Life magazine, February 27, 1950

LIFE: February 27, 1950

In its February 1950 issue the editors of Life magazine decided to examine the state of U.S. preparedness for enemy attack. Apparently they chose an arresting four year old picture from the Bikini Atoll atomic tests to catch the attention of newsstand browsers.

The following is a description of the cover photograph from inside the magazine:

"The mountainous burst on the cover suggests the terrible consequences of an atomic war at sea. It was photographed from an Air Force plane flying over Bikini Lagoon on Baker Day (July 25, 1946) – the day of the first underwater atomic blast. This picture was taken about one second after the explosion, when a mile-wide cloud was spreading over the target ships below. The pale ring on the water was formed by the bomb’s outrushing shockwave..."

The cover story contains a discussion of how the Soviets might attack America: “The Reds, whose war production far outstrips ours, might base strategy on a quick knockout.”

There is also an examination of the current state of readiness of the U.S. military as well as a map of a fictional U.S. city ("Central City") and an analysis of how it might fare if it were struck by "one or two old fashioned atomic bombs." Spoiler alert: Central City doesn't do to well.

As a sign of the times, the editors of Life also decided to include a Bomb-sensitive advertisement that had appeared in the Wall Street Journal (note the selling point "Good bomb immunity"):

SECLUDED 15 ACRE ESTATE
On fair sized lake beyond Luzerne. 25 minutes from Saratoga. Large well furnished and equipped main house, 4-room guest house, large garage, accessory buildings, woods, gardens, boats, fishing, swimming. Good bomb immunity. Attractive summer home or could be converted for resort or institutional purposes. $30,000.
Box H 70. The Wall Street Journal.


Wall Street Journal ad

LIFE: February 27, 1950
By the editors of Life
February 27, 1950
Vol. 28, No. 9

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