Nuclear Deterrence and Dr. Strangelove

Besides being hilarious overall, Dr. Strangelove does make you start to think about just how credible the situation in the film really is. After looking into it a bit, the events of the film were apparently not that far fetched for the time. Although steps have been taken since the film’s release to make sure nothing like this could happen, at the time someone like Jack Ripper could have possibly pulled off nuclear destruction.

This fact really makes me wonder if audiences of the time saw this film as being humorous, or if it actually made them a bit scared. In some ways, audiences today could be worried as well, as we are still dealing with the fact that multiple countries have the power to wipe countries off the map. This is where nuclear deterrence, a major theme of the film, comes into play. Yes, multiple countries have these weapons, but nuclear deterrence is what keeps them from being used. Nuclear deterrence basically refers to the fact that since many countries have nukes, you can’t really fire one off at another country without getting one fired right back in your direction. Why destroy another country if it just means the destruction of yours as well? One hilarious thing about the film is that “The Doomsday Machine” serves as the ultimate deterrence, but the Russians forget to tell everyone about it. The only real way to make effective use of a nuke is to ensure that the country you are attacking has no nuclear weapons.

This leads straight into a debate that is still raging today: should the United States be getting rid of its nuclear weapons, while other countries are keeping theirs?

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