1960 ... hot-rod of the skies!

1980 ... a design for every taste!

The couple above are discussing why they did not spend the money on a shelter they could stand-up in!
... highlights from four different shelter plan booklets from Reagan era FEMA

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1948 ... atom proof your city!

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... the well prepared mannequin!

... gee- the good ol' days of the Cold War. They just don't put up window displays like this anymore!

1951 ... more duck and cover!

... Nuke your hometown!

... the NUKEMAP by Alex Wellerstein is a nifty little 'app' where by you can detonate different sized atomic devices over just about any place on Earth. It's all pretend of course
but also a sobering education in the true destructive powers of nuclear weapons.

... here's a ten megaton H-bomb airburst over the my nearest 'target city' of Akron, Ohio. When I was a kid I lived within the inner ring- now I live in the outer yellow ring - hurrah!

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1956 ... 800 ft below New York City!

... the game-plan of deterrence during the Cold War was always complex. One of the most complex and controversial areas of this on-going chess game was that of Civil Defense. The protection of civilian lives and the survival of a nations economic and industrial infrastructure. The extent to which a nation can live on and raise itself from the ruins of a full-scale nuclear conflict was seen by many strategists as vital to the believability of the concept of deterrence. Many wondered if the threat of unleashing worldwide holocaust, and the certain destruction of one's own homeland, in response to an Russian invasion of Europe or even the one city of Berlin was plausible. Did the USSR really believe that a US President would start a nuclear war over certain 'lines drawn in the sand'?

In the late 1950's there were studies undertaken regarding what would be involved for a truly robust Civil Defense strategy designed to save the lives of the most American citizens. If nuclear war did not mean death of most Americans would our atomic forces be a much more realistic and believable deterrent to Soviet aggression?

The blog Atomic Skies offers an in depth look at a fascinating study by some of the leading 'think-tank' on the possibility of shielding the entire population of Manhattan from multiple strikes of high yield Hydrogen Bombs. (link to the entire article here)

You really should read the entire article to get a sense for the detail and science-fiction like concepts. 


1961 ... meanwhile- deep under the sea!

... this photo from the missile room of a US submarine seems to underscore the description of all wars; cold or hot. "Months of boredom- punctuated by moments of sheer terror!"

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... the neighbors!

... here's a LINK to a new neighbor in the end-of-the world neighborhood- Mark the Mathematician!

1952 ... is your defense 'total' ?

1946 ... wacky!

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... da' Bear!

1960 ... Mt. Weather needs ministers!

... who knows?

... ooo it's a mystery plane! Sometimes Boris and Natasha smuggle back decadent, capitalist- swine plans so secret... no one knows what they are!!!

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... with our compliments!

... ICBM "fields"

... two flavors of maps showing the basic layout of a "field" of US ICBMs (Minuteman). Each manned Launch Control Center controls 10 missiles in individual hardened underground silo launchers spread miles apart from each other. Before the end of the Cold War there were 1,000 Minuteman missiles spread out across the Great Plains of the Midwest. Today there are less than half that number.

... how to launch a Nuclear Missile!

"Cooperative Launch" switch

Emergency War Orders
Executing a launch command was quite an involved process consisting of several steps. A launch of Minuteman Missiles could only take place with the execution of an Emergency War Order (EWO). The following is a detailed description of how such a command was executed:
1. The crew would hear the warble tone from the Primary Alerting System speakers. Each crew member would reach for his emergency action checklist binder. This binder contained laminated checklists upon which the message would be copied as well as instructions to be followed.
2. The broadcaster would then start the message which was a series of phonetic letters and numbers. The first six characters made up the preamble and would be repeated three times. The preamble told the crew which edition and page number of a non sealed authenticator to use. Once at the right page the crew would know what message checklist to use.
3. An execution message would contain the following elements of data:
a. Enable Code. These were six characters that the deputy would dial into the thumbwheel switches on the right hand side of his console. He would then throw the enable switch which would send that command to all missiles. This allowed each missile to accept a launch command if it was executed.
b. Preparatory Launch Command Alpha (PLC-A). The PLC-A was a two digit number that the deputy also dialed into another set of thumbwheel switches. Each PLC-A determined which missiles the Joint Chiefs of Staff wanted to be launched and which would be held back.
c. Authentication Values. At this point both crew members opened their locks on the red lock box. Each would remove his launch key and a sealed authenticater (they were called "cookies") They would crack the authenticators open revealing values that had to match those in the message. If the values did not match the crew had to ask for a rebroadcast of the message from the Wing Command Post. Under no circumstance would one turn keys if the discrepancy could not be resolved.
d. Execution Reference Time (ERT). If the message was properly authenticated the crew would use the ERT to compute the proper time to turn keys.
Note: It is important to keep in mind that a missile crew could complete the above steps in less then five minutes.
Special thanks to retired Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Cabrera for his detailed assistance.

source: National Park Service