel’s defendant. Judge Byers represented the American people. In the movie, while meeting with Donovan and the persecuting attorney, he was legitimately shocked to hear Donovan ask for more time to provide an ample defense for Abel. He said that Donovan was being ridiculous, and there was no way he would get more time, and that was that. Even before meeting Abel, Byers was predetermined to thrust the death penalty upon him, as were most all the other Americans watching in. He thought just because Abel was a Soviet spy, he didn’t deserve a fair trial, and was set on not letting Donovan provide one. These three characters all humanize the Cold War tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union by representing the point of views from the unfairly accused, suspected of working for the devil that was the Soviet Union, the true idea of Justice, and the bias, bloodthirsty public.

    I think Abel was not given a fair trial at all. Even though he was caught spying for the Soviet Union, criminals should still get a fair trial. The jury in this trial, along with the judge himself, were predetermined to send this man to death’s row no matter the defense. Even though in the end he ended up getting sent to life in prison instead of the death penalty, the fact that people were so enraged about him not being sent to death is pitiful. The judge laughed at the notion of giving Abel a free trial, and the jury spent next to no time deciding Abel to be found guilty for all charges. I think the jury was quite literally representing the general public of the U.S., since the public desperately wanted Abel dead as well. I think that even though Judge Byers did come in last minute to avoid the death penalty, Abel was still not given a fair trial because of the bias jury and mostly bias judge.

    I think that the U.S was spying on the Soviets to try to get the upper hand in the Cold War. Even though I do not think they should have been doing it, I think it was necessary, seeing as the Soviets were probably doing it, and they couldn’t risk going in blind to fight a war against the Soviets. I think the U-2 planes allowed for the best and safest way to spy on them, but at the end of the day we still got caught, and it resulted in one of our airmen in being caught and held hostage. I would also say that the U.S. felt they had to spy on the Soviets, as they couldn’t just rely on the good word of the Communists not to spy on us. As it turned out, the Communists were spying on us, which was no surprise as we were doing the same. I think we couldn’t sit back on our heels while one of the greatest superpowers in the world slowly gained more territory, weaponry, and support. At the end of the day there would be one winner and one loser, and the U.S. government couldn’t risk not knowing what their opponent had for weapons of mass destruction in the event of a war. So I think that even though it turned into a small disaster, spying on the Soviet Union with the U-2 planes to gather information about weapons, etc. was the right choice for our country.

  4. Victoria Lurz

    Question 2: After seeing bridge of spies, I believe that the fairness of Rudolph abels trial can go either way. The courts certainly jumped to quick results without much deliberation time but then again he received the best lawyer possible to defend his case. We saw judge Byers ask Jim Donovan why he cared so much about his client which certainly displayed how Byers felt about Abel. On the other hand, we have Jim Donovan, Abel’s fantastic and passionate lawyer. I believe that Donovan represented Abel no differently then he would’ve represented any other client. Whenever something unjust occurred, he went straight to judge Byers to discuss the matters. The jury didn’t seem to care much about the treatment Rudolph received because they only saw him as a soviet spy who shouldn’t have been in their country. The courting system definitely had pre-set opinions & plans for Abel but Jim Donovan did his best to make sure he received a fair trial.

    Question 4: Due to the fact that Jim Donovan was representing a “potential” soviet spy he was seen as the second most hated person in America next to Abel. The political stresses Donovan faced were the lives of the 2 U.S. men being held hostage. In order to deal with that situation, Jim had to negotiate very meticulously amongst several soviet government
    officials. As if those international challengers weren’t tough enough, Donovan also dealt with Americans shaming him & hating on him for fighting for Abel. Jim was also challenged with Americans trashing his house and by receiving threats from his own country. At night people threw rocks at the Windows of the Donovan’s house. Besides the vandalism, Jim had to deal with the awful looks, glares, & chit chat. I think jim took on this case because he was pressured into it by the CIA & really didn’t have much choice.

    Question 1: the film portrayed Cold War tensions between the us & Soviet Union by including real events from the war and the extreme measures people took. The film humanized these tensions by showing abels resistance to cooperate with the US, Donovan’s persistence in getting both men home on a 2 for 1 trade, Vogel’s fierce negotiating, the KGB ministers refusal to partake in releasing both U.S. men, & judge Byers’ careless manor towards Abel. Abel was not going to give into the enemy even if it cost him his life. Donovan seemed to be greedy by asking for both U.S. Men to be released in exchange for only one Soviet. Vogel was reluctant to making deals with the lawyer Donovan. Judge Byers displayed tensions by barely giving Abel the time of day. The judge wasn’t concerned about Abel receiving a fair trial because he was a threat to the United States. The KGB minister managed to play hardball & refused being a part of a 2 for 1 exchange. Therefore in Donovan’s attempt to get Pryor back, the KGB minister was very difficult to deal with. This film showcased several real events that occurred throughout the Cold War that we had recently studied which I found extremely intriguing. The footage from inside the U-2 plane that Francis powers was in looked extremely realistic making the scene much more believable & also showed how tense the relations between the two nations were. The shooting of the U-2 plane displayed the drastic measures each nation was willing to take in order to achieve dominance in the war.

  5. Joan L

    1) The tensions of the Cold War were expressed by the extra actors like the cop or the people who kept eyeing him on the train staring at him with cold eyes. People questioned Jim Donovan’s motives, was he a communist, did he like communists, why is he defending a communist that’s going to kill us all? When Jim Donovan said that the evidence gained from Abel’s apartment and studio it was tainted because it was seized without a warrant the judge and the lawyer he was against thought he was crazy. There were also interrogations of both spies, in the movie we only got to see the USSR interrogation of our U-2 pilot, Francis Garry Powers, as they really wanted to know how the US made the U-2 plane and how it was able to fly at 700 ft high. Rudolf Abel played by Mark Rylance was an alleged Soviet spy who was captured by American Officials (CIA) and taken in for questioning. When Jim first saw him he asked if he was worried to which Abel replied, “Would it help?” This statement showed that Abel probably knew what was going to happen to him but worrying wasn’t going to improve his chances. Abel was also an old man who was an artist and made beautiful paintings, as he was quite simple looking you wouldn’t have been able to tell he was a Soviet spy unless you saw him retrieve information. When Abel was found guilty of being a spy for the USSR he would have been sentenced to death but Donovan persuaded the judge to keep him just in case something bad happens to an American citizen or Official in Soviet territory. Jim wanted to keep Abel alive because he was a good man who was sent to do his job and said not a word to the enemy, even if that was himself (Donovan), in a way he befriended the old man because of the words that were said and those that weren’t. Jim was sad to see the man go and especially sad when Abel was just shown the back seat.
    2) I don’t think Abel was given a far trial before Jim Donovan even met Abel it was already decided that he (Abel) was guilty. Judge Byers also said that Abel was guilty before the trail and gave Donovan three weeks to prepare his defense. The evidence used in the case also went against the fourth amendment but was excused because he wasn’t an American citizen. The American public had been shown propaganda about why communism was so bad and they were taught to hate all communists. So naturally the jury made up of American’s taught by that rule would say that Abel was guilty. The only reason as to why Abel was spared the electric chair was in case we needed to make an exchange with Russia.
    3) No, I don’t think we should have been spying but, both countries where spying on each other. It wouldn’t really make sense to allow one side to spy and not the other. If we hadn’t been spying we wouldn’t Donovan would have ruined his image because the U.S. didn’t need Pryor back but they would have gotten him back but they probably would have saved Able for something bigger. If we hadn’t been spying Donovan wouldn’t have been called in for the exchange. Plus I think everything happens for a reason like how later Donovan freed 9,710 people from Cuban prisons he was only supposed to get 1,170. Donovan was also only supposed to get Power’s, the U-2 pilot, back but he also got an American college student, Pryor, back as well just for Abel. Donovan a New York insurance lawyer managed to get a two for one exchange with both Russia and East Berlin without any government training. No, I don’t think we should have been trying to get information about Russian progress but it made the American people more at ease knowing facts about the cold war rather than not knowing. (Yet they still thought duck and cover would work…)

  6. Dahvi Lupovitch

    1. In the film, Bridge of Spies the Cold War is portrayed with tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. Some tensions included the lack of trust for one another between the two different countries. Many people refused to even listen to Abel speak before assuming that not only was he a communist, but that he was a spy for the Russians. Donovan, however, saw the human inside of Abel who just wanted to go home. We never really found out whether or not Abel was in fact a spy, because when he asked Donovan if he wanted to know whether or not he committed the accused crime, Jim declined. I thought this very humane and professional of him because it showed that Donovan was serious about defending Abel. When Donovan approached the American judge, asking for more time to evaluate evidence in hopes of helping Abel, the judge laughed in his face, telling Jim that the only reason Abel had a lawyer in the first place was so that America did not look bad. Although I am of course against communism, and I do not know what Abel was doing in America, I saw the man that he was and he definitely deserved a fair trial.
    My favorite part of the entire movie was when Jim Donovan would ask Abel, “Aren’t you worried?” and Abel would calmly ask, “Would it help?” I thought this very wise of the Russian and it added almost a comedic moment in the film.

    2. As I mentioned above, Rudolf Abel was not given a fair trial, because both the judge and the jury already had their minds set on the fact the Abel was guilty. However the man was technically provided with all of his rights: The right to remain silent, a lawyer (Jim Donovan), etc. Donovan was then able to stop the seemingly inevitable death penalty, in exchange for a long time in jail, but ended up sending Abel back to his home for two American men returning to the United States.

    3. I do believe that it was fair for Americans to send U-2 planes flying over Russia because this was indeed war and the Americans were under the impression that they were also being spied on, so really we wanted both to make the war seem more fair, but at the same time getting one step ahead of the other side of the Cold War.

    5. Becoming a spy for your country shows true patriotism. Not only is it extremely dangerous to enter enemy territory, but also what will your country do to help you if you get caught? In the case of Powers, he was provided with a coin, inside it hiding a needle that covered with poison so that if captured, he need only to scrape himself with the point and he would die almost instantly. After hearing this and still continuing on with the mission shows true bravery, even though later on Powers is ridiculed for being “too much of a coward” to kill himself and ends up needing to be trade back in exchange for Abel. Bringing up Rudolf Abel he is also very brave for venturing into America and whenever the time of worry seemed to come up, he would remain calm and expressionless, never a look of panic nor fear in his eyes, even though he knew in his heart that no matter what he would be accused guilty for whatever crime he may (or may not) have committed. This, I think, is an act of true bravery.

  7. Yuval K.

    1. The film portrayed Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union pretty well. The way they portrayed the tension is by getting Abel, a man who was convicted of being a Soviet spy, out of the death penalty and getting back home. Another tension between the US and the Soviet Union was the release of the two Americans and Abel becoming very difficult. When Tom Hanks’s character, Jim Donovan, a lawyer, was chosen to defend Abel in court. This was a difficult decision for him because Abel was convicted of being a Soviet spy and when the American people find out about this, they would start threatening him and his family. Donovan agreed to defend Abel anyway. Judge Byers also started disliking Donavan because he was defending Abel, and he wanted to put Abel on a death trial. Byers kept ignoring Donavan’s request to let Abel go until Donovan finally convinced Judge Byres not to put Abel on a death sentence. Later on in the movie, Donovan was told that he would have to go to Germany because an American soldier was caught and captured by the Soviets. Donavan’s mission was to make a deal with the Soviets to let the soldier go and that he would bring Abel back. Donavan also found out about another American that was captured next to the Berlin Wall and he tried to get him out too. But the East Germany lawyer wouldn’t accept because Donovan was also working with the Soviets, which made tensions even worse.
    2. I don’t think that Abel was getting a fair trial by Judge Byers. Judge Byers made the quick conclusion that Abel was a Soviet spy without even thinking about it twice. I think Abel didn’t get a fair trial because he was convicted right away. When Americans heard anything about the Soviets or communism, they would rush to conclusions, like Judge Byers. Byers didn’t stop to think that maybe Abel was innocent, that maybe Abel wasn’t a spy at all. Byers also wanted to get this trail over with, he wouldn’t give Donovan enough time to find if Abel was innocent because he believed that he was spy, and because he thought it, it had to be true. He also didn’t give Donovan much time because he thought that there was no way that Abel could be innocent.
    3. I think that America should have been spying on the Soviets. The Soviets probably were spying on us too. If they were spying on us, why shouldn’t we spy on them? I don’t believe that spying is necessarily good. But I think if it’s for a good reason, than it might be useful. I’m not say that people should go out and spy on their enemies or anything, I’m saying that if something is so important, like winning a war, then spying can be useful. I also think that the Americans should have spied because than they could get information on the Soviets. The Americans can then know where they need to attack. If they wouldn’t spy, than they might be attack places that shouldn’t be attacked. They might also not be able to find the people they need to capture. Even though spying is very dangerous, and can cause people to die and or be captured, in the means of war, it can really be useful.

  8. emma gillard

    Question 1)he bridge of spies showed the tensions during the cold war by using the spies as examples for what was happening behind the scenes. Spies would go into the other country’s territory and they would gather up information for their own country. An example could be that they would always be trying to find new spies because they knew that the other was spying, they couldn’t trust each other. WE could also see the tensions when they would communicate, like when the U.S didn’t want to give back the soviet’s spy unless they got their two guys, you could see that when they communicate there were tensions. They wouldn’t understand each other and they weren’t very nice to each other. It took them a while to get to an agreement because none of them wanted the other to get more than what they had and also they still wanted to get something and since they didn’t trust each other they couldn’t come up with a solution for a while so that showed the tensions really well.
    Question 2) No I don’t think that Rudolf Abel was given a fair trial, I think it was because since the U.S doesn’t trust the soviets and Abel was a Soviet they didn’t trust him and they didn’t want to give him a chance to redeem himself. They thought people couldn’t redeem themselves, if he was Soviet apparently he was evil but he wasn’t in the end he proved he was a good person but the U.S were scared. They judged a book by its cover. I think the judge didn’t think he was doing anything wrong because he thought he was putting away someone bad but he didn’t know who Abel really was so he didn’t know what he was really doing.
    Question 4) Some people just want to help their country, and if they do something to make their country safe then they can feel good about what they have done. Some people could also be good people and if people asked them to do something they would do it. For example Powers did it because he wanted to feel proud for helping his country which is what he wants to do. I’m pretty sure Abel wanted to help his country too, which everyone should want, I mean no one wants to hurt their country.

  9. Victoria A.

    1. I believe the film “A Bridge of Spies” greatly showed the Cold War tensions. The filmed portrayed the building of the Berlin Wall and separation of East Berlin from West Berlin. Like most circumstances in history I know the facts but I’d never witnessed the hardship that Americans and others faced. While watching you could see the pain instilled in families faces as they were separated, and towards the end when children tried to climb the wall and were machine gunned down. They introduced the film with Abel being followed and it shows certain techniques that spies during that time period used, it was an eye-opening representation of the realization of spies during the Cold War. The movie also highlighted the harsh treatments of the Soviets and their aggression. When Francis Gary Powers was captured after crashing in Berlin, he was tortured into giving information to the Soviets; even Pryor was kept in frozen and inhuman conditions for being on the wrong side of the wall at the wrong time. As the theme of the story was the Soviet and US spies it was brilliant for them to choose Jim Donovan as the main character and show the hardships he determined as a way to humanize the Cold War struggles. In America he is hated for his own decision to take on Abel as a client, his home is attacked with his children inside and many of his own court cases are transferred to the other lawyers in his practice. The idea of change especially in the past has been seen a dangerous thing, and Donovan trying to protect Abel is going against the current of the American people.
    2. Rudolf Abel was given an unfair court case due to the fact that the judge and jury were set in their mind that he was a criminal. He was seen as a spy going against the United States, and not a man loyal and true to his own country. Donovan asked for extended time for the court case because a majority of the evidence against Abel was taken illegally, but the judge rejected his cause saying that he was a criminal and his act of going against the United States sealed his own fate of death. The overall majority already had the idea of Abel as a traitor in their mind, and only Donovan’s point that you can’t be a traitor and unfaithful to a country that isn’t yours and that you never grew up in. Luckily Donovan’s persistence kept Abel alive and away from the death sentence until he was later needed for exchange with the Soviet Union.
    3. I believe that America should have been spying of the Soviet’s like they had with the U-2 spy planes. Unfortunately the U-2 planes caused political problems, but they also gave the U.S useful information that if we hadn’t known would have changed the course of history. Through the spy planes we found the missiles located in Cuba, which then caused the Cuban Missile crisis, but if we had never learned about the missiles to begin with how else would we have known? We would of learned of the missiles as the US was being attacked. The planes provide valuable information that our country should know about for our own safety.

  10. Lizzie Kompus

    1. The film portrayed the Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union very accurately from what we have learned so far in class. It humanized the tensions with the portrayals of Able, Donovan, the German lawyer Vogel, Judge Byers, and the KGB minister because it shows the hardships that each men had to face. Instead of an over view of the countries it focused in on specific people and you got to see their emotions throughout the movie with their experiences, which made the film a lot more personal. The movie gave you insight on what was occurring, and how the characters treated each other, almost as they were telling it to you. As a viewer of the movie, you could connect with each person in different ways, giving you a new perspective of the Cold War. It made me cringe at times when the Soviets were rude to one of the U.S men or vice versa.
    2. I give Jim Donovan a lot of credit for what he did, it was not only an optimistic action, but a brave one too. At home his family criticized him for taking the job because people would hear the news that he was defending a Soviet. Other neighbors would judge their family, wonder what was wrong with them and why Jim would do this. Also in the movie a group of men shot bullets through his windows which could have potentially killed or hurt a family member. Socially, he was judged. People would stare at him and on the bus the compared him to his picture in the newspapers and realize he is the “horrible American”. I think that he took the job because it was his obligation. Yes he had a choice, but he was chosen to do the case and he was a great lawyer. Morally, I think he knew it was a good position for him to take because otherwise Rudolf Abel would not have had a fair trial.
    4. I do not believe that Abel was given a fair trial in court at all. Almost everyone in that court room was anticommunist and having a soviet spy on trial, the odds were not meant to be in his favor. I don’t think that Judge Byers was fair because there were laws and evidence that Donovan had proved Abel had to be let go. However, Byers wanted to rush this case and get it over with as if it was poison or something. They came to the conclusion quickly and it was clear to see that the judge didn’t take his time. I think that he was very bias and even admitted to Jim that he didn’t believe that this man deserved a free trail. I was grateful that he didn’t give Abel death penalty, but I wish Able was given he justice and treatment that he deserved.

  11. Chance Stephenson

    1. The Cold War was a battle between two different ideologies. Naturally, each of the characters in the movie fall into one of those two categories. On the western side we have Jim Donovan’s family and Judge Byers, all who want to find Abel guilty. On the eastern side, characters like Vogel, the KGB Minister, and others, all who want Abel to come back home. Jim Donovan, however, is caught right in the middle. He loves his country, yet at the same time realizes the futility of the war. Donovan is the policy of Detente, and he wants both sides to calm down a bit and let individual people live their lives.
    2. Abel was not given a fair trial. And why would he be given one? Does anyone actually want him found innocent? Not the American people, because they are paranoid that everyone around them is a spy and they need this in order to keep their sanity. Not the legal system, because they don’t want to look weak in the face of communism. Not the American government, for the same reason. Not even the Russians, because that would mean that either Abel had agreed to work with the American government to spy on the Soviet Union, or that Abel had already given up all relevant information. The main reason the trial was unfair is because of one key point. The trial utilized information that was acquired illegally.
    4. Jim Donovan was under immense pressure. If he takes the case, he will be hated because he seems to be helping the people who Americans thought were trying to kill them. If Jim doesn’t take the case, then he will be hated for denying anyone the constitutional right to a defense attorney. If Donovan wins the case, he will be hated for trying to ruin the American dream by helping the Soviet Union. If he looses the case, his career will suffer, as he will be immensely unpopular. We can see that there is so much difficulty in his every move.

  12. Mary Kauffman

    1) There were many examples throughout the film that showed tensions of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. One of them was when a woman on the bus gave Donovan a dirty look simply because he was defending Abel in the case. Many other people showed hatred and disapproval towards Donovan and his family. There was one point in the film where some people shot at Donovan’s house and tried to kill his family. American people were so against the Soviet Union that they would try to kill their own American people just because Donovan had to defend a soviet spy.
    2) I don’t think that the judge was being fair to Abel at all, because the judge was treating him differently because he was a Soviet. I think that they jumped to a conclusion, and just automatically assumed he was a spy, because they were so caught up in the fact of him being a Soviet. Everyone in the court was American and they wanted to do what was best for their country, and put him in jail so he couldn’t report any information back to the Soviets, if he was a spy. The whole country wanted to give him the death penalty, and were enraged when the judge decided to give him a sentence to a lifetime in jail instead.
    3) I think that it was important to be spying on the Soviets during the Cold War. I think that it would have been a lot better if no one was spying on either side, but since the Soviets started sending spies over to America, I guess we felt like we had to retaliate because we wanted an upper hand in the war. Maybe it would have been better if we didn’t send out U2 planes, and we just sent out spies on foot like the Soviets did.

  13. Skye Taylor

    At the beginning it said that both idea were worried about nuclear weapons so they both sent out spies to go look for them. Also How the government bombarded the first mans hotel room. I believe the biggest way the film humanize do the tensions of the Cold War was by showing how hard it was for them to come up with a way to exchange the three guys because they were worried that the spies had already told them stuff which made the trade even more difficult then it had to be.

    I don’t believe that he was given a fair trial starting off by how they wanted it to seem like he was getting a fair trial knowing that he wasn’t. There was a rush to judgement the judge didn’t even want the lawyer to get an extent on time so he could get his case right. They denied him of every way that the lawyer could to give the agent a chance. The judge was also bias he was anti communist so he was against the little possibility that the guy could ever get freedom. Not to forget to mention after the jury came to their decision of guilty the judge sAid he would’ve had the same decision.

    I don’t believe America should have been spying on the Soviets with U-2 planes. I believe by them doing this it just caused tension to rise way above were it originally was. Also a lot of other situations could have been avoided such as the pilot being shot down. On the other hand I believe everything happens for a reason so it was kind of a cause and effect type thing and since the pilot got shot down they were able to trade Powers for Abel and the whole situation kind of worked out. To be honest, it could’ve gone worse were the spy planes were actually seen as a war threat and then we could’ve possibly had our first nuclear war.

  14. Stephanie J

    2. Rudolf Abel wasn’t given a fair trial by the court of Judge Byers because there was a rush to judgement and conclusion. People automatically assumed that he was guilty because he was a bad person that couldn’t be trusted since he was a Soviet Spy (Cold War tensions). To a lot of people, if he wasn’t going to give up any information then he should just be sent to death. People already had their minds set on having him dead without any defense at all. They concluded that he’s a spy, so he shouldn’t get fair treatment because he is an enemy.

    4. Jim Donovan was under a lot of pressure because people didn’t think he should be defending Rudolf Abel because he was a spy. Donovan was treating Abel fairly and actually trying to help him and people didn’t like this. They took it out on him and his family, like throwing things at the house or shooting at the windows. I think he took the job in the first place because he was asked to and he later believed that Abel should have a fair trial because if it were the other way around they would want their man to be treated fairly too. He represented Abel the way he would represent any client.

    5. I think that pride and patriotism would make/drive someone to become a spy for their country. For Powers, he was completely against the Soviets and was proud to help his country. When he was captured, a lot of people were mad at him because he was supposed to kill himself using the coin with the needle inside it if something like his plane being shot down happened. The Soviets mentioned this Powers when they were trying to get information from him; they told him that his country doesn’t care about him because they gave him the thing to kill himself. Jim Donovan was afraid for Abel going back to his country because he may be punished for telling secrets that he didn’t tell actually tell.

  15. Giovanni Romano

    1. I think that the best way to show cold war tensions is with how the people treated Able in America, everyone was certain that he was guilty and that he needed to be put to death. This is not the response that you usually see in people that aren’t influenced by a prejudice against a type of person. This was seen not only in Cold War times but in WW2 with the Japanese, in the south since the slaves were set free, and now with the Hispanic population. All of these examples are an effect of tensions like we saw in the Cold War and the movie.

    2. No, Able was definitely not given a fair trial. Throughout the movie people were convinced Able was a spy, but no one ever stated clearly that he was proven as one. The trial was completely bias, even the judge was certain that Able was guilty without evidence for it. This didn’t end with just the trial it continued into the sentencing, Able’s sentence for prison instead of death was greeted by a storm of boos from the court room. All in all Able was given a mock trial essentially, no matter how much evidence Tom Hanks provided he would still have been put in prison.

    3. I do think that America should have been spying on the USSR. This was important because they were a threat to not only us but to the rest of the world. If we hadn’t been spying then the Russians could have been building up their nuclear arsenal so much that if they decided to attack then the Americans wouldn’t be able to stop them. The spying also helped us figure out strategic places to attack, such as missile silos, and secret buildings. Without the places we discovered in the event of an attack we would bomb the s*@# out of the Russians and be sure to hit those targets that the spy planes found. The U2 spy plane missions were necessary to the US’ and the world’s safety because without it than we wouldn’t be ready for any attack that could come.

  16. Ashley S.

    *P.S Future Commenters, I’m pretty sure I found the name of the KGB from looking at a movie review: Ivan Schischkin 🙂 Your welcome. Or I’m wrong and….yeah 🙁

    1.) The film portrayed Cold War tensions between the U.S and the Soviet Union, by showing how the Americans were truly disgusted with the Soviets. On the subway train Donovan took the first time, everyone was reading the newspaper article on how he was defending the Soviet spy Rudolf Abel. The people gave looks of shock, shame, and pure hatred. They believed Donovan was stupid for treating the enemy on kind terms or even defending them during this time. These looks reflected how Americans felt about the Soviets at the time. The same could be said when Powers was in the Soviet court and the leaders had a smug look of dominance and Powers looked like a kicked puppy. Also, when the Russians kept interrogating Powers 24/7 they kept asking about U.S missiles and advanced technology plans. This showed a glimpse into the arms race during the cold War. Once the Soviets knew what weapons the U.S had, they would more in likely plan to make even more advanced weapons than the U.S.

    The film humanized the Cold War tensions in the portrayal of Abel as the Soviet spy threat to the U.S. Americans treated him/the thought of him as though right then and there he was harming the U.S. Donovan showed the people of America who thought the Cold War matters should be handled in a better manner without war of words or an arms race. Donovan himself just wanted to make sure justice was served in the case concerning Abel. For instance, at the end of the movie when Powers nervously reassured Donovan that he hadn’t told the Soviets anything, Donovan frankly didn’t care and told him that he didn’t need to please the people, but make sure that he knew he did the right thing. This statement also reflected the situation he, Jim Donovan, had just gone through. Vogel represented the Germans of West Berlin who didn’t want the U.S to make a deal with the Soviets. This showed the other countries (who were affected by the communist Soviets) point of view on the exchange between the Soviets and U.S. Judge Byers showed how Americans thought the Soviets were no good communists who just wanted to rule the world. He didn’t care about giving Abel a fair trial since, he was a Soviet in U.S territory. The KGB minister, Ivan Schischkin shows a skeptical side of Russia. While we were in suspicion and wary of the soviets, they too felt the same way about us. When he talked with Donovan about negotiation plans, he said that they were both just doing their job. This is a relation between the U.S and the Soviets, because they both want their men back and want to keep their country safe.

    2.) No, I don’t think that Rudolf Abel was given a fair trial by the court of Judge Byers and that there was a rush to judgment and conclusion. In the movie, Donovan used the argument of search without a warrant to lessen the level of Abel’s consequence. However, Byers (in private with Donovan) had said that since he was Russian he had to be a spy and that the American rights didn’t apply to him. Due to Cold War tensions, everyone was suspicious and judgmental of Russians, even if they were or weren’t a threat/spy. Jim Donovan looked deeper and felt that the American rights should apply to Abel since, he was in the U.S and to show to the public that the U.S treated all people under the Constitution.

    3.) Should America have been spying on the Soviets like they had with the U-2 planes? I would say yes and no, but mainly no. No, because the U.S had invaded the Soviet airspace and looked like a threat. When the U-2 planes were spying on the Soviets, this added to the cold War tensions by showing the U.S didn’t have a trustworthy relation with Russia. Thus, making Russia want to protect their business (keep it private) in any way means necessary. This also added to the Cold War tensions, because by the Soviets wanting to protect themselves more from the U.S, the spread of communism was promoted. The reason in the first place for the Soviets wanting to gain more communist ran nations was for protection. This was even stated in George Kennan’s Long Telegram Speech. Since, the U.S stuck their nose in the Soviets business, the U-2 plane with Francis Gary Powers was shot down. The Soviets then found the pictures we took of their bases. If the U.S hadn’t gone with the plan, this would’ve never happened.

    Although I think no, I also believe we should’ve spied on them so, we could see our competition. In battles the opponents never or don’t intentionally go in blind, not knowing what tricks or forces the other has up their sleeve. The U.S were doing exactly that, finding out what the Soviets had to prepare the U.S. However, this shows the U.S in the wrong for snooping on the Soviets and if they waited for the Soviets to do it to them, they could’ve showed them as the bad guys. But then some would say it’s stupid for the U.S to just sit back and play a waiting game with the Soviets. Basically, there are two ways to answer this question and both ways can be correct depending on the facts/points given. Personally, I’m in the middle, but I mainly think the U.S shouldn’t have spied on the Soviets.

    4.) The political and social pressures that Jim Donovan was sunder at home for defending Rudolf Abel was very harsh. Where ever Jim went he was always given the look of distrust, hatred, and confusion. People thought he was an American disgrace or traitor for defending the Soviet Spy. Cold War tensions also added to the behavior of the people, because the U.S was scared and skeptical of what the unpredictable Communist Russians were up to and vice versus. His house was even shot up, showing that his family was also at the risk of danger. I thought it was ridiculous how his co-workers thought Donovan was taking the case too far by trying to win it, even though that’s why they gave the case to him. Since it seemed as though Jim Donovan was fantastic at his work and winning cases, you’d think that they’d expect him to finish what he started and stay committed.

    I think that Jim Donovan took the job in the first place, despite the dangers that came with it, because he believed not only Americans but everyone deserved the same protections under the constitution. This case would show if the U.S truly was just when it came to the law. Jim’s devotion to Abel reminded me of Atticus Finch and tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird whereas, Atticus defended the African American because he knew it was the right thing to do no matter the risks that came with the job.

  17. Josh Klein

    1. Throughout the film Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg was able to portray the tensions of the Cold War by humanizing them. For me personally, it is hard to imagine something like the Cold War happening and the everyday fear of being shot at by the Soviets with nuclear weapons. Spielberg is able to put pictures to story to make the event seem more realistic in the eyes of someone who wasn’t alive during these tense decades. One specific example of the film humanizing the Cold War was when Rudolf Abel was captured spying on the United States and remained calm. He clearly knew that if he freaked out and gave them substantial evidence that he was a spy, he would possibly be executed. Another example from Bridge of Spies is Jim Donovan accepting the job. At a time where a majority of the nation feared and hated communism, why would anyone want to defend one? Well the truth is, someone people believed in the same ideals as our forefathers, that everyone in entitled to a fair trial. Donavon knew what everyone wanted him to do and he knew that any other lawyer would comply with their demands, he took the job so that Rudolf Abel would have a some-what fair trial.

    2. Rudolf Abel was not given a fair trial. Abel fell victim to prejudice as when he was captured, he was immediately accuse of being a KGB spy. As many Americans of the time feared communism, they began to fear Abel too. This provoked the bias opinion of the American people that he was guilty and should be sentenced to prison time, or even death. I feel that Judge Byers rushed to a conclusion because he feared that Jim Donovan might be able to find evidence proving Rudolf Abel’s innocence. If this were to occur, Byers would have faced massive backlash from the country, and possibly could have lost his job.

    3. I think that the United States should have been spying on the Soviets like they had been with U-2 Spy Planes. During the Cold War, the two superpowers had locked eyes in a weapon race. With millions of lives on the line, and the world’s fate, the United States should be able to know what to expect and when to expect it, to try and avoid the catastrophe. I understand that some people may choose privacy over freedom, but am okay with the Government spying as long as they are trying to establish national security.

    4. Jim Donovan was faced with enormous amounts of pressure while defending Abel. His job was to pretend to work towards making Abel a free man while actually allowing his client to be declared guilty. Americans relied on him to not have any substantial facts that would make the trial progress, which could possibly result in a verdict of not guilty. If that were the case, the majority of the country would have turned on him immediately. Donovan also faced extreme pressure from a political standpoint. Politicians wanted him to pretend to do his job so that Abel would be pronounced guilty, but he felt that he needed to work hard so that it was a fair trial. I believe that Jim Donovan only accepted the case was because he wanted to do something interesting in his life as he was an insurance lawyer.

  18. Alanna Rosenthal

    1. The Cold War tensions were well portrayed throughout the movie. Abel was the spy who had to be treated with American hostility to keep up The United States’ image of a free society. Donovan was the all American guy with the all American lifestyle. He was just a lawyer who stayed in line until he gaunt this to be unfair and stood up for what he believed in. This shows the Rosenbergs trial and the start of the Berlin wall.
    2. I think that Rudolf Abel was not given a fair trial by the court of judge Byers. There was a rush to judgement and conclusion because of the tensions between the Soviets and USA. Since this was the peak The Cold War, Americans accused anyone they had a suspicion from were a communist. The tensions also became higher because of the Rosenbergs, who are frequently bought up in the movie. The US was still sensitive about the situation because the Rosenbergs were the first and only people to be executed for sharing Cold War secrets with the Soviets. There is proof that Abel is not given a fair trail in many ways. For one, the judge and Donovan’s coworkers voice there opinion about how the only reason that Rudolf was given any form of a trial was to keep the rest of the world thinking that America was not corrupt and was fair. This is also shown in the evidence that Donovan tried to present to the jury, but couldn’t because the judge just wanted to convict Abel. The tensions of The Cold War are clearly brought up in this part of the film because of the way “game” the Soviets and USA played to turn one against the other.
    4. Jim Donovan was under a ton of social and political pressures for defending Rudolf Abel. For one, he got harassed publicly on the subway and at the court. When he was on the subway people would gang up on him and give him dirty looks. When he was at the court room he got pestered with questions from reporters about how he was handling the case. Another way Jim Donovan felt pressured for taking the case was because of the harm and threats that his family has received. In the evening a car drove by his house and shot at it multiple times, almost killing his eldest daughter. Later in the night, when the police try to investigate what had happened, a police man comes up to him and guild Donovan for taking up this case. He inferred that Jim Donovan was a bad American. The reason why Donovan took the job was because of his morals. He is a talented lawyer that is loyal to his firm. He took this job out of courage and in the name of the law.
    5. What would make someone become a spy for their country is their passion towards their country. People who have a passion or a talent for helping their country are usually the governments first choice as a spy. Since Abel was a spy for the Soviets, he was a well known intelligence officer in USSR and wanted to support his country. On the other hand there is Frances Powers, who was forced to become a spy. He was a well none pilot who was tested by the government to see if he was fit for the job of flying a U2 spy plane. Once they realized his talents in the sky, the US government kind of forced Powers to become a spy. Once the seceret was out he had no way of backing out. Once Powers was captured by the Soviets he was treated horribly and lived in terrible conditions. The Communists of the Soviet Union beat him, threw water on him, and forced him to give up Soviet secrets. When Abel was arrested by The US he was treated like a human being. Eve though he was locked up in a cell, he could sleep and eat rarely and was represented by a lawyer. This shows the opposition of Soviet and USA tactics used in their system of government. The opposite countries and their views lead to the Cold War.

  19. Michael Homer

    1. The film portrayed Cold War tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union by the was Able was treated in America, everyone believed he was guilty before they got proof to confirm it. The tension between Donovan and Judge Byers was also a good example of the tension during the cold war, even thought they were both Americans it still showed tension because Donovan was defending the Soviet communist because he believed he disserved a fair trial. The tension between the U.S. and the Soviets made Judge Byers and the rest of America want to put Able under the death penalty.

    2. I think Rudolf Able did not receive a fair trial because he was a Soviet spy, even though Donovan tried his hardest. There definitely was hurry to the conclusion because they wanted to put Able under death row as soon as possible to show the Soviet Union that they were tough and they wanted to win the war. I believe this because at the beginning when Donovan was assigned the case the person who assigned this to him told him that he wanted people to believe is was a fair case while he actually wanted him to lose on purpose.

    3. Yes I do believe that it was fair for the U.S. to have spied on the Soviet Union because we were in the middle of a war with them. The United stated was under the assumption that they were spying in us so it is okay if we were to do the same by spying on them. It was not only fair for America to spy on the Soviets, but it was also intelligent because we needed to be one step ahead of the Soviets at all times.

  20. Katie Westerlund

    1. The film, The Bridge of Spies, shows the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War very well. You see the Soviet Union wanting Abel back but not willing to give back both Powers and the student being held hostage their. Also in that matter the US wants to get two people back but only give one. During the night of the trade there is an uneasy feeling that the Soviets won’t show up or keep their word. I am sure they were worried that we might not follow through either. Both the countries over interpreted the other by trying to predict their next move and by the pressure they felt they were getting from the other. It was risky when Jim Donovan went to East Berlin. The people he was supposed to meet didn’t show up, there was fear and unnecessary precautions taken by both countries on the actions of the meeting that was supposed to happen in East Germany.

    2. I do not think Rudolf Abel was given a fair trial buy Judge Byers’ court. There was a bias of the judge, the jurors, and the watchers that Rudolf Abel was guilty no matter what because he was from a Communist country. No one even understood why Jim Donovan was trying to give the man a fair trial and trying to help him. The judge and jury already had their minds set of the outcome of the case before it even started. Able was not given and fair trial and that is wrong. The rush to judgment is clear if you saw the movie. I can see why the court would automatically assume Able was guilty; we don’t want communists in our country or the world for that matter. Contrary to that I think a fair trial should’ve been given to Rudolf Able.

    4. When people began to find out that Jim Donovan was defending alleged soviet spy, Rudolf Able, they were quick to judge him. People didn’t think that what Mr. Donovan was doing for Mr. Able was right or just. It seemed to most Americans that Jim Donovan was betraying his country and shouldn’t help defend Able. Jim Donovan didn’t want to take the case of Rudolf Able at first, but he soon realized that there was no one else that would give Able a fair trial. Throughout the process of defending Able, Donovan developed a soft spot for him. Of course Jim Donovan knew Rudolf Able was a spy but he was still adept to create a civilized relationship with him. I think Jim Donovan was pleased that he took to be the defendant of Rudolf Able and fought for his belief in fair trial.

  21. Erinn Costello

    1. The movie Bridge of Spies really shows all around the sides of the Cold war. In Germany it shows the struggle with the Berlin wall going up. In American it showed the heat in the American negotiations very well. The main plot of the movie was the trade of a soviet spy and two Americans in Germany. Jim Donovan was and insurance agent thrust into a situation of defending the soviet spy Rudolf Abel. Tensions lie everywhere in this film. Donovan was shown no mercy in defending the enemy even though he was doing to show American exceptionalism. As people of the court, like Judge Byers and The German lawyers, they also had tension in the outcome of the court cases of the spies Rudolf and Powers, under peer pressure. Donovan and the KGB minster also were under peer pressure to send away their spies and not back to their countries, but both of them negotiated deals to get all of their people back to their homelands.
    2. Rudolf was put on trial for conspiracy in Judge Byers court. This was an uneventful trail except for the rush on a conclusion. In his trail he was guilty by the jury 100%. Donovan had evidence he wanted to share but time after time the judge said it was irrelevant to show it. In doing this Abel’s trial became unfair. The only reason Abel was actually given a public trail was to show fairness to the soviets. It was unfair because Donovan was not allowed to complete his argument and Abel was rushed to prison.
    3. Spying played a large role in the cold war. There were no rules and the sides did not play fair. When the Soviets were caught spying, the Americans did not take the high road because that was not how this war worked. If they got ahead of you, you don’t give up you step up. The Americans did that by launching spy planes to fly over Soviet territory to capture high definition pics of what the soviets had. I think under these circumstances it was alright for the Americans to take their chance at spying on the soviets.

  22. Courtney D

    1. The movie, Bridge of Spies, portrayed the Cold War tensions through the United States and USSR throughout the whole film. For example, when James Donovan was assigned to defend Rudolf Able for being accused as a Russian spy, Abel was not given a fair trial because everyone but Donovan wanted Abel sent to the electric chair. Even the judge did the wrong thing because Donovan had grounds for the evidence in the case to be inadmissible because the FBI didn’t get a search warrant before overturning Abel’s hotel room, they only had a warrant for his arrest. However, the judge in the story ignored this motion and convicted Able of his crimes. Also, when Donovan persisted in having an appeal for Abel’s case, an unknown gunman assaulted his house and drove away. The majority of the country thought that all Soviets, especially Able, were devils from hell and thus people started to hate Donovan for defending Able further. The film humanized these tensions through the portrayals of Abel, Donovan, the East German lawyer Vogel, Judge Byers and the KGB minister by making Abel’s character not at all what would’ve been expected from a Soviet spy. Able was portrayed as a human being just like everyone else. The same can be said for all the people involved with negotiations with the U.S., Soviet Union, and East Germany. Each person had reasonable claims and wants in the negotiation and all who participated took a legitimate standing in the bargaining.

    2. I do not think that Abel was given a fair trial by Judge Byers. I think this because as Donovan stated, due process of law was not being achieved. The FBI agents did have a warrant for Abel’s arrest but did not have a warrant for the search and seizure of his hotel room. Therefore, the evidence with which the prosecution used to convict Abel should have been dismissed because it was illegally obtained.

    4. Jim Donovan went through tremendous pressure because of his taking this case. It seemed as if the entire country was against him especially when he appealed to the Supreme Court regarding Abel’s case. He became one of the most hated people in America. Someone even went to greater lengths and shot up Donovan’s house late one night. I think that Donovan took the case because originally I believe he was just interested in a person like Abel because of what he did for a living. Eventually this interest developed into a feeling of needing justice when Donovan’s attempts at getting Rudolph a fair trial were squandered by people’s hatred of the Soviet Union.

  23. Claire Cassar

    It showed tensions because it displayed that Soviet Union and United States did not easily communicate. The people were humanized because it portrayed them as more than just a historical figure. It made them as actual human beings with emotions and their own lives. For example, James Donavon had his own family with their own problems. Adding the family into the story adds to the emotional connection. Also, when Abel gave the painting to Donovan, it made it show that Abel appreciated everything Donovan did. It showed that it was not only just events happening, there was a personal connection between them.
    Abel’s trial, in my opinion, was fair but was rushed. It was fair because since they couldn’t find any obvious and concrete proof, they didn’t kill him. But there was proof showing he was in fact a spy, so they could have investigated further into it. I still don’t think he deserved to die because he didn’t succeed in spying so he didn’t put our country at huge risk. I think that the arrest was also rushed because they missed Abel hiding the time in his rag. If they were to watch closely, they could have caught him.
    I don’t think that the United States should have spied on the Soviet Union with the U-2 spy plane because it did not work out for them. If they were to spy, it should have been a very discreet way. By using a plane, they were taking a risk because the Soviet Union was suspicious already. Usually a plane was used to spy, so a spy plane wasn’t the best idea. Also, the pilot didn’t use the pin he was supposed to use if he got caught, so it ended poorly. Also if they really wanted to know more, then they should have improved their communication techniques. It would have been simpler to arrange a meeting. I realize it’s not that simple but like I don’t get why people think war is the answer.
    In a time of war, things don’t look like there will many positive things in the future. So, if people don’t have hope, they might want to use their time to the best of their ability. So, they figure they can do something helpful for their country. There is also the idea of nationalism and making your country proud of you. It is risky because the whole Russian government was out to get and punish Powers. The whole country was hoping for Abel to receive the death sentence. So even if they are making their own country proud, the make the opposite country dislike them even more. Powers risked his life to fly the plane and was punished.

  24. Callie B

    1. Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union were portrayed throughout the whole film as we saw how much hate Jim Donovan got for simply performing his job and defending Abel. His wife was displeased when he took the case, and even the government officials expected Donovan to give up whatever information his client had told him. The film humanized these tensions through characters such as Judge Byers by showing the legitimate fear he had of communist spies that biased him in court. He thought Donovan joking when he requested more time to gather evidence against Abel’s conviction because Abel was guilty in Byers mind as soon as he was put on trial. Tensions between the countries were shown through Abel by his refusal to give up information to the U.S. and his knowing that if he was even suspected of doing so the Soviet Union would see him as a traitor. East Germany Lawyer Vogel also humanized tensions with the initial rejection of trading the student for Abel due to the fact that they didn’t want the country to be seen as weak in the eyes of the Soviets. Then Donovan used the tension to his advantage when he declared that it was either the U.S. gets both Powers and the student or no deal and East Berlin had to be the one to tell the Soviet Union that they weren’t getting their spy back, knowing East Germany wouldn’t want to increase tensions even further.
    2. I do not think Rudolf Abel was given a fair trial by the court of Judge Buyers and there was definitely a rush to judgement and conclusion. As I said before, Buyers already had it set in his head that Abel was guilty and there was no changing his mind. He clearly wanted to end the trial quickly, for when Donovan requested for more time Buyers dismissed it wondering why on earth Donovan was putting so much effort into defending a spy. With all of the widespread paranoia and fear of communist spies you can bet that the entire court was all for the execution of Abel as well. However, although they do not show much of Power’s trial, I have no doubt that the Soviets treated him with a similar distrust and biased trial.
    4. There was immense political pressure that Jim Donovan was under for defending Rudolf Abel. The country was consumed with a hatred for communists and Donovan’s fight to defend Abel certainly wasn’t getting him positive attention. At one point people even began to suspect him as a communist. Not only did this put him in danger, but his family as well. His son was being taught in school to dislike communist, and he questioned his dad’s decision to defend Abel while preparing for a nuclear bombing according from the film they watched in class. Donovan’s wife also was worried about his decision to take the case. The worst part was when someone decided to drive by the Donovan home and shoot through the windows, nearly missing the eldest daughter. At Donovan’s law firm, his business partner was concerned about the negative media they would get and at one point they treated Donovan like he wasn’t even there when he returned to his office. It says a lot about Donovan’s stubborn personality that he didn’t submit to the pressure and just give up on Abel all together. I think he initially took the job because he saw it as a challenge and had a great liking for the work he used to do previously with similar cases that made him eligible to defend Abel. However, I do not think he was truly committed to the case until he personally got to know Abel and witnessed firsthand all of the hate against a spy who was just doing what his country told him to do.

  25. Justin Sherman

    1. In the film, Bridge of Spies the Cold War is portrayed with tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. In the movie many people did not even give Abel a chance with what he was trying to say, instead they would just go straight to the assumption that he was a Russian spy. This is very much like the trust that the Soviet Union and the United States had with each other during the Cold War. The only person in the movie that saw Abel differently was Jim Donovan. Even though we never really find out if Abel was in fact a spy or not it is clear that Jim Donovan never went straight to the assumption that he was. Donovan also tried to defend Abel and when he was approached by a judge and asked him for more time to go through all his evidence to prove that able was not a spy, the judge simply laughed at him and told him that this whole case was not important and the only reason Abel had a lawyer was so that America looked good. I do believe that Able did deserve a fair trial even if he did not have a good reason for being in America in the first place.

    2. I do not believe that Abel was given a fair trial. I also think that there was a very large rush to a conclusion. The reason being is that everyone in court was American. This trial was very biased and every one in the court simply took the side of their country and immediately assumed that Abel was in fact a spy. I believe that if Judge Byers would have given Donovan extra time than he would have been able to gather the evidence that he needed and would have done more for Abel than just get him away from the death penalty and given a lot of jail time. However, this was not possible as Byers was very biased and just laughed in his face when he asked for extra time. This trial was very biased simply because everyone was defending their own country.

    3. I think that the U-2 spy planes were an attempt by America to get an upper hand in the Cold War. I do believe that it was completely fine for them to being doing so. First of all, they thought that they were getting spied on by them as well. Also, even if they knew that they were not, it is war and in war you want to do what ever you can to get the upper hand and this was one way that the U.S. took advantage of. These spy planes gave the U.S. a big advantage in the war and I believe that it was fine for them to be sending then out.

  26. Vanessa H

    1) The film portrayed Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union by using a relatable character—a working family man—and putting that character in situations that really showed the audience what it was like back then. As well, the director uses the 2 scenes involving the prisoners of war on both sides in a foil with each other, using the harsh, cruel treatment of Gary Powers in the Soviet Union to the fair, and almost docile, treatment of Abel to show the difference between America and the Soviet Union. The film humanized these tensions with the portrayals of Abel, Donovan, Vogel, Judge Byers, and the KGB minister by giving them all their own motives and reasoning. For each of these characters, they all had a reason for what they were doing, thus creating a bias towards the Cold War tensions from all these perspectives and ends up humanizing those tensions. For example, the director humanized Abel by illustrating his hobbies and has him at one point share a story of his childhood with Donovan. All of this makes it incredibly hard to hate him, but also shows that the Cold War wasn’t just two governments opposing each other, but two governments opposing each other that created a lot of chaos in their peoples’ lives. It showed that the Cold War was the people’s war, too. Donovan’s character, as well, humanizes these tensions since he acts as the mediator and cares more for the individual than what is seen as right and wrong in the government’s eyes.
    2) I think Abel was given an unfair trial, and that there had been a rush to judgment and conclusion. I think his trial was unfair because all of the men working on his case, save for Donovan, were already against him from the start. This bias that rushed his trial is shown by Judge Byers, when Donovan proves valid points that could prolong or help Abel’s case, and he retorts by asking him what he was doing—he didn’t have to try this hard to make it seem like a fair trial. Judge Byer’s attitude shows that he had made his mind up right from the start, whether the facts proved him guilty or not. This unfair trial shows Cold War tensions, because in the country of ‘innocent until proven guilty’, this man, simply for having a Russian name and little other evidence, had already been convicted in the eyes of most of America. In this way, as well, the Cold War tensions are humanized, because, as demonstrated in Donovan’s wife and his family, their spite is rooted in fear. Ironically, this humanizing of tensions almost dehumanizes the American people, making them seem cruel and unforgiving.
    3) Donovan was under a lot of pressure while defending Rudolf Abel. He was pressured both politically and socially to make the American criminal justice program look good, but not so good that he actually won. An example of this is when Donovan is about to go to DC to talk to the Supreme Court to help Abel’s case, and a police officer on the scene of someone shooting Donovan’s house asks him what he was doing—what he was doing to his family. Social pressure had Donovan at risk for losing his reputation at work and in society, as well as endangering his family and their relationships. Political pressure forced Donovan to take the job in the first place, but ironically, it was political pressure that made Donovan feel like he shouldn’t continue on with the case. I think Donovan took the job in the first place, because he felt-duty bound by his firm and by his country. But as he met Abel and started the case, Donovan continued to try and get the best deal for Abel because he looked at him as an individual, not a Soviet spy. I think this humanizes the Cold War tensions, because it boils them down to just two men with very different backgrounds and their governments trying to manipulate them. As well, this pressure placed on Donovan, both at home and at work, demonstrates the Cold War tensions, since it shows that many things the Americans were doing had a motive—sometimes ulterior, sometimes not—against the Soviet Union.

  27. Joe Behrmann

    1. Bridge of Spies portrayed the cold war tensions in a very unique way. I felt that just by seeing the prisoner exchange I really could understand what was going on a lot more. I realized that both countries were complete mysteries to each other. Neither sides really knew exactly what each other wanted and if they were trying to trick one another or not. I could sense the desperation and curiosity between both countries with the prisoner situation. The film humanizes these tensions with the portrayals of Abel, Donavan, Vogel, Judge Bryers, and the KGB minister by showing that even though these characters are on different sides politically, they can all still have relationships. Donavan and Abel had a great relationship throughout the film, but I believe that this relationship shines the brightest when Abel says that he can wait during the hostage trade to ensure that America will get both of their citizens back. Vogel also shows a sense of humanity when he admits that all the East Germans wanted at that point was simply to be acknowledged and respected. Although Judge Bryers had a very speedy trial with Abel, he still demonstrated a sense of humanity when he decided not to execute Abel. The KGB officer shows humanity when he talks about the delicacy of the situation and also when he and Donavan shared a drink after reaching an agreement.

    3. I do not think that America was really over-stepping the boundaries when they were spying Russia with planes. Both sides saw each other as great threats to humanity and each other’s way of life. Russia had spies in America so it really wasn’t going too far when America sent personnel to spy on them. For all America knew, Russia was going to nuke us any second. America needed to know what kind of weaponry Russia had compared to itself to know its odds in a very possible nuclear war. If the U.S did not know what kind of weaponry Russia had, then they would have been doomed in a war. The U.S had to try to get the upper-hand if not just get even because at the time, it had already been known that Russia was spying on the U.S.

    4. Jim Donavan was under great social and political pressure at home. Socially, many people has suspicions that he was a communist. Being called a communist at that time in America, was the worst thing you could possibly be called. You could even be put to death for as seen with the Rosenberg family. Politically, Donavan was also under immense pressure. CIA agents and the government were trying to get Donavan to compromise his role as a lawyer when they were trying to get Abel’s secrets out of him. They tried to get Donavan to budge by telling him it was for the greater good of the world, but they were really just trying to gain the upper-hand on the Soviet Union. I believe that Donavan took this role as Abel’s lawyer to fulfill his duty to his country. That was the sole reason why he took the case because he personally didn’t get anything out of it himself.

  28. Piper Meloche

    1. How did the film portray Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union? In what ways did the film humanize these tensions with the portrayals of Abel, Donovan, East German lawyer Vogel, Judge Byers, and the KGB minister (who helped negotiate the deal, whose name escapes me right now)? Use specific examples from the film.
    From the opening scene of the film where Abel’s arrest is unfolding, we can see the tensions of the cold war everywhere in Bridge of Spies. The portrayal of these tensions only rises as we move toward Abel’s treatment within the American Justice system. At multiple times, obvious constitutional issues with the case were put so far to the side that they became invisible and therefore irrelevant. It is out of this unjust justice system treatment of Abel within the courts that allows the audience to humxnize the tensions via Abel and Donovan. The film made a point to show Abel as a person and not just limit him to the fact that he is a soviet spy. Donovan and Abel form a friendship that was, although severely frowned upon, significant to what happens next in the lives of Donovan and Abel.

    2. Do you think Rudolf Abel was given a fair trial by the court of Judge Byers or was there a rush to judgment and conclusion? Why or why not?
    There was most certainly a rush to judgment. At multiple points in the film, Donovan pointed out legal flaws that in most other cases with most other crimes concerning most other defendants, would have never been allowed. An example would be some of the pieces of evidence gained from Abel’s apartment. When Donovan made the more than reasonable claim to not allow the pieces of evidence collected from places not listed in the search warrant. This was an obvious 4th amendment violation, however when it was brought up in court, the movement to rid of the evidence was immediately struck down and the evidence was allowed. The jury was also inherently biased. In most cases a biased jury was avoided at all causes, however in the case of a soviet spy, it seemed that the foundations of the jury and the legal system as a whole, went out the window.
    5. What would make / drive someone to become a spy for their country? It seems like dangerous work and there’s always the chance that your country could betray you or want you dead if you were captured (use Powers and Abel as examples).
    People become spies for various reasons, but in my opinion the two main ones are fear and patriotism. Powers is a perfect example of the latter. He was specifically assigned to be a US spy by his superiors in the military. One of the reasons he choose to accept the mission was his overwhelming patriotism. He knew what he thought the country needed and attempted to keep America safe, which then blends into the fear aspect of spying. The idea that we need to keep America safe sprung from the fear-ridden idea that America was not safe, and that every day in the country could be the last day it was untouched by a nuclear bomb. The film does not make it 100% clear as to why Abel became a spy. But from reading between the lines of the film, my guess is that it was fear. If Abel was a strong patriot, his friendship with Donovan would not have been likely or maybe even possible. There would be more anti-capitalism rhetoric in the discussions between the two. Even though the movie depicts Abel as unafraid, you can tell by the look on his face, and the way he approached the trial, that he was scared. His fear was not put on display as much as some of the american characters, but ie was there in him none the less.

    3. What kinds of political and social pressures was Jim Donovan under at home for defending Rudolf Abel? Why do you think he took the job in the first place?
    From the minute Jim brought this case home, he was already under ridicule. His wife knew from the very beginning that he would be under attack from the media, and she was absolutely right. This is proven on a massive scale later in the movie, when there was a murder attempt on his daughter via a gunshot through the window. Moments after the attack, the media was storming his home, and the police force was somewhat reluctant to carry out the investigation. I think he took this case for multiple reasons. I believe at first he thought it was a challenge, something different that might in the process widen his perspectives on the cold war. After he met Abel , I think his reasoning shifted from “I will do this and then be done with it” to “I have to do this and I will give it my all” .

  29. London McMurray

    1. Cold War tensions were portrayed very accurately in the movie. It was no secret about the tensions between the United States and he Soviet Union. One example is when the safety commercials for kids were being played in the classrooms because Soviets were threatening to bomb America. The pure terror that Donovan’s son had once he saw the video was an example on how the characters humanized the tensions. Real life events being shown in the movie like the U2-spy plane and the construction of the Berlin Wall, also added to the portrayal of the Cold War tension.
    2. Judge Byers did not give Rudolf Abel a fair trial. Byers was in a rush to end the trial simply because him, and probably the vast majority of America, felt that this was a no-brainer. Clearly he was guilty and since he was a Soviet, our number one enemy at the time, every anti-communist American thought he deserved a death sentence. Which leads me to conclude that there was also a bias from the jury, being that they were all American and probably anti-communist. And the slim possibility that they weren’t anti-communist they still wouldn’t publically speak on it.
    4. Jim Donovan was facing multiple issues politically and socially. First, he was defending a foreign communist spy in an anti-communist country. By Donovan defending, him he already looks suspicious because why would an anti-communist help a communist if he didn’t support communism. Secondly, the government, specifically the CIA, was depending on him to settle an exchange for the two spies plus the college student, without anyone getting hurt. Socially, his issues included putting his family a risk and people bashing him. Gunmen assaulted his household while his family was there and he was also confronted by a police officer after the shooting for defending Abel. He was often scolded, received threats and hate mail. I think he took the job because he was told to, but once he began interviewing and getting to know him he developed a genuine respect or possibly even a friendship and knew he deserved a shot, especially since there was evidence in his favor.

  30. Olivia S.

    Question 1: The film portrayed the tensions between the U.S. and the Soviets very well. Such tensions were shown in a variety of ways, like for instance during the trial of Rudolf Abel. Judge Byers, a steadfast anti-communist, would not give Abel the time of day. He gave Donovan almost no opportunity to prove Abel innocent during his trial; his childish and unjust actions during Abel’s trial perfectly capture the mood of most Americans during the Cold War. Another instance is when Powers is sent off on his mission. He is secretly selected to pilot a U-2 spy plane and fly it into Soviet airspace to take photos of the Soviets. While our country was attempting to better our relationships with the USSR, we were increasing Cold War tensions by sending in our own spies. I also believe that the comparison of how the two prisoners were held in jail could also show the humanization of the Cold War tensions. While Powers was held in the Russian prison, he was mistreated, interrogated, and treated like garbage. The Soviets showed no respect for him and physically pushed him around. Conversely, Abel was given some respect while being held in prison. He was gently woken up, questioned lightly, and was not tortured. I saw this as a comparison between both country’s stances on the Cold War. America, and shown through the careful treatment of Abel, was soft on communism. On the other hand, The Soviets were aggressive towards other countries and strongly pushed for communist rule. The way both prisoners were treated can act as a metaphor for how each country treated the Cold War itself, thus humanizing the Cold War tensions.

    Question 2: Personally, I believe that Abel was dealt an unfair trial by the United States. During the time the movie took place, communism was feared and Americans disregarded anyone who was claimed to be a communist. It was clear that Abel was a Russian Spy and therefore a communist, so the American people treated him with great disrespect. Abel was harassed and not given a chance by anyone, especially in the court of law. When Judge Byers heard about the case, he immediately suspected Abel as guilty. This was understandable, considering the fear of communism that was deeply-seeded in most Americans, but this was completely unjust and unacceptable for a judge to have such attitudes. Judges such as Judge Byers are supposed to grant everyone the right to a fair trial, but he clearly did not. He went into the trial believing he was guilty, and blocked out Donovan’s arguments the entire time. He seemed as if his mind was made before the trial even began, and that was clearly shown when Judge Byers rushed the trial along. He was only looking to get the trial over with and send Abel to the chair. Abel’s trial was indefinitely unfair because it was conducted in an unjust and uncivil manner in which he was given no opportunity to prove himself innocent.

    Question 4: Jim Donovan was under immense pressure during and after the trial of Rudolf Abel. Politically, Donovan was under the pressure to make sure Abel was not proven innocent. As Americans, we could not show that we would prove an alleged Russian spy as innocent in a time with high Cold War tensions. Proving Abel innocent would show that we do not really care about who is a communist and who is not, and that we are soft on communism. The American people were furious about him defending a Soviet spy, and they went so far as to shoot through the front window of his house, nearly injuring his daughter. This was when Jim became stuck between two sides. He was politically responsible for setting Abel up for a loss (which he pretty much already was), but socially, it would take a toll on him to lose his trial. If he lost, it would show that he was not a very good lawyer. A loss in this trial would damage his successful law firm, but a win would cause a national uprising. I think this is why Jim chose to take this case; he knew it would be challenge, and he was in for the ride. He wanted to prove to his firm and the American people that he was an excellent lawyer who was NOT soft on the idea of communism.

  31. Camille Rochaix

    The film The Bridge of Spies portrayed and humanized the tensions of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviets by showing and demonstrating the reactions of each side, with similar events. The plot shows the reactions of the two nations when spies are captured and caught by the other country and vise versa. The United States believed the only right Rudolf Abel deserved was a death sentence, not a fair trial like it states in the constitution. Tensions grew through out the country, as people feared that they had been compromised, and worse, other traitors “communist”— the enemy— had the United States surrounded, in their own country. People grew hostile with Jim Donovan, when he fought for his client, Rudolf Abel, so he would not have a death sentence. Then he was called the traitor, his family’s home was shot at while his children and wife were getting ready for bed. For the Soviets, tensions were rising with anger and fear. During this time, the Berlin Wall was being put up, and was shutting out East Berlin from the rest of the world during this time the East Germans captured a student studied the economics of a communist country, Fredrick Pryor. The Soviets show tension through fear, by how they didn’t tell Donovan the real identity of the man he met in the ambassador building in East Berlin, who was really the KGB director. They didn’t trust the Americans, and neither did the Americans trust the Soviets, and it was shown through out the movie, the most surprising reaction though is that both sides showed tension growing, by the need to rush the swap of the captives. Both sides not only distrusted each other, but also themselves. The Soviets, as it was stressed in the movie, wanted Rudolf Abel back, thinking in the mindset that the Americans had already gotten all the information out of the spy. All though, as we knew, that truly wasn’t the case, and Rudolf Abel was a spy which showed honor and belief in his country through his work ethic.

    I believe people are motivated to become spies for their countries, for many things. Some of the reasons are serious, but also I am not naïve, and I know that many people aspire to be spies after watching spy films, or reading about them in graphic novels, etc. Some people are motivated by family history, and most of the time, this is a reason the government or intelligence agency weeds out these people is because they have no family. They have nobody, or they are nobodies, so if something bad were to happen to them, it would be less problems to figure out. Powers was forced to become a spy because of his piloting skills, he accepted the job just like Jim Donovan did, but I believe (with the facts and what I observed from the movie, some details that they didn’t tell or show may prove me wrong) that if Power’s was given the choice not to do the task of flying the U-2 plane over Soviet air space, that he would have seriously thought or decide to refuse. The job was dangerous, the times were tough, and even worse if he was caught, and he was, the tensions between the Soviet’s and United States were so thick somebody could cut through it with a knife. Abel’s reasoning to become a spy, I do not remember it, but what I do know is, that Abel fulfilled his job honorably and correctly. He did what he was told, and even better never broke his promise to keep silent to his enemy, no matter how much interrogation or torture he would ever receive.

    Jim Donovan took the job to defend Abel with similar reasons like Power. Donovan saw this as his duty to serve his country, and better yet, show his enemy what his country was all about. He knew that consequences would come with his decision, which did, like how he was displayed on the news as a traitor, or how his house was attacked in the middle of the night, and a cop told him off. His own family also disagreed with his actions, hoping that Donovan would give up and let this topic rest in peace. Though Donovan carried through his job, he was a true American. He was the American that is described in the Constitution. He did his job by the book, he didn’t bend the rules to help him or others, instead he followed the rules, and doing so helped him.

  32. Sean S.

    This film portrayed tension between the U.S and Soviets in many ways. First, it showed off their distrust for each other. During the negotiation, neither party fully trusted the other, and had hoped to make a deal that would benefit their side over the other. Another way this film showed spotlighted these tensions was with the fact that neither party would visit the other. All of the negotiations had to be done in a neutral third-party country, Germany. Finally, the scene at the bridge put a microscope lens over these tensions. During this scene, both sides have snipers posted on their end of the bridge, just in case anything went wrong. They also brought people to identify if the individuals that were being traded were actually who they claimed to be.

    I do not think Abel was given a fair trial. I think that because he was a soviet spy, people automatically assumed the worst, that he was guilty and deserved to die. I think had Donovan not taken his trial, he would have been sentenced to the death penalty and we would not have the leverage to bargain for the release of the American prisoners. Thanks to Donovan, Abel’s life was spared and we had a tool to negotiate the release of our own spies.

    Jim Donovan was obviously under immense pressure during this trial. People thought he was just as bad as Abel, only because he was ding his job. Many people believed that he was also a communist, just for representing one in court. I believe he took the job to show that he was a great lawyer. He fought for Abel just as he would have for any other client. He showed that he was up to the challenge and would not back down under pressure.

  33. Claire B

    1. I personally thought the Cold War tensions were portrayed very well through the use of different characters, the role of the countries’ governments, and the way the citizens of both countries felt. The film humanized these tensions through certain characters. Through Abel, the film gave emotions to a KGB spy. Normally, the Americans would think of these people are unemotional zombies, but when Abel told the stories of his wife and his drawings, he made you feel sympathy towards him. The lawyer Vogel helped show the shadiness of the Soviet system to protect “prisoners of war”, it also demonstrated a main difference between democracy and communism. He talked in loose terms, and eventually made Donavan stay in an East German prison for the night through trickery and false promises, like the lesson of Munich. Judge Byers showed how some Americans felt about the communists and Soviet. When he immediately ruled Abel’s case and dismissed the evidence, he showed the biased view we had of everyday Soviet citizens. Donavon helped portray the efforts of the American government and people to end the Cold War. He represented the people that were not willing to bend the rules just to send a communist to their death. He represented justice, and faith in the true American system of democracy.

    3. I think it was necessary for the U.S. to spy on the Soviet Union with U-2 spy planes. I think this simply because we needed to know what our enemy was up to, a part of any war or conflict is gathering intelligence. If we did not know what the Soviets were doing/making we would have no chance of defending ourselves or keeping up with them. Also, the Soviet Union was spying on us, through people like Abel, so I think it was expected that we do it to them also. But, I do not like that the policy for being shot down was to kill yourself with supplied poison, like Powers was told to.

    4. Jim Donovan was under many pressures for defending Abel. Politically, Donovan was pressured to take the easy way out when defending him. He was expected to just show up and not actually try that hard. When he decided to give his all in this case, Donavon was pressured by his peers at the firm to stop and give it up. His loyalty and patriotism were questioned. At home, Donovan was pressured by his family to not take the case. The wife especially was against because she claimed it branded the whole family as communist sympathizers. Eventually, tensioned built up so much in their neighborhood that someone used a gun to shoot multiple times into their front window.

  34. Allison Miller

    1) The film The Bridge of Spies was centered on the time period in the late 1950’s when two of the world’s super power nations were at the brink of war. This era is called the Cold War. We refer to it as “cold” because there was no official shooting or physical combat between the nations. However – as we see evidence of in the movie – there was plenty of conflict. This conflict took the form of spying and secret missions into the other country. We, Americans, sent in troops to scope out fugitive photos of Soviet land with our advanced U-2 planes. We were afraid the Russians would attempt something similar so we kept advancing our technology and they advanced theirs. The film humanizes these Cold War tensions by giving us characters whom we can identify with, no matter their nationality. We feel just as much desire for Russian Rudolf Abel to return to his home a free man as we do for the safe return of both American soldier Powers and student Pryor. This movie showed us the point of view of life from many types of people in many types of situations allowing us to realize the utter complexity and simplicity of the war. It is simple because both sides want the same thing: for the other to stop interfering and acknowledge that their way of government and life is best. It is complicated however because neither side will stop fighting until the other does, and additionally they both have their own reasons for believing what they do is right. There is no clear solution to this murky problem that has arisen between two self-righteous powerhouse nations.

    2) I do not believe Rudolph Abel was given a fair trial by the court of Judge Byers. The entire court automatically assumed that he would be convicted as an enemy to the United States of America. Abel, after all, was a Russian spy and therefore was the enemy to be destroyed. Indeed, that it what the Soviets would do in the same circumstances, wouldn’t it? The film A Bridge of spies shows the deep nationality felt by all people in the Cold War era; including the carriers of justice and liberty in the proud American justice system. That’s right, the very judges of our courts were biased against Abel before he even appeared in front of the court because he was a Russian. Judge Byers even went so far as to question Jim Donovan for wanting to hold back unfair evidence. Byers laughed off his claim of unlawful search and seizure because he so strongly believed that Abel was below receiving a fair court ruling. The case was decided long before any particular individuals entered the scene.

    5) We must be thankful to those who serve us every day. Right at this very moment there are brave men and woman at bases all across the country and world: training, investigating, inventing, strategizing and fighting. Some are there because it is what their family before them did, and so they feel the pressure or honor of tradition to follow those footsteps. Others were pulled in to the engineering aspects of war and are the moving force behind the scenes designing Warcraft and artillery. Still others are drafted or some enlist because they need to make a drastic change in their life. On top of all those, you have the courageous, dare seeking individuals who use their bravery in a fugitive manner: spying. When I first hear the term “spying” I think of something you see in movies where the handsome hero has to go through a series of challenges (often death defying) and who saves a young maiden on the way home. In reality, spies have a more influential and risky job. Men like Francis Powers and Rudolph Abel must overcome internal challenges in addition to the possible life threatening ones they face in their top secret jobs. They both were men who learned how to overcome their fear of capture. A person could never be a spy if every time they lifted into the sky or set out on a top secret mission all they could think about was the fact that they may not return home for dinner. They have to be a type of person who can focus on the task at hand and nothing else. In short, they must be both extremely single minded and extremely brave.

  35. Kristen Harvey

    Cold War tensions are shown throughout the movie. Some examples are the Soviet spy, the U2 plane crash, as well as the Vogel the lawyer of Abel, who tried to play the Americans along with the Russians, and the East Germans so they could keep their true prisoner. One major event I remember was during the sentencing of Abel, the Judge Byers agreed to not have him executed. Even though he denied to follow protocol during to trial, to dismiss evidence that had been illegally obtained, just because he had a bias. This made the crowd livid, they were shouting and screaming. All they knew was that he was a Russian and they wanted him dead. He was just serving his country, and was a really nice guy who was put in an awful situation. This portrayal of Abel makes you feel bad for him, and makes him a likeable character. Showing that this “war” was not black and white, the Russians were not all bad, and the Americans were not all good.
    I believe that Judge Byers was very biased during the trial of Rudolf Abel. He refused to dismiss evident that was illegally obtained, he even stated that he want Abel to go to jail, before the trail even began. He felt that this man was the enemy, along with the jury. The people in the jury saw Abel as a communist and a threat to our freedom as Americans, and would say he was guilty no matter what evidence was put in front of them.
    Jim Donovan was under tremendous pressure for defending the Russian spy Rudolf Abel, who was hated by everyone in America. His political acquaintances asked him to take the case to show the world that he would receive a fair trial for his crimes. But the judge did not agree with, Jim when trying to follow the law during the trial. Even without the evidence that was illegally obtained, the jury still would have convicted him because they did not like him. He was also under a lot of social pressure, people were furious that Jim helped the despised Abel live, someone even shot up his house, almost killing his family. I believe Jim took the job, because he wanted to help his country and he thought that everyone deserves a fair trial.

  36. John Doyle

    1) The film did a fine job in portraying Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. It showcased the stress that the Soviet’s actions in East Berlin had placed upon the American people. One of the most powerful sequences in the film was during the construction of the Berlin Wall. People were anxiously trying to get over the wall because they knew that if they stayed in East Berlin that they would have to live under communist command. The film showcased members of the United States Department of Defense being very focused on the operations of the spy planes, knowing the importance of their secrecy. The film also showed the American people having bias towards the communists and assuming that they were truly the “evil” forces that the United States Government had led them to believe. In regards to the Soviet Spy, Abel, the people of the United States saw him as a breach and a threat and wanted him dead. Newspapers publicized Abel being our prisoner and advocated the death penalty. In Donovan, the minority was exemplified. Donovan was the minority that wanted Abel to be given rights to a fair trial and for the people of the United States to overlook their bias against communism. People immediately disliked him and thought he was connected with the Soviets because he was insisting that Abel be given rights, too. Judge Byers represented the people of the United States. In the film, while meeting with Donovan and the prosecuting attorney, he was shocked to hear Donovan ask for more time to provide a defense for Abel. He said that Donovan was being irrational, and there was no way he would get more time. The majority of the American people, including Judge Byers, thought he deserved the death penalty before the trial even began. He thought just because Abel was a Soviet spy, he didn’t deserve a fair trial, and was determined to prevent Donovan from giving him one. These three characters all humanize the Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union by being physical representations of the point of views from the unfairly accused, suspects of working for the Soviet Union, the meaning of Justice, and the bias of the American people.

    2) I do not believe that the court of Judge Byers gave Abel a fair trial. Before the trial even began, the majority of the American people, including Judge Byers already had the impression that Abel was guilty and should receive Capital Punishment. While the Constitution was established to ensure everyone the right to a fair, speedy trial, unfortunately the people responsible for carrying out these promises were against Abel before he could even defend himself (or be defended, rather). The evidence that was used against him was obtained illegally. If he was to be given a fair trial, and was found guilty, the United States would look weak against communism.

    3) I believe that the Americans were justified to be spying on the Soviet Union. At the time, we were under the impression that we were also being spied on by the Soviets, so we felt it necessary to do so as well, and also to gain an upper hand in the Cold War. The U-2 Spy Planes caused a large controversy amongst both the United States and the Soviet Union, but they were able to obtain useful information about the Soviet Union for the Americans, such as the Soviet-owned missiles based in Cuba (Cuban Missile Crisis). Had it not been for these secretive operations, there potentially could have been a situation where we would not know that we were being attacked by nuclear weapons until we felt them, heard them, or saw the mushroom cloud in the distance.

  37. Nathan B.

    1. The movies “Bridge of Spies” showed the cold war tensions. One aspect of the Cold War that was shown was the building of the Berlin War, which seperated East and West Germany. After the Soviets got control of part of Berlin, the Germans under the rule of the Soviets were mad that they had to live under this agreement. In the movie, this was shown by Frederic Pryor’s treatment by Soviets in East Germany. This was also presented by the spying they did on each other, the word fights between the countries, and the shooting down of the U-2 Spy Plane. Abel was a good representation, which humanized the movie. He was very calm and low-key when he was caught spying on the U.S. This gave a good outline of the Cold War. However, because Abel was either forced or getting paid a lot to spy, which is shown when he takes a really long silent pause and looked at Donovan before he returned to the soviets, because he was treated well by defending Abel.
    2. I do not think that Abel was given a fair trial by Judge Byers. This is because Donovan stated how the due process of law was not stated. The agents had a warrant for his arrest but did not have a warrant for the search and seizure of his hotel room, which they found the evidence in. So the evidence that the prosecution used to convict Abel of the wrong doing should have been ignored or not looked at because the FBI agents did not find the evidence in a legal way with a warrant.
    3. I do not believe that American was stepping over the boundary by sending U-2 planes flying over Russia because it was a war and the Americans had belief that they were being spied on, so we wanted to be prepared incase of an attack. Both sides saw each other as threats towards each other’s way of life. For all we knew, Russia could bomb us at their convenience. If the U.S did not know what kind of weapons Russia had, they would have been screwed.

  38. Matt August

    4. Jim Donovan faced many political and social pressures by agreeing to defend Rudolf Abel. He was criticized by many Americans for defending a communist spy in his home country. Some people were so enraged that they actually shot at his home terrifying the Donovan family beyond belief. Donovan at first took this job because the United states hoped that a trial would help the story from being reduced to propaganda by the USSR. After a while, Donovan started seeing Abel as a real human being deserving of defense and tried his hardest to defend him and his case.
    2. Rudolf Abel was not given a fair trial in the court of Judge Byres for many reasons. The main reason Abel was not given a fair trial was the fact that the trial was fast tracked and the defense was given inadequate time to prepare and properly defend. The judge and jury were also very biased against communists and Russians in general leading to an obvious conviction. However, in my opinion Abel was given a fair trial during his Supreme Court case.
    5. Even with the risks and dangers of becoming, there are many motivations for the job of spy. The most obvious benefit of the job is that it would provide income. Another Advantage to being a spy is that the government you are working on behalf for is in your debt. As a spy for the USSR, there was also a chance to protect ones families or to have them escape the hardships of living in the USSR (where life was significantly difficult). The person who is a spy could also just have a very strong patriotic feeling for their own country and a desire to serve their homeland.

  39. Vincent Jackson

    1. The film illustrated Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union in various ways. It expressed American concerns regarding the Soviet Union and its actions in East Berlin. A pertinent part of the film was highlighting the construction of the Berlin Wall. This seen displayed feelings of panic for people of both East and West Berlin. People feared East Berlin, and attempted to flee to West Berlin because of the thought of being trapped in East Berlin, and living in a communist world were life is ruled by the Soviets. The film displayed heavily focus on the spy war with the soviets. In the Soviet spy Abel, American citizens saw the Soviet Union on American soil. In the film, the people published newspapers and otherwise publicized Abel being our prisoner and advertised a death penalty with the preconceived notion that it was what he deserved as soon as he was caught on our land. Abel was communism in a human for, and the animosity the Americans had toward him due to his relations greatly establishes the tensions between the 2 countries. Donovan represented the few percent of America that wanted Abel to have a fair trial as given to any and all criminals, as this is the foundation of our country, and didn’t want the government of the United States itself to be corrupt, making them no better than the soviets themselves. In the movie, he was viewed upon negatively due to his connection to a Soviet spy. In the movie, the judge had already made his decision to prosecute Abel before he even had his trial. He thought just because Abel was a Soviet spy, he didn’t deserve a fair trial, and was set on not letting Donovan provide one.

    2. No, I don’t think we were entitled to spy, however both countries where spying on each other. It gives the spying aspect of war a neutral affect, considering both countries did it to each other, it wasn’t that bad. Had we not been spying, Donovan wouldn’t have been called in for the exchange. I also believe that the events occurred for a specific reason; for example, later Donovan freed thousands people from Cuban prisons as he exceeded the number of people he was expected to free. Donovan, an insurance lawyer in New York, was able to get a two for one exchange with both Russia and East Berlin without previous training from the government. I do not support the idea of trying to get information about Russian progress, however it eased tensions within the country with them having the knowledge that we weren’t in immediate danger.

    5. I think an extreme case of patriotism could drive someone to want to become a spy for their country. I think anyone that want to be actively involved in the progress of our country, or someone who simply thirst for knowledge regarding other countries, would make for a great spy. It has been my experience to know people that have an extreme sense of patriotism, and support everything that the country does, trust all of its decisions, and would do anything to protect it, and make sure that it’s the best country that it could be. People with a strong enough want for our country make for great spies. Spy work is both insanely treacherous and tedious, and the threat of being betray by your country is very real. I know I would have a moral conflict with caring so much about something that might not care about what happens to me, however I think that’s a small price to pay to do such a cool job, and ensure the safety of your country. All the risk and dangers of being a spy may all be worth it if you care that much about your country.

  40. Stephanie Green

    1: Bridge of Spies displays Cold War tensions starting from the beginning of the movie. When the FBI first break into Abel’s house and arrest him, we see how discovering a communist spy becomes the main word of the house, and with the news that Donovan is defending him, people are furious. We see tensions stressed also when Abel shows that he will in no way cooperate with the enemy, even when he was offered jobs and things by the government that would make him leak everything he knew, because both sides new how crutial it is to share what they know. In addition, the reason that the people had Donovan defending the case shows immediate tensions. When Donovan tried to put his best effort into the case, trying to push out of Abel getting the death penalty and actually trying to lower his punishment, the public got the perception that maybe he was communist and therefore committed a drive-by shooting of his home and sent a plethora of hate mail and death threats to his home. Judge Byers also displays tensions throughout the case by simply making the case look minimally as if the US was fair to everyone in their trial, although the Judge showed otherwise based of Donovan’s requests. We all see these tensions abroad from Powers and Pryor, who were both kept in harsh conditions and interrogated multiple times a day, at arbitrary times, to give up information about what they’d seen, because the Soviet’s knew how critical it would be to make sure the spreading of containment was successful. We also see these tensions through the Berlin Wall and how quickly Pryor was going to have to get to the safer side or the consequences were huge, as they said they were going to be.

    2. I do not think that Abel was giving a fair trial for multiple reasons. When Donovan first met with Abel so he could ask if he wanted to be defended by him, Donovan expressed that there was essentially no hope in winning the case, because the anti-communist mindset installed in the government/Supreme Court was going to make it almost impossible to win. In addition though, Judge Bryers just wanted to make the court case look like the United States would give everyone equal rights, even a communist, and therefore did just that. When Donovan asked for a time extension on the court case, he wouldn’t give him with no real explanation of why not. Bryers also did not consider the fact that all of the evidence obtained from the invasion of Abel’s home didn’t have a search warrant, and therefore shouldn’t have been considered in the court case. In addition, we see a quick decision from the Jury in after the trial, making it seem that they didn’t really evaluate the arguments on both sides, even though Donovan, as prestigious of a lawyer he was, gave reasons good enough to be evaluated by the Jury.

    4. The political and social pressures Donovan was under during the Cold War were extremely harsh. You can start with his rides on the subway when his name and photo were planted on the front cover (especially after he got Abel from the death penalty to 30 years) people looked at him with extreme disgust and hatred. His family were also really confused as well. His wife couldn’t understand he would try to lower Abel’s penalty at all, and it was to a point where as I was watching the film I thought that she was going to divorce Donovan, especially after all of the threats that were at home. Anti-communist fear was also displayed a lot in schools, and Donovan’s son became super conscious after seeing a video in school of what to do if a bomb hit. His soon couldn’t also understand what he was doing. Everyone just wanted him to do the bare minimum and get out of the case as soon as possible to give the perception to the Soviets that the United States wanted. I think he went above and beyond and took the case because he felt that he needed to show the love he had for his country and for others, wanted to make the trial as fair as he possibly could, even if it was supposed to be somewhat of a fake cover up.

  41. Tassia Zaryckyj

    2. When Rudolf Abel, an alleged Soviet Spy, was arrested for supposedly handing state atomic secrets off to his Communist rulers, he was going to be sentenced to death. During the Cold war, the nuclear arms race was a competition for supremacy in nuclear warfare between the United States, Soviet Union, and their allies. The constant fight between nuclear bombs resulted in spies for each nation. The spies were in most cases sentenced to death or hired to work for the government. Rudolf was given the option of having a position in the government; however he declines. But because this is America, he was still guaranteed a lawyer to prove him innocent. Donovan accepts the case to be Rudolf’s lawyer, regardless of all the controversy he knows it will cause. I believe that the trial by the court was fair to a certain extent. It was just in the sense that he was at least given a lawyer and not directly sentenced to death but not fair because before the trial had even begun everyone was labelling him guilty. In the movie I remember Donovan walking into his office and the men he was speaking with just dumbfounded by the fact that he is actually trying to defend Rudolf. No one wanted to protect a supposed Soviet spy. There was a great rush to judgement and conclusion and Donovan was now feeling that it is his responsibility to get this man the best chance he can have. In a scene from the movie, Donovan goes to Judge Bryer’s house to speak with him about the case. However, Bryer’s response is not that which you would expect out of a judge, whom is supposed to be unbiased and listen to both sides of the case. Donovan was able to convince the judge to give a longer period of time to find out more facts about Rudolf, which made it even fairer and in the end America and the Soviet Union were both benefited.
    4. By defending Rudolf Abel, Jim Donovan was involving himself in political and social pressures that a lawyer should not be having for doing their job. During the Cold War spies were looked very down upon and the United States wanted the stop of communism throughout the world. However, when an allege spy was accused of sending information of our nuclear bombs back to the Soviet Union he was arrested and needed representation. Jim Donovan ad great pressure on him from everyone. He knew that as a lawyer, he had to fulfill his job and not cheat or lie. But as an American citizen, he was under the pressure of the citizens to not fight for this spy and sentence him to death. In public, Donovan was looked down upon, he received dirty looks from people he did not even know. One night that seemed to be peaceful, a gun was fired multiple times at his house and the person quickly sped away. I believe that this person was a strong anti-communist and was outraged at the fact that Donovan was defending him. The pressure on Donovan seemed to be increasing because now he wanted to make sure his family was protected at all times. I am not sure Donovan realized by taking this case, he would be putting his and his family’s lives in danger. However, I believe that Donovan took this job because he realized Rudolf needed representation and he felt that it could be a new move in his career. Maybe he was tired of taking the same cases and this could be interesting for him. Moreover, if he had known beforehand the dangers that could arise from this, he may have not taken it.

  42. Elizabeth

    In the film the bridge of spies there were many ways that they showed the tensions of the cold war. Even in the beginning they showed many posters showing adds saying that the company was anti-communist or soviet. When Donovan took the case of Rudolf Abels he was concerned about the threat to is family and what it would do with his career. Many things showed the ensions of the cold war in the movie. One of them being the amount of criticism Donovan gets when he took a the case defending the supposedly soviet spy. When Donovan went over to Germany to help with the trade of Abel and Powers he did not even tell his wife where he went in case of the dangers he would put his family in. One of the best examples of the tensions is when Donovan is arguing for both men he is left in the hallway to wait to talk to one of the german representatives. When his assistant comes out to tell him that he will not be Abel to make the appointment, after Donovan has waited for over half an hour, he tells the assistant the message instead. He gives him a cold look and starts to tell him the dilemma if they refuse to give both men over.
    America should not have been spying on the Soviets with U-2 planes or in any other way. This is because not only is it a very large risk for those operating the operation but it also creates a horrible amount of tension between countries, especially if they are caught.There is a point where you should start spying though. If you have information and proof that there are spies of the opponent then you should try and eradicate them. If this does not work then you should go in and spy on the other country. I say this because you are now at a disadvantage to the other country because they may know your tactics, your defence systems and other ways to destroy your defense and offensive plays. This all depends on the situation you are in though. For the situation between the Soviets and America we knew that they were behind in technology and information to defeat us, with this information in mind we should not have spied on the Soviets, even though they had spies in our country.
    Donovan took this opportunity for himself and for Abel. He did not believe that Abel was all bad and should be executed. He took the opportunity in the sight that he could become and renown layer and the chance to defy what society held him to do. I believe that Donovan was one who wanted to help the good and give everyone a chance. One of the reasons I believe this is because of the way he fought to free both men and not just Powers. Even though his boss told him to forget the opportunity for both men and just get Powers while he could he still fought for both. Many people were angry at him for helping Abel be free. Some protester even shot at his house. Donovan was a good man and took an opportunity to better the world.

  43. Francesca B.

    1. The film showed that cold war tensions were extremely high. You can see this when the judge for the US trial against the soviet spy already assumed that the spy was guilty. When the soviet’s lawyer actually tried to throw out evidence due to an unlawful search, the judges response was ‘ We hired you to make this trial fair, but don’t go overboard’. The judge is saying that the US wants to be fair but everyone has already determined that he is guilty. Also we see that cold war tensions are high when the government training the U2 spy plane’s pilots say to kill themselves if they think that they are going to get caught. They say this because they would rather have their men be killed than to have them caught by the enemy and possible reveal there secrets, that’s how much we didn’t want the soviets to win the war. The film humanized the tensions by showing the victims that had been captured, mostly the ones in soviets custody. This humanized the tensions because it showed the prisoners suffering and this made me feel something fro them. I was felt bad for them, the film put names to faces Once I actually saw what they went through I knew that this was more than a story, this actually happened to someone. Also the film humanized the tensions by showing the audience the charter families. This humanized the tensions because the characters became people with families and it really made you think about how the people in the movie actually had to go through this.

    2. I do not think that the court of judge Byers gave Rudolf a fair trial. There was a rush of judgment and conclusion because so many Americans wanted someone to punish and blame for the cold war. Even the smallest shred of evidence was enough for them to be sure he was guilty. When Rudolf’s lawyer asked for evidence to be throw out due to unlawful search the judge responded by saying that the US just wanted the give Rudolf a lawyer to be fair, but don’t go over board defending him. Also when asked for an appeal once Rudolf was convicted, the judge and lots of other people got anger at him and said that he should let it go.

    3. I do think that Americans should have been spying on the soviets with the spy plane. I think this because the soviets were spying on us, and what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Also, spying on the soviets would be good if they were planning an attack and fi we found that out through spying then we could potentially save the lives of Americans. Sometimes it is necessary to spy on others for the greater good, like saving the lives of potential victims. This being said, I do not support the spying of soviets if it would endanger the lives of others, like the pilots flying the planes. The reason to spy should be to benefit the well being of people, not to endanger lives in doing so, that would just be counter productive.

  44. Jackie Sullivan

    Question 1: The film portrayed Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union by having Jim Donovan, the lawyer representing the Soviet spy, go to Berlin and negotiate the exchange instead of a United States government official. This showed that the two countries were too afraid of the tensions between them to worsen causing a war. Also when the kids in the classroom learning about how to protect themselves from a nuclear attack and Donovan’s’ son making a plan just in case the attack occurred shows the Cold War tensions. The Bridge of Spies humanized these tensions by showing different perspectives of the war. For example Donovan pushing for American students exchange and treating Abel as a human and not a criminal shows that he strongly believes that everyone is human therefore making them equal. Also Judge Byers was an anti-communist who let his own thoughts about the Soviets get in the way of giving the accused a fair trial.

    Question 2: Rudolf Abel was not given a fair trial by the court of Judge Byers whatsoever. Judge Byers was as anti-communist as Joseph McCarthy. Knowing that Abel was an alleged Soviet spy made him so bias. Byers looked at Donovan when he said that he wanted more time to talk to Abel like he was crazy to not think he wasn’t a communist right off the bat. There was not enough evidence in the world to make Judge Byers believe Abel was not a communist.

    Question 4: At home, Jim Donovan was seen as a trader for representing an alleged communist in court. We know he was seen as a trader when someone shot through his windows and when people gave him the death stare on the subway. The political pressures he was under include getting back the captured pilot, Gary Powers, and to not piss off the Soviets which would turn into war. Donovan took the job in the first place because it was an honor to be asked to and he believes that everyone should be represented no matter what they are accused of.

  45. Rachel Berg

    1. In the Bridge of Spies movie, the film portrays many examples of the tensions between the Soviet’s and the U.S. You could tell there were many tensions by the body langue’s of the characters when on the others turf. When Donovan was trying to free Abel and Powers with the Soviets, he wanted to get out of there as soon as he could because he knew that at any moment he could get stuck there are never allowed to come home. The film made these tensions come to life by showing the Berlin Wall being built throughout the movie. You could see one side of the wall was healthy and happy, but the other side was run down and broken trapped with people inside of it. The people tried to get over the wall because they knew they would never be able to see their family members for a long time and as far as they knew, they would never see them again. When Abel was first seen in the movie he was very secretive and portrayed as a spy, but then in jail looked very innocent. There was nothing to prove that he actually was a communist spy, but still the judge thought he was guilty. When Donovan was in Soviet Territory he was wearing a very nice coat that he gave up for directions to the building he was meeting at. This showed that society there was crumbling and they needed help to take down that wall and get supplies. This is one of the tensions that was two sided because the Soviets thought everything was fine while the U.S needed to do something about this.

    2. I do not think that Judge Byers gave a fair Trial to Abdel because he jumped to the conclusion that Abel was a spy. What evidence did he have other than he had family living in Berlin? There was a huge jump to conclusions that he was giving information to the Soviets and was considered guilty at the time, so he was put in jail and could have been prosecuted at any moment because he broke a Law that was very important during the Cold War. He was eventually sent to life in prison because he was guilty of being suspicious about the spying but that’s it, nothing more. I understand that the U.S was very particular about this subject, but every man should get a fair trial.

    3. I don’t know if America should have been spying on the Soviets or not. Most likely Abel was a Soviet spy and I’m sure there were others and we also had spies in Berlin. The spying between both sides is an example of one of the fallacies, over interpretation of each side. The Soviets and U.S thought that each side had spies and was doing more to find out information about one another. In the end my answer would be no because look what happened to Powers and how spying got him captured. We were trying to get better information from the planes but that plan backfired and there is no way to know when something good or bad will come out of a risk.

  46. McKenna Moosekian

    1. The film portrayed Cold War tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union by the conflict between Donovan and Judge Byers because even though both of them were American they had different beliefs on the whole thing. Donovan thought it was an unfair trial and the judge just ignored him completely. Another way the film portrayed the tensions is by the way Abel was treated in America. Abel was treated poorly and disrespectfully just because he was from Russia and they then assumed he was a Russian spy.
    2. I don’t think that Rudolf Abel had a fair trial just because they thought he was a soviet spy. Donovan tried really hard to make sure that he got a fair trial but didn’t succeed very well. People wanted this trial to go quickly and smoothly because they wanted to make sure that one of the Soviets got put on death row so they could prove to the Russians that they were strong and they weren’t afraid. I think that it was an unfair trial because in the start of the movie when Donovan was presented the case the man who gave it to him informed him that he wanted to “give him a fair trial” even though he really just wanted him to be found guilty.
    3. I really do think that the U.S. had a right to spy on the Soviets during the War because that’s what happens during a war so that u can find out their plans and tactics. I think since we thought that they were spying on us that it was okay for us to do the same. Yes it is bad to make assumptions, but we were in the middle of a war. It was also a good idea to spy on them so that we can figure out their game plan and take a step in the right direction so that we can win.
    4.When word got around that Donovan was going to be defending a soviet people started to judge him. Not one person thought it was a good idea to defend him all they wanted was for the Soviet to pay. People thought that Donovan was going against his country and betraying them for defending him even though he was just doing his job. In the start when he had first received the trial he was hesitant to except it, but later realized that he was going to be the only one to give him the fair trial that he deserved. During the trial Donovan started to befriend Abel. So in the end I think that he realized he had made a good decision by defending him because he was able to get an innocent man out of a tough spot that he didn’t deserve to be in.
    5. I think someone would want to be a spy for their country to show nationalism. Its exactly like the people who are in the army. They do what they do to defend their family and their country. Just like Abel who took pride in his country. I think that someone would want to be a spy to do just that. Yes it is a dangerous job, but some people would do that so that they could protect their loved ones. Even though there is the danger of death you would be dying for your country, for your family. Some people are driven by love to do this job.

  47. geoffwickersham (Post author)

    1. The Bridge of Spies portrayed tensions between the United States and Soviet Union very well. They showed how frightened the US citizens were of communists many times throughout the movie. After James Donovan agreed to defend Rudolph Abel, people shot at his house and almost hit his daughter. That shows how desperate people were to make sure that communists would be punished. It also shows how angry people were at the Soviets and their spies. People wanted them to stay in jail or receive the death penalty. So when Abel got to go back to his home, people were mad. When Donovan went to Berlin, he saw how people were suffering there. The people of Berlin were polite to him for the most part but it was evident that they did not him. This is likely due to where he was from. The humanization of these tensions shown in these characters made it easy to see how strong the tension was between the two nations.

    2. I do not believe that Rudolph Abel was given a fair trial and conclusions were drawn before the trial started. I understand why people were scared of Soviet spies because they felt like their privacy was being invaded and they didn’t have the security that had previously been there. The judge most likely felt the pressure from citizens to put him away. He was biased too because he saw only the bad side of the Soviets and didn’t understand their side. I also believe that Abel’s personality made it difficult for anyone to sympathize with him. He was an introvert and did not seem apologetic, making it almost impossible for anyone to feel bad for him.

    3. No, America should not have been spying on the Soviets with the U-2 planes. It created more tension between the US and the Soviets by making the Soviets more skeptical. When the U-2 plane went down in their territory, it gave them the upper hand because they had one of the United State’s most important resources. This also made a whole other issue, the negotiation of exchanging spies. Another reason why this was a bad idea was because US citizens didn’t know that we were spying on the Soviets so when the plane went down, they discovered that the government was keeping secrets from them. This created a distrust between the citizens and the government too. I believe that spying on the Soviets was a poor idea because there were too many negative outcomes that could have been prevented.

    Scotti P

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