Atomic Artifacts


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Apr 24 2020 43 mins   41.5k

Back in the 1950s, facing the threat of nuclear annihilation, federal officials sat down and pondered what American life would actually look like after an atomic attack. They faced a slew of practical questions like: Who would count the dead and where would they build the refugee camps? But they faced a more spiritual question as well. If Washington DC were hit, every object in the the National Archives would be eviscerated in a moment. Terrified by this reality, they set out to save some of America’s most precious stuff.

Today, we look back at the items our Cold War era planners sought to save and we ask the question: In the year 2020, what objects would we preserve now?

This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler with editing from Pat Walters and reporting assistance from Tad Davis.

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