World destruction machine
The doomsday device ( English doomsday device ) is a fictional deterrent weapon. Use of this weapon wipes out all parties to the conflict and can therefore be seen as part of a “ balance of horror ” strategy. The concept became known through Stanley Kubrick's film satire Dr. Strange, or how I learned to love the bomb , it was still widely used in science fiction and related genres after that.
Context in Kubrick's film
In the film Dr. Strange or: How I learned to love the bomb , which, against the background of the Cold War, handled the initiation of a nuclear world war against the will of the political leadership on both sides, this doomsday device plays an important role. It is a stationary Russian facility in which large hydrogen bombs are combined with additional radioactive material ("cobalt-thorium-G"). If the bombs detonated, a cloud of radioactive dust with a half-life of 93 years would supposedly wrap around the earth and wipe out all life. Real models are the cobalt bomb , radiological weapon ("dirty bomb"), neutron bomb , tsar bomb and the dead hand nuclear strategy .
As a deterrent , this system is linked to a computer that automatically detonates the bombs in the event of a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union or if an attempt is made to deactivate them. The actual purpose of the weapon is of a defensive nature, because the computer-controlled automatism holds the world annihilation machine with a high potential for deterrence. However, it can only develop this potential if the enemy knows about the existence of the machine and the resulting consequences of a nuclear attack.
In the film, the activation of the machine cannot be prevented, since the chairman of the Soviet Communist Party did not want to reveal the existence of the world destruction machine as a surprise until the next party congress, but events come thick and fast beforehand.
Further examples from literature and film
- In the eponymous episode "Planet Killer" of the Star Trek series
- The "Doomsday Weapon" from Return to the Planet of the Apes
- In the science fiction novel The Eternal Peace by Joe Haldeman , the "Jupiter Project" is a variation of the world annihilation machine that destroys the entire universe when activated.
- Inside the Apocalyptic Soviet Doomsday Machine , September 21, 2009, at www.wired.com (English)