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EMPIRE ESSAY: Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Review

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❶In particular, they wanted to create the strategic choice of whether the President would exploit the bomber launch to send in follow-on forces.

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When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Further exemplifying the inadequacy of the bureaucrats, the Joint Chiefs in the war room show their unprofessional and blatant prejudice, especially toward the Russians.

Strangelove, the character, also calls into question the reliability of people in power. Strangelove is clearly the Presidents scientific adviser in the war room whose appearance copies the mad scientist stereotype with his wild hair, black gloved hand, and his clearly brilliant yet insane mind. Through their presentation of bureaucracy, Heller and Kubrick display why officials and politicians are unfit to make important decisions concerning the safety of the country.

Kubrick suggests the same concept in Dr. Strangelove by frequently demonstrating the disorder, madness and prejudice of the officials. In either piece, the reader carries away the certainty of the instability of the men in control of important military and national decisions.

Accessed September 15, Strangelove specifically for you. Leave your email and we will send you an example after 24 hours If you contact us after hours, we'll get back to you in 24 hours or less. How to cite this page Choose cite format: Strangelove Catch 22 By: Bureaucracy 53 , Joseph Heller 9 , Yossarian 8.

How about make it original? Deterrence will have failed and retaliation risks further strikes and more fallout. The two ways of making retaliation credible are by making retaliation automatic or by introducing illogic and uncertainty.

Automatic means devising something which will ensure retaliation no matter what. A doomsday machine fills the bill. Ruling out "human meddling" is crucial because one must make the incredible threat of suicide credible.

Strangelove explains this logic: President, it is not only possible, it is essential. That is the whole idea of this machine, you know. Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy And so, because of the automated and irrevocable decision making process which rules out human meddling, the doomsday machine is terrifying. It's simple to understand. And completely credible, and convincing. Although it may not be fair to condemn the automated response doomsday device due to a single slip up, the film invalidates the wisdom of that machine by highlighting its dangers.

Would any state cede control of their weapons to computers and sensors? A fallback strategy is to introduce illogic, uncertainty, and lack of control into nuclear strategy and nuclear command and control.

Akin to throwing the steering wheel out the car window when engaged in a game of chicken, allowing base commanders to issue strikes is a good example of making retaliation more likely by giving up centralized control of one's forces. Deterrence is enhanced when nukes might go off whenever the situation becomes hairy. If the other side doesn't know who controls the weapons and under what circumstances authorization for their use gets "devolved" to lower levels of command, then maybe they won't start something in the first place.

This was particularly relevant in central Europe where there were thousands or tens of thousands of tactical nuclear weapons tactical for us, strategic for the Europeans; most of these weapons were larger than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. How would the Sovs know who controlled these weapons? Wouldn't the Sovs know that lower level commanders might gain control of nuclear weapons and would be highly motivated to use them if they risked being overrun?

How could a full scale nuclear war be stopped if nuclear weapons in Europe started going off remember that many of our nuclear delivery systems including tactical bombers, cruise missiles, and Pershing missiles could reach well into Russia, even all the way to Moscow? These uncertainties may have been designed to create enough fear to prevent an attack in the first place. You approved it, sir.

Surely you must recall, sir, when Senator Buford made that big hassle about our deterrent lacking credibility. The idea was for plan R to be a sort of retaliatory safeguard. But the idea was to discourage the Russkies from any hope that they could knock out Washington, and yourself, sir, as part of a general sneak attack, and escape retaliation because of lack of proper command and control.

The plan of Plan R is to make deterrence more credible by the threat of losing central control. The film highlights the tradeoffs involved Loss of control is exacerbated by the intentional inability to communicate with the planes while in the air via the CRM But when put together as part of one plan, they combine to make Ripper's orders nearly impossible to reverse. Note too the influence of domestic politics Senator Buford. Seen in the speech which ends when General Turgidson says: President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed.

But I do say If it is possible to imagine fighting a nuclear war with acceptable casualties, then it is possible to imagine victory in a nuclear war.

And if victory is possible, then MAD does not exist. It is hard to deter someone who thinks victory is possible. Strangelove would say, there is not enough fear to attack. While the definition of acceptable may be in eyes of the beholder, the biggest danger occurs when MAD exists, but advisors and politicians still think victory is possible.

False hopes for victory can lead to disaster. As Geoffrey Blainey notes: It is not good for generals or other advisors to be telling the president that victory is possible when it is not. Turgidson advised striking first in the movie. Even more ominously, so did several military and civilian advisors to President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Had we engaged in nuclear combat, toe to toe with the Russkies in , we would have gotten more than our hair mussed, at least in my book.

This is one reason why it is dangerous to build first-strike weapons or defenses whose effectiveness is uncertain. They may lead to semi-plausible theories of victory that may be whispered in a president's ear during a crisis. Although many believe that the U. Scott Sagan notes that one of the U. Two, in less than fifteen minutes from now the Russkies will be making radar contact with the planes. Three, when the do, they are going to go absolutely ape, and they're gonna strike back with everything they've got.

Four, if prior to this time, we have done nothing further to suppress their retaliatory capabilities, we will suffer virtual annihilation. Now, five, if on the other hand, we were to immediately launch an all out and coordinated attack on all their airfields and missile bases we'd stand a damn good chance of catching them with their pants down. Hell, we got a five to one missile superiority as it is. We could easily assign three missiles to every target, and still have a very effective reserve force for any other contingency.

Now, six, an unofficial study which we undertook of this eventuality, indicated that we would destroy ninety percent of their nuclear capabilities. We would therefore prevail, and suffer only modest and acceptable civilian casualties from their remaining force which would be badly damaged and uncoordinated.

I'm going to knock the shit out of them before they take off the ground. Robert Sprague, co-chair of the Gaither Committee, responded: That's what I'm going to do. Not quite the same scenario, and there are times when pre-emption might be wise. But isn't the commander-in-chief supposed to be in on launching a full scale nuclear war? If we look at crises more generally, both scenarios illustrate their dangers. But you may be very sorry, even sorrier than I am, when you read the section on civil-military relations below and note that the U.

What if there were any LeMayskis on the Soviet side? Incentives for first strikes can increase drastically in a crisis, and things get worse when the leadership is not fully in control of its own state's crisis management strategy, tactics, and assets.

The Security Dilemma and how it drives arms races. The security dilemma is that what country A does to improve its security usually diminishes the security of country B. This is because as country A buys weapons, the relative strength of country B is decreased. The security dilemma underlies the spiral model of arms races in which each country builds up its arms responding to or fearing the adversary's buildup.

A security dilemma is a zero-sum situation in which any state's gain is another's loss. When states are deeply suspicious of each other, the zero-sum nature of their competition is even more pernicious. If each state can not trust the other to abide by agreements, then no agreements are possible to try to despiral their arms races or tensions. Suspicions and the security dilemma lead states to become pre-occupied with their relative position against others.

When concerns over relative position are high, chances for cooperation are again diminished because cooperation by definition yields positive-sum results.

Thus, suspicious states facing severe security dilemmas and preoccupied by relative gains concerns are And at the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines.

Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we'd been spending on defense in a single year. But the deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap" President, we must not allow Turgidson wants one, even though having two is redundant and even having one is illogical. But arms races are, in the language of game theory, mutual defection. They are not a realization of common interest.

Relative Gains and Zero-sum Games. Relative gains concerns, and the zero-sum nature of the Cold War, hindered arms control and other forms of cooperation between the U. Turgidson epitomizes relative gains concerns. For example, he sees no value in the transparency provided by Ambassador De Sadeski's presence in the war room and always calculates things in a zero sum or relative gains perspective re the Soviet Union.

Any advantage for them is bad for us, and vice versa. Even after 90 years in a mineshaft, after billions of people are killed, it is still us against them Many of Jervis' Hypotheses on Misperception 14 come to life here. Ripper's fluoridation commie conspiracy Similarly, Turgidson's analysis of inferior Soviet technological capabilities or how the U. He is not aware that we may have been somewhat at fault for spirals. Many of those who watch Dr. Strangelove today may not have reached political awareness during the Cold War.

The paranoia exhibited by Turgidson and the whole defense posture seen in the film is not much of an exaggeration. We were really paranoid and we were on a hair trigger nuclear posture with armed airborne planes for a number of years. Senator McCarthy ran un-American witch trial hearings to denounce communist infiltrators in government, Hollywood, and other important and influential industries and sectors.

On the other hand, the Soviet Union was in fact often more evil than even its opponents dreamed killing its own citizens, environmental degradation, a huge biological warfare program, etc. People often think of the s as a time of pax americana and white picket fences.

But it is worth remembering that it was also a time that our schoolchildren hid under their desks as they practiced responding to a nuclear attack. Mirror Imaging and hypocrisy. This is a frequent theme of the movie. Sometimes Kubrick uses mirror imaging to make statements about the Cold War or humanity more generally. This sword of sarcasm is often targeted against the military. In his defense, Buck does not sport a wedding ring in the film but this was even less determinate in the 'good old days' than it is now.

I do not support the work of imperialist stooges. Civil-military relations are important because they determine who controls the armed forces and the extent to which the armed forces control the country.

In general, Americans are lucky in that they have little to fear from military coups or other rogue military action. Strangelove's depiction of poor civil-military relations is unfortunately similar to what happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Strangelove asks the question: Is the President in control of the U. Generals Turgidson and Ripper do not respect the President, the President is not in control of Ripper, and Turgidson borders on insubordinate. Group Captain British Lionel Mandrake: I don't think I do sir, no.

When he said that, fifty years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. Chief of Staff LeMay's deputy for operations , speaks about the Cuban Missile Crisis and the value of strategic superiority: They did not understand what had been created and handed to them Fortunately, there was enough panic in Washington when they saw those missiles going in So we were able at the military level, from the JCS on down without involving the politicians to put SAC on a one-third airborne alert, to disperse part of the force to civilian airfields [and take other alert measures] These were things that would be visible to the Soviets We could have written our own book at the time, but our politicians did not understand what happens when you have such a degree of superiority as we had, or they simply didn't know how to use it.

They were busily engaged in saving face for the Soviets and making concessions, giving up the IRBMs, the Thors and Jupiters deployed overseas -- when all we had to do was write our own ticket.

A few moments later in this interview, U. To which LeMay confirmed: Obviously, Burchinal, LeMay, and Johnson had no respect for the Kennedy administration's "inclination for strategic thought. Whatever the case, poor civil-military relations are evident. Leave it to General Jack D. I only ever pressed a button in my old Spitfire. But, what's happened, you see, is the string in my leg's gone.

I never told you, but, you see, I've got a gammy leg. Karate-chops the receiver, cycling the action. The Red Coats are coming. Maybe not quite the right motivational speech for the British exchange officer! The colonel, who wouldn't go into battle with loose change in his pockets, led the army's attack on the air force base.

There may be some change in there. That's what the bullets are for, you twit! I'm gonna get your money for you. But if you don't get the President of the Unites States on that phone, you know what's going to happen to you? Notes, Comments, and Film Trivia In fact, many believed in pre-emption. The motto thus becomes ironic when one thinks that the A. Note also that many of the panels in the background are football plays lateral, etc.

She is also General Turgidson's personal assistant. From air to air refueling through cigars and fluids to the end of the monogamous relationship, references to sex pervade the film.

I suspect it was highly improbable for blacks to be found on strategic bombers. Wishful thinking by Kubrick? In , only 1. My hunch is that even fewer of these blacks served on strategic bombers. Other Leper Colony notes: Major Kong, captain of the plane Leper Colony, was not told the movie was a comedy. Thirty megaton nuclear device fused for airburst at ten thousand feet. Twenty megaton nuclear device will be used if first malfunctions. Otherwise proceed to secondary target, missile complex seven miles east of Barshaw.

I do not believe the bombloads on the Bs in the movie are accurate. It is also unlikely that bombers from any one wing had fail safe points encircling the entire Soviet Union, ranging from the Persian Gulf to the Arctic Ocean as shown on the threat board. Finally, it is not clear in the film whether the wing is participating in a special operation 'Dropkick' It also accurately reflects the suspicions of the day.

Some did suspect that fluoridation was a commie conspiracy, and the only part of the speech that probably could not be cobbled together from the New York Times is the bodily fluids reference.

Can you have something like Plan R while also making sure that this films scenario does not happen? See discussion above for more on tradeoffs made while making deterrence credible. A good example of inter-service rivalry, a symptom of bureaucratic and organizational politics. This man is obviously a psychotic.

President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, the truth is not always a pleasant thing, but it is necessary now make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless, distinguishable post-war environments: This is almost exactly something Herman Kahn, an early prominent nuclear strategist, would have said.

I am currently plowing through his writings to locate the exact or closest phrase, but since there are some 17, such phrases For example, Table 3 in On Thermonuclear War: Strangelove who is even more closely modeled after Kahn.

He'll see the big board! That is precisely the idea. This is a successful effort to increase transparency and calm fears and reduce misperceptions. Following the survival kit contents check, Kong says: B to get reach of Premier Kissov who is drunk and apparently doing something illicit and sexual. I am skeptical that voice communications could have been achieved so easily, especially with Omsk.

Muffley to Turgidson, and De Sadeski who is on Turgidson's lap: This is the War Room! However, the film's anti-aircraft missile may well be a nuclear-tipped anti-aircraft missile. These were not uncommon in those days. We used nukes and missiles and so did the Soviets for almost any purpose possible during the early to mid-Cold War years. I think it was a nuclear missile because, based on the radar tracking, it exploded at just less than a mile range by voice, even further by scope and the damage to the plane seems mostly from shockwave and possibly electro-magnetic pulse.

A conventional missile would not have harmed the Leper Colony at such range, and if it did explode closer, the damage would likely have been from shrapnel. I think the auto-destruct mechanism got hit and blew itself up.

There is something dreadfully wrong somewhere Teaching guide to Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove confuse the President with Hitler? Why does he struggle with his hand? Is it good vs. The old German Nazi struggling to get out? Slams down left fist.

Right arm rises in stiff Nazi salute. On a historical note, many of the U. Werner von Braun, a key designer of the German V-2 rocket, is one particularly famous example. The Genesis of the Film George was an RAF major in military intelligence. While serving at a U. K, a B roared overhead, shaking a precariously perched coffee cup and sending it crashing to the floor.

George wrote the book in three weeks. The story of how Red Alert inspired the film goes back to when someone handed Thomas Schelling the book during an airplane flight. As the first detailed scenario of how someone might start a nuclear war, Schelling found the book sufficiently interesting to purchase and give away around four dozen copies.

Over lunch with a magazine editor, Schelling discussed writing an article on accidental nuclear war, and mentioned Red Alert. The magazine rejected the article, but it was soon published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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- The Cold War Fears of Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove Stanley Kubrick's political satire, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, is a stinging commentary of the Cold War paranoia of the time.

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Dr. Strangelove. By Wheeler Winston Dixon. Portions of this essay originally appeared in the journal Film International as part of the article “ Dark Humor in. Dr. Strangelove literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of the movie Dr. Strangelove directed by Stanley Kubrick.

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The Cold War Fears of Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove Essay. The Cold War Fears of Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove Stanley Kubrick's political satire, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, is a stinging commentary of the Cold War paranoia of the time. kinofilme.mlelove or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb, is one of Stanley Kubrick's greatest works and the best dark comedy to hit the silver screen. Kubrick perfectly captures the tension caused by the Cold War and boldly produces this film at a time when the Cold War was at it's height.