Since the first field use of an atomic weapon over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the world has feared the use of these weapons en masse. This theoretical notion of nuclear war, and the threat to human survival it engenders, is a complex and multifaceted issue. The concept of nuclear war exists on two planes: (1) a physical one, as experienced by the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and (2) a theoretical one, as experienced by those who lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis and as manifested in popular culture. The former engages a cult of memory revolving around the decision to use a new and dangerous weapon, the suffering of those affected by the mushroom cloud, and the triumphalism of ...

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