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‘Twitter novel’ to tell story of atomic Army

The XVIII Airborne Corps plans to launch a 12-part historical series on Twitter.

“The Atomic Age: A Twitter Novel” will tell the story of how the U.S. Army transformed itself between 1953 and 1961 as it transitioned from the massive fighting force of World War II to become a smaller, more technologically-adapt force focused more on nuclear defense.

During this time “the XVIII Airborne Corps had the unique mission of responding to a nuclear-devastated American city and rebuilding society after a Soviet nuclear strike on the homeland,” said Col. Joe Buccino, director of public affairs for the XVIII Airborne Corps.

The Army was also not the most dominant branch of service in this time period, and struggled to gain relevance.

“What’s interesting is that everything the Army did to try to regain its World War II prominence failed,” said retired Army Col. John A. Bonin in an Army press release. “These are some very strange stories, and people are going to have fun with this series.”

Bonin, a historian and former professor at the U.S. Army War College, was one of a number of military historians involved in the series’ development.

Tweets advertising the series promise new insights into the Cold War based on declassified documents from the era and the story of how units of the XVIII Airborne Corps became rapid response forces under the Strategic Army Corps designation.

The U.S. Strategic Army Corps, a rapid response force, was promoted in posters from 1957, upon which this recreation was based. (XVIII Airborne Corps)
The U.S. Strategic Army Corps, a rapid response force, was promoted in posters from 1957, upon which this recreation was based. (XVIII Airborne Corps)

“This is an important story about a largely overlooked portion of our Army’s history,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael Noggle, public affairs sergeant major for the XVIII Airborne Corps, adding that the period is “rich with lessons for our Army today.”

Chapters will be released daily at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. EDT beginning July 13 and ending July 18.

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