Dr. Strangelove-Craig Smith
After seeing Dr. Strangelove, it is impossible to imagine the movie being made in any other genre but a black comedy. Kubrick's laughable and goofball characters are perfect for telling a story about the horrors of a nuclear war. The idea of nuclear war is so horrific that it is almost laughable. What would be the point of setting of hundreds of high powered nuclear devices all over the planet? If anyone (anything) survived the initial blast, they would surely perish quickly from the ubiquitous radioactive fallout created by the bombs. The point of Dr. Strangelove is that nobody could possibly win a nuclear war, as any potential "winner" would be among the casualties of their own attack.
I think that one must be aware of basic history in order to appreciate the comedy of this movie, as well as the magnitude of its message. For example, General Ripper, the man responsible for the giving the order for nuclear attack, resorts to McCarthyism during his broadcast message to the men on his base, saying that they needed to exercise "extreme watchfulness" of potential communist infiltration and that because of this, they should "shoot first and ask questions later". Senator McCarthy riled up the country into such activities, asking all citizens to be on alert for, and to immediately report, suspected communist activity. General Ripper's paranoia and probable psychosis mirrors the real life Senator McCarthy, who was so anti-communist that, in a way, he was a communist himself. Anyone who spoke out against his ideologies was labeled a communist, much like anyone living in the Soviet Union under Stalin's rule was subject to unjust labeling and arrest for similar minor infractions.
The humor of the movie is best summed up by a quote from President Muffley: "You can't fight in the War Room!"