The date for Back to the Future part 2

The date for Back to the Future part 2
The date for Back to the Future part 2

Sunday, February 3, 2013

3 February 2013


Birthday
Warwick Davis b. 1970  

Many happy returns to Mr. Davis, who has appeared in the Star Wars and Harry Potter series, as well as other fantasy genre films like Willow and Labyrinth.
 

Prediction: The next war will be fought with intercontinental missiles armed with atomic bombs.

Predictor: General Henry "Hap" Arnold, United States Army Air Force, reported in the November 19, 1945 of LIFE magazine

Reality: Usually, I want a date on a prediction to use it on this blog, but this one was too important to pass up. My thanks to Professor Ian Abrams of Drexel University for letting me know about this. Follow this link to his webpage with full-size scans of all the pages from the LIFE magazine story.

A short recap: In late 1945, Gen. Arnold makes a report to his higher-ups in the Pentagon about his view of the future of warfare. It is, in the immortal words of Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove, toe-to-toe nuclear confrontation with the Russkies. News of this report makes it to the general public and in November of 1945, LIFE magazine turns the report into this nine page spread with beautiful and terrifying illustrations by Alexander Leydenfrost, Noel Sickles and Matt Greene, including the two page Leydenfrost spread reproduced here of exactly which cities would get nuked.

Some historical perspective on late 1945.  The bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki dropped less than six months before. The Family of Nuclear Nations has one member. Intercontinental ballistic missiles are still a few years away. At the time, LIFE's circulation was about one magazine for every ten people living in the United States. Given how many of these are going to be read by more than one person in a household - not to mention how many would be in the waiting rooms of doctors and dentists - this is most certainly the Ground Zero of the nuclear anxiety that would grip the public imagination for decades to come, especially since the source has a high placed member of the armed forces who had just successfully concluded The Biggest War Ever Fought.

I am going to re-publish this post with the link to Ian Abrams' wonderful source website every November 19 for as long as this blog exists, a day I am going to call You Have Official Permission To Freak The Fuck Out Day.

 Again, my thanks to Professor Abrams of Drexel for giving me this information.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE! It's Monday and Popular Mechanics lets us know how fabulous life will be in the new suburb named Totenville... IN THE YEAR 2000!

Join me then... IN THE FUTURE!


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