1952 ... Duck And Cover! (pamphlet)

... as has been discussed at some length in previous posts; the concept of 'Duck And Cover' was not as naive as some of us smugly assume. 

The 'Bert the Turtle' training film was produced and distributed to grade schools in 1951-52. At this early stage of the Cold War, arsenals were stocked with 'A-Bombs'. These were the type of Uranium based atomic fission weapons used to end World War II. The much more powerful Thermonuclear, 'H-Bombs', had not yet been developed and deployed. Factual analysis of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed that many lives would have been saved if the inhabitants had been forewarned to do as 'Bert' told his elementary school audiences. Unless you are very near to ground-zero (at the epicenter of the blast) there is several seconds between the flash of light and the arrival of the blast wave. Dropping behind the nearest cover can indeed protect a person from much of the thermal effect and flying glass and debris. An old fashioned school desk made of Oak and Iron can, in fact, be good protection.

In the early 1950's the vast radar network warning in advance of enemy aircraft had not been perfected. There was great fear of a Pearl Harbor style sneak attack. 'Attack without warning' was a distinct possibility. Fission bombs, or 'A-Bombs', produced far less radioactive fallout than the later developed H-Bombs. If you survived the initial blast than you had a real chance of escaping away from the contaminated area and avoiding radiation poisoning.

(Fantasies that in a Nuclear War all victims conveniently are 'vaporized' or that given a possibility of survival you would 'rather die' are the truly naive attitudes.) Besides the film was made for children. Even the most cynical of us can hardly say that trying to save children from being burned and maimed is 'pointless pacifying misinformation'.

'Duck And Cover- WIKI
'Duck And Cover' the 9 min film-1951

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