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The Third Man

The movie, the third man (1949) has a story line based on the emerging socio-economic and moral corruption issues in a quickly crumbling and depressed Vienna in events culminating after the World War II (Dirks). The title 'the third man' elementally describes the missing link in the mysterious death of Harry Lime. During this war time period different European nations demonstrated varying alliances towards the fundamentals of war and destruction. As a result, the culminating events led to a manifestation of varying forms of civilization and development initiatives focusing on the science, art and knowledge enhancement domains. This is supported by character Harry Lime's statement that, “… in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” This speech by Harry Limes is essentially delivered during a meeting between him and Limes at the Prater amusement park. I agree Harry Lime’s statement, because the onset of war was fundamentally based on global competition, economic prosperity, and enhancement of life, which implied that these nations had to institute significant scientific research, technology and art, all of which represented the fundamentals of a civilized society.

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The fundamental of war was elementally aimed at attaining a desired economic advantage among all other nations. This fact implied that nations engaging in war had to constantly devise new methods, in order stay atop the economic ladder. This therefore prompted the constant involvement of the nation in constant research activities with an aim of developing better equipment and making life easy through enhancement of technology. The input into war required significant technological enhancement, which at the time Borgias did not have. In a bid to the best and outwit other nations of the world, scientific research had to be carried out focusing on all domains of life, which at the time include, science, technology, art, and knowledge. Therefore apart from developing war machines, the same knowledge would be used to enhance other development factors. During the American Civil war, the strategic use of railroads as a means of moving military forces and material as in the 1870 Franco Prussian War in Europe formed the precursors of scientific strategic support of the World War (Newell 106). This aspect therefore saw the application of rail road network on a large scale leading to the development of the rail network and enhancement of better railroad machinery. Therefore, war activities promoted scientific objectives in other primitive settings, since each of the nations made an attempt of proving to be better than the other.

The destruction caused essentially called for reconstruction in a bid to make a new face of events. The Italian renaissance marked a period of rapid cultural changes leading to the great strides being made in regard to progression from medieval to early modern Europe. This came after the Borgias constant war like activities. In essence, renaissance in English means rebirth or to start over again. This further serves to represent the synonymy with the war period, since after the war events a lot of destruction was left behind leading to the need for a major restructuring to take place. Restructuring essentially led to people bidding farewell to early heathen ways, through the adoption of modern approaches. The modern approaches entailed the significant application of scientific concepts, some of which may have been associated with war. Newel Clayton further adds that, “both science and war were able to develop mathematical equations and principles which would approximate theory, what could be observed in practice. A French physicist, Laplace, imagined that one day a powerful mathematical formula would explain everything…” (104). These developments show that indeed war has a direct association with the development of effective restoration efforts manifested in the form of science.

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War had a negative notion on the people, which consequently spurred the population to react to an aggressive leadership through art. Therefore the onset of the renaissance cam easily is connected to the Borgias war period during which artists sought to make a land mark through different art forms. Symonds admits that, “Men whose attention had been turned to the history of discoveries and inventions...will point out the benefits conferred upon the world by the arts...will insist that at the moment of the Renaissance all these instruments of mechanical utility started into existence, to aid the dissolution of what was rotten and must perish” (3). Michelangelo was a great artist who elementally pursued abstractism, as most of his art work diverted from the traditional perspective of iconic images and adopted new trends. The application of abstract art forms by Michelangelo can be seen as a mode of expression which was not only used by him, but also by other phenomenal artists. This symbolizes a tendency of people adopting new thought platforms all in a bid at achieve phenomenal development initiatives, through the expression of art forms. Symonds further supports that, “The history of the Renaissance is not the history of arts, or of sciences, or of literature, or even of nations. It is the history of the attainment of self-conscious freedom by the human spirit manifested in the European races” (3).

The end results of war brought about an interaction between different communities, nations, and localities, which essentially led to the development of new perceptions with regard to cultural enhancements and new civilization concepts. Civilization essential represented progression of the human society towards better life approaches. Symonds further supports this fact by adding that, “...the fragments of Roman civilization had either to be destroyed or assimilated; the Germanic nations had to receive culture and religion from the people they had to receive culture and religion from the people they had superseded; the Church had to created, and a new form given to the of empire” (4). This emancipation of new culture forms essentially led to the development of new art forms. This is because naturally, art represents the culture of a people and spurs the formation the development of identification, since art is specific to a particular period, meaning, and setting. In addition, the onset of a new culture represented the actual entrance of civilization as new modes of culture began being practiced by the population.

An outlook on relatively peaceful nations serves to reveal the manner in which these nations were less associated with development initiatives especially with scientific progress. Previously nations showing great strides towards the achievement of democracy made less effort in integrating science, since science was essentially seen as a form of decreasing human freedom and dependability. According to Harry Lime’s statement, this aspect is true in the sense that technological achievements are predominantly associate\d with nations which had legions of armies and actively participated in war. This is especially because war demanded input of technology and science concepts both in the execution of battlefield strategies and machinery. According to Newell Clayton, “with the increasing reliance on high technology solutions in conducting and supporting war, the need to understand the relationship between art and science is essential to all aspects of war, and logistics is indeed an essential element of war from all three perspectives” (104). Moreover, the fundamental chaos associated with war is a true element in that in a bid to restore the previous status quo new mechanisms had to be adopted. Newell figuratively cements this fact by expounding that the study of war ordinarily seeks to eliminate the existence of chaos, while studying war ordinarily eliminates the inherent chaos through technological solutions (Newell 104). Hence, basing on Newell’s argument non-warring countries essentially had no significant chaos other then concentrating in the sustenance of existing systems.

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It is evident, that the period of war, terror and bloodshed is essentially synonymous with the progression towards development of new art forms, enhancement of scientific approaches, and economic prosperity. Research also reveals that there is very little association of peace and brotherly love and scientific progression, new art forms and prosperity. During this war time period different European nations demonstrated varying alliances towards the fundamentals of war and destruction. These alliances reveal the expressed notions in the respective nations, through documented scientific innovations, literature and art. Hence, the movie the third man (1949) depicts an increasing affection towards the concept of war and territorial power as major drives leading to the development of significant progress with regard to science, art, and knowledge, while the opposite is true with regard to peace and prosperity. Newell further supports this fact by adding that “there is certainly a science to supporting war, but there is also an art to coping with the chaos of war” (104). Harry Lime’s statement therefore serves to support the fact that the onset of war, which was fundamentally based on global competition, economic prosperity, and enhancement of life, leading to the institution of significant scientific research, technology innovation and revolution of art, all of which stand to represent the fundamentals of a civilized society.

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