Star Trek – A Taste Of Armageddon

★★★★★ February 23, 1967 Season 1 Episode 23

If you want to see where we are…and you missed a few…HERE is a list of the episodes in my index located at the top of my blog. 

This show was written by Robert Hamner, Gene L. Coon, and Gene Roddenberry

Imagine living somewhere where there has been a war going on for 500 years. Now along with that…no bombs drop and nothing physically is destroyed. There is a catch though…all the battles are simulated and whatever is hit in the simulations…those people in that area have to go and get exterminated…yes walk into a machine that kills them. They keep up with the numbers with both sides…if the numbers get skewed…the other side will attack with real bombs. 

They do this to lessen the impact of war on the world…but if they don’t have to face the daily destruction…will they ever stop?

Enterprise visits a planet on a diplomatic mission. A clever concept on how a different society may wage their wars: totally by computers. In their supposed enlightened method, the buildings and their culture continue – the populace obediently reports to disintegration chambers to fulfill an agreement with the enemy planet after each computerized attack. 

Star Trek - A Taste Of Armageddon

Kirk is fairly no-nonsense and aggressive in his dealings with the people of Eminiar VII and this is entertaining to watch. Scotty has his first opportunity to shine in command of Enterprise and does so with several memorable moments, such as standing up to the hideously annoying Ambassador Fox and admirably handling the threat from Anan 7.

There is one question I get from this. The one rule that the Enterprise has is to not interfere. I think how Kirk defies the Prime Directive’s rule that they must not interfere could be a divisive topic of debate for viewers. If he doesn’t interfere millions could continue to kill themselves, but is he really permitted to do so? 

This is an intelligent and philosophical episode on warfare and on how human beings seek to sanitize horror and the need for peace. This episode makes you think. 

From IMDB:

Crewman DePaul is played by Sean Kenney, who portrayed the injured Captain Pike in Star Trek: The Menagerie: Part I (1966)/ Star Trek: The Menagerie: Part II (1966).

Scotty’s refusal to lower the shields against orders is based on an actual story from James Doohan’s military service. As a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Artillery, he was threatened with court martial for real for saying “No sir, I will not,” to a visiting colonel when he realized a training exercise order would entail blowing the heads off some of his own men. Fortunately, his immediate superiors backed him up and, like his fictional character, he was eventually promoted to captain.

According to David Gerrold, the computer tallies of war dead in this episode was a statement about Vietnam War deaths that began to be registered on nightly newscasts in 1967.

In his memoir, “Beam Me Up, Scotty,” James Doohan described Gene Lyons (Ambassador Robert Fox), as being “out of his element” and “completely discombobulated” during filming. He added that it took Lyons many takes to get his lines right, and that they finally “went to having him speak off-screen.” Doohan speculates that Lyons, who was an experienced actor, may have been thrown off by the science fiction element, as such shows were relatively rare at the time.

Another beautiful matte painting was created for this episode by Albert Whitlock. Unfortunately, it is the last painting in the series into which live actors were inserted. This matte of the Eminiar city was re-used as the backdrop of Scalos in the third season episode Star Trek: Wink of an Eye (1968).

First episode to establish the United Federation of Planets as the principal service which the Enterprise operated under. In previous episodes, vague and often conflicting references were made to this service. Such references included “Space Command”, “Space Central”, the “Star Service”, and “United Earth Space Probe Agency” (the latter even abbreviated as UESPA, pronounced by Captain Kirk as “you-spah” in Star Trek: Charlie X (1966)). UESPA would later go on to be the principal service which the Enterprise NX-01 operated under on Star Trek: Enterprise (2001), which is set in a time when the Federation had not been firmly established.


On a mission to establish diplomatic relations at Star Cluster NGC321, Kirk and Spock beam down to planet Eminiar 7 to learn that its inhabitants have been at war with a neighboring planet for over 500 years. They can find no damage nor evidence of destruction but soon learn that their war is essentially a war game, where each planet attacks the other in a computer simulation with the tabulated victims voluntarily surrendering themselves for execution after the fact. When the Enterprise becomes a victim in the computer simulation and is ordered destroyed, Kirk decides it’s time to show them exactly what war means.


William Shatner … Captain James Tiberius ‘Jim’ Kirk
Leonard Nimoy … Mister Spock
David Opatoshu … Anan 7
Gene Lyons … Ambassador Fox
DeForest Kelley … Doctor Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy
James Doohan … Lieutenant Commander Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott
Barbara Babcock … Mea 3
Miko Mayama … Tamula
David L. Ross … Galloway
Nichelle Nichols … Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
Sean Kenney … DePaul
Robert Sampson … Sar 6y:
David Armstrong … Eminiar Guard (uncredited)
Buzz Barbee … Ambassador Fox’s Aide (uncredited)
Majel Barrett … Enterprise Computer (voice) (uncredited)
John Blower … Eminian Secretary (uncredited)
John Burnside … Eminiar Guard (uncredited)
Dick Cherney … Council Member (uncredited)
Frank da Vinci … Eminiar Guard (uncredited)
Jeannie Malone … Yeoman (uncredited)
Alan Marston … Council Member (uncredited)
Monty O’Grady … Council Member (uncredited)
Eddie Paskey … Eminiar Guard (uncredited)
Al Roberts … Council Member (uncredited)
Ron Veto … Eminiar Guard (uncredited)


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

27 thoughts on “Star Trek – A Taste Of Armageddon”

  1. Imagine having the kind of machine where u walk in and get terminated. lol….’Hey Bob I left my coffee in that room over there, would ya mind getting it for me?” than Zap lol

    Liked by 2 people

  2. interesting idea, and good for Kirk , I guess, in defying their game. Wasn’t there a catchphrase once when we were kids ‘what if they threw a war and nobody showed up?’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thats about it… but it was a very interesting plot. When I was a teen and I first watched it…I thought cool…computer simulating war! Then I realized…no I would not want to be terminated if we lost.
      When you take away the other pains of war…it would keep going.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. There is a novel by Orson Scott Card about that very scenario, called “Ender’s Game,” except they were kids who were recruited to “play video games” not knowing they were really killing people. Card very well could have gotten the original idea from this Star Trek episode.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I remember, years ago, reading Card0 Alvin the Maker, I think. Nicely real old West/myth alternate reality, but I never pursued it past the first book or two… Thanks Lisa, back to the library to start re-reading or at least add ’em to my list.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’ve read a few in that series and at least one other of his books and enjoyed them. Glad you’re familiar with them. My ex used to love reading sci fi and that’s how I got into it.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Kirk has been presented with a dilemma, but his ship and its crew always come first, and if it means ignoring the directive that’s what he will do to protect them. I also see the Prime Directive is a policy and policies are ideals that we strive to uphold. When a policy interferes with what is humane, it must be questioned. One of the things that I *love* about how Captain Kirk leads is he has the heart, the courage, and the initiative to act reliably and wisely from that base. James Doohan is a real live hero in my book. Protect your comrades is always #1.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yeah, I think it is an indictment on looking at the death toll stats coldly and factually or having wipe away the spatter and gore and really see what pushing a button or pulling a trigger looks like in real life/death.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You bring up an interesting question about the Prime Directive. It seems there are occasional exceptions in every Trek series. I’ve always wondered why this directive of non-interference was Prime – as in above not killing people except in self-defense. Speaking of exceptions, I would expect there would be a few people who do not obediently report to the disintegration chambers and go hide out in the woods. That would be another story. Thanks for the story on James Doohan. I now have a whole new level of respect for him.

    Liked by 1 person

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