“In Case Atom Bombs Fall”

An Anthology of Governmental Explanations, Instructions and Warnings from the 1940s to the 1960s

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About the Book

With the very real possibility of nuclear war looming on the horizon from 1945 to the early 1960s, both federal and local governments took on the responsibility of educating Americans on how to survive the expected blasts, residual fallout, and radiation poisoning. Duck and cover drills, bomb shelters, and evacuation plans became an integral part of every citizen’s daily life. This book provides a sampling of civil defense publications issued by government agencies and organizations during this era. Arranged thematically, the book includes sections covering the impact and power of the atomic bomb, radioactive fallout, women and the home, the importance of being prepared, civil defense in schools, fallout shelters, evacuation plans, and, finally, the call for “peace or … else.”

About the Author(s)

Editor and writer Michael Scheibach received his doctorate in American studies and taught history, humanities, and writing as an adjunct professor for several years. He lives in Miami, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Michael Scheibach
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 91 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4541-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0420-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

Prologue: This Is Civil Defense      7

PART 1—THE A-BOMB

Hiroshima      13

Atomic Basics      16

Operation Crossroads      19

Understanding the Atomic Bomb      25

Six Survival Secrets for Atomic Attacks      30

PART 2—RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT

From “Initial” to “Lingering” Fallout      33

Facts About Fallout      38

Nuclear Fallout      39

Radioactivity Is Nothing New      45

Fallout on the Farm      46

PART 3—WOMEN AND THE HOME

The Bomb and the Baby      53

Women in Civil Defense      55

At Home!! Are You Prepared      60

Grandma’s Pantry      61

Home Defense Corps      65

Home Defense Can Help You Prepare Now      68

Medical Aides      69

PART 4—BE PREPARED

Home Defense Pledge      75

Operation Alert      76

CONELRAD      83

If You Have Had No Warning in an A-Bomb Attack      86

Look to the Sky      88

Plane Spotters      92

What to Do If You’re Bombed      94

Before and During an Atomic Attack      100

Facts About the H Bomb      105

Don’t Panic      108

3 Minutes of Your Time      111

Common Sense      113

PART 5—DUCK AND COVER

“Atomics” in Education      119

Atomic Activities      129

The National Defense Pattern      133

Prepare for the Worst      134

School Shelters      140

PART 6—FIND SHELTER

Survival Requirements      147

Shelter Supplies      150

Shelter from Fallout      153

Shelter Preparation      158

Before Disaster Strikes      162

Know How to Survive      164

If an Attack Occurs      167

PART 7—EVACUATE

Highways for Civil Defense      171

Evacuation Guide      175

Will to Survive      177

Value of Shelters      180

Survival of the Fittest      181

Evacuation Rules and Routes      186

4 Wheels to Survival      191

Don’t Be There      192

PART 8—PEACE … OR ELSE

It Could Happen Here!      198

“Atoms for Peace”      199

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty      206

Postscript: First Steps Toward Recovery      212

Save This Book      214

Bibliography of Civil Defense Publications, 1950–1965      215

Index      217

Book Reviews

“a very intriguing and insightful volume…a fine addition”—Midwest Book Review.