By Pawel Goral (auth.)
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Additional resources for Cold War Rivalry and the Perception of the American West
Soldiers seem to be following him. Once the Indians see the soldiers, they try to protect themselves and their children in particular. There is only one reason why American soldiers would enter an Indian village: to plunder and kill. An older Indian tells a group of kids to stay together as he tries to protect them by standing in front of them. Those Indians expect only one thing with the arrival of the soldiers: bloodshed. Indeed, everyone’s a target; children are being shot as well. There is no reason established as to why the American soldiers enter the village and indiscriminately target everyone that moves.
Just before he loses consciousness, he sees the American ﬂag atop of the Indian hut. He immediately breaks the ﬂagpole he has been holding and throws his American ﬂag to the ground. Inevitably, the viewer might see a connection between the American raid on the Indian village and the My Lai massacre. Given Dean Read’s and the Communist bloc’s strong opposition to the American military’s presence in Southeast Asia, this could be interpreted as connecting the past, including the conquest of the American West along with the purported unconditional support of capitalists for the Nazi regime with the most controversial contemporary issue, the Vietnam War.
Although West German Westerns seemed to imitate American Westerns, they proved to be original in that they provided a stage for Native Americans. ”46 Thus, assuming that Karl May ﬁlms provided absolution for some West German viewers, it would be logical to assume that the images of the martyrdom and demise of the Indians, exempliﬁed by the death of Winnetou and the Apaches, interlocked with the horriﬁc images and the remembrance of the Nazi crimes. Furthermore, one can also conclude that May’s Indian heroes were doomed to die in order to Karl May Westerns & Conquest of the American West 25 pave the way for the fulﬁllment of Manifest Destiny.