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Dee Garrison on: American Response to the Atomic Bomb
Q: How do you think the American public responded to the first Soviet test of an atomic bomb?

DG: I think it would be fair to generalize by saying that the American public was terrified of what the atomic bomb seemed to promise in future wars. And there were articles in our major magazines, there were statements by leading officials which indicated that the A-bomb was an entirely new weapon. But this terror didn't last very long. By the mid or `46, `47, `48, the United States had begun to test atomic bombs in the Pacific. It had been well reported. There had been a lot of our government propaganda to tell the people that, you know, atomic bombs were not as terrible as they had first feared, and that they-- that one could survive atomic bombs if one had a good civil defense program, and so forth. So my answer would be: The first reaction was terror, but that was soon dissipated. And civil defense propaganda was used by our government to help the government teach Americans that they could survive a nuclear war.

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