The Atomic Cafe
January 4, 2010
Welcome to The Atomic Café where we serve vivid images of tests from July 1945 Alamogordo leading to uncontested flight over Hiroshima about which crewman notes hard to conceive damage they’ve done. Smiling President Truman reports we’ve taken biggest scientific gamble in history, awful responsibility, and won, and thank God it’s our responsibility and not our enemies’ since, according to clever observer, city of virgin targets now looks like Ebbets Field in Brooklyn after doubleheader with Giants, and people, he doesn’t add, look worse.
Divine progress continues in June 1946 when natives on Bikini Atoll in Pacific assist fourth time in experiment United States government tells will help mankind and, presumably, their smiling children. Adults and children are awed by devastating test blasts that understandably cannot be conducted inconvenient place like downtown Washington, D.C.
Scientific advancements must be rapid since Russians are drawing Iron Curtain across Eastern Europe, prompting pious voice to contrast American shopping centers and cars with dreary lives of communists who become more dangerous in August 1949 with development of atomic bomb. Then Red China sponsors North Korean invasion of South and President Truman warns in Korea we’re fighting for national security and survival. Some officials, including General Douglas MacArthur, advocate vaporizing Korea and Manchuria.
We better bomb them before they bomb us since they’re learning more every day, especially after Julius and Ethel Rosenberg sell nuclear secrets. Traitors are convicted and sentenced to death and Julius cooperates and dies after reasonable electric jolts. Ethel receives same electrical dose and appears dead but shocked doctor hears beating heart, and she’s strapped back in chair and twice jolted upsetting onlookers who must watch smoke rise from shaved head.
Citizens and priests and everyone else know we need bigger bomb, hydrogen bomb, and are enthusiastic but President Eisenhower doesn’t celebrate as says this is greatest force God has ever allowed to sit on His footstool, and we must be careful because (in McCarthy Era of real and unreal communist conspiracies) we see threats coming from all angles but don’t realize how much more we’ve developed scientifically than emotionally and intellectually, and this is unsurprising since in one lifetime people have advanced from cannons and muskets to hydrogen bomb.
By August 1953 Russians have H-Bomb, and our friends on Bikini Atoll begin to suffer from contamination of flesh. Crew of Japanese tuna boat is likewise unfortunate to have been too close to progress. Pigs placed in blast areas for scrutiny are also not doing well. Neither are guinea pig soldiers ordered to walk toward tests.
Concerned citizens practice duck and cover drills and receive encouraging news if they’re more than twelve miles from twenty-megaton blast, hundred times more powerful than in Hiroshima, they’ll have good chance to survive. To keep out radioactivity well as explosion, backyard bomb shelter is helpful, provided you have guns to stop people trying to get in shelter during attack.
Optimistic man explains if half Los Angeles is destroyed and eighty percent of people die, survivors will have more food and water to divide, and can relax and wait for orders.