Atomic Culture on the Playground, 1945


“For years the playground in Washington Square has resounded to the high-strung anh-anh-anh  of machine guns and the long-drawn-out whine of high velocity shells.  Last  Saturday morning a great advance was made.  We watched a military man of seven or eight climb onto a seesaw, gather a number of his staff officers around him, and explain the changed situation.  “Look,”  he said, “I’m an atomic bomb.  I just go ‘boom’.  Once.  Like this.”  He raised his arms, puffed out his cheeks, jumped down from the seesaw, and went “Boom!”  Then he led his army away, leaving Manhattan in ruins behind him”.

The New Yorker, August 18, 1945 (Nagasaki had been August 9)

I’m deep in Cold War culture at the moment…almost finished with a manuscript on the Atomic Gardens of the 1950s and 1960s.  So posting may be a bit slow for about a week.

[image credit:  Lauren Orchowski’s Rocket playgrounds project…there’s now a book!]

One Response to “Atomic Culture on the Playground, 1945”

  1. Tarsila said:

    A great blog, very helpful!

    January 05, 2011 at 12:23 pm

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