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The Muffley vs. Turgidson Debate

Updated on September 30, 2014
According to Wikimedia Commons, images from the movie "Dr. Strangelove" are in the public domain.
According to Wikimedia Commons, images from the movie "Dr. Strangelove" are in the public domain.

Who had the best plan, President Merkin Muffley or General Buck Turgidson?

In Stanley Kubrick's 1964 movie, Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, America faced a horrible situation. A mentally disturbed Air Force general had figured out a way to game the system and launch a unilateral nuclear attack on the Soviet Union.

It was up to the president and his advisors to figure out how to handle this crisis. Two options were laid out: one from Merkin Muffley, the president of the United States, and one by General Buck Turgidson, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Which plan would have been best? Debate it!

Muffley and Turgidson lay out the options

This clip shows each man's philosophy.

President Muffley is bringing the Soviet ambassador into the War Room and trying to get the Soviet premier on the telephone, clearly aiming to work collaboratively with the USSR to resolve this problem

General Turgidson, on the other hand, is strongly advocating that we follow up the accidental nuclear strike with an all-out attack on every possible Soviet target, hoping to destroy any retaliatory capabilities before the Russians even know what hit them.

The War Room from the movie "Dr. Strangelove"
The War Room from the movie "Dr. Strangelove"

Of course, in the movie, there was the Doomsday Machine

In Dr. Strangelove, Kubrick threw in a game-changer -- the doomsday device. Because of that, it was imperative that they focus all their efforts on trying to stop the initial nuclear strike.

But what if there had not been a doomsday machine? Then the U. S. government would have been facing a decision about how to handle an "accidental" first-strike against the USSR.

Muffley vs. Turgidson debate! - Who do you agree with?

Which character from Dr. Strangelove had the best plan? Tell us what you think!

If there had not been a Doomsday Machine, whose plan do you think would have worked best, President Muffley's or General Turgidson's?

Was there a third option that would have been even better? If so, tell us about it!

Share your thoughts about the Muffley/Turgidson debate!

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    • phoenix arizona f profile image

      phoenix arizona f 

      7 years ago

      Very interesting. Loved it.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      8 years ago

      Great idea for a lens and well done.

    • thesuccess2 profile image


      8 years ago

      Great thought-provoking film with legendary performances from Peter Sellers


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