Erik Nitsche, ‘General Dynamics/Atoms for Peace. ’, 1955, Rennert’s Gallery

On December 8, 1953, President Eisenhower announced, to the world, the threats and promises of the nuclear age. "My country's purpose," he said, "is to help us move out of the dark chamber of horrors into the light, to find a way by which the minds of men, the hopes of men, the souls of men everywhere, can move forward towards peace and happiness and well-being." This was the "Atoms for Peace" speech, and an approach taken up by General Dynamics CEO John Jay Hopkins in 1955. General Dynamics built the first atom-powered submarines and many other products of the nuclear age. The company was understandably anxious to upgrade its image and emphasize peaceful applications of its capabilities, which is why it needed to make its existence known at the first Atomic Energy Conference in Geneva in 1955. With much of its work secret, an exhibit of actual hardware was out of the question; fortunately, General Dynamics found Erik Nitsche to express its achievements and goals in graphic terms. This poster is the first, and the most instantly recognizable, of the initial 6 Atoms for Peace posters that have since become world-famous. Born in Lausanne, Nitsche studied in his native city and in Munich. In 1934 he moved to the United States, where he became a designer for major national periodicals including Life, Look and Vanity Fair, and worked on film and theatrical posters. He remained a top master of graphic arts, versatile and adaptable, belonging to no particular school but always ready to find ingenious solutions to design problems. See the full collection of Atoms for Peace posters:

Series: General Dynamics / Atoms for Peace

About Erik Nitsche