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Like 1,000 blockbusters exploding all around you

Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 06:50 PM

Our short Double Blasted tells the story of a man who survived not one, but TWO atomic bomb blasts--first in Hiroshima, and then in Nagasaki--in 1945. After hearing the podcast, the wonderful folks at WNYC's Archives pointed us to two surreal-sounding broadcasts that aired in New York City five years after the bombings in Japan, as part of a radio series called Plan for Survival.

The series was aimed at helping New Yorkers understand what to do in case of a nuclear attack, and it's full of colorful descriptions (the roar of an atomic bomb is described as sounding like "1000 blockbusters exploding all around you"), and oddly obvious bits of advice (if an atom bomb goes off, you shouldn't "continue cutting grass"). The series also contains some outdated language and thinking -- scientifically and politically -- so bear that in mind if you listen.

This particular episode (about 14 minutes long), begins by asking people all over the state what they'd do if a nuclear bomb went off near them (their answers seem to bolster the case that New Yorkers had a thing or two to learn about Civil Defense...), and goes on to describe a traveling exhibit that featured a "very impressive colored photograph of New York City as it would look after an atomic bombing attack" (if anybody knows if that photo still exists somewhere...please let me know in the comments section, I'd be really curious to see it):

You can read more, and listen to another episode of Plan for Survival, at Annotations: The NEH Preservation Project.

Thanks to Emily Vinson from WNYC's Archives for discovering this series of broadcasts. And thanks to our fabulous intern Daisy Rosario for helping to put this post together.



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Comments [5]

Robert Miller

The amount of radiation you are receiving from Fukushima is trivial in comparison to the amount radiation you are being bathed in as a result of coal fired power plants. Not to mention the burning of coal is a major contributor to greenhouse gases/global warming and global dimming.

Sweat the big problems (the radiation released from burning coal) rather than the drop of sweat from Fukushima.

Oct. 21 2012 04:42 PM
Patrick McGean

No mention of the radiation of Fukushima of which we are all being irradiated?
Miso kept the Japanese alive after GE's attempt to eliminate the competition, screw the war and the Japanese.
Organic sulfur a crystal food added to our diet can protect and repair the damage of radiation exposure. Search pub med to find "hidden articles" not lost images but articles about sulfur, hidden.
We are biology not politics especially the politics of war.
What a find, tell those who failed to survive the A bombs and all the children already dead thanks to GE, and Fukushima. Too many are again Japanese, dead to greed.
One more time, sulfur can protect and repair the damage of radiation exposure, even solar radiation. Wonder what it can not address? Sulfur transporter of oxygen which takes out the trash, even the radio active trash, NIH has an article stating that, we only observe of what they write.
It is a shame Radio Lad is not broadcast in Japan, the people are convinced a little radiation makes them smarter, and smoking makes you smell nice.
"Woman of the Dunes," no reference to A bombs but the utter futility reminds me of Godzilla. GE took credit for that electrocution. When will the spin cease, how many more have to die for the greed of power.

Sep. 30 2012 09:14 PM
Robert Jacobs from Hiroshima

The themes of this post are explored throughout the Cold War in an exhibition created and staged at Cornell in September 2011 called “Nuke York, New York.” This examines the multiple depictions of a nuclear attack on NYC from 1945-2011. See an illustrated article about the exhibition here:
The exhibition will be held again in November in New York City.

Sep. 17 2012 03:28 AM

I think the above comment's link gives the best explanation of the photo series, but some higher resolution images are available here:

Something that is extremely under-reported, IMO, is how close we actually came to a nuclear war with the USSR on several specific occasions. For one in particular, a single submarine officer (Vasili Arkhipov) could have made the difference between today's peace or Armageddon:

Aug. 12 2012 03:28 PM

Think the "photo" might be in the first link below. Another interesting series of imaginative post-apocalyptic depictions is in the following link.

Aug. 03 2012 03:56 PM

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