Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"Atoms For Peace" first day cover perhaps misses the point

This post is a companion to the one from a year ago on the 1955 Atoms for Peace U.S. stamp. Pictured is a first day cover for the official release of that stamp on July 28, 1955.

While the three-cent stamp itself seems to convey the idea of bringing together people from all corners of the Earth and contains the phrase "to find the way by which the inventiveness of man shall be dedicated to life," the first day cover illustration by Cachet Craft's Ken Boll has a decidedly different tone, with its violent atomic cloud.

President Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" address had been delivered a year-and-a-half prior to this cover's creation, so I'm not sure what the thought process was behind the illustration.

The idea of "peace" via the threat or use of nuclear annihilation is certainly on many minds these week, with the high-stakes verbal sparring between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. If you want some great perspective on the history of "nuclear poker" (and confirmation that Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump are particularly ill-suited for this "game"), I highly recommend Dan Carlin's nearly-six-hour mega-podcast from earlier this year titled "The Destroyer of Worlds." It's simultaneously terrifying, fascinating and full of great historical insights.

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