Living with the Atomic Bomb

OSH 943 / Non Credit
Course taught in: English
Locations: LFH 102
Instructor: Michael Scheibach

Wednesdays 10:00 - 11:45 am

Course Description

This course examines the impact of the atomic bomb during the early postwar era, 1945-1965. From duck 'n' cover drills in schools, to sci-fi movies, to publications, to civil defense activities, this course will explore how the atomic bomb permeated American society at home, at work, at school, and in the community -- and what we can learn from this era to cope in today's world. This class is taught by Mr. Michael Scheibach, OLLI member and author.

Week 1

From War to Peace: A look at America's final victory in World War II and its transition to peacetime and, more important, entrance into the "atomic age."

Week 2

Cold War Beginnings: A discussion of America's increasing tension with the Soviet Union in the late 1940s and its impact on American society.

Week 3

 Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow: A discussion of the government's civil defense program that affected Americans all of ages in all parts of the country, especially women and their children.

Week 4

What, Me Worry? As their parents prepared for the probability of an atomic war, children and youth played games, watched movies, and read comics that made this probability more fun. This session delves into the lighter side of the atomic threat.

Week 5

Fallout and New Frontier: A look at the escalation of the Cold War and the transition from the 1950s to the New Frontier of the 1960s.

Week 6

 Where Are We Going? Where Have We Been? This final session pulls together the complexities of the early Cold War and "atomic age," with a look at how this era compares to our world today.

Mr. Michael Scheibach holds a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Kansas, and has written four books on the atomic age. His most recent book is Protecting the Home Front: Women in Civil Defense in the Early Cold War (see books at He was also an adjunct professor for several years, and has given several presentations on this subject. 

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