Mushroom over Manhattan: A-bomb Strike Images of NYC, Chicago, Seattle…1945-1958

JF Ptak Science Books  Quick Post

I’ve written perhaps 100 posts for the History of Fission and Nuclear Weapons series on this blog, and in that I’ve collected a number of (pre-1960) images showing a nuclear explosion over specific, recognizable U.S. cities. Some of these came as a result of Cold War propaganda, others were used to show the effects of the bomb on a familiar profile.  I’ve not put them together in one post before, so I thought to do it now.  (The very first image of any sort of nuclear weapon published in the popular press showing its effects on a U.S. city appears in PM newspaper, 7 August 1945–as I’ve said before, I have no idea how these folks put together such a comprehensive issue in the day+ after the Hiroshima bombing, but they did).

Here are the U.S. cities I’ve collected so far–the majority of them are New York City, mainly because it has the most recognizable features making it easier for a broad spectrum of readers to understand the destructive force of the bomb(s).

Manhattan, Collier’s Magazine, 1948

Atomic bomb US cities Manhattan


Seattle, 1955:

Civil Defense Manual front cover, circa 1955:

Not a mushroom cloud, but the only thing I have for San Francisco:

Atomic bomb cities sfMovie still from “One World or None”, 1946.

Manhattan, PM Newspaper, 7 August 1945:

Atomic bomb U.S. Cities NYC PM  Newspaper


Houston, 1955:

Atomic bomb city houston


Chicago, 1950:

Wipe out chicago
[Source:  LIFE Magazine, 30 June, 1950]

Manhattan, 1950 

Atomic bomb cities NYC destroyed_atomic_war_comics


Wipe out Brooklyn

 [Source:  Conelrad blog and also at the website]

Manhattan, 1950:

LIFE Magazine,  August 1950.
Manhattan, 1950:
"Can Russia Defeat Us With Atom Bombs?", 1950:
Manhattan, 1952
'We have now entered the Atomic Age' - 1952 Illustration by Lester Quade.:
Lester McQuade, Manhattan, 1952.
Not quite the same thing, but here’s an image (and a link for more) of a Los Angeles pre-dawn dawn, showing the atmospheric effects of a nuclear blast test 270 miles away (and the only thing so far that I have found with nuclear weapon effects in L.A.):
Atomic bomb cities L.A.
[Source: IO9,]


[Source: Restricted Data, Nuclear Secrecy Blog, by Alex Wellerstein,]


[Source: Restricted Data, Nuclear Secrecy Blog, by Alex Wellerstein,]


[Source: Restricted Data, Nuclear Secrecy Blog, by Alex Wellerstein,
Manhattan, 1953
'An artist's conception of how a 50-kilotron (sic) bomb would smash Manhattan.' - January 1953 issue of MR. AMERICA magazine. Artist: Wolff:
[Source: Mr. America, January 1953.]
Washington, D.C. (no date! Ca.  mid/late 1950’s?)
DC consumed, again.:
No mushroom cloud, but I felt as though I could not leave this out:
Manhattan, 1946
Atomic bomb cities NY skull
Movie still from “One World or None”, 1946.

By: Ptak Science Books
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries

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