Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

A Scientific Warrior [Edward Teller, key developer of H-Bomb]
IEEE Spectrum Magazine ^ | October 2001 | Stephen Cass

Posted on 10/19/2001 11:10:36 AM PDT by Incorrigible

click here to read article


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-31 last
To: PatrickHenry
Wasn't "Dr. Strangelove" intended to be a caricature of Teller? Typical of Hollywood.

Actually, it was reputedly based loosely on Henry Kissinger, not Teller. After all, Teller was here in the US working on the Manhattan Project during the war, while Henry K. was wearing a grey or black uniform, if memory serves.

BTW, "Strangelove" was filmed in England by Kubrick, who lived most of his life there. Hollywood had very little control over any Kubrick film.

None of which matters an iota in comparison to the fact that Teller is one of the legendary heroes of the 20th century.

21 posted on 10/21/2001 8:49:58 PM PDT by longshadow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: longshadow
Actually, it was reputedly based loosely on Henry Kissinger, not Teller.

Not possible. Dr. Strangelove was created before the Nixon administration in 1964.

Kissinger did not have a role in government until the Nixon appointed him National Security advisor in 1969.

22 posted on 10/21/2001 8:58:49 PM PDT by Nogbad
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Nogbad; longshadow
"My name is not Strangelove . I don't know about Strangelove," he flares. "I'm not interested in Strangelove. What else can I say?" A few moments later, as I pursue the question, he warns: "Look. Say it [Strangelove] three times more, and I throw you out of this office."
Scientific American's Very Leftwing Interview of Teller.
23 posted on 10/22/2001 4:16:01 AM PDT by PatrickHenry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: sruleoflaw
If you and Incorrigible are so up to speed,

Hey!!!! Don't lump me in with criticism of Dr. Teller! I have no problem at all with him! I admire Dr. Teller and that's why I posted this.

After a long career of taking names and kicking atoms, I thought he was humble in this interview on how he and a few others played such key roles in both science and policy in preserving freedom for Americans. On top of that, in such a short interview he sliced and diced peaceniks, nay-sayers, bogus treaties and Beelzabubba!

What's not to like?? :-)

24 posted on 10/22/2001 7:06:40 AM PDT by Incorrigible
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Nogbad
Not possible. Dr. Strangelove was created before the Nixon administration in 1964.

Kissinger did not have a role in government until the Nixon appointed him National Security advisor in 1969.

He may not have had a role in government at the time the movie was made, but he certainly had a reputation as an international policy wonk among people in government for some time prior to his becoming NS advisor. It's not like Nixon found him working as a convenience store clerk and promoted him to National Security Advisor. Kissinger had a "behind-the-scenes" influence on American foreign policy for many years, and would have been known to the screen writers of "Strangelove" in the early sixties.

While it is possible that the character of Strangelove could well be someone else other than Kissinger, it is a stretch to claim that he is Teller, who isn't German, and who was here in the US working on the Atomic Bomb during WWII, not in Berlin giving der Führer fascist salutes.

25 posted on 10/22/2001 9:56:20 AM PDT by longshadow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
"Look. Say it [Strangelove] three times more, and I throw you out of this office."

And well he should have....

I suspect what we are witnessing is the post hoc hijacking of the Strangelove character by the left-wing apologetics who always dispised Teller's contribution to the Hydrogen bomb development and his role in Oppenheimer's loss of career and security clearance. Oppenheimer was, and still is the darling of the pinko-left in America, and they've never forgiven Teller for simply rendering his testimony that Oppenheimer tried to suppress development of the Hydrogen bomb, a testimony that was never refuted by any other witness, as far as I know.

When "Strangelove" came out in the early '60's, it provided the left-wing wackos a fresh insult with which to abuse Teller, and the further away from that moment we get, the easier it is for poorly educated goons to believe the fabrication that "Strangelove" was based on Teller.

I'll be happy to modify my take on this as soon as someone produces a contemporaneous quote from Kubrick or Terry Southern stating that "Strangelove" was inspired by Teller. Short of that, I must dismiss the linkage of Teller with Strangelove as so much vicious leftist retribution against those who failed to genuflect to either of their two great left-wing cause celebres of the Cold War: Alger Hiss and Robert Oppenheimer.

26 posted on 10/22/2001 10:24:26 AM PDT by longshadow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: longshadow
While it is possible that the character of Strangelove could well be someone else other than Kissinger, it is a stretch to claim that he is Teller, who isn't German, and who was here in the US working on the Atomic Bomb during WWII, not in Berlin giving der Führer fascist salutes.

A Commentary on Dr. Strangelove .

The case for Kissinger: he's German by birth, and the accent is very similar, which seems to be the main reason for linking Kissinger with Strangelove. Kissinger's subsequent career -- which journalist Christopher Hitchens compared to the pathology of a serial killer -- certainly matches Strangelove's ruthlessness. (Suggested reading: Seymour Hersh's The Price Of Power.) And given Kissinger's minor prominence and Kubrick's thorough research, one could argue it's likely that Kubrick thought of Kissinger.

The case against Kissinger: In my opinion he was far too obscure a figure to be "parodied." One would want to parody a widely-known personage, and at the time, Kissinger was one of many theorists of the unthinkable.

The second favorite is clearly Werner von Braun, the former Nazi rocket scientist who quickly turned his services (and those of his underlings) to the U.S. after the war. In the Cold War, von Braun's expertise in rocketry was more important to the U.S. than prosecuting him for administrating slave labor at Peenemunde and Nordhausen. His books were written with a view to the future (I Aim For The Stars), but it was a theme in humor at the time to note Von Braun's earlier work (cf. Tom Lehrer's song about him, Mort Sahl's subtitle to his book ". . . but Sometimes I Hit London.")

The case for Von Braun: He was famous. He was German. He had been a faithful Nazi. He promoted a self-image of coldly rational theorization of pragmatic scientific realities, untempered by such human issues as compassion, morals, or values.

The case against Von Braun: Very little, apart from the fact that he wasn't a nuclear scientist, nor a theorist of nuclear deterrence.

A third runner-up is Edward Teller, the Hungarian physicist who worked on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, and whose theoretical work was instrumental in developing the H-bomb. Teller was also willing to denounce Robert Oppenheimer as a security risk, thus ensuring his reputation among liberals as a scoundrel. He was also the man who convinced Ronald Reagan that the Strategic Defense Initiative was a workable concept. Even historian William Manchester, in the Oppenheimer passages in The Glory And The Dream, said that, eventually, Teller would be savagely parodied as Dr. Strangelove.

The case for Teller; His role in the Oppenheimer affair. His promotion of the development of the H-bomb. His continued role in promoting nuclear weapons development (he was the head of Lawrence Livermore labs for many years). He had a foreign accent that, to an untrained ear, might sound German.

The case against Teller; Teller was Hungarian, and fled the Nazis they overran his country.


27 posted on 10/22/2001 10:45:13 AM PDT by PatrickHenry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
Excellent synopsis.

The one point I suspect we may be overlooking is that "Strangelove" may not be a parody of any one particular person, but just a hypothetical character, inspired by an entire range of post-WWII Germans who became prominent Cold Warriors.

Having created the fictitious "Strangelove," it was axiomatic that an endless list would be compiled post hoc as "candidates" who inspired "Strangelove." It is equally axiomatic that the left-wing would promote, post hoc, it's most hated Cold Warriors of foreign origin to the head of the list of candidates, and thus it is of little wonder that Teller, von Braun, and Kissinger are often touted as the subject of the the probably non-existent "Strangelove" parody.

28 posted on 10/22/2001 11:02:38 AM PDT by longshadow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: chimera
I got to meet Dr. Teller although there were so many others there that I only got a chance to say hello.

If Dr. Teller is not an absolute genius then, he is a genius of an actor. The most imposing presence I have ever been around.

29 posted on 10/22/2001 11:18:26 AM PDT by yarddog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
Another site has yet another candidate, and then promotes my hypothesis that "Strangelove" was an amalgam of several different Cold Warriors, i.e., a purely hypothetical character, though based in part on several different real people.

"I think the best case can be made that Herman Kahn was the best source for Strangelove. Kahn was one of the earliest employees at the RAND corporation, which had been set by by Gen. "Hap" Arnold to study nuclear war. According to THE WIZARDS OF ARMAGEDDON by Fred Kaplan, Kahn was notable for developing the linguistic trick of referring to potential casualties with the "only" word, as in "only two million kiled." "Alluding almost casually to 'only' two million dead was part of the image Kahn was fashioning himself, the living portrait of the ultimate defense intellectual, cool and fearless, asking the questions everyone else ignored, thinking about the unthinkable." Indeed, his book ON THERMONUCLEAR WAR (1960), SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN reviewed it as "a moral tract on mass murder; how to plan it, how to commit it, how to get away with it, how to justify it."

The case FOR Kahn: Dr. Strangelove himself refers to a study he commissioned from the "Bland Corporation," a clear play on Kahn's old haunts. The similarity to Kahn's own ideas in Strangelove's pronouncements -- including the mine-shaft and ten-females-to-each-male stuff -- is uncannily similar to Kahn's brand of futurism. And since Kahn was the most famous nuclear war theorist at the time, Kubrick must have been thinking of his work.

The case AGAINST Kahn: Kahn, despite his name, was American-born, and was never a Nazi. Kahn was once asked about STRANGELOVE, and his reply was: "Dr. Strangelove would not have lasted three weeks at the Pentagon.. he was too creative."

My Best Guess is that Kubrick wanted to satirize the works of nuclear intellectuals such as Herman Kahn. Kahn was clearly the most famous, though it is not inconceivable that Kubrick was aware of Kissinger's work in the field. In order to give an extra spin on the ultrarational, "pragmatic" pose, Kubrick added allusions to Von Braun's Nazi past. The wheelchair and the physical infirmities were added to give Strangelove a bizarre, grotesque appearance. But personally, I believe that Herman Kahn was the single greatest influence on the creation of Dr. Strangelove."

Source Link

30 posted on 10/22/2001 11:31:25 AM PDT by longshadow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: sheik yerbouty
I heard Teller give an essentially political speech at a DOD laboratory in 1992. He strongly endorsed George Bush, Sr. for his defense policies to an audience that was almost entirely government workers plus a few contractors like myself. LOL - no concern for the Hatch Act! He carried a long staff which reminded one of Moses. A great asset to this country!
31 posted on 10/22/2001 11:57:43 AM PDT by Rushian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-31 last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson