A Daily History of Holes, Dots, Lines, Science, History, Math, the Unintentional Absurd & Nothing |1.6 million words, 7500 images, 4 million hits| Press & appearances in The Times, Le Figaro, MENSA, The Economist, The Guardian, Discovery News, Slate, Le Monde, Sci American Blogs, Le Point, and many other places... 4,200+ total posts
I do not have the source for this though I believe it is from Science Magazine from 1960. The ad was placed LANL looking for new hires, and employed the artwork of Emil Bisttram (Taos, New Mexico), representing the new ARPA (pre-DARPA) work for the detection of nuclear explosion tests conducted in outer space, Project VELA. ("In a continuation of presidentially directed programs, Eisenhower assigned ARPA in the summer of 1959 the task of developing the technologies necessary for the detection of nuclear tests, what would become Project VELA (Vela means watchman in Spanish). This program would examine technologies for detection space and atmospheric tests by satellites (VELA , undertaken by the High Altitude Detection panel (the Panofsky panel) of PSAC, which recommended that a satellite system be employed to detect atmospheric or space nuclear tests as part of a verification system for a possible nuclear test ban treaty."--"DARPA Space History", here: http://qnet.me/legal/DARPA%20-%20Background.pdf
This report on Exercise Spadefork was issued at the very beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis on October 1,1962. Undertaken by the National Resource Evaluation Center (NREC) and other agencies it was supposed to give a good indication of what happens after a very large nuclear attack on the United States, “Measuring the Capability of Survival”, evaluating what remains of the country and its sovereignty.
The theoretical attack began at 3pm, Friday 21 September 1962. 221 nuclear missiles were exploded in/over the U.S. In the first hour, with a total of 355 in the first 48 hours. [I'm not sure that the Soviet Union had 221 intercontinental ballistic missiles at this time, nowhere near that, unless of course they were able to get their 700-missile medium-range ballistic missiles closer to the U.S.]
A total of 1, 779 megatons were exploded almost equally between ground and air bursts.
20 were 1 megaton; 15 were 10 megaton, and 320 were 5 megaton.
The Hiroshima weapon was about 20 kilotons, so in the roughest sense each one of the 5 megaton weapons carried about 250 Hiroshima weapons; the total 1,779 megaton delivery would (grossly) be equal to about 178,000 Hiroshima weapons.
Most of the attack was delivered against military sites, “population and industrial centers appeared to be secondary targets, with only about 50 major centers receiving signifcant amount of blast damage”. Somehow “no major sections of the country were isolated due to fallout contamination”.
How we make out:
Military & “Sovereignty”: not so bad. Air Force and Navy take major hits (something approaching 50% casualties) but the Army does better, not being targeted so heavily, with 20% losses.
“While our sovereignty is preserved, there are some troublesome areas” (page 10), the very first notice being that “over ½ of the federal civilian personnel are available to work but with only ¼ of the actual floor space in about half of the offices normally functioning”.
And by the way “our normal Federal headquarters at Washington, D.C. Is severely damaged and completely out of operation”. The “headquarters” being, basically, downtown D.C.
Federal workers out in the country away from D.C. fared better.
Communications: in this report 80% of pre-attack telephones and 95% of pre-attack central stations...[would] be in service and have access to toll routes”.(pg 15) though “no route [would be] intact for transcontinental or through north-south traffic”.
Radio does better at night: “it is evident that heavy damage to radio stations will leave some areas with little or no daytime coverage, but night time coverage should still be good”.
Finance: “sufficient banking capacity has survived to support the surviving productive capability...the Federal Reserve System, though badly damaged, is in a position to support surviving banking institutions”.
One third of the $18 billion held by the Fed has been destroyed...though there will be enough currency in circulation “for a reduced level of economic activity, although there may be some local shortages...”
One-half to two-thirds of the commercial banking system survives.
The board of the Federal Reserve also survives.
Population: 21 million die either immediately or shortly after the attack from blast effects, with 13 million dying from fallout, making the total 34 million. 17 million are injured and expected to recover. 135 million do not have a significant injury. 51 million total. Most of these are in big cities, though we see that the states of MA, WA, VT, TN, Wva, OR suffer 42%-49% casualties, CT, MO, IL, MI, DE, NY, CA, OK, TX, LA, KS, NM, OH all suffer 30%-38% casualties. D.C. Leads away with 88% casualties.
Medical: a big topic dispensed with in two sentences (and to be read while whistling a happy tune), and which seems to make little sense at all when discussing injury rates in the 2 million range and their treatment. In shorter than the shortened story, all inventories of medical supplies “could priovide for needs for the first 25 days. Deficiencies would occur on many items...”
No mention of medical personnel or facilities survivability is made.
Somehow though 70%-95% pf drug and pharmaceutical companies survive and operate, though the manpower is down 25%. How this occurs when so many of these places are located near large cities that have been decimated, I do not know.
Food: the report assumes that food stocked “in the home, the retail store, and the small wholesaler would be sufficient to meet local needs for 30 days...” I think everyone has seen what happens to food and toilet paper when a snow storm threatens. Also grain mill products, sugar factories, production of fats and oils, meat/dairy/bakery services would be 40% available after 30 days.
About 50% of “lands in farms and 46% of crops harvested” would be available immediately. By D+30 88% would be available.
Leading the way for operations under “non-emergency conditions” is tobacco, 91.6% of farms being available after 30 days. Fruit and nut and vegetable production is last at 75% after 30 days.
Housing: it is calculated that on a nationwide basis that “housing will not constitute a major problem from the standpoint of requirements for materials and manpower”. Most of this evidently is accomplished by doubling-up occupancy “from pre-attack levels of .65 persons per room to 1.26”.
“Early decisions as to investment in physical plant will great effect subsequent GNP”.
21% of steel and 34% of all industry (?) is available immediately after attack, the numbers jumping to 55% and 52% with emergency effort after 90 days, with the balance “denied w/o major repair or decontamination”.
Part of the report concentrated on how dependable the data are, and how reliable the interpretation was . In summary it seems to my reading that the exercise showed fairly accurate information, and given the massive attack that the sovereignty (measured in terms of governance and military capacity) and the capability to survive (meaning financial structure, production, industry, population) remains basically intact even given large amounts of destruction. The bottom line is that the country survives and gets on with life. The report has nothing to do with the U.S. response, or the outcome of the war.
The Nuts & Bolts:
Exercise SPADEFORK Situation Analysis, printed by the Executive Office of the President, Office of Emergency Planning. 1962. 11x8". This report on Exercise Spadefork was issued at the very beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis on October 1,1962. Undertaken by the National Resource Evaluation Center (NREC) and other agencies it was supposed to give a good indication of what happens after a very large nuclear attack on the United States, “Measuring the Capability of Survival”, evaluating what remains of the country and its sovereignty. It is odd that even though this document received a small circulation there is only one copy (at the U.S. Army Heritage Center library) located in the massive database, WorldCat/OCLC. You can own this report for $750
I have been collecting images of destroyed Manhattan since this blog was started, and at this point there must be two dozen pre-1965 images. Mostly they are located in the Atomic/Nuclear Weapons series, as well as A History of Blank, Empty, and Missing Things, and lastly in the History of Holes series, all of which are browsable in the right-hand "categories" column.
Today I'll add two very strong Cold War images that leave no bit of interpretation to chance. The first is a cover story for a four-issue short-lived comic called Atomic War, which was published in 1952 to 1953. There is an enormous amount of red-baiting--no surprise given the period--and we find the Soviets initiating several varieties of preemptive strikes, including one in West Berlin in 1945 (the Soviets didn't get the bomb until 1949). In any event it is a very strong push to patriotism and Red-hatred aimed of course at kids. No doubt an 11-year-old seeing this cover at Christmas time 1952 would remember it.
[Source: http://falloutshelternyc.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html. Another image source with some history: Wiki http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Atomic_War!]
The second piece is another example of indelible impression possibilities. a very disturbing cover showing the effects of a nuclear attack on Manhattan, which turns pretty much all of midtown into a hole--a hole that was starting to fill up with the Hudson River:
[Cover by Al Feldstein, January 1952. Source: http://atomik67.altervista.org/COMICS-EDITORI/EDIZIONI_001/WEIRD_FANTASY-DOCUMENTI/Fantasy_Crono.htm]
I've written perhaps 100 posts for the History of Fission and Nuclear Weapons series on this blog, and in that I've collected a number of (pre-1960) images showing a nuclear explosion over specific, recognizable U.S. cities. Some of these came as a result of Cold War propaganda, others were used to show the effects of the bomb on a familiar profile. I've not put them together in one post before, so I thought to do it now. (The very first image of any sort of nuclear weapon published in the popular press showing its effects on a U.S. city appears in PM newspaper, 7 August 1945--as I've said before, I have no idea how these folks put together such a comprehensive issue in the day+ after the Hiroshima bombing, but they did).
Here are the U.S. cities I've collected so far--the majority of them are New York City, mainly because it has the most recognizable features making it easier for a broad spectrum of readers to understand the destructive force of the bomb(s).
Manhattan, Collier's Magazine, 1948
Not a mushroom cloud, but the only thing I have for San Francisco:
Movie still from "One World or None", 1946. https://youtu.be/u6ORe_tHYXU
Jello is a powdered gelatin formed of collagen, a cocktail of peptides and proteins from pig skin and cow bones, and "ready to eat".
It is also basically what glue is.
It is the "glue" part of this thing that brings us together here, to tell a story of atomic bomb secrets given to the Soviets and the U.S. traitors who made it happen.
The story of Harry Gold, David Greenglass, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg has been told countless times, and in some of them the hook for the story was this box of Jello. The Jello box was cut in half, and used as an innocuous way for Gold and Greenglass--who each possessed one half of the box--to match up, signifying that each man was communicating with his proper counterpart. Why they thought it was innocuous to be walking around with Jello box parts in their wallets is not known, but they used it successfully, and under this cover of establishing their identities, they carried on their work.
As I said, it is an old story. Back in the mid 1980's when I thought I wanted to be a journalist one of the stories I dredged up was this one, and I tracked down the Rosenberg kids and interviewed them, and the janitor who cleaned up after the Rosenberg's deaths in their execution in Ossining, and even to the Rabbi who was probably the last person to see them alive. The story for them gets pretty weepy, and convoluted, but not so much anymore after you read the Venona transcripts regarding them. And that pretty much tells the story, I think.
Anyway, their stories are best told by others elsewhere.
All I wanted to do here was make the passing note that the girl on the Jello box has some resemblance to the girls populating the artwork of Henry Darger, the bleak, fabulous, impossibly-driven Outsider with what was probably a complicated and terribly unsavory fascination with young girls.
I don't know if this is the exact type of Jello used by the conspirators, though this is what was entered into evidence at the trials of these people, a "replica" of what was believed to be the box, but it is good enough:
[Source: National Archives, here: http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/?p=4655]
Here's is an example of the (clothed) Darger Vivian girls. I know, I know, he is perhaps one of the great three/four great icons of Outsider art in the 20th century, but all I take away from him is a sense of very very complex creepiness:
See an earlier post of mine on Henry Darger and the Campbell Soup Playhouse Schoolroom for Kids, here: http://longstreet.typepad.com/thesciencebookstore/2012/09/henry-darger-and-campbell-soups-kids-playitme-schoolroom-1955.html
The October 1945 issue of Popular Mechanics carried a story "Atomic Bomb for War / Atomic Bomb for Peace" as a reminder to its readers that the vast destructive power of the atomic bomb was just one example of what nuclear power might be--and that there could be incredible and wide-reaching benefits of the process for peaceful uses. This work came about eight weeks after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and seems to be only the second post-use story on the weapon in this magazine. The article does mention a prescient piece ("The Miracle of U-235") published in January 1941 in Popular Mechanics by physicist R.M. Langer1 (CalTech) which extolled the future possibilities of the energy/power potential of nuclear energy, which is really what the present article is all about. Except of course for the 5,000 a-bomb total destruction of Japan analogy, which is an odd thing.
Half of the article's illustration is dedicated to military applications of atomic energy, and the other to the peaceful; and in the upper-middle of the military side we are told that if necessary that every city in Japan could be completely destroyed with "5,000 atomic bombs". The truth of the matter is that a great percentage of the major (and minor-major and major-minor) cities had already been pretty much decommissioned. (Just weeks before the bomb came the massive firebombing of Tokyo--334 of General Curtis LeMay B-29's were loaded to utmost capacity with the newly-conceived M-69s bomb, an incendiary so vicious that the fires it produced were all but inextinguishable. The B29's bombed Tokyo for hours, killing 100,000+ people and making over a million homeless.) And so I'm not sure what the message was, here, except to establish that the complete destruction of a city with weapons dropped from planes was now a possibility. It was probably right at about this point that this idea became a real possibility--and so to for its extension, that given enough of these weapons, that the entire world could be bombed out of existence.
1. Langer wrote an earlier piece in 1940 for Colliers which was a more sugary version of the Popular Mechanics Article. In this one he hypothesized that uranium would basically fuel life--it would be a fuel source so cheap to produce that it wouldn't make economic sense to charge for it (?). It was the seed of peace that would lead to Utopia and eliminate wars. This was Langer's popular side--he did in fact work and publish through the 1930's on the fission issue; his vision of the future though were a little overly-optimistic.
Here's an interesting formerly Top Secret document from the Lee Groves collection of the George C. Marshall Foundation:
The document is dated two days after the Trinity test of 16 July--I presently do not know why this is so.
"The sketch is of a test cylinder procured and installed at a time when we were uncertain as to the explosive power of the bomb. If, at the time of the test, we anticipated that the force might be relatively small or even that there might be no nuclear explosion, we were going to place the bomb in the cylinder so that it would be possible to recover the plutonium."--Marshall Foundation, below.
The cylinder/container for the bomb was called "Jumbo", and was 25'x10' and 214 tons--a big thing. It was decided at some near point that "Jumbo" would not be necessary as it became evident to many that the bomb would indeed "work". "Jumbo" and the tower were constructed and ready but abandoned for their intended purpose--it was left to stand, about 800 yards from the point of explosion; afterwards, "Jumbo" remained intact but its steel tower was completely destroyed.
Source: the George C. Marshall Foundation: http://marshallfoundation.org/library/documents/steel-test-cylinder-tower-july-18-1945/#sthash.ccG8PSRb.dpuf
I've written on this blog earlier on the creation of Atomurbia--the dissemination of U.S. industry and population centers more-or-less evenly, and remotely, throughout the country to decrease targeting liability, "employing distance as defense". There were different flavors of this plan, from the gargantuan to less-so, but no matter how this is idea is presented, on virtually any level, it was. of course, a Big Plan. It was so very big that it was even hard to talk about--the thing seemed just too big, and impossible, for discussion beyond generalities.
I found some language in a Congressional hearing on civil defense for 1960 that addresses and undresses the issue of "dispersal". In "Part II--Post Attack Planning" of these hearings1 there is a discussion of "dispersion", and what it is and is supposed to do, but there is ultimately a monumental shrug about this Enormous Situation, and a recognition that "there is no active program of dispersion" (pg 102). This in the face, evidently, of at least part of the dispersal plan being the Federal Government's "responsibility of carrying out out the national policy of dispersal in locating new or major expansions of essential facilities in accordance with defense mobilization order I-19".
I've wondered how such a plan would come into being--I mean the impossible move everyone everywhere plan--but did not know about this I-19 plan that actually made the dispersal of new national-interest industries a governmental responsibility.
The hopelessness of implementation of such a nightmare is spelled out pretty well in this bit, on the same page 102: "The objective of industrial dispersal can only be achieved when industrial and economic factors contribute to this purpose". A statement like this is so large and bland and intractable that it really says nothing, except that if the effort and the money was there, then the dispersal plan could possibly be achieved.
The report continues, "It indicates a desirable goal but there is no program here".
Leo A. Hoegh (former governor of Iowa and speaking to the CD issues as the first director of the Office of Civilian and Defense Mobilization) makes the case that there is dispersal going on, but as a natural element of industries looking to "get out of the marketplace", and brings up the growth of new industry in Iowa as an example, which was really pretty ingenuous, and he is held accountable to that thinking by Congressman Chet Hollifield (Ca.) who basically says, "Oh, come on...."
Mr. Hoegh responds: "The thing is, we are interested in dispersal and we are urging it".
Mr. Holifield: "There has been no dispersal", he said, there has just been growth. "None of your industrial centers...have decreased".
Mr. Hoegh: "We are still desirous to have dispersal".
According to the borrower's card in the pocket at the rear of the book, it was never borrowed. That doesn't mean that it wasn't read--just that it wasn't overnight reading.
[For those keeping track of such things the "L.S. Taylor" on the front cover of this hearing was Lauriston S. Taylor, (1902-2004), pioneer in radiation measurement, radiation protection, and health physics.)
1. Hearings before a Subcommittee on the Committeee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, Civil Defense (Parts I-III); March 28-31, 1960, 573pp.
JF Ptak Science Books Post 2515 [Part of the Atomic and Nuclear Weapons Series]
Somewhere between transporting the Fat Man bomb to the loading lift and raising it up into the bomb bay of Major Charles Sweeny's B-29 Superfortress Bockscar, it acquired a stencil-painted acronym: JANCFU, right on its nose.
It was black on a bomb painted mostly yellow, a zinc-chromate yellow. The yellow similar to the cover of Dr. Seuss' One Fish, Two Fish...; the color yellow symbolizing courage/nobility in Japan, Wisdom in Islam, and a deity-color in Hinduism; the color so fond of many great writers like London and Doyle, and Harte and Stevenson that they employed in in titles of the books. The favorite color of Van Gogh1, and perhaps not-so-favorite of Shakespeare (appearing in references to bile and melancholy and falling leaves), it is usually a positive color--except that it also can signify cowardice, ego, caution, and illness (malaria, jaundice). It is also the color of the Star of David worn by Jewish people living under Nazi-occupied/controlled places/
Fat Man was yellow. But it was yellow because like a fire truck it was the easiest and quickest thing for the eye to register, and what needed to be registered with Fat Man was its trajectory on its way down to detonate 1640 feet above Nagasaki.
JANCFU, painted or airbrushed on the nose of the bomb at the last moment, or so it seems, stood for "Joint Army Navy Civilian Fuck Up".
It was hardly that. It was like another yellow--Yellowstone--but of a different sort of indescribable awesomeness, this more like an impending enormity, too large to be known.
[Source: Business Insider, For the video, see here: http://www.businessinsider.com/nagasaki-raw-video-2014-2 The article is worth the read, but if you just want the video, scroll to the end.]
1. The Van Gogh museum's "Van Gogh Letters" is a must-visit if you are interested in his correspondence. http://vangoghletters.org/vg/ Actually the word "green" pops up about 15% more often than "yellow" as the most often mentioned color in the correspondence, though I think that the scholars say that his favorite color hands-down was yellow.
John Coster-Mullen's Atom Bombs: The Top Secret Inside Story of Little Boy and Fat Man must be the most complete description of the bombs ever published. And it was accomplished by the relentless study of the "nuclear archaeologist" Mr. Coster-Mullen, a truck driver by trade who had no formal education in physics or metals or engineering. He produced not only this remarkable work, but also created a life-size nearly perfect replica of Fat Man. I'm pulling up this reference because in there Coster-Mullen states that it was Project Alberta engineer Harlow Russ who painted the JANCFU on the bomb. There was other stuff written on the bomb, but nothing quite so surprising, or shocking, than this. Perhaps the small tattoo underneath the acronym is almost as shocking, but not really--the Fat Man bomb profile with the letters "FM" ("Fat Man") in the interior of the design has its moment of shock/recognition, as though any identifier was needed for the thing. (It is like the surgeon circling the correct kidney he needs to remove, drawing on their patient--just in case there was any confusion, this stencil assured everyone that this was indeed what it was.) See this great article in The New Yorker about Coster-Mullen, here.
JF Ptak Science Books (An earlier post from 2010, revised) [Atomic and Nuclear Weapons Series]
This post is one in a continuing series on the history of holes–the appearance of this particular hole meant the difference of life and death for hundreds of thousands of people, and it killed almost as many people as it didn’t kill.
The hole was in a cloud. It was a corollary cloud to missing clouds from a few days earlier.
On 6 August, 1945, the primary target of the first atomic bomb to be dropped on Japan was Hiroshima1–had there been unfavorable weather conditions, had the target been obscured by clouds or haze, a second target would be engaged–that was the Kokura Arsenal on the north shore of Kyushu. But conditions were bomb-favorable on that day, and Hiroshima was the city that was killed. Little Boy, the U-235 bomb dropped by Paul Tibbets from the Enola Gay exploded 1,900 feet above Hiroshima. The bomb detonated and–with blast and shock wave and the ensuing damage and conflagration–70,000-80.000 people were killed (and at least double that number within five years).
It was a day before the news of the bombing was verified for Tokyo, and another day before the Big Six leaders of the Japanese army and government decided that they couldn’t decide in what to do with the Potsdam declarations and order of surrender. It was a raging debate among those leaders, and it was a failure.
The second bomb, the plutonium Fat Man, was to be dropped by Major Charles Sweeney from Frederick Bock’s B-29 Superfortress Bockscar on the next target, which was decided to be the Kokura Arsenal. And so Fat Man was taken over Kokura on 9 August, but by the time Major Sweeney (who had piloted the Great Artiste behind the Enola Gay on the Hiroshima bombing) had arrived the previously comfortable atmospheric conditions had turned cloudy, overcast, the target obscured. Sweeney made three runs over the target, but it stayed hidden from the bombardier, and so the people of Kokura were spared. Major Sweeney tuned to his secondary target, Nagasaki. With fuel running out, the clouds were also running thick over Nagasaki, until the last moment, when a hole opened in the canopy and the bomb was released through it, exploding with the impact of 22,000 tons of TNT at about 1640 feet above the city, killing 70,000 people (by the end of the year, 140,000 by 1950).
The hills around Nagasaki confined the blast and protected those on the other side of them. Kokura had no such terrain, which means that had the bomb been dropped there, even more people would have been killed outright and many more so over time.
The hole theory though is not necessarily complete--there may not have been a hole. Nobelist (physics) Luis Alvarez, who made major contributions to the firing mechanism for the weapon and a genius-in-general, and who flew as part of an Aerial Observation Team to assess the yield of the bombs, thought that perhaps there was a hole in the clouds and perhaps there wasn't--"ostensibly" there was a hole, he wrote. Perhaps the bombardier saw the target, and perhaps not. In his Adventures of a Physicist (1989), Alvarez writes about the misery and the snaufedness of the mission, the clouds over Kokura and the multiple runs, the very low fuel which allowed only for one run on the Nagasaki secondary, and the growing accuracy of the flak from below. On page 145 he states that pilot Sweeny had decided against orders to attempt a radar-guided bombing of the 80% cloud-covered target--until suddenly the famous hole appeared, and bombardier Kermit Behan found the target and released the weapon. Alvarez records that the bomb detonated about 2 miles off-target, which he said would have been a "reasonable error" for a radar-controlled drop, which would fit nicely with the his claim that Behan was Air Forces's "best bombardier". Alvarez said that he took the report of the hole "with a grain of salt"2. (See extract below.)
In any event, some sort of hole opened for Nagasaki, and closed for Kokura.
It is interesting to note that "the luck of Kokura" or "Kokura luck" is a translated Japanese euphemism for the unknown avoidance of disaster, of escaping a tremendous fate without knowing it. (This appears often on the internet though I am using as a source The History and Science of the Manhattan Project, by Bruce Cameron Reed, Springer, 2014, pg 400.)
New York Times correspondent William L. Laurence flew in the Great Artiste, following Bockscar that delivered the bomb 1640 feet over Nagasaki. His report on Nagasaki appeared a month later in the newspaper, and the full text is available via the Atomic Archive blog here.
1. The targets discussed by the Targeting Committee (“Minutes of the second meeting of the Target Committee, Los Alamos, May 10-11, 1945") on 10 and 11 May 1945 included the following: (1) Kyoto (the former capital with one million people, a center of religious and intellectual life in Japan This target is an urban industrial area with a population of 1,000,000. It is the former capital of Japan and many people and industries are now being moved there as other areas are being destroyed. From the psychological point of view there is the advantage that “Kyoto is an intellectual center for Japan and the people there are more apt to appreciate the significance of such a weapon as the gadget”; (2) Hiroshima (listed as an Army depot though “due to rivers it is not a good incendiary target”; (3) Yokohama (one of the largest remaining untouched industrial centers in Japan); (4) Kokura Arsenal (one of the largest in Japan and situated by urban industrial sprawl); (5) Nigata (port on Honshu) and (6)the Emperor’s palace (which was discussed as a possible target but dismissed almost immediately).[Yawata was also considered (as an industrial center) (during the preliminary meeting of the targeting committee on 2 May 1945) (along with Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.] . The members of the targeting committee (source for this material is Gene Dannen at Dannen.com, transcribing targeting material of the U.S. National Archives, Record Group 77, Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, Manhattan Engineer District, TS Manhattan Project File '42-'46, folder 5D Selection of Targets, 2 Notes on Target Committee Meetings) included (on 10 May): "General Thomas Farrell, Dr. Charles C. Lauritsen, Colonel L.E. Seeman, Dr. Norman Ramsey, Captain Parsons, Dr. Robert L. Dennison, Major John A. Derry, Dr. John von Neumann, Dr. Stearns, Dr. Robert R. Wilson, Dr. Richard C. Tolman, Dr. William G. Penney, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer." In attendance for the 11 May discussion was Dr.Hans Bethe and Dr. Brode, plus: Colonel Seeman, Dr. Stearns, Captain William S. Parsons, Dr. John von Neumann, Major Derr, Dr. Robert L. Dennison, Dr. Richard C. Tolman, Dr. Penney, Dr. Oppenheimer , Dr. Ramsey and Dr. Wilson."
2. Alvarez on the hole:
[Source, Luis Alvarez, Adventures of a Physicist, 1989, p 146.]
In the not-modest stream of thin paperback nuclear holocaust survival literature in the 1950's and 1960's appears this effort: LIVE, Three Plans for Survival in a Nuclear Attack. It was published by the Stanford Research Institute in 1960, and was part of nuclear health physics pioneer Lauriston Taylor's donation to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement, where I bought it some time ago when they were thinning out their stuff. It is an unusual publication to me for its illustrations, some of which are odd, and a few of which are positively semi-surreal when view out of context.
The pamphlet overall is fairly helpful, assuming that you had as much time to get yourself together in an impending attack, and that is a major assumption. But I'm sharing this tonight for some of those images--and the cover, which is an unusual design in itself, not the least of which is the heavily-borrowed part from LIFE Magazine.
So the first of the few that I'll post here (above) is a detail from this illustrated graph, a march of teh intellect and survival from being in a dark hole to a rather stiff return to normal existence:
Here's another sobering bit, showing a progression of NOT-recovering to normal existence:
And of course the hole:
Which is a detail from:
And the cover, which has some blotchy Ralph Steadman-y elements:
And so, there are some of the major themes. I found the work unsettling in general for using mostly dark silhouettes for the people, that profile having been sort of established to represent dead folks. Ah, well.
About eight months after the atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima the Jesuit Rev. John A.Siemes contributed his well-known first-hand account of the devastation that he found there hours after the event. Siemes also published his story in the Irish Monthly, volume 74 (#873, pp 93-104) in 1946. This 10-page account in this version evidently is not very widely kept in libraries worldwide, as WorldCat locates only two copies (one at "New York State Library" and another at the Peace Collection of Swarthmore). There are full-text versions of it online, though there are differences in the telling of the story--Yale University has this as a full-text version posted at their Avalon Project here: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/mp25.asp It is well worth a read.
The original publication is available for purchase via the blog's bookstore, here.
[There have been 99 posts to this blog since June 1--check out other work via the "Archive" at left]
In the 100+ or so posts in the Atomic/Nuclear Weapons history thread there are a number that address somewhat Outsider-y notions and imaginary insights into the weapons. There are some that prophesy the advent of the bomb, and some that initiate the creator in its creation. The pamphlet below (published in DeRidder, Louisiana, in 1947, a town of 4,000) is one such example--the atomic bomb so far as I can tell exists only allegorically, as in the greed bomb, that would destroy us all. Still, it has a mushroom cloud on the cover, and so it qualifies as an atomic-bomb-in-popular-culture item.
[There have been 99 posts to this blog since June 1--check out other work via the "Archive" at left]
One thing is for certain--the design of this Civil Defense ("trained helpfulness") pamphlet issued by Bell Telephone of Pennsylvania was very determined, and obvious, and provocative, and it may have been the best thing about this publication. It is not clear to me how much of the plans for reacting to a nuclear attack ("an atomic Pearl Harbor") were implemented or implementable when this work was printed (ca. 1950?), but the plans were certainly orderly--and so they seem in the maps of action.
Here's one interpretation of an action plan for Armageddon in a large city--it is a bare-bones, comforting plan,even though it looks like half of the map is missing (though it isn't); it is really just a suggestion about the course of action after an attack:
All it shows, really, is that something is going to happen.
Here's another vision of action, this taking place in a small Pennsylvania town "100 miles away" from bombed centers:
There are no plans for the population to go anywhere, though there are plenty of plans for convoys going to the bombed areas. Also there's plenty of expectation, what with a hospital, temporary hospital, mass care center, and a golf course dedicated to mass care for evacuees--there would be plenty of people being removed to the town (as hospitals "prepare(d) extra beds").
There wasn't much in this pamphlet about what to actually do in the event of an (ultra) emergency, though you were told that people would respond to calls--telephone calls. As a matter of fact the phone features largely in this pamphlet:
Maybe it was all about selling telephones--as in would you be ready to receive The Big Call if it was made?
Earlier in this blog in 2010 there appeared a post called "Atomurbia: Responding to Atomic Threat by Moving Everyone Everywhere, 1946"--it turned out to be very popular, being about the dispersal of the U.S. population centers to thwart nuclear attacks. (I'll repeat: it was about the plan to redistribute the population and industry and appropriate infrastructure of the United States of America.)
It was of course (as Somerset Maugham would say in "The Three Fat Women of Antibes") an Enormous Situation, involving (basically) moving everyone everywhere. The term was "dispersion", and the planners of such plans meant it--and I've come across it again--unexpectedly--in another issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists for September 1951.
You may recall that this is the journal that keeps a doomsday clock ticking off the minutes on its front cover showing the advance or retreat from the Midnight of Armageddon. On this issue the clock is at three minutes to midnight, though I think that the greatest distance from the zero hour was ten minutes to the hour--so for decades the clock has been very close to striking the doomed hour without much relief.
In this issue of the Bulletin nearly every article is dedicated to the idea of dispersion (at that point under the auspices of the National Security Resources Board) and the creation of a federal program to directly oversee dispersion (the National Defense Dispersal Administration (NDDA)). And people are talking about moving around cities and people and industry as though it wasn't that big a deal, though I must admit I haven't seen any cost or time estimates in this source. Moving the populations centers of the U.S. to a more "garden city" idea involves so much effort and expense it seems almost impossible to contemplate actually paying for all of it. (And we haven't begun to talk about how people and essential personal are actually 'enticed" to leave their surroundings, nor is there any talk about the property rights of the owners of all of that land that is to be built on.)
As much as Frank L. Wright's "Broadacre City" seems to be a lead balloon so far as actual implementation goes for size and scope, this type of "dispersion" idea would be of gargantuan, orders-of-magnitude bigger/costlier than what Wright was talking about. At least in this department Wright was thinking in terms of a utopia; the dispersion business was more like a dis-utopian-dystopia, or something, no matter how these authors attempted to green-up and de-slum their proposal.
I am mostly making this post for the image at the top of this post(from page 268 of the Bulletin), which fits nicely with those others posted in the earlier Bulletin article (reproduced in the link above).