In America, visual imagery related to the “Atomic Age” stands ready for recall as a style, easily appropriated into retro-fashion and nostalgia. But Americans with access to the Atomic Age as style don’t necessarily stand ready to recall the era’s inaugural event-that of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Thus, within Atomic Age aesthetics, understood as the performance of collective memory, there exists a gap. This chapter considers how that gap might not be so much the product of a collective mental block, but the extension of the structure of the Atomic Age archive as it was built in the Cold War. For the horrible imagery of nuclear destruction was not so much forgotten as it was lost, and it was lost as it was managed, even displaced, by competing iconography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRhetoric, Remembrance, and Visual Form
Subtitle of host publicationSighting Memory
EditorsAnne Teresa Demo, Bradford Vivian
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780203803400
ISBN (Print)9780415895538, 9780415744164
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Rhetoric and Communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'The Diffusion of an Atomic Icon: Nuclear Hegemony and Cultural Memory Loss'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this