My longtime PJM stablemate Richard Fernandez found the most interesting video I’ve ever seen on YouTube — and that’s despite its dated presentation and unthinkable premise. I’ll let Richard set it up:

What would all-out nuclear war have looked like 50 years ago? It would have been fought with thousands of missiles and jet bombers sortieing from hundreds of airbases controlled by teleprinters, conference calls and video-link. Data would have been assessed on giant white boards and summarized in face-to-face briefings. At least one vision of how it would have played out is depicted in the 1958 Strategic Air Command simulation of a central nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

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That’s the first of six parts, but I suggest you click on the link above to see them all.

These were serious and — if you’ll pardon me using the word — sober men, faced with a terrible mess they’d inherited. Then they quite purposefully and methodically went about the business of preventing a third global war by making it too terrible even for Stalin’s heirs to contemplate.

It was a distasteful thing, at best, spending billions on nuclear bombs and bombers and fighters and missiles and submarines and all the rest. Many of our best minds were devoted to new forms of mass death, and the command and control technologies to make it all work, instead of pursuing business, politics or the arts. Many of our finest men were tasked to making sure all those bombs and delivery systems would work, 24/7, no excuses and at a moment’s notice — just in case we suddenly needed to wipe out a third of the planet.

Because they were serious and sober, because they didn’t flinch, because they were grownups — they succeeded in their primary mission of preventing The First World Nuclear War.

Now you can see how they did it.