Stay Calm! It’s Just Nuclear Annihilation (A 1950 A-Bomb Instructional Pamphlet)

Midcentury Americans lived in perpetual fear of nuclear annihilation from the Commies.  Classrooms had regular drills to ensure atomic bomb preparedness, and bomb shelters were the rage, if you could afford one.  For those caught outside their bunkers, there was hope for survival as long as you followed the helpful (and horrifying) tips from a plethora of instructional pamphlets that circulated during the Atomic Age.  Here is one such guidebook from 1950….



So, here’s tip number one:  If you see a flash of light BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN, hit the deck.   As the pamphlet commands – GET THE F- DOWN!  The window you’re standing in front of is quickly going to become molten shrapnel.  Don’t bother running, the end is nigh – just hit the deck and pray for God’s mercy.

Okay, now on to tip number two…




….wait a minute.  Tip number two looks a lot like tip number one.  It seems the only thing you can do if an atomic bomb drops is just hit the ground.  A lot of bother to make an instructional pamphlet just to tell you to lie down when the sky explodes.

At least there’s some useful information to be learned in the next section: “The A Bomb can hurt you in three ways.”  Way #1: Explosions.

Turn the page, and you’ll find two more ways the A-Bomb will kill your ass…


Yes, the A-Bomb will not only kill you by its explosive force, but it will also kill you by burning you to a crisp and destroying your living tissue with atomic death rays.  Not to worry – “a small amount will not harm you…. but too much can cause death”.

Now that we’ve established how humanity will be obliterated, it’s time to get back to your normal routine.  Go cut the grass, do your homework, go grocery shopping… just remember to lay low when  the world ends.  See you then!

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