Dr StrangeloveWhat does the film Dr Strangelove have to do America's Cold War policy of Mutually Assured Destruction and are the sexual references in the film, the planes refueling at the beginning...

Dr Strangelove

What does the film Dr Strangelove have to do America's Cold War policy of Mutually Assured Destruction and are the sexual references in the film, the planes refueling at the beginning to the song "Try a Little Tenderness" an example that the male-dominated military machine and its pursuit of destruction are actually an expression of male agressiveness?

Asked on by adams02

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The film is a spoof. It's purpose is to demonstrate how crazy the idea of mutually-assured destruction is. I love the acronym- MAD. Yes, it certainly was! The entire cold war was mad. As for the second question, I agree that they are symbols of masculinity and the dangers of unchecked testosterone.
mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Love the Bomb is a parody of the drive for nuclear prowess by the USSR and the United States.  For, the build-up of weapons by each country was so terrible that if something were to happen the entire world could possibly be destroyed.   

As a way of parodying the abusurdity of this tremendous build-up of nuclear power by the two greatest world powers, Stanley Kubrick has the character of General Ripper represent in an absurd way the extent of the paranonia that many felt regarding the possibility of a nuclear war.  Such a war would be so devastating that it would, indeed, rob everyone of even their "precious bodily fluids."

kapokkid's profile pic

kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The entire film is of course a commentary on the absurdity of cold-war policies, and it is interesting that much of what Kubrick made jokes about (the incompetence and terrible assumptions that both sides made about each other) turned out to be absolutely true.  The idea of a missile gap that drove us to spend billions upon billions of dollars that turned out to be an invention of fear-mongering defense industry folks, all that stuff was very prescient.

I also just thought all the phallic jokes and such were just comic material, don't know if there was more that was supposed to come out of that.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

As to the first part of your question, I think that there are a couple things.

I think that Gen. Ripper is supposed to be a commentary on the insanity that Kubrick saw in the idea of MAD.  He is supposed to show the kind of mindset that Kubrick thinks is responsible for this sort of a strategy -- the insane fear of communism and the idea that force can protect us.

I think that the movie as a whole is also supposed to be a warning about the danger of having the capability of destroying one another.

As to your second question, maybe.  But all of that stuff (Gen. Turgidson, etc) didn't seem to me to be making a point.  It just struck me as sophomoric.

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