Americans barely had time to bask in the glory of winning World War II before they found themselves beset by another threat, that of nuclear extinction.
In their daily lives at school, at work, and at home, citizens were reminded constantly of the threat posed by atomic warfare and were profoundly affected by what they read and saw.
Historian Michael Scheibach discusses Living with the Atomic Bomb on Wednesday, November 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Among highlights of his presentation are the classic "Duck and Cover" educational film, the 1954 "Atomic Attack" TV special in which a hydrogen bomb hits New York City, and radio commercials promoting civil defense.
The event is presented in conjunction with the exhibit Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow on display through Monday, January 7, 2013 at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Scheibach co-curated the exhibit, which examines how we responded to this threat, from Civil Defense drills to merchandizing campaigns that employed atomic imagery to nuclear-inspired comic books, monster movies, and toy ray guns, many of which are represented by items from his own collection.
Scheibach is particularly interested in how a generation of American youth was affected by the threat of atomic war and how many of the issues commonly associated with Sixties unrest -- such as peace, fellowship, free expression, and environmental concerns -- can be traced to this earlier preoccupation.
Scheibach, a resident of the Kansas City area, is a writer, editor, educator, and independent scholar specializing in the history of the Atomic Age from 1945 through the 1960s. Many of the posters, brochures, and other artifacts in the exhibit come from his private collection
He is the author of Atomic Narratives and American Youth: Coming of Age with the Atom, 1945-1955, and editor of In Case Atom Bombs Fall: An Anthology of Governmental Explanations, Instructions and Warnings from the 1940s to the 1960s.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District parking garage at 10th & Baltimore.