Friday, March 30, 2012

"Hiroshima, U.S.A." at Paleofuture

The blog Paleofuture has a nice piece on the August 5, 1950 issue of Collier's magazine that described in great detail the results of a atomic detonation in New York City.  The article used the results of the blast surveys carried out after the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two cities without any military value.
From Paleofutre:
The article explained that our understanding of what a nuclear attack on New York would look like came straight from U.S. measurements in Japan:
The opening account of an A-bombing of Manhattan Island may seem highly imaginative. Actually, little of it is invention. Incidents are related in circumstances identical with or extremely close to those which really happened elsewhere in World War II. Property damage is described as it occurred in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with allowance for differences between Oriental and Occidental standards of building. Death and injury were computed by correlating Census Bureau figures on population or particular sections of New York with Atomic Energy Commission and U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey data on the two A-bombs that fell on Japan. Every place and name used is real.

Enlightenment rationality at its most irrational.  We too often forget that the Cold War was still a war.