The song's title derives from the line "when two great warrior tribes go to war", from the film Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (the line is also spoken by Holly Johnson at the beginning of the session version). The single was released at the height of the cold war, when general fears about global nuclear warfare were at a peak. Although Johnson would attest in a 1984 radio interview that the "two tribes" of the song potentially represented any pair of warring adversaries (giving the examples of "cowboys and Indians or Captain Kirk and Klingons") .

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