Russia was soooo into Red

I love propaganda art. East or West. But the Communist Block nations had stuff that was so over the top it makes us "dirty capitalist swine" look lame in comparison. Much of Western propaganda came in the more subtle from of the biggest brother of the capitalist system- advertising.

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1969 ... meanwhile in Red China

ey, this isn't the Olympics!
Those aren't pixels kids, those are thousands of people holding placards, each with a tiny part of the huge picture to form. Busby Berkeley would be thrilled.

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breakthrough bomber- BOEING B-47 STRATOJET

painting by John Young
The Boeing B-47 actually first flew in 1947 - just two years after the end of WWII.
It was a huge jump in aviation design. The thin wings had a radical 35 degree swept back angle and the engines were slung under those wings instead of buried in the fuselage. The B-47 was the prototype for most of the jet designs today.
Instead of heavy drag inducing machine gun turrets it had only a tail gun and relied on it's amazing speed for defense. She flew faster and higher than any Soviet fighter of the time.
The B-47 was the first purpose built nuclear bomber in the U.S. inventory. Although it was classified as a medium range bomber it worked well with the new technology of mid-air refueling and therefore could reach any enemy target in the world. Most of the 2,000 bombers built were "forward deployed" in locations close to the USSR such as the United Kingdom, and Greenland.
During the early 1950's, when our deterrent was almost completely reliant on bombers, the B-47 gave the U.S. and NATO overwhelming atomic superiority.
note: it's fun to post links to videos but the cable channels get a lot of facts wrong- the first video on this list makes 3 mistakes in the first 30 sec- do these people stop to think that they are making a documentary?

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"...who forgot to pack the Twinkies!"

above: crew compartment, cutaway, Boeing B-47 bomber.

photo: pilot and co-pilot
"Which one of us ejects DOWN?!?" 

Although from the outside the nose of the B-47 resembles a jet fighter- on the inside it's your typical Jules Verne nightmare! The pilot and co-pilot sat in ejection seats on top of a big central pedestal. The navigator-bombadier was wedged up forward in the nose on a lower platform. A narrow catwalk ran on either side below the pilots and to port there was a hatch and ladder down to the ground. Got that straight? 

In the event that it was time to leave the aircraft in a big hurry the pilots could be ejected out the top after the very big and heavy canopy was blown off. But because of his position in the nose the navigator-bombadier had to be blasted out of the aircraft downward through an explosive trap-door. All of this while you're going 600mph, on fire, upside down..... a walk in the park!
for a better view send out for "Strategic Air Command" with Jimmy Stewart- and watch out for that tomato soup, it's hot!

...prettiest bomber on the payroll

Boeing B-47 Stratojet

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...thanks, couldn't have said it better

"Some of my friends are too young to know the feeling of expecting the unexpected that we Baby Boomers grew up with. ( Some do not even know what a Baby Boomer is!). What I mean is we were taught to expect death from nuclear bombardment at any moment. Told that our enemies, the evil Russians ( or the Chinese) could and would do a sneak attack that would start a nuclear war that would pretty much wipe out life on earth. That may explain to some of you the craziness of the world we older folks have come from. We did not necessarily expect to be around this long. That may account for some of our behavior years ago and our bewilderment today! To fill the need to nostalgically recall this precious era of fear and hope my friend Jim Vaughan has assembled a blog showing evidence of that age of wonderment. "

----------------------- W. Adrain DAlessio

and your grandparents did it all with vacuum tubes !

fever dreams of VTOL

The Navy longed for a means of air cover for vital and vulnerable merchant convoys. What better way than to launch fighters straight up off the decks of the cargo ships? Landing these flying vego-matics left even veteran test pilots with a bad case of the shakes; that was on several acres of tarmac; now try it on the pitching deck of a ship!

We may note that the Navy conservatively held onto prop driven aircraft because they were proven and more fuel efficient than those new-fangled jets. It wasn't until those British invented steam catapults and angled carrier decks that the Navy gave up on wonderfully impossible designs like these.------------------------------------------------------------
top- a real budget-buster from Leifpeng's flickr site
middle- XFY Convair "Pogo"
bottom- XFV-1 Lockheed "Salmon"
note for all the non-geeks out there- VTOL= vertical take-off and land
Another Cold War benefit of VTOL is you don't need to rely on airbases with their miles of concrete runways; with a big bulls-eye painted on them. Imagine how cool it would be to have one of these stationed in the backyard next to your swing-set! "Hey mister, you want some lemonade!"

"...hey guys, burgers are on the grill ! "

I think I have parties as an excuse to make invitations.

to learn more about what a nuclear war will do to your backyard cookout go here-
"errr... I guess I'll have mine well done."

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disclaimer- 1964 (amended)

"ooooooh pretty!"

The French make the prettiest hydrogen bombs. C'est Oui! The big donut is due to the very high humidity of the atmosphere in beautiful French Polynesia where this test took place.
Spectacular but relatively small and practical- 1 megaton range. (Like their cars.)

Strangely, I remember this was a common poster in head-shops of the 1960s.
"ooooooh look at the colors!"

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The previously mentioned warhead- or "re-entry vehicle". One view shows the Atlas as it is being raised on it's own huge elevator platform out of it's hardened underground silo. All the huffing and puffing is steam from the rocket's cryogenic fuel. Wait- you mean they fueled it in the silo and THEN RAISED IT UP!

That's a lot of work!

Our other work-a-day snapshot is from down in the silo.

"Nice warhead, good warhead!"
Oh yes- our re-entry vehicle for this afternoon contains the newer, lightweight and easy to handle, W-49 thermonuclear device. Yield 1.5 megaton. Built by those wonderful folks who brought you that lovely pink electric range : General Electric! Hey, would you rather the guys down at Joe's Hardware threw it together!
No, the rumor is not true, GE did not put their slogan "We Bring Good Things to Life" on their warheads.
here's a cute little list of nuclear weapons the U.S. has built-

Art of the Apocalypse


This painting of an Atlas ICBM thundering into the heavens is by the renowned astronomical artist Robert McCall. I am a big fan of McCall's early work. He did the posters for Kubrick's "2001". Later in life he retired to Arizona, got weird, and did paintings of rocket-ships with flying dolphins. Happens to all those artists that go west and eat those funny mushrooms!

It's a great painting, even if the missile is minus it's distinctive H-bomb nose-cone. Makes those sissy computer drawings they do today look as souless as they are. Gotta use smelly oil-paint if you really want to paint the end of the world! How would the Sistine Chapel ceiling look if that Michelangelo guy had used something called "Gimp"!

click here for more than you ever wanted to know about the Atlas Rocket

click here for some cool Robert McCall stuff

P.S. I just love the stoplight in the lower right hand corner. Saving money with a little off the shelf technology.

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This is the cover I made for one of the DVDs in my collection of Cold War documentaries. If I had a date I would probably lure her back to my swingin' bachelor pad with promises of a private screening of "Community Shelter Planning'' or something really hot like "Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow".

This is why I do not have any dates.

Look closely at this heavily modified B-45 and you'll see Larry, Curly and Moe flying.--- "nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!"

c'mon, I'm a fun guy!

We made it! We survived! 
This blog is for fun. Back when it was going on I don't remember anyone imagining that the Cold War would ever have a happy ending.
Now, strange people like me, can roll around and cavort in the nostalgia for Armageddon. I can indulge my childhood imaginings of atomic-zombies and which 5th grade girl I'd like to re-populate the world with.
It's too bad the Strategic Air Command isn't still around- they should have a big parade. A ground shaking fly-by of Strato-Jets and Strato-Fortresses with maybe a few ICBMs launched with low-yield detonations up in the ionosphere.
Cable company execs are hard pressed to still keep the youngsters traumatized
-tsunamis and global warming just don't have that old mushroom cloud glamour.
"Peace is Our Profession" was SACs motto- and all cynical crap aside- they did it! 

"...the sanctity of our precious bodily fluids."

If you do not know the meaning of the above quote you are hereby ordered to obtain a copy of "Dr. Strangelove" - by any and all means, and watch it! Now, soldier! This is a matter of NATIONAL SECURITY!or just go to the youtube link-
This is movie making at it's best.

Everytime I put a cigar in my mouth I feel like transmitting "attack plan R" to my fleet of B-52 Strategic Bombers!

aaarrgh! I just bit my cigar in half!

1962.... DEFCON 2

This is my view of the end of the world. 

I was born in 1955 and grew up in Silver Lake, a small idyllic suburb of Akron, Ohio. If you looked out the picture window of our house this was the picture you saw. It was the big grass playground of the elementary school visible on the left. I miss that view. The sky dominated. Weather. Lightning storms, wind, huge towering cumulonimbus. To a small child the never ending sky was timeless. It was the reality that held all else in the overturned palm of it's hand.
In October of 1962 I stared at that sky and imagined the rising, rumbling mushroom clouds that would be the tombstones of Cleveland, Youngstown and Pittsburgh. Over my right shoulder was Akron, targeted with at least 5 to 20 megatons. Akron's blast wave would arrive a few seconds after the flash wiping Silver Lake from the surface of the planet. But my imagination was concerned with the targets to the East and North. They were much farther away and from this view the giagantic mushroom clouds might be seen.

Then it was time for supper.
charming little site that shows the rings of annhilation for your home town- select Akron and, oh what the hell, let's go for it and select the 50 meagaton Tsar Bomb!

"...please stand by."


Ah yes, our founding fathers...

Is it possible that Stanley Kubrick and Peter Sellers did more to avert the end of the world than all of the politicians and test ban treaties combined?

The genius of "Dr. Strangelove" is how it captures both the grim reality and the wild absurdity of Mutual Assured Destruction. It gave the "unthinkable" a human face. If we dared to laugh at the end of the world, then maybe we could stop it,
or maybe it wouldn't happen at all.

Dr. Strangelove makes his entrance-