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Quotes for
Groeteschele (Character)
from Fail-Safe (1964)

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Fail-Safe (1964)
Prof. Groeteschele: [viciously slapping a beautiful young woman who has tried to seduce him after a cocktail party] I'm not your kind.

Prof. Groeteschele: [after recommending an unprovoked attack by the U.S. on Moscow] And the Lord said, gentlemen, "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone."

Defense Secretary Swenson: General Stark, are there any papers or documents in New York which are absolutely essential to the running of the United States? General Stark?
Gen. Stark: No sir. There are important documents, but none of them absolutely essential.
Admiral Wilcox: Will there be any warning given? A lot of lives could be saved if people had a few minutes.
Defense Secretary Swenson: On this short notice, an alert to a big city would do more harm than good. It only produces panic.
Admiral Wilcox: What about this?
[Wilcox tosses a newspaper onto the table, showing the First Lady in NYC, prominently featured on the main page. Swenson sees it, then gives the paper to General Stark]
Gen. Stark: Maybe... maybe he doesn't know his wife is there.
Defense Secretary Swenson: [shaking his head] He knows.
[Groeteschele finishes writing something onto some paper]
Prof. Groeteschele: Gentlemen, we are wasting time.
Prof. Groeteschele: [walking to the podium] I've been making a few rough calculations based on the effect of two twenty megaton bombs dropped on New York City in the middle of a normal workday. I estimate the immediate dead at about three million. I include in that figure those buried beneath the collapsed buildings. It would make no difference, Admiral Wilcox, whether they reached a shelter or not. They would die just the same. Add another million or two who will die within about five weeks. Now our immediate problem will be the joint one of fire control and excavation. Excavation not of the dead, the effort would be wasted there. But even though there are no irreplaceable government documents in the city, many of our largest corporations keep their records there. It will be necessary to... rescue as many of those records as we can. Our economy depends on this.
Prof. Groeteschele: [walking disgustedly back to his seat before noisily opening and closing his briefcase] Our economy depends on this.
[after closing briefcase]
Prof. Groeteschele: And the Lord said, gentlemen, "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone."

Defense Secretary Swenson: The President says he may have to order our fighters to shoot down Group Six. He wants our opinion.
Prof. Groeteschele: I oppose it, sir, on the grounds that it's premature. Our planes have not yet reached Soviet territory, they're still hundreds of miles away.
Brigadier General Warren A. Black: We've got to do it, and fast! Right now before it's too late!
Gen. Stark: It might be too late anyway. Those fighters swung away from the bombers when they got the all-clear signal, they've been flying in opposite directions.

Prof. Groeteschele: In my opinion they will take no action at all.
Gen. Stark: They're not going to just sit there, Professor
Prof. Groeteschele: I think if our bombers get through the Russians will surrender.
Gen. Bogan: Who's this professor, Mr. Secretary? What's he doing there?
Defense Secretary Swenson: Professor Groeteschele is a civilian advisor to the Pentagon, General. Will you explain your statement, Professor?
Prof. Groeteschele: The Russian aim is to dominate the world. They think that Communism must succeed eventually if the Soviet Union is left reasonably intact. They know that a war would leave the Soviet Union utterly destroyed. Therefore, they would surrender.
Gen. Stark: But suppose they feel they can knock us off first?
Prof. Groeteschele: They know we might have a doomsday system, missiles that would go into action days, even weeks after a war is over and destroy an enemy even after that enemy has already destroyed us.
Brigadier General Warren A. Black: Maybe they'll think that even capitalists aren't that insane, to want to kill after they themselves have been killed.
Prof. Groeteschele: These are Marxist fanatics, not normal people. They do not reason they way you reason, General Black. They're not motivated by human emotions such as rage and pity. They are calculating machines. They will look at the balance sheet, and they will see they cannot win.
Defense Secretary Swenson: Then you suggest doing what?
Prof. Groeteschele: [leans forward] Nothing.
Defense Secretary Swenson: Nothing?
Prof. Groeteschele: The Russians will surrender, and the threat of Communism will be over, forever.
Gen. Bogan: That's a lot of hogwash. Don't kid yourself, there'll be Russian generals who will react just as I would - the best defense is a good offense. They see trouble coming up, take my word for it, they'll attack, and they won't give a damn what Marx said.
Prof. Groeteschele: Mr. Secretary, I am convinced that the moment the Russians know bombs will fall on Moscow, they will surrender. They know that whatever they do then, they cannot escape destruction. Don't you see, sir, this our chance. We never would have made the first move deliberately, but Group 6 has made it for us, by accident. We must take advantage of it - history demands it. We must advise the President not to recall those planes.

Prof. Groeteschele: Excuse me. Every minute we wait works against us. Now, Mr. Secretary, now is when we must send in a first strike.
Gen. Stark: We don't go in for sneak attacks. We had that done to us at Pearl Harbor.
Prof. Groeteschele: And the Japanese were right to do it. From their point of view, we were their mortal enemy. As long as we existed, we were a deadly threat to them. Their only mistake was that they failed to finish us at the start, and they paid for that mistake at Hiroshima.
Gen. Stark: You're talking about a different kind of war.
Prof. Groeteschele: Exactly. This time, *we* can finish what *we* start. And if we act now, right now, our casualties will be minimal.
Brigadier General Warren A. Black: You know what you're saying?
Prof. Groeteschele: Do you believe that Communism is not our mortal enemy?
Brigadier General Warren A. Black: You're justifying murder.
Prof. Groeteschele: Yes, to keep from being murdered.
Brigadier General Warren A. Black: In the name of what? To preserve what? Even if we do survive, what are we? Better than what we say they are? What gives us the right to live, then? What makes us worth surviving, Groeteschele? That we are ruthless enough to strike first?
Prof. Groeteschele: Yes! Those who can survive are the only ones worth surviving.
Brigadier General Warren A. Black: Fighting for your life isn't the same as murder.
Prof. Groeteschele: Where do you draw the line once you know what the enemy is? How long would the Nazis have kept it up, General, if every Jew they came after had met them with a gun in his hand? But I learned from them, General Black. Oh, I learned.
Brigadier General Warren A. Black: You learned too well, Professor. You learned so well that now there's no difference between you and what you want to kill.


Fail Safe (2000) (TV)
Prof. Groeteschele: In every war, even a thermonuclear war, you must have a victor and you must have a vanquished. History tells us that the culture which is best prepared, has the best retaliatory policy, and the best defense, will have an ancient and classical advantage.
Brig. Gen. Warren Black: To be victorious...
Prof. Groeteschele: Yes, General. It would be the victor, in that it would be less damaged than its enemy.
Gen. Stark: *We* would be the victor.
Prof. Groeteschele: That would be our hope, General.
Brig. Gen. Warren Black: Groeteschele, your argument doesn't recognize that thermonuclear war is not the extension of policy, it is the end of everything: People, policy, institutions...
Prof. Groeteschele: My argument, General Black, is that if only one of us is to survive a nuclear exchange, I prefer that it be our culture and not the Soviets'. Wouldn't you?
Brig. Gen. Warren Black: Culture? With most of its people dead? It's vegetation burned off? Do you really think that the world you describe *is* a culture? The idea of war has changed since the advent of the Bomb.
Gen. Stark: Yes, but war's function remains the same, Blackie. Whether it's a spear thrown, or a nuclear bomb.
Prof. Groeteschele: War is still the resolution of economic and political conflict.
Brig. Gen. Warren Black: In these times, in any possible war, the overwhelming majority of citizens are going to be killed. Does this still suggest to you that war is a resolution of conflicts?
Prof. Groeteschele: Yes, General, the situation is no different then it was a thousand years ago. There were primitive wars in which entire populations were completely wiped out. The point remains: Who will be the victor, and who will be the victim? So short of disarmament, for which you seem to be arguing, and to which I highly doubt the Soviets would agree, what shall we do? These weapons exist. We can face that, or we can close our minds to it.
Brig. Gen. Warren Black: Groteschele, this world is no longer man's theater. Man has been made into a spectator. We define policy by discussing the possibility of a winnable nuclear exchange. Once one knows where he wants to go, he can collect a great amount of logic and fact to support his argument. My fear is that both we and the Soviets are settled on mutual destruction. We are now rallying our different logics to support our identical conclusions. And if we are not careful, gentlemen, we will both get the results that we want.

Gordon Knapp: If you pile all these electronic systems one on top of the other, sooner or later you're going to get a faulty transistor or a damaged rectifier, and then the whole thing just shuts down. Even computers suffer fatigue. They become erratic, they break down, just like overworked people.
Prof. Groeteschele: Excuse me, but you're overlooking one important factor: Humans control those machines. Humans can see an error and correct it.
Gordon Knapp: I'm sorry, sir, but you are misinformed. The fact of the matter is that these machines are so complex, and the mistakes they make are so subtle, that in a real war situation, you might not know whether the computer was in error, or telling you the truth.

Prof. Groeteschele: Excuse me, sir. Every minute we wait works against us. The President has to send in a full strike. He *has* to. There's nothing else that he can do, sir. Now! Now is the time, before the Russians are on full alert.
Defense Secretary Swenson: We don't go in for sneak attacks, Mr. Groteschele. That's what the Japanese did at Pearl Harbor.
Prof. Groeteschele: The Japanese, sir, were right to do that. From their point of view, we were their mortal enemy. As long as we existed, we were a deadly threat to them. Do you not... does any one here not believe that communism is our mortal enemy? The enemy of capitalism? Sir, the only mistake the Japanese made... they failed to finish us off at the start. They paid for that mistake with Hiroshima. We're in the process of making the same mistake, gentlemen. You can't erase history, but you can learn from it.
Brig. Gen. Warren Black: You've learned so well, Groteschele, there's no difference between you, and what you want to kill. Destroy Russia? For what? To preserve what?
Prof. Groeteschele: Democracy, General! We have here a God-given opportunity.
Brig. Gen. Warren Black: To kill?
Prof. Groeteschele: Why are you in the military, if not to kill?