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Experience You Don't Forget

Those of you who remember the "hottest" days of the Cold War (Cuban Missile Crisis, Brezhnev's Fight with Imperialism, etc) will know more about gas masks than modern generation. Wear it once, get scarred for life. Here are some ultimately creepy shots from "gas mask" nuclear defense craze in the 50s and 60s:

History, Culture, Fashion

History, Culture, Fashion

History, Culture, Fashion

History, Culture, Fashion
Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

History, Culture, Fashion

History, Culture, Fashion

History, Culture, Fashion
(Source: Vintage Photo)

(Source: Oibeer)

Threat of nuclear destruction was very tangible then (some argue, even as it is now). Have a look at this comparison of nuclear bombs, starting with the "microscopic" Hiroshima bomb:

History, Culture, Fashion

To scare yourself even more, read this excellent list of
Close Calls in the Nuclear Age.

"On October 25, 1962 (during the Cuban Missile Crisis) a security guard at an air base in Duluth, Minnesota, saw a shadowy figure scaling one of the fences enclosing the base. He shot at the intruder and activated an intruder alarm, automatically setting off intruder alarms at neighboring bases.

However, at the Volk Field air base in Wisconsin, the Klaxon loudspeaker had been wired incorrectly, and instead sounded an alarm ordering F-106A interceptors armed with nuclear missiles to take off. The pilots assumed that a full-scale nuclear conflict with the Soviet Union had begun, and the planes were about to take off when a car from the air traffic control tower raced down the tarmac and signaled the planes to stop. The intruder in Duluth had finally been identified: it was a bear."

"Bomb Paranoia" starts early: marvel at Hitler's plans to bomb America in 1946:

History, Culture, Fashion
(Source: Modern Mechanix)

The "End of the World" as we know it:
This fascinating chart details the time-line of complete disappearance of any trace of human civilization from Earth, in case of an "extinction event": asteroid strike, or all-out nuclear war. After the humans are gone:

History, Culture, Fashion
(image credit: Times Online)

- in 50 years all cities are overgrown with vegetation.
- in 1000 years most brick, concrete and stone buildings are gone.
- in 50,000 years all glass and plastics disappear.
- nuclear waste remains deadly for 2 million years.

History, Culture, Fashion


Also read: Thermonuclear Oops List,
Biochemical Oops List,
Ballistic News

Permanent Link...
Category: History,Weird, Military
Related Posts: Cold War Phones, Russian Ballistic Missile Carriers


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Blogger Stranger Jane said...


I believe the "End of the World" time line comes from the Times Online.

I found it on this page, with attribution.

Love this blog by the way. Always something interesting.

Anonymous Michael Savoy said...

The Soviets detonated the largest nuclear bomb ever at 50 megatons which was an astounding 3,000 times the explosive power of Hiroshima.

Blogger jaaake said...

that timeline is pretty silly. after all, if there was all-out nuclear war or an asteroid strike, presumably the endangered species and fish stocks et al would be seriously effected. not to mention the "pollution" such events would cause...

Blogger Sean said...


considering the era the timeline was made the government and public at large were still pretty naive about the total effects of a nuclear war, let alone something really random like an asteroid strike. I mean, hell, nobody is still sure what an all out nuclear war would do to the earth today.

Blogger Lord Dudley said...

That post-apocalypse timeline is just plain silly.

Humans are pretty damn tough omnivores. We can eat almost anything, except trees and grasses; however, we can eat pretty much anything that eats trees and grasses.

To kill us, you'd have to kill a very large number of Earth's species. We could become extinct, but so would most other mammals (certainly anything over 5kg), most birds, most existing reptiles, and a lot of marine life.

You'd be left with a planet of plants, bugs, fish, and a few small mammals and slimey reptiles. Sure, it'd recover, but it would take a loooong time (millions of years).

I've never understood the whole 'humans are bad, nature is good' self loathing. Utterly weird. If you think humans are bad, I recommend that you start by topping yourself.

Blogger Casus Belli said...

"...know more about gas masks than modern generation." Pfff, I "Wear it once", but I'm not "get scarred for life."

"To scare yourself even more" find info about "Drop-shot", "Broiler" and several other plans of nuclear attack on Russia. Those plans has become more bloodthirsty with each next year before Russia invented its own a-bomb.

Blogger Maverick Collecting said...

The vast bulk of these photographs are not only NOT from the Cold-War, they're not even 2nd World War. They mostly date from approximately 1916-1938! Orwellian or Wells'ian maybe, Cold-War - never!

Blogger Khathi said...

BTW, the "woman cutting onions" photo is a) relatively recent and b) photoshopped. I remember seeing it in color in a set of various ingenious tricks -- she's not wering gas mask out of fear of attach, she wears it because she's, duh, cutting onions. ;)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chemical Weapons Defense Advanced Gas Mask https://youtu.be/XVlQTVfsBhU


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