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Laura McEnaney on: Fear of Fallout Fallout
Laura McEnaney 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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