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An emergency arises and bombers from Strategic Air Command head for the fail-safe point, but they are called back when the situation is clarified. Due to a fault in the electronic system, however, one wing of bombers passes the fail-safe point and heads for Moscow. The President and the Pentagon War Room are informed, and the President listens to the Pentagon discuss the emergency. Groeteschele, a civilian adviser, recommends that the full power of the United States be unleashed against the Soviet Union, but General Black insists that all steps must be taken to avoid world holocaust. The President, in accordance with Black's recommendation, orders the planes shot down and uses the hot line to inform the Russian leader, who is aware of the approaching bombers, that the attack is a mistake. In an effort to help destroy the deadly planes, the President orders General Bogan to release top-secret information to the Russians. One plane, piloted by Colonel Grady, manages to get through. Despite radio orders from the President to return and the pleadings of his own wife, Grady refuses to alter his course. While the President is talking to the Russian premier on the hot line, Grady releases the bombs over Moscow. To convince the Soviet Union and the rest of the world that the bombing was a gross error, the President orders the atomic destruction of New York City by U. S. planes.