Willie and Joe and World War 3 (Mauldin, 1951)

Here’s the story in a nutshell. In May, 1952, after the Russian invasion of Yugoslavia, the principal United Nations countries and the United States declare war. The United States uses atomic bombs against Russian industrial complexes. Soviet forces invade West Germany, the Middle East and Alaska. US forces, in disarray, have retreated on all fronts. Korea and Japan are evacuated. London is hit by nuclear weapons, followed by Detroit, New York and Hanford. It should be noted their assessment of the harm caused by nuclear weapons was seriously deficient. Yes, things were grim, but never fear, all is not lost.


Dick Buchanan and Mike Lynch showcase the Bill Mauldin cartoons
from a special Collier’s magazine issue imagining what World War 3 would look like.

Gizmodo has more about the Collier’s issue as a whole.

Collier’s recruited some of the nation’s best-known writers and journalists to provide articles. These included Edward R. Murrow, Robert Sherwood, Lowell Thomas, J.B. Priestley, Margaret Chase Smith, Philip Wylie and Walter Winchell, among numerous other celebrity authors. To increase the sense of reality, even the magazine’s cartoons—some of which were provided by famed World War II cartoonist Bill Mauldin—and many of its advertisements were geared to reflect the “reality” of the imaginary war.


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