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Dr Strangelove or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

The movie begins during the height of the Cold War. One crazed American base commander General Ripper, decides that communism has to be stopped at all costs and orders nuclear bombers into the air. In Washington, DC in the war room, the President and his staff including a colorful General Turgidson played by George C Scott contemplate what has happened.

A nuclear attack has been launched without the President's permission. Just how could this ever happen? General Turgidson explains that a new war protocol allows a lone base commander to launch a nuclear attack in the event that the chain of command is disrupted because of nuclear attack. The flaw in this is of course that the President and the chain of command are still in tact. General Turgidson argues that the protocol was sound and a solid deterrant it just was misused by one individual. With nuclear war coming its humorous to hear a general argue the benefits of the very protocol that may cause nuclear annihilation.

As the war room remains a place of discussion, General Turgidson interjects that it may now be the time to really launch a massive attack. If the bombers that have been sent reach Russia they will launch everything they have got in retaliation. By striking hard the US can win a nuclear war with "acceptable losses" of ten to twenty million tops the General argues.

The President invites the Soviet ambassador to the War room in an attempt to calm the situation before it can escalate. The Soviet Premier is called on the phone but is drunk. It is revealed that the Russians have a "Doomsday" device that will automatically respond to any threat without human assistance. A german born American scientist named Strangelove contemplates that such a device could be built with ease but the whole purpose would be as a deterrant which the Soviet device is not since it is a secret.

As the movie reaches its climax, American soldiers attack the base of General Jack Ripper who launched the nuclear bombers without permission. He has sealed off the base and fights to the end against perceived communism, and a plot to rid Americans of vital body fluids through flouride in the water. American bombers reach their targets in Russia but are shot up pretty badly and lose radio contact. A recall order for the bombers is issued after proper codes are obtained from the base, but its too late.

Dr Strangelove is a World War III parody that illustrates how war protocols can go wrong, and how even the best of intentions can lead to the most disasterous of results. Bomber pilots are depicted as cowboys, Genereals are depicted as mad, and leaders are depicted as fools. During the heart of the cold war perhaps there may have been some truth to these anaologies, and thats what makes the movie truly fun and truly funny.

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