The Atomic Age Opens
Collier’s “Preview of the War We Do Not Want”
More early reactions
Human A-Bombs and Superheroes
Chart of trends in nuclear war fiction
Fun and games
Nuclear record jackets
The Last American
When the first nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, popular culture was quick to respond.
Currently the danger of nuclear war seems lower than at any time since 1945. Most threatening is the specter of a third-world nuclear war, but it seems increasingly unlikely that in the absence of superpower Cold War tensions such a conflict would be able to trigger a nuclear holocaust of the sort which has haunted our imaginations in the past.
Let us hope that our descendants will look back on these images as we look back on the “dance of death” imagery of war-and-plague-ridden fourteenth century Europe; and let us hope they will be able to say to each other, “That was a terrible time, the atomic age. Fortunately, humanity came to its senses, and survived.”