Saturday, October 29, 2005

"War In the Atomic Age?" part 3

After having spent the last many long hours with my best friend Mari, working up a program for her upcoming concert (see poster above -- free blogvertising for my friends! ;-) ), we finally accomplished something we think the client (her mother, the conductor and director of the Monmouth Civic Orchestra) will like very much. We both donated our time and skills, and my mom donates the use of her computer & printer and the many layers of ink required to produce the finest work of graphic art this side of the Pecos (okay, I'm laying it on with a trowel, here. It's just really nice. If you want to see it, though, you will have to come to the concert).

Now I am free, for the nonce, to tell more of the 1946 story I began transcribing below. This, a history of events a hundred years in the past, is a history of the Last war, begun and ended in 1976. As you will recall, the President had just told the rogue Galaxy alliance of nations that we Americans will speed them to hell for having started this war by dropping that bomb on Kansas City. We pick up, now, with the history text:

So began what history has recorded as the One Weeks War, on a fair Spring morning in the 200th year of the independence of the United States.

By noon the entire nation knew that Kansas City had been shattered by an atomic autobomb.

"But the atomic bomb was outlawed," wailed thousands of bewildered believers in the sanctitiy of treaties.

Outlawed, yes; but outlaws had used it.

Sporadic panic broke out in the cities marked for destruction by the Galaxy.

Although the President had immediately announced government seizure of all transportation and communication, crowds gathered at the depots of transport, air, surface and sea. There was remarkably little disorder; perhaps the fear was numbing. Police, firemen, Boy Scouts, the automatically mobilized reserves of Army, Navy, and Marines, and the grayheaded members of veterans' organizations, helped keep the throngs in order and persuaded thousands to return to their homes. The President, the Chiefs of Staff of Army, Navy, and Space Forces, the heads of the military chaplains" corps, all took turns broadcasting a counsel of calmness and courage.

"In the words of one of the greatest of my predecessors," said the President, "spoken forty-three years ago, we have nothing to fear so much as fear itself. Your homes willl be intact at midnight, and tomorrow, and, please God, forever. Effective counter-measures have been taken --"

Suddenly his voice, in which some had detected a strain of fatigue, boomed across the nation with new vibrancy.

"I have just been handed a dispatch by my Chief of Staff. The source of the bomb that damaged Kansas City has been located and destroyed. Let me repeat. The source of the bomb that damaged Kansas City has been located and destroyed. Complete and devastating victory has been ours in our first meeting with the enemy. Thus it will be in the end. Return to your homes and rejoice."

But under the tumult of cheers and thanksgiving ran an undercurrent of muttering.

"Oh, yeah? How was it located and destroyed? That's a lot of eyewash. Go home and rejoice? Not me! Go home and get atomized, he means. The government has got to evacuate us to safety, or we will seize the trais and air-lines ourselves."

Some people listened and surrendered to fear and doubt. But then one man in a group thus counseled by a rumor-monger stepped up to h im and sent the fellow sprawling with a paralyzing junch [sic] to the jaw. Swiftly he turned the defeatist's pockets inside out, and then stood up to address the wide-eyed throng.

"I thought so! This man is a Galaxy spy. Here's the proof of it as you can see for yourselves."

Two policemen and a soldier hauled off the still-limp spy, not too careful to shield him from the blows aimed by the outraged throng. From that scene in New York the FBI flashed word to the other cities, where the scene was repeated again and again. Asll signs of panic were erased by the effect of exposure of the Fifth Columnists and the efforts of civic leaders to organize the throngs to useful activity.

"If you have nothing better to do, go home and bundle up clothing for the people of Kansas City. The clothes of all survivors have to be destroyed because of radio-activity. Make bandages. Let's go, America."

By mid-afternoon, although not half the people felt as calm as they appeared to be, the self-disciplined democracy of the United States was mobilized for whatever could be done to support the forces already engaging the enemy behind the curtain of necessary censorship and distance. To show fear was unpatriotic. To speak fear was treason.

Is your jaw jutting out with national pride or belligerence, now? Just relax. Remember, this is history... ;-)

And now, even though it's early on a Saturday night, I must rest my weary brow upon the keyboard. Until next time, sleep tight, kiddies..

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