The great atomic bomb cake controversy of 1946

Illustration for article titled The great atomic bomb cake controversy of 1946

In 1946, a mushroom cloud-shaped cake was served at a Washington D.C. military party celebrating the task force that oversaw atomic tests in the Pacific post-World War II. The photo of this garish pastry caused a bizarre international fracas.


The blog Conelrad Adjacent details the cake controversy, which permeated the highest echelons of the US military. This here's your afternoon reading:

On November 7, 1946 the bizarre photograph was published as the centerpiece of the Washington Post's society column under the headline "Salute to Bikini." It was accompanied by other shots of military men gaily hobnobbing with women dressed to the nines. The grotesque inappropriateness of the party as captured by the Post quickly caught the attention of a local Unitarian minister named Arthur Powell Davies. Three days later, on Sunday, November 10th, the outspoken pastor uncorked his outrage over the insensitive revelry and delivered a blistering broadside from his pulpit at the All Souls Church [...]

Illustration for article titled The great atomic bomb cake controversy of 1946

News of Davies's sermon-officially entitled Lest the Living Forget-made Time magazine and headlines around the world. His remarks apparently gave voice to the disgust that many people had been feeling over America's exuberant embrace of all things atomic since August 6, 1945. Despite the reverend's professed hope, the hubbub over what became known as the "Atomic Cake" even made its way to Moscow [...]

[Via Conelrad Adjacent. Thanks for the tip, Mark!]


Annalee Newitz

Could "garish pastry" be a band name? I think so.