Q: Is there a shift in civil defense policy after the 1954 hydrogen bomb
test code-named Bravo? |
LM: It has a dramatic impact in terms of people realizing that there is no
place to hide, that evacuation isn't going to work because the radioactive
cloud can follow you out to the suburbs, that shelter is not going to work
because the size of the blast and the size of the nuclear firestorm is so
immense that there is no protection. And so people begin to become skeptical
of these schemes to protect themselves.
Nevertheless, the FCDA says, there are some people that are going to be
killed, there are some people that are going to be harmed by radioactive
fallout. Make no mistake about that. But there are still things that you can
do. And in a sense, the revelations of fallout did not change the FCDA
strategy at all. It raised people's awareness about the dangers of nuclear
war, but the strategy of the civil defense establishment remained unchanged.
They were still basing their projections and their advice to the American
people based on the conventional weapons of World War II. And when they talked
about the hydrogen bomb they talked about it as only slightly more powerful
than the atomic bomb. And they continued to say that protection and survival
was possible. The hydrogen bomb shouldn't scare you into malaise, into apathy,
into cynicism, into panic. It should only convince you that more preparation
is needed, not that preparation is impossible.
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