JF Ptak Science Books Post 1585 [Part of a long series on atomic and nuclear weapons]
This is also part of a sub-series on the invasion of attack on America; examples of other posts include: Mapping the Invasion of America, 1942 (which is the most-viewed post from this blog, with over 500k readers), The Invasion of America, 1935, Bombing Manhattan and the Amerika Bomber, 1943, and The Invasion of America, 1942, Part II .
In the very near wake of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the editors of Life magazine published a prescient bit of propaganda on the coming of the Cold War. I guess though that the Cold War had already begun by Yalta1, when the sick and basically-terminal FDR seems to have been corralled by Bloody Joe Stalin, leaving the new President Truman on alert for the possible coming aggressiveness of the Soviet Union. The article appeared in the 19 November 1945 issue (pp 28-39), and it was a longish one, with nine illustrations (by A. Leydenfrost), and as articles go in Life from this time, this one was heavy.
It built itself up on a report generated from the offices of General Hap Arnold, and reckoned a new war, a New War, World War III, to occur in 1948--except that this time there were no natural difficulties that the U.S. could hide behind. (Arnold said: "...with present equipment an enemy air power can without warning, pass over all formerly visualized barriers and can deliver devastating blows at our population centers".) The threat would come from above, and there would be little accurate defenses against them.
There would be survivors but massive destruction and death--and remember that this was at the point of the simple atomic weapon, before the development of the big stuff. In the opening images of the article, a chilling two-pager showing eight major American cities being struck by atomic weapons, resulting in at least 10,000,000 casualties.
But as grisly as all of this was, the American reader was told the the United States would prevail, and that our rockets "would lay waste" to the enemy's cities; "the U.S. wins the atomic war".
[Image sources: I've used the image from the Drexel University site as my copy of this issue of Life is in a massive half-yearly bound volume, impossible to scan.]
This is what New York City was supposed to look like, afterwards, with inspectors sizing up the radiological waste of what was left of the NYPL at 412nd Street:
1. The Yalta Conference was the third meeting between the leaders of the U.S., the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, held 4-11 February 1945. It came after the Tehran and Cairo Conferences, and preceded the final Potsdam Conference on 17 July- 2August 1945.