"Godzilla should not be destroyed," says scientist Kyohei Yamanhe in the classic 1954 film. "He should be studied." And how right he was! James Butler, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, argues that a deeper understanding of Japan's 300-foot-tall, ill-tempered celebrity could be crucial to winning future wars.
You're probably a bit skeptical about Butler's "Godzilla Methodology" (yes, that's what he calls it). But, he wouldn't be the first military strategist to briefly put aside his tattered copy of Sun Tzu's Art of War and instead seek inspiration from popular culture. Max Brooks, author of World War Z, has delivered lectures to Department of Defense officials and the Naval War College about the importance of preparedness. Ender's Game is recommended reading for a proposed U.S. Infantry "Leader Development Plan." And Anthony Cordesman, a prominent analyst at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, once wrote a study titled, "Biological Warfare and the 'Buffy Paradigm'."
So, in retrospect, Butler's meta-analysis of Godzilla has been a long time coming. He begins by explaining the basics:
Since Godzilla first terrorized Japan in Ishiro Honda's 1954 film (appropriately titled Godzilla), this monster has wreaked havoc on civilizations throughout the world. As a fictional creature born from the fallout of atomic bomb testing in the Pacific, this giant quasi-dinosaur has gained popularity as both a destructive monster and as a hero, a defender of friends.Godzilla had the power to reach out and destroy antagonist forces and protect friendly forces from harm. For example, as an antagonist, he was depicted sinking ships, downing aircraft, and even destroying cities; as a hero, he was depicted as defending friends from imminent destruction by other mythical monsters.
In military-speak, Godzilla is a multipurpose assault weapon. He can be deployed anywhere in the world, either offensively or defensively. He is a walking amphibious vehicle, capable of effectively striking against enemy forces either on land or at sea. He is equipped with formidable anti-aircraft defenses. In short, he can destroy anything, anywhere.