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Irrevocable Order

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"Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed."

Some orders are meant to be carried out when given, no matter what. That's great for making sure the job gets done, and it prevents someone pretending to be in charge from cancelling it, but if the order actually does need to be cancelled... well, someone's going to have a bad day. If the order goes through and someone dies, you can expect someone to say "My God, What Have I Done?". In less serious cases, it's Played for Laughs as the characters scramble to stop things.

Self-destruct mechanisms, bombings, and assassinations tend to be the most commonly used implementations of this trope.

See also Irrevocable Message, Rhetorical Request Blunder, No Matter How Much I Beg and Can't Stop The Signal.

Warning: Many of these examples are spoilers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Canaan the vice president cannot call off a B-2 about to bomb the president.
  • Code Geass: Every order given by Lelouch through his Geass must be followed if the subject is able, and, since it only works once per person, cannot be taken back. Really comes back to bite him when Power Incontinence combines with a really unfunny joke on a person who is actually able to "kill all the Japanese". In R2, he gains a means to reverse orders, via Jeremiah's Geass Canceller.
  • Played for Laughs in D.Gray-Man. Several of Komui's wacky series of robots, the Komurins, seem to lack a function to abort any given command. It only seems that the Komurins can prioritize certain commands, as seen when Komui has one go after Allen rather than have her sister subjugated to its augmentations. By the time Komurin-Z, a walking Mazinger parody, first appears, Komui finally seems to have gotten the point and installed a "terminate command" option.
  • Golgo 13 will complete a job once he is hired to do it. Even if the client asks him not to do it, he will kill his target. Even if the client dies, he'll still finish the job. Once Golgo 13 is given an assignment, the target will die, no matter what. In The Professional, one of his employers takes advantage of the last clause — since hiring an assassin goes against all of his morals, the man hires Golgo 13, and then kills himself rather than live with the shame of doing it, knowing that his enemy will still die even if he isn't around.
  • In One Piece, Spandam gets the normally admiral-only privilege of initiating a Buster Call (by stealing the summoning device that enables it), where ten large battleships led by five vice-admirals arrive at a location and bombard the place with explosive cannonballs until the place has been leveled and no survivors remain. Spandam accidentally signals the Buster Call to the island where he lives and works, and no command exists to rescind it. From then on, the Straw Hat Pirates' main objective shifts from defeating Spandam to holding up against the Marines and getting off the island. This is a case where the irrevocability is self-imposed; Spandam technically could recall it, but he would basically admit that he committed a VERY stupid and careless mistake by doing so. Protecting his reputation is more important to him than the fate of the island.

    Films — Animation 
  • In WALL•E, Directive A-113 orders the Axiom auto-pilot bot to prevent humans from attempting to recolonize Earth, since it's too polluted to sustain life. It can't be countermanded because the only guy with the authority to do so is long dead. There is the non-sanctioned method of having the captain to get out of his chair, walk to the control panel, and press the "manual control" switch, quite a feat to say the least as humans had by then become extremely obese and out of shape.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the first Alien film, Ripley sets the self-destruct for the Nostromo in order to destroy the alien when fairly certain that she can safely get to the escape shuttle. However, along the way, she finds that attempting to do so will put her directly into the path of the alien, so she tries to go back and shut down the self-destruct. But, by the time she goes through the ridiculously-complicated abort process, the point of no return has already been passed.
  • Bulworth has the title character lay a hit on himself (he's suicidal). For obvious reasons, he cannot call off the hit. He manages to call it off eventually, but only by unknowingly dating the one girl who was actually assigned to assassinate him, and accidentally telling her about the mistake.
  • The plot of Dark Star centers on a sentient bomb that refuses to drop from the bomb bay and cannot be shut off.
  • The black comedy Dr. Strangelove and the serious drama Fail Safe both revolved around this in the context of the Cold War. In Fail Safe, an instrument failure during a military exercise causes a squadron of US bombers to set off on a real mission to nuke Moscow; in Dr. Strangelove, it's an insanely paranoid general who deliberately gives all his bombers the orders to attack the USSR. In both films, due to the intense security procedures involved, the government is unable to call them back.
    • In Dr. Strangelove, the US high command is ultimately able to issue recall orders (though they first have to track down the correct code, which makes up most of the film's plot). However, one bomber was damaged in an encounter with Soviet Anti-Air and its radio is not functioning, so it can't be recalled.
  • In The End, Burt Reynolds plays a man with a terminal disease who wants to kill himself; he gets another man (Dom De Luise), a psychiatric patient, to help him. Near the end of the film he decides not to kill himself, but DeLuise's character continues to try to kill him. He thinks it's a No Matter How Much I Beg situation even though the man never told him that.
  • Intolerable Cruelty: the lawyers find they cannot reach the killer they hired to kill one's ex-wife (they're in a divorce, and the hit was ordered when it turned out her former husband was poor, and therefore so was she. When another ex-husband goes Out with a Bang leaving an unchanged will that leaves everything to her, they try to cancel the hit). So they end up trying to stop the killer themselves before it's too late.
  • The Odd Job: which was originally a half-hour comedy episode starring Ronnie Barker and David Jason, later made into a film starring Graham Chapman. Same basic plot - guy decides to end it all by hiring a hit man to kill him when he doesn't expect it, but then finds he has something to live for after all and desperately tries to find the guy so he can cancel the contract. He succeeds, but then falls foul of one of the assassin's booby-traps.
  • In Parting Shots the main character has a hit called on himself (as he has cancer and plans to kill everyone who ever wronged him before having himself murdered to leave the Love Interest with his life insurance money). On discovering he's recovering he tries and fails to call off the hit. Luckily the hitman misses and kills a hated dictator (and also framing himself for the protagonist's murders). As a result the protagonist gets off scot-free and the hitman becomes a hero.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Played with. Before being sent back in time, the 800 Series Terminator is programmed to kill anyone or anything that threatens John Conner, but is also programmed to obey all John Conners' orders. John Conner orders him not to kill anyone. This causes a great deal of conflict (which is further explored in the novelization). The Terminator has to kill anyone who threatens John. In order to complete its' mission, it has to protect itself as well. But all John Conner's orders are to be obeyed. The Terminator gets around this by incapacitating or inflicting non-lethal injuries on any humans who might impede his mission. It helps that none of the humans are actually a threat to John (the T-1000 is, however). If push comes to shove, though, it's very clear the Terminator will use lethal force to protect John.
  • Discussed in Thirteen Days - President Kennedy uses the example of the just-published The Guns of August talking about the lead-up to World War I. He notes of how all the major powers had detailed war plans ready to go long before August 1914, but that those plans were outdated because the theories and tactics utilized were based on the last war. But it was all they knew so the orders went out, couldn't be rescinded, and hundreds of thousands of lives were wasted on a four-year stalemate.
    • Ironically The Guns of August disputes whether the mobilization was truly irrevocable (see Real Life section).
  • In The Wolf's Call, the French government orders a response nuclear strike against Russia before finding out that the attack they were under was a False Flag Operation. Since a nuclear launch order is irrevocable, the heroes must stop their own brothers-in-arms from launching the nuke, no matter the cost.
  • In Tomorrow Never Dies, info from 007 is what persuades an Admiral to fire a missile at the arms bazaar. Unfortunately, word comes in too late that there are nuclear missiles at the site, and the missile is out of communications range - thus, it cannot be destroyed mid-flight. This is why 007 has to fight his way to the plane carrying the missiles and fly them out before the missile hits.
  • The Star Chamber revolves around a group of judges who hold tribunals for criminals who have escaped justice in the courts and who delegate Vigilante Execution to a hitman. A major plot point is the inability to call off a hit on a couple of lowlifes when they turn out to be innocent of child-killing. Presumably this is due to the security precautions used to hire the killer — there would be cut-outs, and both hitman and employer wouldn't know the identity of the other.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. After Khan activates the Genesis Device Kirk decides to beam the device aboard the Enterprise to disarm it. His son David, who helped build the device, tells him he can't. To be fair it helps that the Device has a highly complicated activation lock of several stages which gradually powers up the device and only after the final sequence is hit is the device committed to detonate the idea being there was no way it would be activated until everyone involved were absolutely ready and impossible to activate by accident. They just weren't counting on a madman like Khan stealing it and trying to use it as weapon.
  • The MacGuffin in Casablanca are the letters of transit which "cannot be countermanded or revoked in any way". This is rather implausible, but lets everyone get on with the story.
  • The hitman version also occurs in The Bodyguard. In that case, it's because the contractee was high on cocaine at the time, so can't even remember who they went to.
  • In Crimson Tide, the deconstruction of this forms the basis of the internal conflict among the crew of the nuclear missile submarine USS Alabama. The ship receives orders to fire their missiles at a Russian nuclear missile silo that has been captured by a rogue pro-Soviet rebel faction and may be imminently preparing to fire on the United States. While tangling with a rebel-controlled sub, Alabama's antenna is damaged in the middle of receiving a new message. Unable to verify or even read the contents of the new message, Captain Ramsey orders that they continue with the launch, having no orders to the contrary and assuming that other subs with redundant missions may have been destroyed. The Executive Officer, Commander Hunter, argues that they should repair their radio, pointing out that they may have been ordered to abort the launch or change targets. The ramifications of nuclear war are discussed by the officers in general before receiving the launch order, and Hunter specifically makes the argument that if they fire, and their orders have been rescinded because the Russian government has retaken the silo and neutralized the threat already, Russia will likely return fire, which would likely lead to a full-scale nuclear exchange. Hunter relieves Ramsey of command (after Ramsey had tried to relieve Hunter, which he was not allowed to do for the reason he wanted to), and the two of them lead factions of the officers and crew in mutinies and counter-mutinies against each other. Hunter ultimately convinces Ramsey to allow the repairs of the radio to continue, and they confirm that the message was, in fact, an order to cancel the launch, as the rebels had been captured by the Russians.
  • A supernatural variation: In Maleficent, the titular character casts a powerful curse on Aurora during the latter's Christening: on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a deep sleep from which she will never awaken, stating that "No force on Earth" could revoke the curse. As the fairies assigned to raise Aurora aren't competent to take care of a child, however, Maleficent had to be close to Aurora to ensure the princess would reach sixteen. Thanks to this and to the curse also specify that "all will love" Aurora, Maleficent gradually begins to love Aurora (in a maternal way) as the years passed, and changed her mind about the curse, but she finds, to her horror, that her curse was so powerful that she's unable to revoke it. Thankfully, when she cast the True Love's Kiss Curse Escape Clause, she didn't specify what kind of love, so her maternal love for Aurora was enough to break the curse.

  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the dying King Robert tried to call off the assassination he ordered on Daenerys Targaryen, but either the message didn't get there in time or someone made sure it didn't. While the assassination does fail, the attempt does a lot to motivate Dany to invade Westeros and retake the throne.
  • Joanne Nicole in The Tomorrow Testament used this as a Dead Man's Switch. The unmasked instigator of Humans-Drac war could blow up the station where peace negotiations were conducted, but was informed that a strike fleet was sent to bombard his homeworld and the only one officer in position to countermand the last given order in time is on board.
  • Happened in Elfsong by Elaine Cunningham — Elaith politely informed the would-be victim that he changed his mind on the issue, but the executing agency isn't confirmed to be called off. And then thought a little more and chose to fight the hitmen he sent. He's funny like this sometimes.
  • In Warbreaker, the primary villians wish to start a war between the countries of Hallendren and Idris. To do so, they seize control of Hallendren's army of 40,000 zombie warriors (It Makes Sense in Context), then change the magical control codes on said zombies and order them to attack Idris and butcher its inhabitants. Finally, everyone who knows the new control codes takes poison, making it physically impossible to revoke the orders.
  • A Tear Jerker of an example in one of the later Honor Harrington books. The Manticorans unleash a massive missile volley against a Solarian fleet, after the Solarian commander repeatedly refuses to surrender. After the first wave of missiles vaporizes the lead ship, the Solarian second-in-command tries to surrender, only to learn that the FTL comm the Manticorans had been using to talk to her can't interface with the missiles, and there isn't enough time to call the missiles off before they hit.
  • This trope is brought up in a discussion of A.I. Is a Crapshoot in Stark's War. If an AI has some kind of channel in which new orders can be sent to it, then the enemy can potentially spoof an authorized user and change the AI's orders. If it doesn't, then there's no way to stop the AI if you need to update or countermand their initial orders.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of 7 Days (1998) has terrorists give a bomber wing an order to destroy an American base (supposedly overrun). Since Frank temporarily lost his memory when traveling back, the good guys don't contact the bombers until they're past the official point of no return. They have to put the commander's pregnant wife on the phone to convince him.
  • Blake's 7: Servalan captures the Liberator and threatens to execute the crew one-by-one until they order Zen to transfer command authority to her. Tarrant points out Servalan will likely kill them anyway, and refuses. Avon decides that he doesn't want to die and orders Zen to accept commands from Servalan on one provision— note  Servalan cuts him off at that point, but Avon points out that he must complete the order or Zen won't accept the command; unless she wants to reprogram Zen, and he's probably the only person with the skill to do that.
  • At the end of the third season of Castle, a major blow is dealt to whoever ordered Beckett's mother killed when his favorite hired gun is killed. The one who did that killing sent off a bunch of info to a fourth party so that there would be no retaliation against Beckett. Unfortunately, that mail arrived too late to prevent a sniper taking a shot at her.
  • Chuck: In Chuck vs. the Business Trip, an assassin known as "The Viper" is known for going dark after receiving instructions and making it impossible to retract an assassination order, meaning that Decker cannot call off the hit on Morgan.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor almost gets Davros to do this in "Genesis of the Daleks." The Doctor has control of Davros' life support system and tells him to give the order to destroy the proto-Daleks or else he'll turn it off.
      Davros: This is Davros. Elite unit seven will go to the incubator room. All survival maintenance systems are to be closed down. The Dalek creatures are to be destroyed.
      Doctor: Tell them the order cannot be countermanded.
      Davros: This order cannot—
      [Nyder knocks out the Doctor from behind]
      Davros: This is Davros, this is Davros. My last order is cancelled, repeat, cancelled. No action is to be taken.
    • Happens in with a twist in "Face the Raven." Mayor "Me" of Trap Street uses a Quantum Shade to execute lawbreakers, which kills the condemned in 24 hours using a chronolock. The chronolock can be transferred once to a willing recipient, but once that happens the Mayor is no longer able to rescind the order. The Mayor uses the Shade on Rigsy as a ploy to get the Doctor to Trap Street, but it backfires when Clara Oswald takes the chronolock, and the Mayor is powerless to prevent her death.
  • Game of Thrones: When King Robert tries to rescind his assassination order on Daenerys, Varys laments that "those birds have flown. The girl is likely dead already."
  • In a Kojak episode, a hitman refuses to cancel a hit on someone, and kills his client when he threatens to spread the news to the underworld that he's unreliable.
  • Person of Interest:
    • "'Til Death" has the hitman variant—both husband and wife wish the other dead and hire hitmen to do so, making John Reese fight off the hitmen and keep them together, and they decide to get back together. The climactic battle of the episode has them trying to call off the hitmen mid-fight, but the hitmen (maybe because it would mean leaving witnesses, maybe because they are pissed off that Reese has made them fail long enough) simply continue trying to kill them.
    • In "SNAFU" the Machine is malfunctioning and sends a hitwoman after Reese, while at the same time warning Team Machine about his impending murder. Harold Finch realises the hitwoman has been paid in advance so he can't just get the Machine to cancel the contract.
  • Sherlock: In "The Reichenbach Fall", Moriarty tells Sherlock that he has assassins following Sherlock's friends, who will be killed unless Sherlock commits suicide, and he isn't going to call it off. Sherlock realizes his choice of words — "not going to", not "can't" — implies there must be some sort of emergency signal to cancel the hits. Moriarty admits that there is, then shoots himself so that Sherlock can't force him to reveal it.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • In "The Menagerie, Part 1", Spock hijacks the Enterprise with the crippled Captain Pike in tow and sets the ship on course for the forbidden planet Talos IV, locking the computer so that the life support systems will short-circuit should the course be altered.
      • In "The Doomsday Machine", the Constellation is set to blow up with an irrevocable thirty-second countdown in order to destroy the Planet Killer from the inside. It's not explicitly stated why the countdown is unstoppable, but the implication is that's because of the ship's severely damaged condition (as Scotty put it, the difficult thing was to prevent the engines from blowing, not to cause it to happen at a desired moment).
      • In "Let This Be Your Last Battlefield", rather than let Commissioner Bele take the Enterprise to the planet Charon, Captain Kirk orders the computer to activate the ship's Self-Destruct Mechanism. During the last thirty seconds of the countdown, Kirk tells Bele that once the countdown passes five seconds the computer cannot be stopped from destroying the ship. Bele gives in at the last second (literally) and Kirk aborts the self-destruct sequence.
    • The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Warhead" features a sentient torpedo who's been sent to destroy the enemy. En route, a peace is declared, but the command to the torpedo to abort the mission is garbled such that the confirmation code can't be immediately accessed. If the torpedo destroys its target, it'll set off another war. Our heroes must solve this problem. There's also another group of fully-active torpedoes that did receive the order, but have already reached the point of no return and disregarded it.

    Myths and Religion 
  • Famous examples of this are from The Bible, in reference to the kings of the Medes and the Persians. The Medes and Persians had a law that if the king's ring was used to seal a proclamation then it could not be undone, not even if the king changed his mind. Hardly surprising that Gubaru (aka Darius the Mede) and Xerxes both had the Berserk Button of others manipulating them into passing laws simply to spite someone said others were jealous of or did not like.
    • Daniel and the Lion's Den is probably the most famous. King Darius made a decree that anyone who prayed to a God other than him for a period of a week would be fed to the lions—and sealed it with his ring. Daniel continued to pray, and despite Daniel being the King's favorite, and the King not wanting to go through with it, Daniel was still thrown to the lions.
    • Esther is another example. The Persian king gave Haman his ring, which Haman used to seal an order authorizing on a certain date the murder of all the Jews and the seizure of their property by the killers. When the king discovered Haman's plot, he had Haman executed, but could not undo the order. So he wrote out a new order allowing the Jews to kill anyone who attacked on that date. The Jews then slaughtered their enemies who attacked them.
    • Also from the Bible, blessings and curses, if they were given in the Name of God, cannot be retracted. Which was why when Jacob swindled Esau out of his blessing, their father Isaac had to root around and bless Esau with whatever he didn't give to Jacob. Also, in order to negate a curse, you have to bless the target with something better.


    Tabletop Games 
  • The touch-move rule in Chess. Once you pick up a piece with the intention of moving it, you have to move it if possible. However, by first saying "I adjust" (or "J'adoube" in French), you can touch a piece on your turn to adjust it (move it closer to the center of the square) without having to move it.


    Video Games 
  • The Fallout series:
    • Part of the intended ending for "Project Van Buren" was a nuclear missile launch that couldn't be stopped about to eliminate what remains of human life After the End and the PC would only be able to stop a number of missiles based on their repair skill, and must choose which places are struck (alternately, you could have blown them up in the silos, but take yourself with them).
    • The Fallout: New Vegas DLC "Lonesome Road" has an attempt at this by Ulysses. He prepares some nuclear missiles to launch. After the player defeats him, it turns out all you can do is change the target; you can't prevent the launch, so you must either launch the missiles at the NCR, the Legion, or both... unless you rescued ED-E, and order the bot to perform a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Averted in Tribes: Vengeance, where Mercury's hit on Daniel is called off just before he takes the shot.
  • Inattentive players of 4X games can give these.
    • In Sword of the Stars, Human and Tarka ships can't be given new orders while they're traveling FTL. If a Human or Tarka player signs a Ceasefire with another race while one or more of their fleets are en route to the other race's colonies they will continue and start a battle.
      • Ditto for the Zuul. However, Tarka can research Subspace Ansible, allowing them to give new orders to ships in FTL.
  • This is a plot point in Might and Magic VIII. In a twist, the character that gave the order is the same person as the one carrying it out. He — Escaton — a sapient robot — autonomous, but still bound by his programming. Unfortunately, one part of that programming keeps him from stopping once he's started to destroy a planet (it's a failsafe to keep him from being subverted by the enemy), and this one time he misjudged the natives' ability to fight back against the enemy.
  • The ISDF Bomber in Battlezone II: Combat Commander is capable of a One-Hit Kill against almost any unit and almost any building with its nuke-like Daywrecker bomb. However, once a target is called out, the bombing run cannot be canceled. Better be careful to hold off your follow-up attack until after the bomb detonates lest you nuke your own units.
    Bomber: "Roger that sir, coordinates LOCKED, orders received..... Bombs are away, good day sir!"
  • In Hacknet, the Entech CEO gave out an order to "take care" of Bit. Unfortunately for Bit, the CEO found out too late that the person he had given the task interpreted it as "have Bit killed" instead of "Smash up his computers and have Bit arrested".
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories: When Marluxia orders Axel to "eliminate the traitor", Axel says he "can't take that back later". Marluxia has apparently forgotten that he is currently engaged in treason against the Organization, and this exchange foreshadows that Axel plans to kill Marluxia for it.
  • The plot of Pillars of Eternity White March Part 2 Dlc is caused by this. The eyeless, an army of golems belonging to Abydon the forge god were ordered to protect Things Man Was Not Meant to Know by Ondra, the goddess of forgetting after the former was defeated by the latter and had his memories edited to end the conflict between them. It ended up backfiring in Ondra's face when it turned out Abydon left conflicting orders and was the only one capable of reversing any orders the eyeless got, and she couldn't make the eyeless forget Abydons orders or tell Abydon what happened or he'd realize his memories were tampered with.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • On Adventure Time, Ice King hires a hitman to get Finn and Jake. Only he misunderstands the concept of hitman (he thinks he's just going to hit them). When he realizes that the Scorcher is actually going to kill them, Ice King tries to stop him, but the hitman proves implacable.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko hires "Combustion Man" to kill Aang. He later has a change of heart, but even when he offers the assassin additional money to call off the hit, the silent man shoves him away and continues to pursue Aang. Word of God suggests that the reason isn't any kind of honor, but rather an opportunity to receive a larger reward from Ozai for killing the Avatar.
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien introduces “Customized Techadons” which unlike the ones previously encountered, perform a hit ordered by a customer, and won’t stop pursuing until the hit is complete and if one gets destroyed, another will take its place to continue the hit and will be much harder to defeat than the previous iteration. When Gwen finds out Vulkanus ordered the hit on Ben, he also reveals once a hit is ordered with Techadons, he can’t call it off even if he wanted to.
  • Parodied in the Camp Lazlo episode "Taking Care of Gretchen". Samson offers to "take care of Gretchen". Lazlo accepts, thinking "take care of" means pamper. After watching a mob movie, he realizes what Samson meant and tries desperately to stop what he now thinks is a hit, only to find he is too late.
  • They parody this in Family Guy. Peter accidentally orders a hit on Lois, so he goes to the mobster who contacted the hit man to get the hit called off, but just before the mobster can do it, the mobster himself gets killed in a hit.
  • The Owl House: In the season 2 finale, it's revealed that the Draining Spell can't be stopped once it's activated, at least not by any normal means. Luz learns this the hard way when she tricks Belos into getting a Coven sigil so that he'll have to call off the spell if he wants to save his own life, which just makes him angry and causes him to revert to his monstrous form. In the end, the spell can only be stopped by ending the eclipse prematurely, which only the Collector can do, and it takes King making a deal with him and freeing him in order for that to happen.
  • In one episode of Talespin, an inventor developed a robot called the Auto Aviator, meant to be the ultimate pilot as it didn't require rest and never deviated from its flight path. Unfortunately, the latter ended up backfiring when Don Karnage and the Sky Pirates decided to take advantage of the robot always flying in a straight line, and when the inventor tried to instruct the robot to change course, it declared the deviation as "unacceptable", resulting in the robot flying straight into the pirates' ambush.

    Real Life 
  • Imperial Germany's mobilization plans at the beginning of World War I come extremely close to this trope. The General Staff had planned, meticulously, the mobilisation & deployment plan that the Kaiser had selected - Deployment Plan 1-West (formerly Deployment Plan 2-West, until the old 1-West was retired). This placed 85% of the army in west Germany, at the German-Belgian border, ready to defend against the French Plan XVII invasion and the other 15% in East Prussia to defend against the Russian invasion. Unfortunately, Kaiser Wilhelm tried a last-ditch flurry of diplomacy that he hoped would result in France pulling out of her alliance with Russia, allowing the Germans to fight an isolated Russo-German war. Moltke, chief of the German Army General Staff, was very annoyed with this. Deployment Plans 1-East and 2-East deployed 40% of the German Army in the east, but Deployment Plan 1-West had already been initiated. There were no contingencies for changing the mobilisation-deployment configurations mid-way, and doing so would mean that it would take several days extra (of a 17-day timetable, versus just 13 days for France and 13 days plus up to ten days' travel-time for the Siberian-raised units of the Russian Army). In the end the negotiations fell through because France was dead-set on having a war while she could be sure of Russian participation (this was not thought likely in a war fought over purely French interests), France and Russia invaded Germany, Germany invaded Belgium, and World War One was on.
  • Nuclear missiles are another example of this in that once fired there is absolutely no way to stop them apart from shooting them down. Once the Two-Keyed Lock is turned, the system goes to "launch enable" and switches the missile to internal guidance control, with absolutely no way to stop the launch from that point. This was one of the criticisms of missiles over bombers in that while missiles can respond much faster, bombers have the advantage that they can be called back after launch for whatever reason.
  • Explicitly averted under the principle of parliamentary sovereignty followed in British and Commonwealth legislatures. One of its tenets is that no law passed by Parliament is safe from being altered or repealed by Parliament in the future, as parliamentary sovereignty means that Parliament cannot be bound by any other part of the government, including itself.


Video Example(s):


"Including THIS one?"

After Danger Mouse defeats his army of washing machines, Greenback orders Stiletto to blow up all of them. Unfortunately, just after the command is programmed in, they realize just what 'all' entails.

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Example of:

Main / HoistByHisOwnPetard

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