Bomb Destruction: Is There A Social Impact?

“In 1949, [Fred Charles] Ikle left his studies in Chicago and travelled through bombed-out Germany. The war hadn’t touched his family directly, and he wanted to know how people coped with devastation on such a massive scale.

One of the cities he visited, Hamburg, had suffered roughly the same number of casualties as Nagasaki [target of nuclear bomb] – and had lost an even greater proportion of housing. A series of Allied bombing raids had killed about 3.3 percent of Hamburg’s population and destroyed about half of its homes.

Nevertheless, Ikle found, the people of Hamburg were resilient. They had not fled the city in panic. They’d tried to preserve the familiar routines of daily life and now seemed determined to rebuild houses, businesses, and stores at their original locations.

‘A city re-adjusts to destruction somewhat as a living organism responds to injury,’ Ikle later noted.” (Schlosser, 2013, p.119).


Fred Charles Ikle, a graduate of the University of Chicago and expert on bomb destruction, who wrote ‘The Social Impact of Bomb Destruction,’ published in 1958.

Schlosser, E. (2013) Command and Control: The Story of Nuclear Weapons and the Illusion of Safety. London: Penguin Book s Ltd.


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