June 15, 2012
Since Molotov Cocktails are often used as a metaphorical symbol for revolution, even in situations where violence is not really being considered—in energy drink branding, for example—it’s interesting to note that our familiar pet name for firebomb, “Molotov Cocktail,” is itself an metaphor:
In 1939 the Soviet Foreign Minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, claimed Russia was not dropping bombs on Finland, but merely airlifting food to starving Finns. The Finns, who were not starving, soon dubbed the RRAB-3 cluster bomb “Molotov’s bread basket”, and named the improvised incendiary device that they used to counter Soviet tanks the “Molotov cocktail”, as “a drink to go with the food”.
Wikipedia entry on Molotov bread basket
Both weapons —bread basket and cocktail— are named after Vyacheslav Molotov, whose disingenuous food-drop-claim inspired the sarcastic metaphor in the first place. Both are containers which hold deadly bombs, rather than life-sustaining food and drink.
The Molotov bread basket also has fractal dimension as a bomb containing self-similar “bomblets”…
Popular Science, July 1940 (via)
Illustration from Life Magazine, April 1, 1940
Celebrity sidebar: Bing Crosby and brothers’ “Crosby Research Foundation” may have inadvertently made good on the promise of bread from cluster bombs:
Bing Crosby and his brother Bob, also involved in the entertainment business, were well aware that fame and popularity could be fleeting, and that it was a good idea to have something else to fall back on. Thus Bing and his brothers Bob and Larry agreed to try the plan for a year and founded the Crosby Research Foundation in February of 1940 with the objective of testing, developing and marketing war and civilian use inventions.
…Some inventions originally thought to be of military value were picked up by the government, but not to be used as they were originally intended. One such example was a “Molotov Breadbasket,” which was originally designed to scatter bomblets. While the military turned the idea down, the Department of Agriculture picked it up as a seed-scatterer to be used in humanitarian food efforts.
A cluster bomb of vintage Bing Crosby ice cream cartons (from Drive⏎’s Flickr Photostream)
See also: Fractal Packs