The Dark Days of October

A hydrogen bomb explodes above the Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific Ocean in 1952
Handout / Reuters

September has ended, and October is the first full month of Autumn. Unfortunately, the beauty of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere is tarnished since once again the world is teetering since the specter of nuclear war is on the event horizon.

For many of us remember the dark days of October many decades ago on this planet traversing the cosmos. Back in October 1962 it was the worst of times as the US and the Soviet Union faced each other over missiles in Cuba which could wipe out 80 million Americans. The US population was 186 million at the time.

Today North Korea has a population of 25 million. The US has 324 million.

The fiery rhetoric between the two leaders concerns many world leaders as well as the people who would be caught in the crossfire of war erupted.  War always claims the innocents—men, women and children who were just living their lives the best that they could.

A nuclear exchange between these two would result in the greatest humanitarian crisis this world has ever witnessed. Life as we know it would change as we deal with massive deaths and casualties.

“Hydrogen bombs are far more powerful than atomic bombs, capable of producing many times more explosive energy. If an H-bomb hits the Pacific, it will detonate with a blinding flash and produce the signature mushroom cloud. The immediate effects likely would depend on the height of the detonation above the water. The initial blast could kill most of the life in the strike zone—scores of fish and other marine life—instantly. When the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, the entire population located within a radius of 1,600 feet (500 meters) perished.

“The explosion would send radioactive particles flying through the air and into the water. Wind could carry the dangerous particles over hundreds of miles.

“The smoke from the blast site could block out sunlight and hinder life forms at sea that depend on photosynthesis to survive. The exposure to radiation could cause severe health problems for nearby marine life. Radioactivity is known to damage cells in humans, animals, and plants by causing changes in their genes. The changes could lead to crippling mutations in future generations. The eggs and larvae of marine organisms are especially sensitive to radiation, according to experts. Affected animals could pass the exposure up the food chain.”


The above is what could happen in the Pacific Ocean.  On land radiation poisoning would be a lasting effect for generations of humans, animals and plants.

A nuclear war is just plain madness.  There are no victors, just victims.

With the ecological problems facing this planet, adding the nuclear devastation would be overwhelming to the ecosystems.  Life is a fragile commodity which we witness transpiring around us.

Back in October 1962 US President John Kennedy and Premier of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev relaxed their posturing to consider the consequences to the human community.  Fortunately, humanity won the day.

Humanity—men, women and children—deserve the best possible outcome from world leaders.  War is not a game—it’s a world changer and not for the best when nuclear weapons are the means to achieve it.

In closing:

“In our new age of terrifying, lethal gadgets, which supplanted so swiftly the old one, the first great aggressive war, if it should come, will be launched by suicidal little madmen pressing an electronic button. Such a war will not last long and none will ever follow it. There will be no conquerors and no conquests, but only the charred bones of the dead on an uninhabited planet.” William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany


G. D. Williams © 2017

POST 773


October 1962