Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Archive for February, 2014

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The London sky following a bombing and dogfight between British and German planes during World War II; 1940.

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Nagasaki, 20 minutes after the atomic bombing in 1945.

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I can’t even imagine what I would feel if I saw this over my city, especially if this was something no one had had seen before. Just thing how unbelievable it must have been to the average person that this was one bomb! Seriously, go look outside right now and imagine half the sky covered by this giant dark mushroom cloud where a city used to lay.


Children practice the “Duck and Cover” drill, to protect themselves against the effects of a nuclear explosion, 1950s

"DUCK AND COVER KIDS! BUT THIS IS MOSTLY A FUTILE EXERCISE BECAUSE IF THE BLAST DOESN'T KILL YOU, THE HORROR OF SURVIVING WILL!"

“DUCK AND COVER KIDS! BUT THIS IS MOSTLY A FUTILE EXERCISE BECAUSE IF THE BLAST DOESN’T KILL YOU, THE HORROR OF SURVIVING WILL!”

Duck and Cover is a method of personal protection against the effects of a nuclear explosion, which the United States government taught to generations of United States school children from the early 1950s until the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s. It was intended to protect them in the event of both an unexpected nuclear attack, which, they were told, might come at any time without warning and in the event sufficient warning is given.

Under the conditions of a surprise attack, immediately after they saw a flash they had to stop what they were doing and get on the ground under some cover—such as a table, or at least next to a wall—and assume a prone like position, lying face-down and covering their exposed skin and back of their heads with their clothes, or if no excess clothes such as a coat was available, to cover the back of their heads with their hands. Similar instructions were given in 1964 in the United Kingdom by Civil Defence Information Bulletin No. 5. and, in the 1980s, by the Protect and Survive series. Under the conditions where sufficient warning is given, they were told to find the nearest Civil Defense shelter, or if one could not be found, any well built building to stay and shelter in. From Wikipedia


Ack-Ack fire during a German air raid on Algiers; 1943.

Those are the light trails that result from long-exposure photography of gunfire. Ack-ack is shorthand for anti-aircraft.

Those are the light trails that result from long-exposure photography of gunfire. Ack-ack is shorthand for anti-aircraft.

 


A charred body of a woman in the air-raid shelter – Dresden, February 1945.

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This bombing was so complete that most people died not from the bombs but from suffocation as the city-wide fire used up all the oxygen from the air.

“…one of the air raid precautions the city had taken was to remove the thick cellar walls between rows of buildings, and replace them with thin partitions that could be knocked through in an emergency. The idea was that, as one building collapsed or filled with smoke, those using the basement as a shelter could knock the walls down and run into adjoining buildings. With the city on fire everywhere, those fleeing from one burning cellar simply ran into another, with the result that thousands of bodies were found piled up in houses at the end of city blocks…” (Source)

People so often forget Dresden when they discuss the horrors of WWII. I guess with the horror of the atomic bomb and the Holocaust the simple firebombing of a town is somewhat less horrific to discuss but the devastation caused there was nearly unimaginable.

“It is not possible to describe! Explosion after explosion. It was beyond belief, worse than the blackest nightmare. So many people were horribly burnt and injured. It became more and more difficult to breathe …

… fire everywhere, everywhere fire, and all the time the hot wind of the firestorm threw people back into the burning houses they were trying to escape from.”

— Lothar Metzger, survivor.

 


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A girl and her dog view the destruction inflicted by German air raids during the siege of Warsaw, September 1939.

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Searchlights pierce the night sky during an air-raid practice on Gibraltar, 20 November 1942.

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World War II Air Raid Shelter Tunnel.

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German air raid on Moscow in 1941.

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Convair Model 118 ConvAirCar takes a test flight in California in November 1947.

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The handling dynamics in the air would be interesting to say the least…

“The Convair Model 118 ConvAirCar (also known as the Hall Flying Automobile) was a prototype flying car of which two were built. Intended for mainstream consumers, two prototypes were built and flown. The first prototype was lost after a safe, but damaging, low fuel incident. Subsequently, the second prototype was rebuilt from the damaged aircraft and flown. By that time, little enthusiasm remained for the project and the program ended shortly thereafter.” (Source)