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Historical Telephones – Red Phone

The President's Red Phone

The Moscow-Washington hotline which existed during the mid-20th-century Cold War was a teletype-based affair, not a telephone, but that didn't stop the imagined concept of a red emergency phone in the White House catching on in popular culture. One example of this is the Red Phone's starring role in the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb; indeed, the film's Spanish title is ¿Teléfono rojo?, volamos hacia Moscú, which means “Red Telephone? We're Flying to Moscow.”

The iconic “Red Phone” image continues to grip the public imagination today, appearing regularly in fiction, art, and even Presidential campaign ads.