Could 1984’s “Red Dawn” Actually Happen?


On August 10, 1984, a movie called Red Dawn was released, being the first PG-13 movie in history. The movie is about the outbreak of the Third World War from the point of view of high school kids in the town of Calumet, Colorado. Following an invasion of Soviet, Cuban, and Nicaraguan troops, the students formed a guerrilla group called the Wolverines. Watching it for the second time over this past summer, I got curious, could Red Dawn ever happen? So I did some research and found out something interesting.

The United States lies within a unique geographic location, being almost impervious to invasion, with exception to the Canadian and Mexican borders, as the West Coast has cliffs, while the East is heavily defended. The cliffs of the West provide a challenge for any invader, as they can reach 5,155 feet in some areas. Things don’t look better to the East, as some of our strongest military bases are located on the East Coast, heavily fortifying our shorelines.

The US Military ranks #1 in the world’s 10 best militaries, therefore, an invasion like Red Dawn’s is near impossible. While this wasn’t the case in 1984, it is the case today. If the Russians tried to pull a crazy stunt like invading, it would end horribly for them, as we can see with the war in Ukraine. If Russia cannot dominate the battlefield over a country such as Ukraine, it could never hope to achieve victory against the United States.

The Soviet Union, for whatever reason, had absolutely zero plans to ever invade the US. They sought to out-compete us economically and politically. There was never a need for an invasion plan in case of war. Assuming war broke out in the first place, the Soviet Union might have simply turned the key and watched the free world burn. This, however, would result in an equally devastating retaliation from the US and our allies. 

In summary, Red Dawn is a fantastic story, but it remains just that, a story. We don’t have to worry about Russian occupation any time soon. The Wolverines remain a symbol of American defiance of communism, and the Russians remain uninterested in invading our soil. That is why 1984’s Red Dawn simply could not happen.