1964 ... moment of illumination

... a moment when General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) in 'Dr. Stranglove' seems to realize the enormity of what he has done (start WW3) and wonders about what God will think of him. Minutes later he shoots himself rather than endure the torture he fantasizes is coming.

1971 ... keeping in touch


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1983 ... launch 'Wargames'

... wonderful, and dramatized, view of Titan ICBM silo crew change and launch sequence.
Yes- the officers in the silo command capsule were armed. In fact, as per Gen. LeMay's orders, all SAC personnel who had anything to do with the 'immediate-vicinity' storage, maintenance, arming or use of nuclear weapons carried firearms. Additionally there was the 'two-man' rule which dictated that nobody ever went anywhere or did anything without another qualified team member at their side.

Interesting to note that in the movie the launch officers are issued old fashioned .38 caliber revolvers. Not the standard .45 automatic pistols one would expect in a military environment. This may be small piece of amazing technical accuracy on the part of the film makers. An automatic pistol, with it's spring loaded magazine was prone to jamming if not properly maintained. These officers sidearms are treated as just another office item like paper-clips of ballpoint pens. 

A simple revolver will always fire.

... prefab shelter

... dig big hole. Drop in large sealed steel pipe. Cover with earth.
'Hey ... how'd Richard Nixon get in here!'

1961 Twilight Zone 'The Shelter' 

... ICBM Silo- blast door

... judging from the design, I'd say this was one of the many intermediate doors at an older style Atlas complex. Notice the bow of the outer panel to give strength and room for it to crush in with the pressure. Not the bank vault main doors used on the later Titan and Minuteman silos. (Just trying to keep my 'atomic geek' credentials up!)

... commit for launch!

... US Air force officers simultaneously turn keys starting the launch sequence for a Minuteman ICBM.
It actually takes 4 officers to start the launch sequence. Another crew at a separate silo has to also turn their keys. The exact order of things remains, understandably, a mystery!

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1960 ... building big things!

... Atomic War means jobs! The Radio Construction Company was one of those Cold War firms with a wonderful, non-threatening, boring name. In reality they were running around the world building humongous things like this for the United States military. 

Pictured above is a radio receiver 'horn' being built inside of a gigantic protective dome. When it was finished it could listen to signals from outerspace. It could monitor US spy-satellites or eavesdrop on Soviet satellites or even play tic-tac-to with 'ET'. 

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1961 ... M29 Atomic Rifle!

... everybody makes fun of the 'Davey Crockett'. This is the smallest nuclear weapon ever deployed by the US Military. Yes- the silly looking bomb thing at the end is 'the bomb'. With a range of a little over 2 miles the seventy-six pound W54 warhead had a yield equal to a 20 ton pile of TNT. ( Images of The 3-Stooges 'woop-wooping' one of these into firing position comes to mind.) But more than 2,000 were made and deployed in Europe from 1961 to 1971. Obviously NATO never stopped obsessing about the rivers of Soviet armor they expected to come flooding toward them. This mechanism, usually mounted on a jeep, would give a couple of scared GI's a big jump in firepower! 

It's the sort of thing a frustrated John Wayne would pull the tarp off of and yell ' I'm puttin' an end to this bar-fight right here and now!'

... oh boy! Here's an official 'how to' film about zorching 'opposing forces' with a couple Davey Crockett's. What red-blooded American kid could resist?

... History Channel clip.

... West German bunker

... you've got to admit, that when it comes to sheer dark depression, no one does fallout shelter decorating like the Germans!

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... Fact vs. Myth #1

... here at Atomic Annihilation's deep underground headquarters we have a particular affection for many of the myths surrounding Atomic War. Taking away the myths takes away a lot of the fun- and believe me we want most of all for your experience of Armageddon to be a once in a life-time experience!

Without the cannibal-zombies and the giant mutant cockroaches Thermonuclear Conflict would just be endless suffering and misery. And where's the fun in that?

So in the interest of public information, and the thousands of fans worldwide that find this blog fulfills the missing terror in their lives, we evil white coated scientists will be conducting a series of 'Fact vs. Myth' forums in your hometown! Keep an eye on your church bulletin boards and listen for the loudspeaker trucks as reverberate through your neighborhood at three in the morning!

first installment is brought to us by a survivalist organization- BUT- the facts check out- and any deposits on shotgun weapons will be cheerfully refunded!

1949 ... Martin XB - 51

... ever wonder what came before the B-52... yup - the B-51.
Yikes! Maybe somebody got the pages of the blueprints mixed up? 

"We need 'em. Build 'em. We'll figure out if it works later!"

I do not know Spanish- which makes the video clip all the more fun! [ 'And then the crazy American's built this dog of a plane - what a waste of US greenbacks!]


1962 ... snug and safe!

... makes it all look like a two-week vacation for the family! The actual realities of Thermonuclear War were too grim for many to face. Civil Defense was always a tricky balance between providing important information and scaring the 'be-jessus' out of people. Too much fear leads to depression and no will to build cute little underground rec-rooms.

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1962 ... vital equipment!

... perhaps a bit more dainty then perching on top of the 55 gallon drums provided in the public shelters. Rations, clean water and air and even your trusty Conelrad radio cannot disguise the fact that the survival of the USA was limited to tolerance of relieving themselves into plastic bags for two weeks.

Looks like this was adapted from the basic fold-up TV tray design! Those things had a hard time supporting a full course Banquet TV dinner... I'll just go perch myself on the edge of that 55 gal. drum.

1952 ... win, lose or draw?

... for the history impaired. The Korean War was a very nasty 'hot' chapter of the Cold War. It was fought for three years (1950-1953) between US/ United Nations forces and North Korean- Chinese Communist forces. The USSR was the sponsor and director of the Communist effort. Total casualties, both soldiers and civilians on both sides, exceeded five million.

There were no winners. It ended in a 'draw' with everyone back where they had started.

Although both sides had nuclear weapons they chose not to use them and it stayed a 'conventional' war. This bloody, bitter, battle of wills had a huge influence on strategy and emotions for the rest of the Cold War.


1962 ... what to do?

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... I think it's very helpful that not only do you get helpful life-saving tips; but you get to fill out forms. Because every Cold War family needs more paperwork!

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