Follow TV Tropes


Godzilla Threshold / Real Life

Go To

Examples of Godzilla Threshold from Real Life:

  • Quite a few medical treatments, both current and historical:
    • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation involves forceful, sustained crushing force to the patient's chest, almost always resulting in multiple broken ribs (if done correctly) and quite possibly abdominal distension and aspiration pneumonia. An acceptable risk given that the patient is clinically dead and every effort is now solely focused on keeping oxygenated blood pumping through the brain until defibrillation is possible. See here on why CPR isn't necessarily as Clean Pretty Reliable as fiction makes it out to be.
    • Advertisement:
    • Both chemotherapy and radiation treatment are poisonous and can cause significant side effects - elevated risk of secondary cancers, bone marrow destruction, hearing loss, brain damage. But when the alternative is death from cancer, and especially when there's a reasonable chance of curing it with the chemotherapy...
    • Thalidomide, originally developed as a sedative and anti-nausea drug, causes horrific if not deadly birth defects in infants and has been generally banned by most countries since the 1960s. However, it has been shown to be effective at treating serious conditions like drug-resistant leprosy. When prescribed to fertile women for a serious enough condition, the patient uses multiple contraceptive devices and is carefully monitored.
    • In the modern era, syphilis may not seem like a terribly frightening disease. Yet it was the HIV of its era, potentially causing a dementia-like condition if left untreated. One of the only somewhat effective treatments was mercury injections, which would give you mercury poisoning but help with the syphilis.

      The first fully effective treatment for syphilis was to literally burn it out of the patient's body by inducing a very strong fever, and the best way to do that is giving them malaria. It was a widely accepted treatment for a time (apparently into the 1950s), even netting its discoverer Julius Wagner-Jauregg a Nobel Prize in 1927.

      Simultaneously (1910s), Arsphenamine/Salvarsan was developed and used against several diseases including syphilis - an organoarsenic compound the preparation of which involved adding an NaOH-solution (lye) prior to injection, causing internal chemical burns.
    • Advertisement:
    • Overprescription has led to the Godzilla Threshold being lowered (sometimes a bad idea in many cases) but before overprescription, the only way one could get an antipsychotic (what used to be called the major tranquilizers) was to be frankly, overtly schizophrenic or manic and in an episode with complete loss of touch with reality, and before overprescription for stimulants, someone had to be so unfocused that no coping strategy worked and they were practically bouncing up and down the walls.
    • Antibiotics are also subject to a lowering of the Godzilla Threshold, mostly though ignorance. They're intended to fight serious infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis, but some doctors will give them out to a patient if the person complains about a viral infection (cold or flu)... which is completely impervious to antibiotics. Leading to some antibiotics losing their effectiveness, and the rise of "super bugs" which are completely immune to all known antibiotics. This is further exacerbated by the misuse of antibiotics in the agricultural sector, where it is used to boost the growth of otherwise healthy livestock, which is then consumed by humans. Arguably, the Godzilla Threshold is simply being ignored outright.
    • Advertisement:
    • This does exist for drugs if they are specifically known as drugs of abuse. In extreme cases, sometimes requiring being enrolled in a trial, one could be prescribed: ecstasy for PTSD and major treatment-resistant depression,note  opiates for treatment-resistant depression, psilocybin for intense migraine or cluster headaches. The condition has to be so severe that all other medication approaches (everything from antidepressants to antipsychotics to anticonvulsants to every possible cocktail of them) and doses and all non-medication approaches (everything from cognitive behavioral therapy to electroshock) have either failed, are failing, or bear too much risk for the patient and the addiction that will result from opiates or the potentially fatal side effects of a dose of ecstasy are better outcomes than suicide or disability so severe the individual is literally bedridden or suicidal.
    • The "ibogaine cure" for alcoholism or drug addiction where nothing else has worked. Ibogaine itself is toxic (more so than psilocybin or LSD which have had similar effects) but legal in some areas. It is unique for producing scary and bad "trips" but at the same time, often triggering something in the brain that reboots the mechanism of addiction, if the process is managed correctly (and if it is managed incorrectly, death may result).
    • Treating addictions with a substitute addiction or substitute substance also falls under this. A lot of people would be the first to agree that being an addict to anything isn't good, but moving someone to one that is less damaging to their health from one that is objectively worse is sometimes the only workable option. For example, getting The Alcoholic to become The Stoner or even a junkie might seem absolutely counterintuitive and unethical - but if said alcoholic is developing liver disease, cannabis is far less hepatotoxic than alcohol, or if they are developing chronic alcoholic encephalopathy, cannabis or even opiates are far less permanently damaging to an adult brain than alcohol. A similar variant of substitution can actually be seen with the prevalence of coffee and soda and cigarettes in many recovering addict spaces.
    • Any treatment for rabies, as the illness is invariably fatal within days from the onset of the symptoms:
      • The very first human inoculation against the disease. Pasteur wasn't sure it would work, and in fact it could have infected young Joseph Meister... But as he had already been bitten by a rabid dog the worst the inoculation could do was to kill him faster due the additional infection, thus he proceeded. Never mind that, not being a licensed physician, he could have suffered prosecution for it. In the end it worked, and you just don't prosecute someone for successfully curing what until then had been an incurable disease.
      • Standard treatment for rabies, administered as soon as the infection is suspected, consists in large doses of anti-rabies antibodies, plus various doses of vaccine if the patient had not been previously inoculated. The immunoglobuline is extremely expensive, and the vaccine doses, depending on the type of vaccine, can be hellishly painful... But as the alternative goes from nerve damage to death, it's done anyway.
      • The Milwaukee Protocol is an experimental treatment for unvaccinated individuals that already present symptoms, and consists in putting the patient into a coma and shooting them up with a myriad of drugs. Side effects include extensive nerve damage... But as it's rabies it can literally do no more harm-and even then, the success (read: survival) rate stands at 4 out of 35 treatments performed to date.
    • There exists a drug called Melarsoprol, often informally nicknamed by the layman's-terms description of its recipe: "Arsenic in Antifreeze". Yes, that's mixing two poisons, each lethal in different ways, and the resulting substance is still every bit as lethally toxic, but it's the only consistently effective cure for African trypanosomiasis, also known as "sleeping-sickness", a parasitic disease caused by microbes that are spread by specific insect-bites, most famously the tsetse fly.
    • Many kinds of surgery can be extremely dangerous. After all, surgery tends to involve cutting someone open and messing with their internal organs - sometimes even the heart or the brain. And before anesthesia was discovered, surgeries had to be performed with the patient fully conscious. You'd have to be pretty desperate to undergo that kind of thing willingly. Easily one of the most drastic, last-resort surgeries is hemisphectoromy, which involves either disabling or completely cutting out an entire half of the patient's brain. This is usually only done on children, and only when they suffer from severe seizures that refuse to stop despite numerous other, less invasive treatments.
    • Quarantines. The safest and surest way to keep an outbreak of a highly communicable disease from turning into an epidemic is to isolate the patient (and anyone else you suspect may be infected) from contact with the outside world. Advances in reliable treatments and hygiene have raised the threshold considerably and allowed doctors to administrate care safely themselves for the duration, but in the bad old days, quarantining an infected population often meant cutting contact completely and hoping that someone was still alive when it was safe to let them out.
  • Speaking of Godzilla Threshold moves to control epidemics, the 2019-20 COVID-19 outbreak has seen many already in an attempt to keep the disease from spreading:
    • Nearly all major sports leagues and sanctioning organizations around the developed world have suspended and postponed their seasons, and in some cases, most notably in the case of the "March Madness" U.S. college basketball tournaments, canceled them altogether (The NCAA, just to be extra safe, canceled all the spring sports championships as well, which wouldn't otherwise have been held for a couple of months).
    • Large events such as the 2020 SXSW festival have been canceled. New York canceled its St. Patrick's Day parade for the first time in its 258-year history. Public schools have been closed.
    • Early in the epidemic China put the entire city of Wuhan, where the outbreak started, on lockdown ... no one could go out for all but the most essential reasons. This measure has been emulated by Italy and Spain as their caseloads exhaust available hospital space ... yes, in the former case, an entire country of 60 million people generally must stay at home when possible.
    • Flights between affected areas have been suspended.
    • It is feared that the measures — including the stay-at-home orders and nonessential business closures — taken to limit the spread of COVID-19, may bring about another Great Depression. This is seen as preferable to allowing the disease to run unchecked. Let that sink in.
    • The Catholic Church, which literally teaches that one can go to Hell for missing Sunday Mass, has canceled public church services.
  • This is pretty much the definition of Total War, where all economic resources of a combatant are mobilized for the war effort and any constraints towards the prosecution of said war are rescinded. Constraints can include such mundane things as social taboos about women and children working in typically male professions or possibly even in combat roles.
  • Any scenario that could theoretically lead to a Global Thermonuclear War. (And to a lesser degree, anything that causes extensive use of biological weapons.) The concept of Mutually Assured Destruction however is an attempt at averting the trope, proposing that no-one could win any large scale use of nuclear weapons and that there is no possible way the Threshold could actually be reached.
  • The scenario that did lead to nuclear war. That invading the islands of Japan would be incredibly difficult and bloody for the US (experience at Iwo Jima and Okinawa as well as the increase in Kamikaze attacks demonstrated that Japanese were culturally geared to be Defiant to the End) was their primary argument for detonating two atomic weapons over Japanese cities in August 1945.
  • Another crossing of the threshold was Operation Downfall - if the Japanese hadn't surrendered, then the Allies would have launched the largest amphibious/naval operation in history: Hundreds of capital ships, thousands of aircraft, millions of men, chemical weapons, and, most chillingly of all seven atom bombs. (That's right—the contemplated alternative to dropping two A-bombs was dropping seven.) The estimated dead for the conquest of Japan was half a million for the US and 5+ million Japanese.

    By way of illustration of the commitment of the US military to this plan there was a standing order that the atomic bombs should be used as soon as they were "made ready". The expected rate was calculated to be three bombs per month up through at least November. At the time of the Japanese surrender, a third atomic bomb was being loaded for transport at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. When the surrender notice came in, the shipment was stopped and President Truman asserted that there was to be no further use of nuclear weapons without his direct approval.

    So many Purple Heart medals were made in anticipation of an invasion of Japan that the US military didn't start to run low until the 21st century.
  • Played straight in the political field, this led to the creation of the Confederate States of America. Largely averted militarily, it led to their defeat in the ensuing U.S. Civil War.
    • Even before all the votes were counted, the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 led the Southern slave states to realize they would no longer have the political power necessary to contain any efforts to further restrict and abolish slavery. So, they made good on some earlier threats and seceded from the Union.
    • As the Civil War raged on, freed black men began joining the Union Army; as many as 100,000 would eventually be under arms, and Lincoln gave them credit for helping to turn the tide of the war. The Confederacy had even more black men within its boundaries, but only 5,000 would ever wear the gray uniformnote  because, as one Georgia official admitted, freeing slaves to fight for your independence to maintain slavery was basically giving up on the entire premise of the war.note 
      • To further handicap themselves, the Confederacy never even considered repealing or loosening its rule that for every 20 slaves, one white man remained exempt from conscription, so as to keep the slave population from taking advantage of the war and revolting. It's estimated that this kept the Confederate Army to two-thirds of the strength it might otherwise have had.
  • Sherman's March, late in the war, fits this trope. After having taken Atlanta and burned it to the ground, a development that historians believe led to Lincoln's re-election a few months later, General Sherman marched his soldiers toward the coast, up it into South Carolina and then back inland for the next few months. This was not to confront or pursue any significant Confederate resistance, but to bring the war to a swifter end by waging war not so much on the enemy's forces as the enemy's ability to support those forces economically—they burned farms, freed slaves, destroyed rail lines, and in general laid waste to everything in their path. It worked.
  • The Boer War, in South Africa around the turn of the 20th century, saw both sides reach this point. After early victories from first strikes by the Transvaal and Orange Free State forces, all Afrikaners, the British regained the advantage with more troops and a new general, Kitchener, who knew how to put them to good use. In response, the Boers put away their uniforms and started fighting a guerilla war. This created a stalemate, which Kitchener decided to break with a scorched-earth strategy: his troops burned farms and fields, effectively corralling the Boer families into what inadvertently became the first of the century's notorious concentration camps, where almost 29,000, mostly women and children, died of disease and starvation before the peace treaty that created the modern-day state of South Africa was signed.
  • Inverted during the development of the atomic bomb: Physicist Edward Teller informed Robert Oppenheimer that there was a chance that detonating an atomic bomb could ignite Earth's atmosphere. Oppenheimer insisted that the figures be re-checked, and if there was a greater than 3 in 1 million chance of that happening, the project would not go ahead. Quoth Oppenheimer, "Better to accept the slavery of the Nazis than run the risk of drawing the final curtain on mankind."
  • The Trope Namer is a nuclear metaphor. In fact, Godzilla started as a purely antagonistic force and a metaphor of having a nuke used against you, then became metaphor for the idea of having to use a nuclear weapon once it was realized it would be cool if he fought other monsters.
  • Nationalist Chinese Army officer Zhang Xueliang used this trope to get his ultimate superior, Chiang Kai-Shek, to use it in the 1936 Xi'an incident. Frustrated by Chiang's refusal to ally with Mao's Communists, whom he had been fighting for control of the country, even as the Japanese took more and more of it and turned Zhang's native Manchuria into a puppet state, he and a fellow officer had their bodyguards kidnap Chiang.

    Over two weeks of holding him, they persuaded him to reach out to the People's Liberation Army and fight the Japanese together, which he did, although largely the alliance basically consisted of the two forces not attacking each other during the remainder of the war when it would have been advantageous to do so. Zhang was later held under house arrest for 50 years after the Nationalists lost the war and fled to Taiwan; he died in exile in Hawaii. He is nonetheless regarded as a national hero by the PRC government for what he did in 1936.
  • World War I: The German Reich, being an authoritarian, militarist Monarchy, hated and feared Communism with a fiery passion. But when the Western Front bogged down for several years, they smuggled Vladimir Lenin into Russia, hoping he'd screw that country up even further and force it out of the war. It worked, leading to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, whereby Germany got huge swathes of territory ceded to them by Russia in exchange for peace, and the entire Eastern Front army could be transferred to the Western Front for the Spring 1918 offensives. Of course, the cost was the creation of the USSR and (later) the rise of Josef Stalin, which led to...
  • The Midwives of the Birth of Nazism. Fearing the Dirty Communists of Josef Stalin's USSR, many in the West looked favorably on the rise of Adolf Hitler and Those Wacky Nazis, because their blatant anti-Communism made them seem like a good buffer zone between the Soviets and the West. Paradoxically the Soviets saw a rearmed Germany as a valuable buffer between themselves and the West dating back to Seeckt's proposals for joint defense, so the USSR played a leading role in recreating the German military in the 1920s. Things changed after Hitler rose to power in the 30s, with Germany and the USSR supporting opposite sides in the Spanish Civil War. Then they abruptly changed again in 1939, when Hitler and Stalin hashed out an agreement to expand to their mutual benefit at the expense of Eastern Europe's independent states.
    • That agreement, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, was this trope for many communists in other countries at the time. Since the founding of the Soviet Union in the 1920s, many of them, eager to see the success of communism, had staunchly defended the Soviet government's actions, even as Lenin's death was followed by Stalin and his purges, forced collectivization of agriculture and famines, actions the party line sometimes required they deny outright.

      But then the Communist Party that had made a point of its opposition to Fascism and related movements such as Naziism went and made a secret deal with those very same Nazis. This led many Western communists to formally leave the Party, something many of them had sworn they would never do, and something that at that time came at considerable social cost.
  • All this, of course, led immediately and directly to... World War II: Winston Churchill was one of those rabidly anti-Communist leaders in the West, but he also realized that the Nazis were worse. So, when Hitler backstabbed Stalin and invaded Russia in 1941, Churchill went back on a lifetime of opposing Communism by immediately offering alliance and aid to the Soviets. When questioned on the wisdom of this by his political allies, Churchill famously stated that "If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons."
  • Churchill said later that the most difficult decision he ever made, not just during the war but in his whole life, was authorizing Operation Catapult late in the spring of 1940.

    France had surrendered to the Axis but still controlled its navy. If the Germans got control of France's fleet, Britain could not hope to maintain its supremacy on the waters, supremacy that even then made a German invasion of the British Isles a dicey prospect. The Vichy French government told Britain that they would never do that, to the point of scuttling their own ships, but the Royal Navy didn't trust them since they had just broken their agreement not to make a separate peace. And, they said, they would not just turn them over to the British themselves; that would be a violation of their armistice with Germany and Italy.

    So, after British sailors had boarded French ships docked in British ports, another group of British warships cornered four French battleships, six destroyers and a seaplane tender at an Algerian port. After they asked nicely several times for the ships to be turned over to them and were turned down, Admiral James Somerville sent a priority message to Churchill asking what he should do next. "Resolve the matter quickly", he was told, whereupon he gave the French one last hour to comply with Britain's demands. When they continued holding out after that, he gave the orders, and the British opened fire on the French ships, their own putative ally, sinking all of them and killing almost 1,300 French sailors in the process.

    The French were upset, to put it mildly, which the Germans tried to exploit for propaganda purposes, selling the British as untrustworthy barbarians and fickle allies; bitterness about this in France persisted for years after the war, particularly among the sailors' families, since the attack was ruled an act of war and not a crime. The example did, however, spur the French to scuttle some of their own remaining ships a few months later when they learned the Germans were going to seize them; and behind closed doors the Germans were grimly impressed by this show of determination to continue the war.
  • That didn't stop the Germans from planning to invade Britain, nor did it stop the British from preparing for the possibility of that invasion. One of those preparations was to train selected local men in Kent and Sussex, where the Germans would first establish any foothold, as guerilla resistance fighters. They were all given envelopes to open only if the Germans actually invaded, and years later, long after the war, some of them decided "what the hell" and decided to see what their instructions would have been. The first item on the list was: Kill your local police chief immediately, since it was local police chiefs who had vouched to the Army as to who they should offer this training to, and dead police chiefs couldn't tell the Wehrmacht who they had recommended for guerilla training.
  • The sheer amount of War material delivered by the United States is simply mind boggling. Hundreds of thousands of aircraft, hundreds of thousands of armoured vehicles, millions of small arms. One ammunition plant alone produced over a billion bullets in under a year. In 4 years American shipyards mass produced more Aircraft Carriers than the rest of the world had combined. The single minded focus the United States took towards war production resulted in guns bearing the mark of such un-gun companies as IBM (computers), Singer (sewing machines) and Smith-Corona (Typewriters).

    The threat of the Axis powers didn't just provoke the United States into using nuclear weapons, but to create them effectively from scratch based only on theoretical arguments from prominent scientists at the onset of the war. The inflation adjusted cost of the Manhattan project was $20 billion dollars for the weapon and another $20 billion for the delivery system (the B-29). Neither of which had any guarantee of working when the projects commenced in 1942.
  • In a strange subversion of this trope, Nazi Germany didn't itself pass the Godzilla Threshold until late in the war, well beyond the point where it would do any good. The perceived weakness of their enemies combined with the string of early victories convinced the Germans that the war could be won with only a partial economic mobilization. Such investments as long range heavy bombers and a nuclear weapons program were never seriously considered because a "short" war would have no need of such things. The Nazis also never broke with tradition and tapped their female population to work in the factories as it was deemed more important for them to raise the next generation of Nazi super-children. Despite all the heavy bombing, Nazi war production only reached its peak in 1944(!) after all the slack industrial capacity was finally turned over to the war effort and after the Fascist, but Inefficient prior organization of the economy got replaced by the - equally ruthless but at least somewhat competent - Albert Speer.
    • To the end of the war, the Nazis devoted considerable resources to the extermination of the Jews in lands they occupied, even at the expense of the war effort, another threshold they refused to cross.
    • Conversely, to some of the Nazis, the Final Solution was this trope; they said after the war, at their trials, that they would have preferred exiling the Jews to Madagascar or to the east, but the exigencies of the war left them no choice.
  • The Cold War. Western nations often couldn't think of anything worse than seeing another nation fall to Communism, so if keeping the Dirty Communists out meant backing ruthless right-wing military dictatorships in third world nations, so be it. The Commies for their part didn't have any problems with working with ruthless left-wing dictators to keep American Puppets out of power in various nations. Of course, even by those calculations, sometimes, the Godzilla Threshold wasn't quite met to the extent that going nuclear was worth it, which is why we didn't end up fighting nuclear war over Vietnam, Korea, Cuba, Angola, or any of a dozen other brushfire wars and proxy conflicts during that era. One of those conflicts was Afghanistan, where American political leaders basically thought, "A bunch of Fundamentalist Islamic guerrillas with terrorist tendencies can't possibly make the situation any worse than the Commies are, so let's give them a bunch of free guns". On this matter, America was no Karma Houdini...

    Communism clearly represented an existential threat to the United States. Through the mid-1960's, fully half the Federal government's total budget was for defense. This government spending was funded by upper income marginal tax rates of 50-90%, something considered unthinkable today without the specter of global communism. Much like in World War 2, the United States took arms production Up to Eleven, producing over 30,000 nuclear weapons and the bombers, missiles and submarines needed to deliver them.
  • Another instance of the trope being invoked by not only making an alliance but making peace with one's previously implacable foe came in the late 1970s, after Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat, having concluded from his experience of the Six-Day and Yom Kippur wars that there was no possibility of defeating Israel, and facing riots and protests at home over food shortages, decided on his own to make peace with Israel.
  • The Middle Eastern situation: On both sides with both Iran and Iraq. The West, especially the United States, thought that the Middle East falling to Communism was bad enough that they would rather prop up an unpopular leader (the Shah of Iran) who opposes them than risk the Communists falling in. That led to the Iranian people crossing the threshold, preferring the radical Shi'as to Western-propped dictators. Still fearing the Soviets taking Iran, the US propped up the president of neighboring Iraq, one Saddam Hussein, who already had a reputation for brutality... again, figuring that even at his most brutal, Saddam couldn't be any worse than the Communists. This would come to bite the US in the behind when Saddam invaded Kuwait, almost overnight changing from the US's Godzilla threshold to a power they used the Godzilla threshold on. And when 9/11 happened, they crossed the threshold again and invaded Iraq a second time.
  • If a plane is heading for a civilized area, won't respond to attempts to contact it, and all other attempts to stop it fails, the United States Air Force will shoot down its own country's civilian aircraft. We've already seen what happens when we fail to get there in time. (Though the first thing done is the fighter jets are ordered to close within visual range to inspect the plane, for certain reasons.)
    • Not just the USAF. Other countries will do the same, as Italy demonstrated in March 2018 when a passenger aircraft lost contact and two fighters were scrambled with orders to inspect it and re-establish contact before eventually shoot it down, terrorizing half of the Lombardy region when they broke the sound barrier to get on target as fast as possible (the plane re-established contact shortly before the fighters reached it).
  • A more positive example came about immediately after the 9/11 attacks: experts were suggesting one response to Afghanistan was to Nuke 'em. Thankfully George W. Bush shot the idea down, averting the threshold.
    • Averted (but not by choice) by the two pilots scrambled to intercept Flight 93 after it was clear both that it had been hijacked and what the hijackers intended to do with the planes they had hijacked: There hadn't been time to load out their planes with missiles, so as they headed out to them the commander said: "I'll take the tail", leading to the junior pilot's response, "And I'll take the cockpit". In other words, had they intercepted the plane and failed to force it to land through the usual nonviolent means, they were going to ram it to force it down, killing not only the hijackers but themselves and the passengers in the process.note 
  • In a modern conventional firefight, the US military has the call of "broken arrow". A "broken arrow" scenario means that a battle has effectively gone much worse than anticipated and a unit is on the verge of being overrun. What the call entails is to direct all available attack aircraft and artillery fire on the area being attacked. Because of the close distance nature and general disorganization happening during a "broken arrow" call, Unfriendly Fire (also known as Blue On Blue) from airstrikes and artillery is basically expected rather than actively avoided. (A realistic demonstration of this was used in the movie We Were Soldiers.) There's also the related call of "danger close", which basically means "I know that I'm close enough to the target that I'm just as likely to get hit as it is, but I want you to fire on it anyway."
  • Singapore's reserve funds are, proportionate to her market size, one of the world's largest, largely thanks to their usage being handled this way. The one time they have (publicly) been known to be used since independence was during the 2009 credit crunch, which is the worst recession since the Great Depression.
  • Similarly in Hong Kong, the government tends to have very large reserves and a reluctance to use them or interfere in the market. The one major exception is during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, right after Hong Kong's handover to China. Speculators including "the man who broke the Bank of England" Soros himself considered the city vulnerable and tried the same and attacked the Hong Kong dollar. The Hong Kong government (including the head of the central bank, Joseph "Finance Tsar" Yam) massively mobilized its US dollar reserves to support the Hong Kong dollar, and spent $120 billion (equivalent to $15 billion USD, or $24 billion USD adjusting for inflation) buying up shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange to prevent a market collapse. It's still widely known to Hongkongers as the battle to "beat the big crocodile".
  • Necessity in Law, which essentially means damage to property and other activities that would normally be against the law may be justified by necessity to prevent some bigger trouble, and a person who has done it is not accountable for it. Factory burning and the only way to get access to one side is through a full car dealership parking lot? Bulldoze the brand new cars out of the way. Sea water bad in the long term for the precision materials and equipment inside the nuclear reactor and will undoubtedly make it unable to be used in the future? Fuck it, we need to cool it down now.
  • Self-defense is a subtype of this; if you or someone else is in imminent danger of physical harm, you are legally allowed to commit assault and battery against your attacker up to the point where you are safe. If they are using lethal force, you can use lethal force in response, sometimes resulting in justifiable homicide - about 400 per year are recorded by civilians in the United States alone. There is a strict line here, though, as they must be presenting an imminent threat to you or someone else - so if someone attacks you, you can legally defend yourself, but if they turn to run or surrender, you cannot continue to attack. Likewise, if someone throws a punch at you, you cannot pull out a gun and shoot them unless (a) you're willing to argue you went for a non-lethal shot (to the limbs, for example, to disable rather than to kill) or (b) the fight is severely unfair (like a small woman being confronted by a big man). Self-defense is an affirmative defense, as you are outright admitting to committing an otherwise illegal act but claiming that it was justified under the law - if your actions are found to be unjustified, then you are guilty of whatever crime you confessed to. Note also that if you provoke an attack (so-called fighting words), you are not eligible for self-defense, because you started it.
  • The King of Swaziland attempted to invoke this, declaring a five-year moratorium on sex with girls under 18 due to the AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa. Then he broke it with a seventeen year-old girl.
  • The United States' Declaration of Independence described political revolution in essentially these terms, and the bulk of it consisted of a list of reasons why the signers felt the actions of the British crown had crossed the threshold.
  • After World War II, the new German constitution includes an article that makes it the duty of all German citizens to use any means neccessary to prevent any government from overthrowing the constitution and establishing another totalitarian regime, which includes the use of armed resistance. Part of this may have been due to an earlier invocation of this trope that ended catastrophically for Germany — in the Weimar Constitution, during emergencies, the Chancellor could be allowed to rule by decree if the Reichstag consented for the duration of the emergency. Hitler took advantage of this to take over power following the Reichstag Fire.
  • In the UK the military maintains a tradition of letters of last resort. In effect these are the "final orders" to the Captains of the four nuclear-equipped Vanguard-class submarines to be opened in the event of a complete breakdown in command and control as a result of nuclear attack and which nobody knows except the Prime Minister themselves. Technically ANYTHING can be ordered but in general the possibilities fall into four categories. One of which is to accept that deterrence has failed and not retaliate and one is to place the submarine under the command of an allied nation. The last two basically amount to the Godzilla threshold in that either a full nuclear retaliation is ordered or, perhaps most horrifyingly, for the Captain to simply "use their best judgement" which in effect amounts to a freedom to do anything he deems necessary.
  • In the Thai flooding crisis of 2011 they dug up Bangkok's roads to try and channel away the floodwaters despite the cost in future rebuilding. If you're wondering how that made any sense at all, understand that many of Bangkok's roads are paved-over canals.
  • Ancient Rome had provisions for this during the Republic: when an enemy appeared invincible and on the verge of overrunning Rome, the Senate chose the man best suited to deal with that enemy and made him a dictator, giving him absolute power for six months and with no legal way to make him pay for anything he did during his term. It usually went well, as they would follow the example of Cincinnatus, who, upon defeating an enemy coalition that had surrounded the Roman army (thus prompting him being named dictator) within the first half of his term, resigned and returned to his farm, and, after being named dictator AGAIN to deal with a coup, he defeated the coup in one day and immediately resigned AGAIN. Then there's the two times that wasn't enough:
    • The Second Punic War: with their army was almost completely destroyed at Cannae, many of their remaining allies defecting to Hannibal and the previously neutral Kingdom of Macedon declaring war, the Romans went so far as to perform human sacrifices and raise legions among the landless and the slaves. To put it into perspective, Romans despised the very idea of human sacrifices, while the landless people and slaves they were arming and training had good reasons to rebel. Amazingly, it worked: when the new legions proved fiercely loyal and realization set that the most powerful and richest allies were staying with Rome, Hannibal realized his chances of victory were extremely slim, and the Macedons deciding the price of the war wasn't worth it sealed the deal.
    • The situation at the start of Pompey's pirate war was by far the worse Rome had ever been in until the late Empire: the pirates of the Mediterranean had outright control of numerous fortified cities and entire countries, posed a dire threat to Rome's wheat supply from Egypt, and at one point even raided Ostia, Rome's harbor. After the latter, most of the Senate (including almost all of Pompey's worst political enemies) voted a law that gave Pompey the Great greater powers than a dictator: they assigned him the equivalent of thirty legions (effectively the entirety of Rome's army), control of a fleet of either 270 or 500 ships with full crews, an initial budget of 144 million sesterces and full authority to draw from the public treasure if it wasn't enough, authority to choose 25 Senators and make them legates that answered only to him, and full authority to do anything he deemed necessary on the sea and on the land to up to 50 miles from the coast (and most of Rome's territory, including Rome itself, was at less than 50 miles from the coast), and a term of three years to solve the pirate situation. Pompey solved the situation in three months, celebrated his triumph, and then resigned.
  • Thanks to the lessons learned during The Great Depression, central banks now treat financial meltdowns as threshold moments. In order to prevent a complete economic collapse, all the normal rules of banking are thrown out the window and central banks will do whatever it takes to stop both panics and deflationary spirals. For example, in order to halt the 2008 financial crisis, the United States Federal Reserve went to what was described as "crazy town", by lending over $1 Trillion at very low rates and backed by collateral of dubious value.
  • Locusts. Old school but still armageddon to farmers if a swarm manages to grow to Biblical proportions. Crop loss is often expected to be 100%. Methods used to combat locust swarms are usually using enough poison to kill every living thing in the area... except the locust, whose numbers will take a dent but as a hive being several miles wide and thus, can move around, over, or through the poisoned areas. Worse, it was only in 2009 that scientists even figured out what causes locust swarms to appear. Locusts are grasshoppers - the same grasshoppers that are living in the area already. But if their numbers grow too large, this causes them to literally morph into locusts, swarm, and start eating everything in sight.
  • Fire. A sufficiently big fire will turn anything in its path into a smouldering ruin and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. Fires can get so bad, that perhaps the only way to deal with it is to set your OWN fire in the hope that your fire will consume enough fuel/air to fight the original fire. Of course, things CAN go wrong where the fire just merges into one Super Fire.
    • During the Chicago Fire, dynamite was used to demolish entire blocks of buildings in an attempt to create fire breaks. It was partially successful in some areas, but ultimately they couldn't work fast enough and the fire outflanked the demolition crews.
    • In an attempt to fight the fires set in the wake of the San Francisco 1906 Earthquake, the same technique as Chicago was used, but all the people experienced in doing this were dead, and the demolished buildings would themselves catch fire (proper demolition techniques would collapse the building on itself in such a way that most potential fires would be smothered), making things worse. At least 80% of the damage to the city was fire damage, and not direct earthquake damage.
    • Lighting backfires (which burn towards the original fire, consuming all the fuel) is still a technique in use for fighting forest or brushfires. Setting backfires is reportedly as much art as science, and as previously mentioned is in no way guaranteed to work, making it a controversial tactic at best. Conversely, as a number of countries have learned the hard way (the US included) the absolute worst forest fire management policy is to stamp them all out as fast as possible. This leads to build up of fuel until it reaches the stage where it is no longer possible to suppress further fires, resulting in a titanic wildfire, such as the 1988 Yellowstone fire. The better option is to allow natural fires of limited scale to burn, suppressing only fires of large size or human origin. This allows a safe burn-off of the naturally accumulating fuel.
    • Sometimes the threshold for fire can be crossed before the fire even starts. After the Americans started their fire-bombing raids against Japan (causing far more destruction and casualties than even the nuclear bombs would later on), the government in Kyoto ordered two large firebreaks to be created in the city by demolishing two wide strips of the city perpendicular to the river (which itself formed another firebreak). Those firebreaks still exist to this day in the form of a pair of wide avenues, alongside some of the oldest urban buildings in Japan (the war ended before Kyoto could be bombed, meaning the firebreaks were ultimately not necessary).
    • Using large explosions on huge fires that can't be put out by conventional means (like oil rig fires). The physics behind it is explosions create a void of air, starving the fire of oxygen.
  • Culling. As stupid as killing an entire farm of livestock or entire yield of crops because ONE animal/batch was found sick sounds, it's because of this trope that it is done. Depending on what the animal was sick with, Avian Flu, Swine Flu, SARS, or just plain old Foot and Mouth, it is often seen as a good idea to use the Godzilla Option early rather than wait for it to become a Godzilla Necessity. Because as wasteful as culling perfectly good stock is, the potential losses from not doing so are just too great to risk.
    • In the early 2000's in Wisconsin, Chronic Wasting Disease (the Deer equivalent of Mad Cow) was starting to spread and become a problem. If left unchecked, the disease risked wiping out the deer population to the point where it may not recover. The Wisconsin DNR first tried to find a cure for the disease, or at least find what was causing it in the first place in hopes of preventing further infections. The methods didn't work, so they had no choice: They extended Deer Season by a week and ordered for hunters in the state to shoot more deer than usually allowed in order to thin the numbers to extremely low populations (and to make sure that nobody consumed the infected deer.) Thanks to careful monitoring by the DNR, the deer would recover to normal populations within a few years, and now the disease is barely even a problem anymore.
    • In 2001, when a single case of foot and mouth was detected at an Irish farm, not only were all the animals at said farm culled, but the Irish Special Forces were sent in to kill all the wildlife in the area that could potentially be infected.
  • The Crusades started when the Patriarch of Constantinople asked the Pope for help to fight off the Turks. However, at that point the Great Schism between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity was in living memory, and the Pope and the Patriarch had mutually excommunicated each other, each sect considering the other to be heretical. For a religious leader to even consider the help of people he considered heretics, you know it's this trope. The aftermath was exactly how you'd expect this trope to go.
  • If a rocket launch goes really seriously wrong, there comes a point where the best thing that can happen is for the rocket to detonate right now, rather than crashing onto a town and detonating there. It is the job of the range safety officer to recognize when the Godzilla threshold has been passed and push the Big Red Button. Averting this is why the USA launches rockets from Cape Canaveral, Florida: rockets are launched from West to East, to take advantage of the earth's rotation, so launching from the East Coast puts the ocean underneath the rocket if it comes crashing down, instead of (potentially populated) land.
  • Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital rocket has a launch escape system which fires a solid fuel rocket directly into the booster stage, in order to push the capsule and its crew away from a (potentially exploding) booster. This certainly terminates the mission and all but guarantees that the reusable booster stage will be destroyed by the combination of facing a hot jet of exhaust gases and the supersonic airstream to a bulkhead that was only designed to hold the capsule in place. If the escape system is activated, the control software has given up on saving the booster and is just trying to save as many lives as it can.

    Despite this, the New Shepard booster survived the in-flight test of that Launch Escape System, and successfully achieved a controlled, soft landing. Even though the engineers both expected and accepted that the booster would probably be lost in the in-flight test of the escape-system, they wrote software code for the booster's flight-computer to attempt to keep controlling the booster anyway (which was already done to prevent risk of collision with the escaping capsule) and programmed the booster to attempt to fly itself to a controlled, intact landing, just in case the booster somehow did survive the in-flight test of the escape-system.
  • The Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 got so bad and so damaging to the environment that some Russian officials suggested ending the spill permanently by detonating a nuclear weapon at the site of the leak. The reasoning was that the spill had gotten so severe that the damage caused by just nuking it would be less than the damage caused by allowing the spill to continue unchecked. Surprisingly enough, it's actually worked a few times.
    • After the spill, BP and other companies paid for the development of technologies to quickly case similar spills. It was incredibly expensive, and so far has not been used, but given what happened with Deepwater Horizon and that the alternative could be a nuke, it was considered money well spent.
  • Scarily enough, this is what the human body will do to itself when facing a severe infection. The immune response starts with proportionate responses like antibody production or fever... but when that doesn't work, the response gets cranked up to such high levels of inflammation that tissue damage ensues. At a certain point the person might actually die, but can't do anything about their automatic bodily processes shutting down an infection at all costs. What most people don't know is that the majority of modern disease-causing pathogens don't kill in and of themselves- the body does itself in, sort of like how it's Not the Fall That Kills You.
  • The point of Kate Bornstein's book Hello Cruel World, meant to provide alternatives to suicide for teens; some reviewers complained that said alternatives include things like drugs, alcohol and making a deal with the devil, but the idea is that if someone is considering killing themselves, almost anything, even if not the best choice in general, would be a better option. Then again, the point of the book is not to make the teens self-harm, but to distract them and keep them alive long enough for more "medically accepted" interventions to take place.
  • For patrol officers in the United States, any situation that requires going to the squad car and grabbing the shotgun or AR-15 carbine is this. It is typically in response to the worst possible situations an officer can encounter, such as a suspect with an automatic weapon shooting at them, or anything else a sidearm isn't capable of handling. (Calling in S.W.A.T can also be this, but S.W.A.T teams are also called to situations that simply require additional protection, such as high-risk warrants and security for high-profile operations like major sporting events or visiting dignitaries.) That's the theory, at least; police departments all over the US are regularly accused of excessive force, particularly against unarmed citizens.
  • In the human body, the activation of cytotoxic T-cells is this, with multiple signals, because cytotoxic T-cells have a license to kill human cells based on presented surface proteins.
  • New York City's Board of Education encompasses all five boroughs, and it is in the mayor's command. School closures are all-or-nothing affairs. Because of their implications, they only happen when the city is brought to its knees.
  • Italy hit this the very moment it entered World War I on the side of the Entente due to a combination of appalling military readiness (there had been little time to recall the reserves, and the incompetence of the bureaucracy had caused scarcity of artillery, machine guns (many had been bought from Britain in 1914 and paid in advance, but were never delivered due to the start of the war and Italy being nominally on the other side, if still neutral), rifles and even uniforms), the few military assets being either still in place to invade France or tied up in the colonies, the recently acquired colony of Libya being in full revolt and having pushed the Italians to the coast, and Italy's low industrialization. The commander-in-chief Luigi Cadorna dealt with it by establishing a military dictatorship in everything but name, thus making himself capable of forcing a greater industrialization that managed to produce enough materiel (by the end of the war Italy even had the largest artillery park of any power in the war), employ a variation on the concept of Child Soldiers (the trainees would be drafted a year early, but would be trained and employed as militia for about a year before being sent to the front), and ruthlessly send his troops in frontal attacks against Austro-Hungarian lines because he knew they'd run out of soldiers before him. Then, after the Russian collapse freeing the Austro-Hungarian reserves, Cadorna's ways as overly-disciplinarian General Ripper and the incompetence of some of his subordinates caused the utter defeat at Caporetto, Cadorna's successor Armando Diaz resolved to send in the Child Soldiers early. These measures ended with causing a temporary collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Army and the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but also nearly caused a civil war in the aftermath of the peace (as the soldiers returning home were most disgruntled with what they got and tended to join either the Anarchists or the movement of disgruntled veteran Benito Mussolini) and paved the way to the rise of Fascism and the suppression of the Libyan revolt with means that could be described only as war crimes.
  • Switzerland (because of the Conscription army still being relevant) is quite crazy about worst-case scenarios contingency plans.
    • Because of the Conscription any civilian is potentially a soldier, and a very large fraction of the population has had military training and can potentially be called up as a member of the militia. Militia members are also allowed to keep their service rifle after their term ends. Prior to 2007, this was taken Up to Eleven with the government providing each member of the militia with a sealed box with 50 rounds of ammunition - just in case. Since 2007, all ammunition has been stored at military armories except for members of the military police and special rapid deployment reservist units.
    • This was even crazier during World War II and later the Cold War, at which times the country could be sealed into "the Redoubt", effectively a chain of fortresses in the mountains staffed with half a million men and equipped with anything from heavy weapons and tanks to DCA and artillery, all camouflaged in the Alps' charming scenery. Plus 2 months worth of supplies to hold a siege.[[note]]This plan was enough to have Germany think twice about invading Switzerland in 1940, at the height of their might. In the end they didn't deem it worth it.
    • In the spirit of the redoubt, bridges and tunnels were set-up with demolition charges during the Cold War to cut off all easy entries to the country, basically leaving potential invaders with the choice between mountains, lakes, rivers or more mountains.note 
    • This all might seem excessive for a nation that hasn't been to war in three centuries, but considering their position right in the middle of what was until recent history the most volatile continent on the planet, being Crazy-Prepared starts to make sense as a defensive strategy.
  • The Pope: The head of the Catholic Church, he is a symbol of peace, love, and holiness. Certainly (at least, not since the decadent times of the Middle Ages and Renaissance) we don't expect the pope to take out a hit on someone, right? Except recently uncovered evidence shows that Pope Pius XII did just that — against Adolf Hitler. Yes, Hitler was so evil and dangerous that the Pope ordered him assassinated!.
  • In retrospect, this is how the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1978-79 has been viewed. While a hardline Communist government is not ideal (especially a hardline Communist government that the United States and its allies had very recently lost a major war to), what the Vietnamese invasion and occupation replaced was unarguably worse.
  • People who do things like shoot up their schools or rob businesses consider themselves to have crossed this when society gives them no incentive to obey the law. Cracked writer David Wong sums this up in two different articles:
    And as you get colder and lonelier and more powerless, you decide you'll find ways to be powerful. If the system is going to try to ignore you in hopes you'll just wither away and die, then you'll make yourself impossible to ignore. If that means throwing a brick through a window at school, that's what you do. If it means getting really good at insulting people, or fighting, or stealing, then so be it. When you've been frozen out of the system — or perceive that you've been frozen out, to the point that swallowing a bottle of your grandma's pain pills seems like a reasonable exit — what else do you have to lose?

    If those dominoes hadn't fallen in just the right way, instead of Editor of Cracked I'd be behind the counter at Denny's, getting wrestled to the ground by cops because I don't actually work there. Before this happened to come along I had lost hope and lowered my expectations over and over and over[.]
  • During three successive years of abnormally low drought in the mid-2010s, the city of Cape Town, South Africa, began imposing stricter and stricter restrictions on water use—no watering lawns or filling pools, things like that. But by late 2017 the rains had not returned and the city's reservoirs were mostly open sand pits. So, the city announced that if the situation continued, there would have to be a Day Zero, when it would stop supplying water to everywhere but its downtown and essential services (like hospitals) elsewhere in the city. As of January 2018 that date was set for April; fortunately the citizens' compliance with the water restrictions and some rain refilling the reservoirs has, as of this writing, pushed Day Zero into 2019 and averted the trope.
  • In September 2018, Hurricane Florence began barreling towards the East Coast of the United States with North and South Carolina in its sights. With wind speeds around 140 MPH, a 500 mile radius and the potential for catastrophic destruction on the coast, North Carolina actually invoked its first ever in memory state evacuation to force everyone off the barrier islands (Outer Banks, Hatteras Island, etc.)
  • Some business examples:
    • Executives at PepsiCo, in considering possible competitive responses to their growth and success by archrival Coca-Cola during the early 1980s, were able to rule only one thing out: They were pretty sure that Coke would never consider changing the formula of their flagship drink. When Coke actually did that in April 1985, it wasn't a huge success from a PR perspective, as they were forced to bring the old flavor back just two months later. But they had sent a clear signal to Pepsi that there was nothing they wouldn't do to compete, as former company president Roger Enrico recalled years later.
    • In 2002, executives at Enron reached this trope when they realized just how badly CFO Andrew Fastow had mismanaged the company's books, partly to cover up huge losses but also money he'd diverted to himself and his wife:

      Fifty-five minutes later, McMahon was on the fourth floor of Enron's new building when he saw Bowen hurrying toward him.

      "What do you think?" McMahon called out.

      "We've gotta draw down the revolvers right away," Bowen replied.

      The revolvers. The billions of dollars in standing lines of credit that Enron had available from its major banks. That was disaster money, the financial equivalent of a nuclear fallout shelter. And Enron needed it now.
    • In the late 1990s, shortly after Apple, six weeks away from bankruptcy, staved that fate off by acquiring NextStep and thus bringing cofounder Steve Jobs back to run the company. Apple was not out of the woods yet, however, so Jobs got archrival Microsoft to acquire about 10% of the company, thanking its CEO Bill Gates during a live teleconference at one of Apple's events and promising to continue supporting the Mac with software like Microsoft Office. While from a purely business perspective this might not have counted, from a cultural perspective it was, as Microsoft and Gates were seen by Apple's many fans as the absolute incarnation of evil at the time.
  • This is the essential thinking behind Emergency Authority: the situation has gotten so bad that you create a temporary dictatorship so the government can act quickly and efficiently to clean things up. Naturally, this can be and has been abused numerous times, in both fiction and real life.
  • In politics, this trope has led to the election of officials who otherwise would never be considered for the job.
    • When former Klansman David Duke won the Republican nomination for governor of Louisiana in the 1990s, his Democratic opponent was Edwin Edwards, who had previously been convicted of political corruption. A bumper sticker in the state pretty much lampshaded the trope: "Vote for the crook. It's important".
    • In the 2010s, Brexit in the UK and Donald Trump's election to the US presidency have largely been seen as an alienated electorate invoking this trope.
  • Both houses of the U.S. Congress have the power of "inherent contempt": to jail a witness for refusing to comply with their subpoenas ... without the involvement of the other two branches of government (normally, that compliance is enforced through the courts, which takes longer). It has only been used once, by the Senate in the 1930s; the Supreme Court upheld it.note 
  • Sino-Vietnamese relations have been historically turbulent - that is to say, China attempts to invade Vietnam nearly once every dynasty. The threshold was crossed when Phan Bội Châu struck up an alliance with the Kuomintang to get Vietnam out of the Vichy French regime's hands. China later became a very important strategic ally to Vietnam in the ensuing fight (the Indochina War and Vietnam War) in an Enemy Mine situation, with the Communist Bloc in an united front. Four years after the fall of Saigon/Vietnamese reunification, the Chinese and Vietnamese went right back to shooting at each other.
  • Typically, when a computer company ceases support for an operating system, that's it: no more updates, and no more tech support. Microsoft, however, bucked the trend with Windows XP, an operating system they discontinued support for in 2008 and released patches for it; first, in 2014 when a serious security vulnerability was discovered in Internet Explorer, a web browser; again when the Wannacry trojan reared its ugly head in May 2017, encrypting countless computers and hitting hospitals and police computer systems across the globe; and once more in 2019, when a vulnerability similar to the one Wannacry exploited was discovered.
  • For the American federal political system, two words: constitutional convention. There's only ever been one before that replaced the Articles of Confederation with the United States Constitution. While plenty of people have proposed holding a another convention to update the Constitution, there's never been a serious movement to do so because everyone is terrified of what the new Constitution might look like based on who holds and attends it. If one were to be held, it would an admission by all sides that American politics are hopelessly broken beyond repair and the only possible solution is to throw the current system away and start from scratch.
  • The two methods of forcibly removing a U.S. president from office are this:
    • Impeachment, initiated by Congress. Increasingly talked about casually by disgruntled congressmen and activists of the party not in power. but only formally begun three times, only carried to its conclusion twice and both times unsuccessfully, in large part because by design it requires strong bipartisan consensus that the president has done something unforgivable and detrimental to the nation's interest.
    • The 25th Amendment. Adopted after John F. Kennedy's assassination led people to recall how William McKinley had been in a coma for over a month following his before he died, and how the Constitution was silent on how to handle situations where the President, while not dead, was incapacitated. Technically, only in that situation should the clause where the Cabinet can unanimously remove the President from office, at least temporarily, be invoked. But it's not explicitly limited to that, and its potential for a coup has been noted and used quite a bit in fiction.
  • As noted on the United States page, the United States values free speech highly takes a fairly hard line against any form of censorship from the government with one major exception: child pornography. Child porn is practically the only form of speech and media that that is mostly completely illegal to create, consume, or disseminate, something that the courts have consistently upheld in spite of the First Amendment, owing to the fact that its mere existence requires committing extreme harm against extremely vulnerable people.
  • In parliamentary democracies there are two moves that invoke this trope:
    • A confidence motion, should it fail, brings down the government and forces new elections. For this reasons many countries that allow them limit who may bring them, and how often.note 
    • More extreme than a confidence motion is the option available to the government: prorogation, basically asking the head of state to dissolve Parliament. Normally this is only done after elections have been called, when it makes sense (or as a break between sessions of the same parliament). But in some circumstances it has been done as a response to a difficult situation: Australia's 1975 constitutional crisis, where the Governor-General took it upon himself to do the proroguing rather than do so on the PM's advice (largely because he had dismissed the PM, itself a Godzilla-threshold move) and twice during Canada's 2008–2009 government, without elections, when the ruling minority sought to avoid confidence votes and inconvenient investigations.

      And then in 2019 new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had the Queen prorogue Parliament for longer than it usually was at the end of the summer, conveniently limiting the amount of time that Parliament sits before the October 31 Brexit deadline to a period that would allow a no-deal Brexit to go through without the opposition being able to prevent it.
  • As the full extent of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse of his gymnast patients became clear, the US Olympic Committee was so disgusted by the way US Gymnastics had repeatedly looked the other way that it revoked US Gymnastics' status as the official sanctioning body for American international gymnastics.
  • The Medelin Cartel headed by the infamous Pablo Escobar was so powerful in the 80-90s. So powerful, they could afford to fight and take out the government itself. The supreme court, murdered. The president, assassinated. Policemen got a bounty on their head. A special incorruptible task force numbering 200 people, 30 were murdered within 2 weeks. Ultimately a shadowy vigilante group calling themselves 'Los Pepes' were the ones to dismantle his cocaine empire. They didn't care about the law, fighting Escobar's brutality with brutality. They were even likely to have received government assistance specifically to take down the infamous kingpin. You know you're past the Godzilla Threshold when the government itself sanctioned a vigilante group who'd Pay Evil unto Evil.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: