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The #Zeitgeist of #StarWars: #Art, #ICBM Counter-Measures, and the Strategic Defense Initiative

posted May 22, 2014, 12:41 PM by Peter Joseph Moons   [ updated May 22, 2014, 7:50 PM ]

The Zeitgeist of Star Wars:

Art, ICBM Counter-Measures, and the Strategic Defense Initiative


By Peter Moons


Towards the end of the 1970’s, the US was in the middle of what was rightly called a ‘malaise’ -- a word bestowed on the era by then President Jimmy Carter.  Oil prices were higher than at the start of the decade, which subsequently impacted multiple sectors of the US economy; the mood of the country was down.  There was one upbeat time, though, thanks to the entertainment industry in Hollywood.  In 1977, Lucasfilm and Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation released the motion picture Star Wars.[i]  This fantasy tale of good against evil set against the backdrop of space ships and light speed travel featured dazzling light-energy weapons.  A few years after this film, the US Department of Defense began to look at the feasibility of weapon systems that could use directed energy resulting from nuclear explosions,[ii] a potential technological breakthrough.  In a major speech in 1983, the next US President, Ronald Reagan, sought a new program to develop those potential weapons as a countermeasure to any missiles threatening the country; critics labeled his proposal ‘Star Wars’ for its fantasy-like solution.  Thus, in following G.W.F. Hegel’s concept of a zeitgeist, the ‘common spirit as a way of seeing’[iii] events, the theme of ‘Star Wars’ fit Reagan’s theoretical plan to put counter-missile, laser-like weapons in space, which matched the public’s impression of space warfare that they had seen in the film.

 

Art

 

The artwork in this zeitgeist became a sensational blockbuster immediately upon release: moviegoers were enthralled.  The principal artist responsible for the film was George Lucas, who both wrote its script and directed.[iv]  The medium for this artwork was initially a theatrical release in the US on 25 May 1977,[v] followed by release on VHS tape and pay television in subsequent years.[vi]  Unlike other zeitgeists where the artist may have created his or her art for the pure enjoyment thereof, Lucas, and his financial backers, made the film with at least some intent for commercial profit. 

 

History has proven the viability of the science fiction/escapist genre and the medium of film for its presentation.  This film, in particular, was described as “heady, escapist stuff,” part “space opera,” part “western.”[vii]  The idea of hero is clearly evident in Star Wars, which closely follows the highpoints of “monomyth” as described by Joseph Campbell in his masterful work, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, with its challenges, triumphs, and “superheroes.[viii]  The Hegelian dialectic is also present in the film: the thesis is the old republic that previously exists, followed by the antithesis of the tyranny of the Empire, which leads to a synthesis with the victory by the rebels.

 

Star Wars was an epic tale of good guys against bad guys, scrappy “underdog”[ix] fighting an ‘empire,’ with not a small amount of morality in terms of good triumphing over evil.  The conflict between the two sides in the film was really a “momentous collision” in Hegelian terms:[x] two forces locked in an existential struggle, which is a dialectic politicians, especially ones in the US, are apt to employ.  The film also had a heavy portrayal of machines of war, particularly by the ‘Empire,’ which was not unlike the art portrayed in the Futurism movement.[xi] 

 

The theme of the good ‘little guy’ fighting, and winning, against a bigger opponent, is an ancient one.  Of the oldest along this theme is that of the biblical story of David versus Goliath, where the mighty fell at the hands of the supposed lesser.  Clearly, the idea of tension, struggle, and overcoming tough odds made this film, like other movies or literary works, worthwhile entertainment.  Likewise, the Rebel Alliance in the film possessed the quality of a “national spirit” in which they were defined as moral and virtuous.[xii]  This theme of overcoming the odds will recur later in this zeitgeist when discussing the reasons Reagan proposed space-based weapons.

 

The weapons in the film certainly gave the viewer the idea of much power and were visibly the same whether they were used by people on the ground or by ships in space: fast moving beams of light that contained dangerous energy that blew things up when they made contact with something.  Perhaps the nearest competitor to these fantastic energy weapons in the minds of moviegoers was from the TV shows Star Trek or the even earlier Buck Rogers.  There certainly was much shooting in the film, though no blood, which left the impression of ‘antiseptic’ warfare: sentient beings died, but at least they were not blown to bits.  There are certainly similarities in the art of Star Wars with its antecedent Dr. Strangelove.[xiii]  For example, the Empire’s Death Star is destroyed in the end of Star Wars just as a nuclear war starts at then end of Strangelove.

 

Technology

 

The second part of this zeitgeist is the technology that Reagan proposed in 1983.  Certainly, the most feared weapon system on earth was a missile flying at thousands of miles per hour.  This threat existed since WWII and even then countermeasures were sought: “Soon after the German launch of the first V-2 ballistic missile against London in September 1944, the American military initiated a research and development programme to create defences against future missile attacks on the United States.”[xiv]  However, research on Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) -- weaponry designed to defeat intercontinental ballistic missiles launched at the US or allies -- would progress slowly owing to the complicated technology involved.

 

For decades, the US’s BMD program consisted of firing missiles at incoming enemy missiles, bidding that a mid-air collision would derail the enemy’s shot.  Still, much damage could be done if either there was such a collision, or if the anti-missile weapon failed to connect with the other.  The Soviets likewise had their own BMD systems, which would thus negate the US’s strategic missile capabilities.  From the mid-1970’s onward, the Soviets were spending billions in treaty-permitted anti-ballistic capabilities and second, there was a “growing vulnerability of land-based US ICBMs [that] made some form of defense attractive.”[xv]  In the same decade, US President Jimmy Carter sought a two-pronged effort concerning nuclear weapons: he simultaneously pursued the SALT II negotiations but continued “the development of new nuclear MX, cruise, Pershing II and Trident D-5 missiles.”[xvi]  The US and the USSR were really in a quickly escalating nuclear weapons and countermeasures procurement race.

 

This decade also saw many other advanced technology projects involving lasers, space-based systems, and detection technologies, which the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) ran.[xvii]  One of the most exotic new technologies involved fusion and lasers, coming from the major US weapons science center, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.[xviii]  Of particular interest to strategic defense were weapons programs that incorporated lasers.  One was “the Inertial Confinement Fusion program [that] was formed in 1972 to demonstrate laser fusion in the laboratory and to develop laser science and technology for both defense and civilian applications.”[xix]  Another was system of space-based platforms “called a ‘battle station’ the very term used in Star Wars;”[xx] essentially, these were “space stations…equipped with laser weapons able to shoot down missiles launched against the US.”[xxi]

 

One scientist in particular, the famous Edward Teller,[xxii] was a catalyst behind much of the BMD research.  As the inventor/designer of the hydrogen bomb, Teller was in a unique, commanding position in the scientific community and his reputation carried much gravitas for those in non-scientific fields.  Teller and a group of scientists at Lawrence Livermore created a concept called “Smart Rocks [which] involved deploying thousands of tiny rocket-propelled canisters in orbit, each capable of ramming itself into an incoming ballistic missile.[xxiii]  Eventually, Teller presented President Reagan an overview of the capabilities of the new technologies in 1982,[xxiv] likely including discussion of nuclear-powered, space-based lasers.[xxv]  This overview also included a description of “a robust constellation of Smart Rocks interceptors would provide a strong defense against nuclear attack.”[xxvi]  This discussion would prove seminal in influencing a policy shift in the US Government.

 

Not long after in 1979, then presidential candidate Ronald Reagan[xxvii] visited the North American Air Defense Command.  There, he learned of the US’s inability to respond effectively to any missile attack by the Soviet Union on the US homeland,[xxviii] except by the strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction.  Reagan would eventually propose employing space-based weapons because he realized that the US was ‘defenseless’ against Soviet missiles; Mutually Assured Destruction was the only response option available to the Commander-in-Chief.[xxix]  Of course, the idea of having to launch many nuclear missiles in a retaliatory strike meant wide-scale catastrophe, with no hope of ‘winning.’  Instead, Reagan chose the “moral, virtuous, strong”[xxx] response, emblematic of his vision of America, especially the idealized version he favored.

 

This fact, combined with proposals to freeze nuclear weapon levels in Europe in the early 1980’s, which would have disadvantaged the US comparatively,[xxxi] along with Reagan’s perceived immorality of the US strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction, led Reagan to seek alternative means to safeguard America against the US’s Cold War enemy, the communist USSR.  At the same time, the nuclear freeze movement was gaining steam: “the success of freeze proposals in several state referenda” along with “basing” issues of the new “MX” missile spelled trouble for the Reagan Administration’s missile build-up plans.[xxxii]  Because Reagan “could not find an acceptable basing mode for the new MX intercontinental missiles, meant to guarantee retaliation after a Soviet attack,”[xxxiii] he was on the look-out for alternative defensive measures.

 

            Besides Teller and the lab at Lawrence Livermore, another organization was instrumental in the process of influencing the President: The High Frontier Organization,[xxxiv] which was allied with “the conservative Heritage Foundation.”[xxxv] Led by “retired Army Lt. Gen. Daniel O. Graham, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency” the High Frontier Organization “called for battle stations in space, launching kinetic weapons that would destroy their targets by collision.”[xxxvi]  Graham, soon joined by Teller, proposed a system of “orbiting ‘space trucks,’ each with 50 miniature homing devices to intercept ballistic missiles in the post-boost phase.”[xxxvii]

 

Soon “High Frontier made two presentations to Reagan,”[xxxviii] meaning that Reagan was hearing from both Teller and from High Frontier of possible alternatives to Mutually Assured Destruction.  The future hope for US strategic defense came in the concept of defeating enemy missiles early in flight, rather than destroying them at the last moment or retaliating in strength.  Eventually, Reagan’s dream for this new technology was forthright: “to engage and destroy a ballistic missile while it is in stage 1 or stage 2 flight.”[xxxix]  Anti-ballistic systems such as land- or sea-based types, what the US then had in place, were designed to engage missiles upon their descent and are notoriously hard to hit.[xl]  As shown by his forthcoming policy proposal, Reagan had incorporated all these new technology concepts, thus completing the second phase of this zeitgeist, which can also be known as the ‘cause’ for which the President’s policy became the ‘effect.’

 

Policy

 

“What if free people could live secure in the knowledge that their security did not rest upon the threat of instant U.S. retaliation to deter a Soviet attack, that we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our own soil or that of our allies?”

-- Ronald Reagan, March 23, 1983[xli]

 

            The philosophical or political idea of this zeitgeist came from two speeches Reagan gave in March 1983.  The first speech was to the National Association of Evangelicals followed by his Address to the Nation on Defense and National Security.  Of course, Reagan himself was the political author but several persons involved in the speeches can be considered the intellectual authors.  These were Dr. Teller[xlii] and General Graham, by then a Presidential Advisor.[xliii]

 

On March 8, 1983, then-President Reagan gave a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida, wherein he referred to communism as “the focus of evil in the modern world,”[xliv] and the USSR as an “evil empire.”[xlv]  This address “quickly became known as his ‘Evil Empire Speech’” and occurred at a time of debate about a “nuclear freeze,” which the USSR supported and “would have prevented the deployment of U.S. cruise and Pershing II Missiles in Europe.”[xlvi] 

 

Soon thereafter, on March 23, 1983, in his Address to the Nation on Defense and National Security, Reagan proposed using “new technologies” to defend the US and allied nations as well as asking Congress for the funds to conduct the research.[xlvii]  The portion about the new technology was only a small part of the speech but turned out to be the highlight: “the “insert was drafted by Robert C. McFarlane, the deputy national security advisor, with science advisor [George] Keyworth looking over his shoulder.  Reagan reworked the draft in his own handwriting.”[xlviii]  The support from the American people Reagan had desired from this Address did not materialize, though, owing to comments from one of his harshest critics in the US Congress.

 

The next day Reagan critic Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) labeled the speech “misleading Red Scare tactics and reckless ‘Star Wars’ schemes.”[xlix]  So even before a title could be given to Reagan’s new defense concept, the label ‘Star Wars’ was stuck to the idea that later officially became the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI),[l] and remains so today.  The President “re-defined American defence strategy, offering hope for a non-nuclear future” through the employment of space-based defensive weapons instead of launching retaliatory nuclear missiles.[li]  Clearly, Reagan was concerned about the Hegelian aspect of “preservation of a people, a state, of the well-ordered spheres of life.”[lii]  Interestingly, just as the Star Wars film “was very much on Reagan’s mind throughout the month of March,”[liii] in the US at the time of the speech, “‘Star Wars’ was on everybody's mind.”[liv]  Thus, the connection between the proposal in Reagan’s address and the film was inescapable.

 

Figure One is an image of President Reagan during his Address to the Nation on March 23, 1983, where he introduced what would become the SDI.[lv]

 

Figure One

 

The zeitgeist of Star Wars was about antiseptic, space-based, laser-like weapon systems that provide pinpoint accuracy to destroy missiles fired by the USSR.  The zeitgeist is about weapons that are extraterritorial, operate with impunity, are beyond international control and are emblematic, perhaps, of a country trying to prevent the Hegelian “slaughter-bench”[lvi] from reaching its shores.  In contrast, Star Wars offered a version of warfare that was clean; indeed, this is emblematic of “The Romance of Technology,” through which presidents and militaries, dictators and rebels, seek to defeat their foes.[lvii]

 

This zeitgeist captures ‘a common way of seeing the world’ through the art of the film Star Wars, the technology of new weapons designed to shoot down Soviet missiles in flight, and the philosophy of President Reagan who saw the USSR’s political structure and expansionism as a threat, even a moral and religious challenge, to freedom.  The structure of the zeitgeist comes full circle when the comparison of the Evil Empire of the USSR is made to that of the Empire in the film, which was ground-breaking in its portrayal of a battle in outer space with futuristic, laser-like weapons.  In the public’s mind, those weapons were similar to what Reagan proposed with his SDI.

 

The three factors that created the zeitgeist fit well together.  The movie Star Wars provided the visual imagery that set the stage in the public’s mind for laser battles in space.  Next, the nascent technology provided the government with a way to defend the nation strategically without relying solely on nuclear weapons, and which just so happened to be not far afield from what the film envisioned.  Next, Reagan’s speech made the policy statement about a change in strategy, which needed Congressional funding to come to fruition.  Sen. Ted Kennedy's lambasted Reagan's speech as “reckless Star Wars schemes”[lviii] and the media took off with that linkage, the zeitgeist launched, so to speak.  Here the cause was Kennedy’s political criticism and the effect was the connection in the public’s mind between the film, the prospective technology, and Reagan’s proposal.

 

This was a great political and rhetorical trick on the part of Kennedy.  His comment immediately denigrated this lofty concept of strategic defense by high-tech weapons through the association of the fictional movie.  Moreover, the movie had good guys, bad guys, space–age weapons, and of course, a happy ending.  Thus, connecting the policy proposal “with the film really did make it appear implausible.”[lix]  So not only was Reagan’s defense concept scoffed, history has shown that SDI would never be unbound from its connection to the film and the fantasy of laser battles in space.

 

Like any other zeitgeist, a dreamer comes up with the idea and plants the seed for future development.  This can be Galileo, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, or Steve Jobs.  All of these people overcame the doubters, and created some great idea; some ran their idea until completion while some merely inspired others.  Reagan’s SDI initiative has in fact been “compared to President Kennedy’s proposal in May 1961 to put a man on the moon.”[lx] The concepts that both presidents fostered live on in evolutionary forms: Man has put machines on the surface of Mars and advanced technology anti-missile weapons guard the US from land and sea.  For the technology of SDI, the dreamers were Reagan, Dr. Teller, General Graham, and a few like-minded scientists and policy planners.

 

At some point Reagan may have confused the special effects of the movie with the concepts for future weapon systems that he was hearing.  Thus, Reagan may have projected the effects in the film into the defense weapon systems he foresaw as the future of the US’s strategic deterrence.  Whatever the case, the discussions between Reagan, Teller, Graham, et alia on the technology could not have come at a more propitious time, since Reagan was already looking for a replacement for the Mutually Assured Destruction strategy.  Reagan’s policy would be to show real and potential enemies that no matter how many missiles were launched at the US, space-based weapons would defend the nation.

 

While the impetus for Reagan’s policy statement -- requesting money from Congress for weapons research -- meant a potentially bigger defense budget, in reality many technology and defense companies across the country would benefit from the windfall in funding.[lxi]  Not long after, protests on the campuses of research universities in the US began with the goal of stopping schools from conducting SDI-related research; however, university administrators knew research grants were very beneficial.[lxii]  The money involved was not insubstantial: SDI was costing the US Government “$2-4 billion annually” in the early 1990’s.[lxiii]

 

Reaction

 

The Star Wars aspect to Reagan’s initiative certainly received much ridicule and there were many characterizations of the new policy as simply silly.  The medium of political cartoons in print newspapers saw many such caricatures.  Figure Two shows a political cartoon from the San Diego Union drawn by S. Kelley in 1983 depicting Reagan’s speech of March 23, 1983.  Surrounded by characters from Star Wars and E.T., Reagan says, “and we’ve assembled a crack team of experts to advise us on the project…”[lxiv] Figure Three, from 1983, is a political cartoon drawn by Orlando Sentinel cartoonist Dana Summers that portrays Reagan in the Oval Office introducing a new weapons designer, Yoda, the sage from Star Wars.[lxv]  Finally, Figure Four, another political cartoon from The Atlanta Constitution drawn by Marlette in 1988, shows a befuddled-looking Reagan as the “Star Commander-in-Chief, while a stern Nancy Reagan stands rigid by his side; both are wearing futuristic space outfits.[lxvi]  This portrayal shows the progression of the Star Wars theme for the presidency as Reagan is no longer bringing in space characters to work on his team, but he himself has become one.

 



Figure Two

 


Figure Three



Figure Four


            The legacy of two of the elements of this zeitgeist continues to live.  While the original film made a fortune,[lxvii] the enterprise of Star Wars grows ever stronger and has branched into video games, cartoons, Halloween costumes, action figures, Lego toys, and even tattoos of characters from the films.  Star Wars has become more than a component of a zeitgeist, but a lifestyle, providing the joie de vivre for many fans.  In fact, of the three components of art, technology, and policy, the film and its subsidiaries will outlast the other two in the minds and memories of most people.

 

For the technology, SDI evolved with the development of exotic, technologically advanced weapon systems.  Eventually, the concept of Smart Rocks became known as Brilliant Pebbles.[lxviii]  This program, though, envisioned “4000 armed satellites” surrounding the earth and capable of launching “watermelon-size pieces of tungsten” at incoming enemy missiles.[lxix]  With cost as a consideration, as well as the recent collapse of the Soviet Union, the Clinton Administration ended the program in 1993. [lxx]  Other off-shoots of SDI are still around, though.  The US Navy soon intends to field a ship-borne Laser Weapon System (LaWS), operated by “a video game-like controller…[that can] manage the laser’s power to accomplish a range of effects against a threat, from disabling to complete destruction.”[lxxi]  Reagan would have been proud.

 

Conclusion

 

In summary, this zeitgeist captures ‘a common way of seeing the world.’  This zeitgeist combines the art of the film Star Wars, the technology of new weapons designed to shoot down Soviet missiles in flight, and the philosophy of President Reagan who saw the USSR’s political structure and expansionism as a threat, even a moral and religious challenge, to freedom.  The film, the anticipated technology, and Reagan’s speech were seen as a “convergence of politics and science fiction, reality and fantasy”[lxxii] by many in the US and abroad.  The structure of the zeitgeist comes full circle when the comparison of the ‘Evil Empire’ of the USSR is made to that of the Empire in the film, which was ground-breaking in its portrayal of a battle in outer space with futuristic, laser-like weapons.  In the public’s mind, those weapons were similar to what Reagan proposed with his SDI.  Although Reagan’s critics lambasted SDI and attempted to heap ridicule by conflating the concept with the fantasy film, some observers claimed “the association of Reagan’s SDI and Star Wars worked in its favor.”[lxxiii]


 

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[i] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/companycredits?ref_=tt_dt_co

[ii] http://www.thereaganfiles.com/sdi.html

[iii] Professor Jim Hersh’s comments in HUM 620.

[iv] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/

[v] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/releaseinfo?ref_=tt_dt_dt

[vi] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/companycredits?ref_=tt_dt_co

[vii] Andrew Gordon, “Star Wars: A Myth for Our Time.” Literature Film Quarterly. Fall 78, Vol. 6 Issue 4, 316 and 318.

[viii] Ibid., 318-335.

[ix] Peter Kramer, “Fighting the Evil Empire: Star Wars, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the Politics of Science Fiction,” Douglas Brode, and Leah Deyneka, Sex, Politics, and Religion in Star Wars: An Anthology, (Lanham, MD.: Scarecrow Press, July 2, 2012), 71.

[x] G.W.F. Hegel, Reason in History, Robert S. Hartman, trans., (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997), 39.

[xi] Mary Warner Marien and William Fleming, Flemings’ Arts & Ideas, (Belmont, CA: Clark Baxter, 2005), 566.

[xii] Hegel, 79.

[xiii] Nick Desloge, “Star Wars, An Exhibition in Cold War Politics”, Brode, Douglas, and Leah Deyneka, Sex, Politics, and Religion in Star Wars: An Anthology, (Lanham, MD.: Scarecrow Press, July 2, 2012), 58.

[xiv] Peter Kramer, “Ronald Reagan and Star Wars,” History Today, Volume: 49 Issue: 3 1999.  http://www.historytoday.com/peter-kramer/ronald-reagan-and-star-wars

[xv] Andrew E. Busch, “Ronald Reagan and the Politics of Freedom.” (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, Jan 1, 2001), 199.

[xvi] David S. Meyer,Star Wars, Star Wars, and American Political Culture.” Journal of Popular Culture. Fall 92, Vol. 26 Issue 2, 100.

[xvii] John Markoff, “The Air Force Eyes a Star War,” Nation, 1/7/1978, Vol. 226 Issue 1, 17.

[xviii] http://martinfrost.ws/htmlfiles/aug2006/starwars1.html “The initial focus of the strategic defense initiative was a nuclear explosion powered X-ray laser designed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory by a scientist named Peter Hagelstein who worked with a team called O Group, doing much of the work in the late 1970s and early 1980s. O Group was headed by physicist Lowell Wood, a protégé and friend of Edward Teller, the ‘father of the hydrogen bomb.’”

[xix] Katie Walter, “Adapting to a Changing Weapons Program,” Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, https://www.llnl.gov/str/January01/Batzel4.html

[xx] Kramer, “Ronald Reagan and Star Wars.” http://www.historytoday.com/peter-kramer/ronald-reagan-and-star-wars “One of the key proposals in the revival of strategic defence in the late 1970s was to set up space stations which were equipped with laser weapons able to shoot down missiles launched against the US. When this weapon system was first proposed in an article in Aviation Week in October 1978, it was called ‘battle station’ the very term used in Star Wars

[xxi] Kramer, “Ronald Reagan and Star Wars.” http://www.historytoday.com/peter-kramer/ronald-reagan-and-star-wars

[xxii] http://www.thereaganfiles.com/sdi.html Reagan and Dr. Teller met on September 14, 1982 and discussed nuclear defense technologies.  Prior to this meeting and thereafter, Dr. Teller communicated with Reagan on emerging technologies in the field of ballistic missile defense.

[xxiii] Missilethreat.com, A Project of the Claremont Institute, http://archive.today/SMn2 “In the early 1980s, scientists Edward Teller, Lowell Wood, and Gregory Canavan began gaming out a new missile defense concept known as “Smart Rocks” at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Smart Rocks involved deploying thousands of tiny rocket-propelled canisters in orbit, each capable of ramming itself into an incoming ballistic missile.”

[xxiv] http://www.thereaganfiles.com/sdi.html Dr. Teller’s presentation to President Reagan was about emerging technology: a weapon that could shoot down an inbound missile.  The author states: “The basic concept involves using the immense energy released in a nuclear explosion to ‘pump’ a laser, thereby directing that energy in a straight line over great distances to strike a target.”

[xxv] http://martinfrost.ws/htmlfiles/aug2006/starwars1.html

[xxvi] Missilethreat.com, A Project of the Claremont Institute, http://archive.today/SMn2

[xxvii] http://www.npr.org/news/specials/obits/reagan/timeline.html Reagan narrowly missed becoming the main GOP candidate in the elections of 1976.

[xxviii] Kramer, “Ronald Reagan and Star Wars.” http://www.historytoday.com/peter-kramer/ronald-reagan-and-star-wars The author states, “Reagan was dismayed when confronted with a screen display of the simulated tracks of nuclear missiles moving towards targets in the US without the American military being able to stop them.”

[xxix] http://www.historytoday.com/peter-kramer/ronald-reagan-and-star-wars

[xxx] Hegel, 90.

[xxxi] http://www.nationalcenter.org/ReaganEvilEmpire1983.html

[xxxii] Kramer, “Fighting the Evil Empire: Star Wars, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the Politics of Science Fiction,” Douglas Brode, and Leah Deyneka, Sex, Politics, and Religion in Star Wars: An Anthology, 67.

[xxxiii] Peter Kramer, “Ronald Reagan and Star Wars,” History Today, Volume: 49 Issue: 3 1999.  http://www.historytoday.com/peter-kramer/ronald-reagan-and-star-wars Reagan “became interested in the development of a missile defence (sic) system, a project that gained some urgency early in his presidency.”

[xxxiv] http://www.thereaganfiles.com/sdi.html

[xxxv] John T. Correll, “They Called It Star Wars,” Air Force Magazine, June 2012, Vol. 95, No. 6 http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2012/June%202012/0612starwars.aspx

[xxxvi] Ibid.

[xxxvii] Ibid.

[xxxviii] Ibid. The presentations were made “[a]t the invitation of Edwin Meese III, counselor to the President, and George A. Keyworth II, White House science advisor and a protégé of Teller’s.”

[xxxix] “Update on the Star Wars Strategic Defense Initiative,” 33 Minutes Missile Defense, The Heritage Foundation, http://www.33-minutes.com/33-minutes/star-wars-strategic-defense-initiative.htm

[xl] Ibid.

[xli] Ronald Reagan, Address to the Nation on Defense and National Security, Oval Office, The White House, Washington, D.C., March 23, 1983. http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1983/32383d.htm

[xlii] http://www.thereaganfiles.com/sdi.html

[xliii] http://highfrontier.org/about/#sthash.SWn28Jga.dpbs

[xliv] http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Evil_empire.html

[xlv] http://www.nationalcenter.org/ReaganEvilEmpire1983.html

[xlvi] Ibid.

[xlvii] http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1983/32383d.htm In the address, Reagan says, “America does possess -- now -- the technologies to attain very significant improvements in the effectiveness of our conventional, nonnuclear forces. Proceeding boldly with these new technologies, we can significantly reduce any incentive that the Soviet Union may have to threaten attack against the United States or its allies.”

[xlviii] Correll, http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2012/June%202012/0612starwars.aspx

[xlix] http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2012/June%202012/0612starwars.aspx

[l] http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/offdocs/nsdd119.htm On January 6, 1984, The White House issued National Security Decision Directive Number 119.  This Directive gave explicit guidance to the Department of Defense stating that “the “SDI will explore technologies which might offer the potential to engage attacking missiles in any of their four phases of flight (boost, post-boost, mid-course, and terminal).”  This concept also helped solidify the ‘Star Wars’-like image of the program in the minds of the public.

[li] Kramer, “Ronald Reagan and Star Wars.” http://www.historytoday.com/peter-kramer/ronald-reagan-and-star-wars

[lii] Hegel, 38.

[liii] Kramer, “Fighting the Evil Empire: Star Wars, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the Politics of Science Fiction,” Douglas Brode, and Leah Deyneka, Sex, Politics, and Religion in Star Wars: An Anthology, 68.

[liv] http://www.historytoday.com/peter-kramer/ronald-reagan-and-star-wars

[lv] http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Documents/2012/June%202012/0612starwars.pdf

[lvi] Hegel, 27.

[lvii] David S. Meyer,Star Wars, Star Wars, and American Political Culture.” Journal of Popular Culture. Fall 92, Vol. 26 Issue 2, 105-106.

[lviii] Correll, http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2012/June%202012/0612starwars.aspx

[lix] Comment by Linda Pastryk, in class discussion, HUM 620.

[lx] Correll, “They Called It Star Wars,” http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2012/June%202012/0612starwars.aspx

[lxi] Jaye Scholl, “The Force Is With Them, Star Wars Defense Will Benefit a Slew of Companies, Barron’s, April 30, 1984, 8-9.

[lxii] Rebecca Slayton, “Discursive Choices: Boycotting Star Wars between Science and Politics,” Social Studies of Science, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Feb., 2007), 38-47 passim.

[lxiii] Meyer.

[lxiv] The President’s UFO Website, http://www.presidentialufo.com/old_site/Reagan_ET_2.gif

[lxv] http://www.presidentialufo.com/old_site/Reagan_ET_1.gif

[lxvi] http://www.presidentialufo.com/old_site/Reagan_Starcommander.gif

[lxvii] Kramer, “Ronald Reagan and Star Wars.” http://www.historytoday.com/peter-kramer/ronald-reagan-and-star-wars “Following its release in May 1977, the original Star Wars movie had quickly become the highest grossing film of all time at the American box office.”

[lxviii] Missilethreat.com, A Project of the Claremont Institute, http://archive.today/SMn2

[lxix] Erik Schechter, “10 Weapons That Never Made It,” Popular Mechanics, http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/weapons/10-weapons-that-never-made-it-6#slide-5

[lxx] Ibid.

[lxxi]Navy’s Star Wars-style laser weapon to be tested in Persian Gulf this summer,” April 10, 2014, http://www.kurzweilai.net/navys-star-wars-style-laser-weapon-to-be-tested-in-persian-gulf-this-summer

[lxxii] Peter Kramer, “Fighting the Evil Empire: Star Wars, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the Politics of Science Fiction,” Douglas Brode, and Leah Deyneka, Sex, Politics, and Religion in Star Wars: An Anthology, 65.

[lxxiii] Ibid., 72, quoting Robert Karl Manhoff, “Modes of War and Modes of Social Address: The Text of SDI,” Journal of Communication 39, no. 1 (Winter 1988): 59-84, esp. 69-70.  Hegel and his students would agree that the film, the technology, and the policy melded well together and are a lasting image of their era.

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