Apocalypses and Armageddons

I was thinking this week about nuclear weapons. And yes, this was before my phone blipped with the headline news about North Korea and certain inflammatory remarks. I was remembering how, even though I’m a little too young to have hid under my desk during the height of the Cold War, fear of nuclear Armageddon was the big specter of doom hanging over my childhood. I remember seeing graphics about how many times over we could destroy the world with the current arsenals of the US and the Soviet Union. Today I looked up the exact number—at the height of the nuclear arms race there were more than 64,000 nuclear warheads on our planet. That was in 1986. I was ten. I don’t remember what television shows and films I saw at that time, but I clearly remember the image of ICBMs streaking across a radar map of the world, the American ones in blue and the Soviet ones in red. Going in opposite directions. I’m sure I didn’t see this image only once. Of course in most movies a spy disarmed the nukes, or a superhero stopped them, or there was some amazing last-minute diplomacy and they all blew up in the sky. (more…)