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Who wants to talk about civil defense. I just don't think it's necessary. I just it they say it leaves me very very cold. The people that we're most most likely to be in a conflict with. I just don't feel that that conflict is that close to make it necessary for me to do things other than what I normally do. That is live each day in the best possible way. If if I thought for one moment that the atomic explosion was eminent I would not live in the city of Detroit nor would I permit my daughter to go to college in the city of New York. Both are prime targets. The National Association of educational broadcasters presents prepare for survival a radio sounding board for facts and opinions on civil defense. The edited recordings you will hear on this program were made in Washington D.C. and New York City and the offices of the administrators. Legislators
scientists technicians and citizens responsible for critical love and concerned with civil defense and survival this eries is concerned only with raising a discussion about civil defense. It's not a crusade and provides no answers. In 1959 the Operations Research Office of Johns Hopkins University conducted a study of the opinions on civil defense held by the people of Washington D.C. and Montgomery County Maryland. As director of that office Dr. Ellis Johnson reports some findings. Dr. Johnson is followed by Representative Martha W. Griffith and federal civil defense director Governor Leo a hawg. I found that most people believed that there would be a track and there would be a war eventually. They're quite mixed in their opinion as to when this might happen. Anywhere from
2 to 20 yes 50 percent were unsure or not sure that would be a war or not. When we asked people whether they had done anything about civil defense and what the reasons were. One such mob said they had not done anything appreciable. Why they had about 30 percent said or how they felt there was a lack of threat. This is contrary to what they said previously they said yes we think there's going to be a war are we. Most of mouth will say yes we think there'll be an attack on Washington and no we don't think we'll be able to survive if there is an attack on Washington. But then when you said well why am to dump something about they said well we're not sure that the threat is very greater Emran 30 percent so that. I well this attitude is in my judgment really ridiculous.
I we have lived a very few years as a nation and there been very few years in the world's history when there were not major wars taking place. The aggressive spirit of man the hand that threw the rocks that drove the bow and arrow that fired the guns we all will not hold it south when it comes at last to the question will detonate these bombs. Do you expect an attack on the United States. We don't expect one or anticipate one. However we must recognize that it could happen. The enemy could make a miscalculation could make a mistake it could actually have designs as they have said in the past to come in and take this country. While we don't expect one yet we realize that if we're fully
prepared that it's much less likely that there would ever be an attack upon this country. And that's the reason we urge people to become prepared within their homes and within their community life. Of course that's what's wrong with civil defense. They don't even realize that they're defending from. Is this the first that you've heard that. I never dreamed that they didn't believe that they would ever be attacked. I don't think our CDM is in a position to make statements as to whether we do or not do not expect that attack. Such a statement can be made only at the highest level of the government specifically by the president. I think that the most approach in a proper break of all CDM made such a statement to the American people.
For every scientist who appeared before our committee and testified had with him one of those countermeasures which measure the radioactivity of the air and every single fly at this had an alternate plan of living already established. Oh CVM is prepared to help anyone who wants help in civil defense. Question. Who can decide whether an attack is imminent. I think it is clear all CVM does not have all of the necessary information required to make such a judgement. This can be made only at the Cabinet level. It requires the judgment of the state to pass the patent defense. CIA or various other intelligence agencies and the only man who can really make the judgement is the
president. Dr Johnny Rose director of the radiological physics division of the Argon National Laboratories suggested to us in a letter that perhaps the reason for our lack of interest in civil defense is that nobody not even the civil defense people expects an attack so our producer proceeded to ask the participants if they personally expected an attack. You heard Governor Hoyt reply. Now here are Mr. George Roderick's director of civil defense for the District of Columbia Dr. Johnson and chairman Chet Hollyfield of the congressional committee investigating civil defense. Do I personally expect attack. I say this and every time this question comes up in our training programs we review the history of the United States from the early days of its founding and find that there hasn't been one generation of Americans born in this country since the early founding of our country that have a skate wall with a foreign policy.
And a very quick review shows there have been too many generations of born and raised in this country but every one of us every generation has had to fight a war. Now I say this. We now of am I of the opinion that we have reached that point in the history of this country where this coming generation will be the first generation to escape war with a foreign power. Certainly as I look at the World conditions I'm always concerned about it because I don't think that this generation coming up will escape war whether it's a thermonuclear war in which the cities of America are involved or it's a local war somewhere on the ground which might lead to a thermonuclear war cost is in the hands of the maker and those who can see is I'm not a CPA but I would doubt that this coming generation would disk be the first to escape a war with some foreign power. You know I can't make such a judgement if I were the president I would
have to make such a judgement. I feel what he is uniquely the only person who can advise the American people on civil defense I don't think government whore or anyone else know CDM can do it I don't think any individual like myself no matter how much access we have to information can make such a judgement. It's a very complex judgement which requires information which really only the president has access to. I do not have confidence in the Soviet intentions for peace I think that they only want peace. From a standpoint of consolidating their present gains and preparing their nation both from the industrial standpoint and a military standpoint for further gains in the future and therefore I say that we would be.
Taking a very dangerous step if we should accept at face value their protestations of peace while while they fail to implement those protestations for peace with constructive actions in the family of nations as long as they have the errant curtain as long as they refuse to fraternize with other nations on a nation family basis then I say they are suspect. And as long as their says suspect we must keep up our military potential and we must do everything we can to protect ourselves against a treacherous sneak attack. I have no knowledge I don't have access to his information. I can make a judgement for myself. I'm making a judgement. I'm still in shelters. But that's the nice thing about
democracy. I can disagree with the president with respect to my own behavior and Bill shall has whether he approves or not and he will welcome this. I we prepared today for an enemy attack. I'd say we are yes yes. Lie some of the joint Atomic Energy Committee special radiation subcommittee of which I am chairman. Conducted public hearings to determine the probable effects of an enemy attack against the United States. We ask the foremost scientific experts in the country to give us their appraisals and we receive from the Office of Civil and defense mobilization an official computation of casualties and damage to do outings. The assumptions for this study I may note were based on a moderate enemy attack. One well within the capability of the Soviet Union today the projected probable effects were horrifying. The official also CDM estimates were 50 million dead
20 million seriously injured 12 million do of ngs destroyed 10 million other dwellings damage estimates of other effects such as the radio active contamination of food supplies in crops forest fires and long term genetic hazards were quite severe although not so precisely definable. The most important outcome of this exercise was not so much the extent of damage such an attack would cause but the degree to which civil defense preparedness could reduce the effects of the attack. Our study indicated for example that civil defense preparedness could reduce the fatalities of the assumed attack on the United States from a POC approximately 25 percent of the population to about 3 percent. The provision of shielding against radiation effects alone would also provide protection against the blast and thermal effects to which the vast majority of our population might be exposed.
Oh I didn't say that we were thorough or satisfactory prepared I said that we are prepared to a great extent and I said that there would be some casualties. However as we become prepared that casualty figure reduces. I think one of the committees of Congress found this out that in a given tack pattern that they would have casualties in the neighborhood of 48 to 50 million people out of the hundred and eighty people hundred eighty million people. And that's quite accurate. That could happen as civil preparedness gets in being and as it's established throughout the country when you have full preparedness that to be reduced to zero or down as low as 3 percent the committee said down to 3 percent. Now we're talkin something rather tangible and as people become prepared they're saving not only their lives but they're also saving
the necessity of having to prove that their plans were right. Because as people are prepared then you have a real additional Strong turned to war. Well I assume you're just gusting an attack in which many of the weapons from the enemy actually reach the target. The defense is relatively inadequate in within that context. One can discuss the effects say of a. 10 megaton burst on a given highly populated area and under those circumstances one would assume that many square miles of that area would be essentially totally destroyed from the blast and from fires from the thermal radiation from the bomb. Dr Charles L. Dunham director of the division of biology and medicine for the Atomic
Energy Commission is describing the effects of a hypothetical successful enemy attack made today on this country. Actually a 10 megaton weapon would destroy all ordinary houses out to approximately 8 or 10 squares 8 or 10 miles. The initial radiation the ionizing radiation from a nation of that sort only goes out a matter of a mile or two so it probably isn't important it would add insult to injury in this. Heavily damaged area. The thermal burns to people out as far as 10 to 15 square miles would be of a third degree burn type which is the most severe burn in the standard medical classification. Now. From there on out one has to cope with fallout and this may. This is
the. Fallout of the fission products and radioactive debris including materials in which radioactivity had been induced by the deed anation the weapon. And this may extend out for two or three or more hundreds of miles and fairly intense concentration and over several thousand square miles. The National Committee for a sane nuclear policy is an organization of informed people who after considering the effects which Dr Dunham has just described have come to the conclusion that the only way to prepare for survival in the nuclear weapons age is to prevent these weapons from being used. Mr Donald keys executive director speaks for the organization. I'd like to speak just a little bit more about the. Long term effects of a nuclear attack as contrasted with the immediate results.
I believe most fallout shelter type programs are now considering an underground residence of a matter of weeks after which they people will re-emerge and assume we assume that they will go on about life as usual but occasionally one finds a reference to something which might indicate a different sort of situation for instance. Ralph ALAP discussing the effects of nuclear war. Postulated that the impact of the attack might replace our industrial economy with a colonial type of existence and requiring millions of people to till the soil. And so on. Well this was just one sentence passing reference. You don't get much of a reference to that kind of thing. Here it was a a report of what might be expected from a. What was admittedly a small size nuclear attack on this country which involved some 50 million dead and so on. Fire
in the dry season of October when this attack was postulated would spread over enormous areas of dry western carnivorous forests and carnivorous forests and the grasslands with destruction of natural living resources and their habitants. And in this man's opinion this was Dr. John and Wolf. SCHIEFFER The Environmental Sciences branch attached to the Atomic Energy Commission. It was his opinion that these fires would go unchecked until quenched by the winter snows spreading over hundreds of thousands of square miles in the eastern United States the dry oak and pine forest of the Blue Ridge and Appalachians from New England to Virginia and adjacent to multiple detonations would undergo a like fate as well as the pine on the southern Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains. But the coming of spring thaw is especially in the mountains melt water from the mountain glaciers and snowfields would erode the denuded slopes flood the valleys in time rendering them uninhabitable and exploitable for decades or longer.
Removal of the turf by fire and erosion on plains and prairie but resolve and uncheckable erosion by wind with subsequent expansion of present dust both creation of new ones of wide extent. Along with fire flood and erosion which would also decrease productivity of the landscape or render it inaccessible to people in uncontaminated refuges would come intensification of disease plant and animal including man. Moreover in the last irradiated areas populations of deleterious animals especially insects would move in a further detriment to food production and contributing further to its own availability to surviving people mans access to health through hospitalization treatment communications and such would be meager and thus the inroads of starvation would be accentuated by increased incidence and intensity of disease. Well we say this that if you took no action you'd probably have 50 million
casualties based upon the attack pattern of this congressional committee. As you take action. And if people well put into action the plans that we've told them that they should put it then that figure is reduced. I would not be able to give you a percentage or a number as to what happens but like to point this out. You know in many of these natural disasters you'll get an estimate that there are 5000 casualties and then after you tabulate you find out maybe there are only 300. Now the reason for that is this American people have a desire to win. They have a will of to live they desire to live. They'll claw. They'll crawl they'll do anything to keep breathing. And for that reason I think. Americans are much better prepared than any country in the world to withstand a nuclear attack.
One would think that setting off the equivalent in hydrogen and atomic bombs of 10 tons of TNT explosives for every one of the 3 billion men women and children on our crowded planet would be enough to contend with in a nuclear war. But after the fireballs in the mushroom clouds have dispersed the radioactive fallout will begin to settle in the craters and will be blown over the charred countryside. And if life still exists at this point every living creature will have to cope with its deadly effect. Well the fallout is. Composed of highly radioactive material it's largely composed of the fission products which are quite similar in kind to those found in the burned up of the nuclear reactor. And it also is composed of radioactive materials such as iron
and manganese and that sort of thing. Materials which are normally in buildings and in the soil and which become radioactive as a result of the neutrons from the nuclear detonation. Now all this material gets carried up in the mushroom cloud along with a lot of dirt and debris and then gradually falls out over a period of a number of hours and as carried down wind the intensity of the radioactivity can be very great so that how this far as hundred miles or so with certain wind patterns. Individuals in the open. Would receive in a matter of a few hours a lethal dose of radiation. Now what would make this radiation lethal to people who received it. Well I was in radiation of the type we're talking about is like x rays. It's very
penetrating it passes through the body and it causes the same sort of damage that a severe X-ray burn does or X-ray over exposure. It's prime affect is on the blood forming organs. It either totally destroys them or damages them so that they're not able to produce new blood cells for a period of several weeks. Also it interferes with the immune mechanism which is concerned with matter of overcoming bacteria and other infections that may be present in the community. So that person who has severe or fatal whole body radiation injury dies with overwhelming infection and with anemia and with blood loss from hemorrhage because the
materials which control bleeding are not being formed an adequate amount over this period of time. Dr. Oscar Morgenstern is professor of political economics class of 1913 foundation at Princeton University. Dr. Morgan's derned book The question of national defense is a critical study of the United States defense posture. Dr. Morgan Stern takes issue with the president civil defense situation and is introduced here describing the effects of an attack if one were to occur today. But if what an attack occurs what would be the results. Well to take New York it's a tremendous sprawling cities covering many many square miles. But if even one single bomb of even only one megaton or which is the same to say as one million Tunick TNT equivalent gets through that city is killed
there can be no doubt about it whatsoever. One shall not come pay on this with the damage done to big cities during the last war. Because first of all it was never as complete as this one would be. And the damage was never concentrated into a moment. It was stretched over hours or days or weeks. And even then the people had a chance. Because of this stretch out to dig in and to survive right in this new situation it would have a few minutes warning no place to go and no other think inside. But there are certain death. Well I think the population within what one would call a crater area which for a 10 megaton weapon is about two and a half miles in diameter and would essentially be wiped out. So one always has to think in terms of degree and you have to assume there will be some
losses and they'll be terrific losses as was brought out at the recent hearings before the Joint Committee on atomic energy. As to how it feels special subcommittee moderate medium sized nuclear war that today could leave 50 million Americans dead and another 20 million seriously injured might overwhelm any remaining medical facilities. Dr. Harold S. Lute is chairman of the disaster and medical care standing committee for the American Medical Association. Dr. Luther was asked to comment on the medical profession's plans for coping with a nuclear war. The number of casualties that could be treated adequately would depend entirely on the scope and suddenness of the attack. That there are plans for training up for 10 million surviving casualties with the equipment and supplies that we have on hand. The American Medical Association through its committee on disaster medical care
are very active in attempting to arouse the attention of physicians together with other health personnel in the proper trade and casualties in the numbers just indicated in nearly all medical schools there is an M E N D program underway which has it's one of its objectives the teaching of medical students. They're the means of caring for people in large numbers. A certain number of hospitals have taken steps to shield or protect some of their vital things from a sudden attack so that some work is being done. In addition hospitals that are being planned or additions all have in mind the possibility of freedom from radioactive attack. Amazing run away with a new instead
of Yuma. Throughout this century we found a new house and will use it up cause rather than see me. Prepare for survival is a radio sounding board for facts on the opinions on civil defense written and produced by Richard chick and directed by Alan Murdock is civil defense futile. This question will be answered on our next program. Recording editor and re music by Rowena and Logan speaking prepared for survival is recorded by Wayne State University Radio in Detroit for the National Association of educational broadcasters under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center one. This is the AM radio network.
Prepare for survival
Hydrogen bomb and its effects
Producing Organization
WDET (Radio station : Detroit, Mich.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on the hydrogen bomb and how civil defense experts plan for it.
Series Description
A radio sounding board for facts and opinions on civil defense.
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Public Affairs
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Announcer: Logan, Dan
Director: Murdoch, Alan
Guest: Griffiths, Martha W. (Martha Wright), 1912-2003
Guest: Johnson, Ellis A.
Guest: Hoegh, Leo A. (Leo Arthur), 1908-
Performer: Rowena
Producer: Schick, Richard
Producing Organization: WDET (Radio station : Detroit, Mich.)
Writer: Schick, Richard
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-52-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:24
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Chicago: “Prepare for survival; Hydrogen bomb and its effects,” 1960-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2023,
MLA: “Prepare for survival; Hydrogen bomb and its effects.” 1960-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2023. <>.
APA: Prepare for survival; Hydrogen bomb and its effects. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from