1960 ... mixin' it up with The Mix!


... notice there is no mention of Polaris Ballistic Missile Submarines? They won't come on duty till next year (1961). Instead of a 'mix' it will be the Triad


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1980 ... ballpoint pens keep the Peace!

 ... from those patriotic warhawk fellows at the 'National Lampoon'. They hit the nose on the button! There isn't a male Boomer that I've met who doesn't confirm that he kept America safe and strong with an arsenal five and dime pens at the ready! Only possible with Space-Age industrial giants like Bic and Fisher. (Imagine the catastrophic loss of life and environmental damage if fountain pens had been deployed!)

1957 ... giant man steals radar!



1960 ... putting the 'A' in M.A.D.

As Dr. Strangelove would have pointed out; the insane logic of Mutually Assured Destruction*  relies on the 'Assurance' that if there is a 'sneak attack' the defending team will still have enough surviving nuclear weapon delivery systems to totally destroy the aggressor. In 1960 as the first USN Polaris Missile nuclear submarines became operational that assurance guarantee became heavily underlined. Because these subs were nuclear powered they could cruise submerged for months.  They could not be found underneath the vastness of the ocean and were largely invulnerable to any first strike by the Soviets.  So, no matter what the outcome of a topside duel of a aircraft and land based atomic war was; the submarines always had enough missiles  and megatons to launch and flatten the Soviet Union.

 At first, in the early sixties, the range of  the SLBM's (Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles) was only about 1,200 miles. US subs had to lurk in waters close to the USSR as shown by the map above. The accuracy of the subs solid fuel 'Polaris' missiles was not good enough for hitting precise military targets. Instead the 1 megaton warhead was targeted at large population centers. A 'Polaris' Submarine carried sixteen missiles.  The Soviet Union test launched their first SLBM about 2 months after the USA. The 'Triad' of air, land and sea atomic annihilation was in place. 'Assurance' was complete.

* Pentagon planners would rather we use the word 'deterrence' 

Note: the USSR began operating their missile carrying nuclear subs two months after the United States. 


List of USN 'Polaris' submarines 

about the missile

1967 ... suckin' that JP-7 !


... painted by master illustrator Keith Ferris and brought to us by the wonderfully cranky host of 'Up-ship'



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1950 ... 'Uncle Joe' becomes the stuff of nightmares!

The Soviet Union was always a scary place. Lot's of violence and blood. Lot's of murder in the name of utopia. But the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin was it's darkest chapter. Stalin's paranoia and absolute control fashioned an adversary of dark and unknowable threat. When the Soviets got 'the Bomb' in1949 the world was in a nightmare it could not wake up from!





... Git-R-Done!

 Soviet workers utilize a leftover Mig-15 fighter jet to clear snow from railroad tracks near Moscow.  My Eastern Bloc friends would heartily applaud!



1958 ... double '6's

 ...brought into service 1958-59 two seat F-106B Convair 'Delta Dart'.  wiki
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... Hollywood blows up the world again (almost)!


Look at modern mythology and the blending of myth and fact. The specter of nuclear war has to be the most dark, and ominous theme. Before 1945 the office of the President of the United States was one of great power and influence but not of God-like reach. After the weaponization of the fundamental force of the Universe, the atom, it's control and use becomes Biblical in scope! Unleashing this power is unimaginable. That is; beyond the ability of any person to fully comprehend and understand. And yet, the largest engine of this hellfire is under the command of one person, one human being among all the billions. The President.

This drama, this mythology has one hero, one central character into whose hands is thrust the fate of the world. Since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, a preview which mercifully ended before the final curtain, this role has been magnified into a well worn and well known collective nightmare. Filled with magical devices, secret incantations and numberless servants of the great destruction. 



1952 ... Avro 'Vulcan' UK




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1952 ... 'Song of the End of the World'

 Take a LISTEN.. no doubt this is the most eerie sound ever devised by man. Even today, when they test the 'tornado sirens' I still check my watch and the day to be sure it is the scheduled test. For a small child in the late 1950's, these were indeed the opening chorus of a drama that would have no one alive to see the last act.






Face of the Cold War ... Korean War


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1959 ... 'Fallout: When and How to Protect Yourself'

 ... time to put some popcorn on the 'ol uranium cooker! 

A lot of these Cold War education films felt obligated to scare everyone into paying attention with some weird scary music at the start!



1950 ... "can anything be done?"

 illustration by Chesley Bonestell


... J. Robert Oppenheimer (cartoon)

 ... it seems that the mysterious 'J' at the front of his name actually stood for Julius. When asked about it he would laugh and tease that it "stood for nothing!" Did he think it sounded too Jewish for a 1940's America and the man in charge of the biggest most expensive government project in history? 

Or maybe he just didn't like the name Julius?                                      LINK

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... A Tour of Atomic New Mexico (NYTimes)

 Fun little number from the Travel Desk of the New York Times...


1979 ... F - 5G 'Tigershark'




1950's ... gleam with Rheem!

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1962 ... 'The Story of the Cuban Missile Crisis'

 okay- so it's not the complete story of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but it's at least the 1st of what may be 3 reels. Great stuff in somber tone and narration.

Boy, history sure looked great in black and white!