Yesterday I tweeted about an interesting set of graphics I found on Flickr from a 1962 issue of Popular Mechanics showing fallout patterns across the US after a hypothetical war. The real Popular Mechanics Twitter account retweeted me, and then pointed me to the text of the entire article online. It’s over on Google Books and is pretty interesting.

It looks at the effects on the US of a wargame where we’re struck by almost 1500 megatons of nuclear weapons spread across 224 targets. It starts by saying that “… Life unquestionably would go on after the bomb.” and while it notes that 50 million Americans would die in the initial attack, it paints a fairly rosy scenario for survivors, probably too rosy.

Growing up in the 80s, I always assumed it was common knowledge that a nuclear war would devastate the world and kill us all. I wonder if we were all over-reacting, or maybe by then the quality of nuclear weapons had progressed enough past those of the 60s that the effects would be that much worse.

Anyway, if you’re in to Cold War era nuclear war talk, check out the article, either at Google Books.

Originally posted 2010-05-13 17:25:20.