Kubbrick's Theory Of Brinksmanship

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An alternate title for Kubrick’s film was Dr. Doomsday or: How to Start World War III Without Even Trying. A title bluntly stating what the actual title infers - that America and the Soviet Union had both taken brinksmanship way too far, and were both one slip of the hand away from killing off the entire human race. By portraying the film in a very comedic fashion, Kubrick was able to show just how ridiculous it was that we allowed the nuclear clock to come only one minute from midnight.
Imagine two men playing chicken - both driving as fast as they can (obviously in muscle cars) set on a collision course for each other. This encapsulates the theory of brinksmanship, or trying to achieve an advantageous outcome by pushing dangerous events to
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Strangelove is the commentary between General Turgidson and President Muffley. In one line Turgidson says to Muffley, “Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say... no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops.” In this scene, General Turgidson is trying, unsuccessfully, to convince President Muffley to send all of his nuclear arsenal following the plane sent by General Ripper. To which President Muffley naturally responds, “I will not go down in history as the greatest mass murderer since Adolf Hitler!” If you have seen the movie, you know that Turgidson delivers these lines in an optimistic, bordering on giddy tone. Moreover, Turgidson’s tone not only exemplifies the absurdity of the whole situation, but also brings up a very interesting point about the power of a nuclear bomb. Calling ten to twenty million people dead “acceptable losses” is pretty unbelievable when re-examined. That’s one third of the total lives lost in WWII in the blink of an eye. Really, the only reason ten to twenty million dead could ever be considered “acceptable,” is when you are dealing with nuclear warfare - something easily capable of wiping all life from the face of the earth. This comical commentary between Turgidson and Muffley shows just how abstract the idea of killing that many people must have been to our leaders, and just how distanced from their constituents
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