JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post [Part of the series on Atomic Weapons]
Richard Fagley took a sleepy, 4th grade side step through the coming decade or so in the future of atomic weaponry. The thign is, he got a bunch of it right. But where he missed a bunch of it, where he underestimated the power of atom weapons, was that they would provide the future us with a "Buck Rogers" style of war.
Now of course in 1946 the Soviets hadn't developed a Bomb, but anyone who knew anything knew that it would be just a matter of time before they did. Smart estimates were coming in at a decade or more--few people were prepared for the Soviet announcement in 1949 that they had achieved that goal
Fagley missed the impact of atomic warfare of the future not on his own accord--he was quoting someone who knew far more and knew better--General Hap Arnold, the Commanding General of the U.S. Air Force. But as it turns out, Arnold really didn't have the vocabulary or this discussion, and couldn't really estimate the "effectiveness" of the use of
the new weapons.
So far as I know, Buck Rogers didn't have weapons like atomic bombs; the war of the future, even though Fagley says that there wouldn't be many survivors, would be far worse than they could imagine it to be--perhaps because that amount of destruction was still unimaginable. Buck Rogers just didn't have the vocabulary for such enormous power and mass destruction, unless he had a planet-eater or something that I don't know about. In any event, words to describe the coming possibility of vast annihilation just didn't seem to be at hand in 1946--the words and ideas, and the weapons, would soon (in the Ulam-Teller hydrogen bomb, 1951) be at hand, though.