the autumn of 1981, Thomas (T.K.) Jones, Deputy Under-Secretary of Defense for
Research and Engineering in the Reagan Administration, explained to a Los
Angeles Times reporter the importance a strong civil defense could have in
adding credibility to America's strategic posture.Nuclear war was not nearly as devastating as Americans had been led to
believe, he said, adding that the United States could fully recover
from an all-out Soviet strike within two to four years.Saving the population was just a matter of primitive shelters."Dig a hole, cover it with a couple of doors and then throw three
feet of dirt on top," Jones explained."It's the dirt that does it....If there are enough shovels to go
around, everybody's going to make it."Jones' comments about shovels were not endorsed by the Pentagon, but
his notions of civil defense were essential to the military posture that the
Reagan Administration sought to establish in the 1980s.Without measures to provide for the survival of the government and a
substantial portion of the population, America could not
"win" a nuclear war.
Reagan entered office determined to rebuild America's nuclear defense force
on a "war-fighting" basis as he publicly repudiated the virtues of
mutual vulnerability and assured retaliation.To achieve his goals, Reagan officials needed to convince Americans
that surviving a nuclear war was possible - if only they took the necessary
needed to persuade the public that protecting itself from nuclear disaster
would allow more flexibility in executing strategic counterforce options and
could, perhaps, mean the difference between defeat and victory in a nuclear
war.To this end, the President
proposed $4.2 billion for blast shelters and urban evacuation plans with which
individuals and their local communities could provide for themselves the
needed protection.But a civil
defense plan on the scale Reagan proposed could only have been implemented
with the active support of the millions it sought to protect - a support the
Administration did not have.
the post-World War II era, civil defense was promoted by federal, state, and
local officials as a way that Americans could make a concrete contribution to
the Cold War effort by standing up to thermonuclear war.Yet even while a majority of Americans supported Reagan's defense
build-up, most did not agree with the Administration's view that a nuclear war
could be survived, let alone won.The
doctrine of assured destruction was too deeply ingrained within the public's
psyche.The irony of Reagan's
program is that rather than creating a home front where Americans could play a
part in contributing to the Cold War, the futility of civil defense as a means
of survival became a point from which critics could argue against the
Administration's counterforce doctrine and urge state and local communities
not to participate in civil defense planning.
and the Search for Nuclear Options
its origins, Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) was a policy difficult to
justify.As enunciated by Robert
McNamara, MAD sought to dispel the notion that there was a tolerable way to
fight a nuclear war and that it was possible "for either the United States or the Soviet Union to achieve a meaningful
victory over the other" in such a war.Advocates were faced with the unenviable task of promoting mutual
vulnerability and a balance of terror as virtuous.Counterforce proponents throughout the 1970s called MAD immoral,
unimaginative, and a nihilistic doctrine with no realistic concept of victory
in a general nuclear war;
and in 1974, Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger announced that strategic
targeting would no longer be based on assured destruction but instead on
selective nuclear options.Yet
what these critics failed (or refused) to recognize was that MAD was more than
just a stated policy; it was the reality of a strategic environment in which
even the loser in a nuclear conflict had the ability to destroy the winner.Repeated attempts to subvert this reality through
"war-fighting" doctrines and civil defense, argues political
scientist Robert Jervis, is nothing more than an attempt to avoid coming to
grips with the "nuclear revolution" and to escape the reality that
American safety depended on the Soviet Union's restraint from using nuclear
method of escape was common among officials of the Reagan Administration which
made perfectly clear its distaste for MAD, censuring it as mutual suicide and
a danger to deterrence.In its
efforts to integrate war-fighting doctrine into American strategic policy, the
Administration recruited counterforce proponents such as Fred Iklè, Colin
Gray, and Paul Nitze.Though
extreme in their views to some, these strategists were not part of a lunatic
fringe but rather of a long-time effort to create an aggressive counterforce
nuclear strategy.If the United
States developed a first-strike capability to destroy a large portion of
Soviet nuclear forces and then defend or "limit damage" to American
society against surviving Soviet weapons, they argued, the U.S.S.R. would
never attack.These strategists
did not seek to wage a nuclear war but instead to deter it through a credible
threat of winning should war come.
MAD was of primary importance to these officials who pointed to the
possibility that a "shelter gap" between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. could
be destabilizing if in fact the Soviet Union believed it could
"prevail" by launching a first-strike and protecting a sufficient
portion of its population and industries from a counterstrike.Prior to entering the Administration, Nitze argued that Soviet civil
defense efforts served as a vivid symbol of the one-sidedness and bankruptcy
of MAD."As the Soviet civil
defense program becomes more effective," Nitze wrote in Foreign
Affairs, "it tends to destabilize the deterrent relationship"
because the United States can "no longer hold as significant a proportion
of the Soviet population as a hostage to deter a Soviet attack."President Reagan was receptive to these views, expressing to a reporter
that the U.S.S.R. had built up a "great civil defense program, providing
shelters, some of their industry [being] underground, and all of it hardened
to the point of being able to withstand a nuclear blast."This proved, he argued, that Soviet leaders believed nuclear war
"winnable," and that America ignored the shelter "race" at
its own peril.
some Administration officials, whether Soviet civil defense efforts would
actually be effective was unimportant.Richard
Perle, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy,
expressed to a Senate subcommittee in 1982 some doubts as to the efficacy of
the Soviet program, but he defended the Pentagon's civil defense proposal on
the grounds that it might "help to dispel any possible delusions the
Soviet leadership might harbor today or in the future that they can exploit
the absence of any civil defense program here to deepen our sense of
vulnerability and thereby intimidate the United States."Such Soviet confidence, he argued, was itself destabilizing to
Administration set in motion its civil defense plans with the signing of
National Security Decision Directives (NSDD) 23 and 26 (February 3, 1982 and
February 25, 1982, respectively) which explicitly described civil defense as
"an essential ingredient of our nuclear deterrent forces" and
"a matter of national priority" in ensuring that a "substantial
portion" of the population survive "even in a protracted general war
involving nuclear destruction."Key elements of these civil defense initiatives were population
protection (with primary reliance on evacuation and relocation), dispersal of
key industries, and sheltering of key industrial workers and political and
military leaders.These measures
implemented strategies set out in NSDD-12 and NSDD-13, which had outlined U.S.
plans to prepare for, and if necessary fight, a protracted nuclear war with
the U.S.S.R. that could be won.Maintaining the vitality of the U.S. population and the continuity of
central government between nuclear exchanges were the goals of NSDD-23 and
the Administration sought to implement its civil defense program, it decided
to forgo mass shelter attempts of the 1950s and '60s and instead focus on
evacuation plans developed under the Ford and Carter administrations.The Crisis Relocation Plan (CRP) was expected to save 80% of the
American population (forfeiting 42 million lives).Its provisions called for the evacuation within a few days of millions
of residents in high risk cities of over 50,000 and communities located near
military installations during times of international crisis to host
communities which were deemed to be less "at risk."Evacuation maps, along with instructions of what to do and where to go,
would be printed in telephone books.Schools,
churches, and public buildings would house city evacuees who would be put to
work operating kitchens and shoveling dirt around shelters.
for the first day of World War III was particularly arduous because Reagan
officials sought to create operational procedures not only to protect the
population but to ensure the continuity of the state.Never before had an administration provided such detailed post-attack
plans that bordered on the macabre and on the absurd.According to the Federal Reserve System, nuclear war would not prevent
checks from being cleared - "including those drawn on destroyed
banks" - or credit cards from being accepted; and Internal Revenue
Service officials discussed whether a national sales-tax might be more
beneficial than an income tax.A
Treasury spokesman, however, denied reports that the Federal Reserve was
considering the use of salt instead of currency in a post-attack economy."That really sounds crazy," he told a reporter.
rain, nor sleet, nor nuclear war would prevent the U.S. Postal Service from
delivering mail, and it anticipated moving postal operations into remote areas
in order to maintain communication and provide fallout protection for postal
officials and employees.So that
the Post Office would know where to deliver the mail after a nuclear attack,
it kept in reserve emergency change of address forms.The form included a line to be completed in case the recipient was
dead."There won't be a lot
of people left to read and write those letters," said Congressman Edward
Markey (D-MA) at a House Subcommittee meeting discussing the Postal Service's
a postal official, "those that are left will get their mail."
plan in particular to save essential workers deserves final mention.The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asked the University of
California's Livermore Laboratory to conduct a study on how to save factory
workers in the event of a nuclear attack."A body of water could provide a unique protection option for some
individuals," read the report submitted in the summer of 1984.Considerable protection could be obtained from the immediate nuclear
effects by wearing numerous layers of clothes, diving about four feet down,
and spending as little time as possible at the surface for air.Workers taking advantage of this protection should not only be good
swimmers, the report continued, "but they should also tether themselves
to a flotation device with a 10 foot line."Alternatively, workers could seek protection from a nuclear blast by
wrapping themselves in a "wet, opaque blanket."FEMA called the report "ludicrous" and its conclusions
"absurd" as it moved to cancel the $174,000 federal study grant.Said lab director Robert Hickman, "It's not uncommon for project
managers to ask for revisions or additions."
defense in twentieth-century America has always been closely tied to the
principle of home-front participation and community self-help.In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan encouraged Americans to take pride in the
building of a stronger America, and citizens like those who belonged to the
Idaho Civil Defense Association agreed that civil defense was one way to
endorse the military buildup."We
strongly support," they wrote in a 1984 letter, "decisive strength
and American Civil Defenses that will insure peace with freedom....We
unswervingly back what you are doing to provide for the common defense
of we Americans!"Other groups came together to do their part in standing up to
thermonuclear war.One known as
SAFE (Shelter and Fallout Education), organized in Montana in response to the
belief that nuclear war was imminent, waged an information campaign and tried
to raise money to equip fallout shelters.AT&T was one of several corporations which constructed a network of
fallout shelters to house executives responsible for keeping the
communications system open in case of attack.And the Florida based, non-profit American Civil Defense Association
held annual conferences at which it displayed and discussed the latest
technologies in nuclear survival.
opinion polls throughout the early to mid-1980s confirm a greater public
concern about the chances of war.A
1981 Newsweek poll found that seven out of ten Americans felt nuclear
war could break out at any time, and in July 1982 the Gallup Organization
released a FEMA sponsored poll which found that 61% of the public approved
strongly or somewhat strongly of a government crisis relocation plan.Of those polled, 67% said the government should have such plans, and
59% said they would disapprove of a decision to end the civil defense program.Yet despite the positive support civil defense consistently received,
that endorsement was neither strong nor stable.Most Americans simply would not take the necessary measures of
self-protection that the Administration called for.
1979 FEMA study by Ralph Garret on public attitudes and civil defense argued
the lack of intensity in public support for such a program stemmed from two
factors.First, the message of
civil defense was an extremely unpleasant one.Citizens were expected not only to think about the unthinkable but to
prepare for it as well, a task that was "psychologically not tolerable or
credible."It is easier for
Americans to either distort the message or simply not hear it.The second reason
for the lack of intensity was that Americans consistently viewed civil defense
as a governmental rather than an individual responsibility, despite repeated
attempts to promote a program on the basis of self-help.
important, however, was polling data which indicated Americans had
wholeheartedly embraced the concept of MAD despite Reagan's assurances that
nuclear war was survivable and winnable.When
Gallup asked Americans in 1981 what they thought their chances were of
surviving a nuclear attack, 60% answered "poor." By
1983, this response had grown to 69%.Daniel Yankelovich and John Doble of the Public Agenda Foundation found
89% of those polled agreed with the statement, "There can be no winner in
an all-out nuclear war; both the U.S. and the Soviet Union would be completely
destroyed."And 68% rejected
the concept that "if we had no alternative we could fight and win a
nuclear war against the Soviet Union," with only 20% endorsing it.Yankelovich and Doble concluded that nuclear war was "no longer
seen as a rational policy for the U.S. government to consider."One example of this is what happened in Allentown when in January of
1984 it activated its 40 air-raid sirens after Pennsylvania officials
erroneously warned 44 counties that the state was under a military attack.Residents paid no attention to the screaming sirens.Said civil defense director Jerry Duckett, "People feel that if
there is a nuclear attack, 'forget it, I'm not going to be around
Against Civil Defense
combination of public apathy and fatalism played into the hands of a vocal
minority of public activists, intellectuals, and political leaders, many of
whom were already involved in some capacity within the peace movement, and who
directed their fire at the Administration's civil defense plans.Historian Robert Kleidman has suggested that peace groups are most
effective when they can turn "threatening events and public fears into
opportunities for gaining greater visibility, support, and impact."For groups such as the Nuclear Freeze, Physicians for Social
Responsibility, and SANE, civil defense served as a tangible symbol of the
threat of nuclear war on a personal level.Ironically, this was the same threat that proponents used to advocate
self-protection when they argued that the time to take precautions was now,
rather than later.In contrast,
critics of civil defense sought to head off the need for any civil defense at
all by attacking the nuclear strategy behind it that heightened public
concern.And as one newspaper
editorialized, "If that concern increases pressure for serious arms
control talks, then the program may be more of a true 'civil defense' plan
than even Mr. Reagan has imagined."Civil defense, these groups contended, was a cruel deception of the
public because nuclear war simply could not be survived.
was the rationale used by opponents of civil defense?They, like the Administration, preached the responsibility of the
individual to "stand up" to nuclear war - but through the rejection
of civil defense.Helen Caldicott
of Physicians for Social Responsibility encouraged her audiences to voice
their opposition rather than numb themselves to the "evil" of
Reagan's nuclear doctrine."You
must take the ultimate responsibility.The
only weapon we can use is this," she would say pointing to her throat,
"the larynx."Opponents made ample use of the national media to shape the debate
against civil defense, as editorial boards, columnists, and cartoonists
viciously attacked the Administration's plans.The New York Times described Reagan's program as "mad"
is the mastermined who thinks this could ever work?" the paper asked.And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch called civil defense "a
suicidal illusion" that is based on a belief that nuclear war can be
political leaders accept that false argument as fact, then the world is in
read columnists such as Jack Anderson, Art Buchwald, Ellen Goodman, Mary
McGrory, and Tom Wicker were among the many who criticized the
Administration's program.Most of
these commentators, as well as the reporting on civil defense in general,
stressed the insurmountabilities of evacuation and the
"Strangelove" quality of it all.
leaders were no doubt disappointed that Americans did not embrace their civil
defense plan, even as public opinion polls indicated a majority of Americans
were sympathetic.But, as FEMA
officials noted, crisis relocation had the advantage of being designed to
function with a minimum of preparation by individuals until just before an
attack.FEMA believed and hoped it could rely on states and their communities
to implement this huge movement of people.Yet it was precisely at the local level where civil defense opponents
were most effective in blocking the Administration's program by leading the
charge against CRP.
case against civil defense received a sympathetic reception on the part of
local officials because so many communities could not overcome the impossible
obstacles that evacuation posed.Amarillo,
Texas, a city of only 125,000 with no major geographical features to inhibit
movement, discovered in 1982 that it would take five days of warning and three
days of activity to evacuate.In Seattle, the CRP proposal called for moving part of the population
almost 200 miles to the desert through mountain passes that were clogged with
snow in the winter to a relocation site near a plutonium factory which, if
bombed, would leave the area radioactive for 1,000 years or longer.And in Los Angeles, Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, a strong advocate of civil
defense preparedness during the Kennedy Administration, produced a report in
1982 which disclosed that, under optimum conditions, it would require three to
five days to evacuate 7.2 million residents from the county.Even if 4.8 million automobiles made it to the desert, the logistical
problems in caring for these residents would be staggering.Such a task, Hanh argued, was impossible."They should have this information in Washington," he said,
"[where] they are making the international decisions for the national
security of America."Indeed, hundreds of cities and counties sought to make their views
known to national leaders as the 1980s saw a surge of American municipalities
seeking to influence both national and international affairs through local
communities found that they could exert such influence simply by refusing to
prepare to survive a nuclear war.Former
Irvine, California Mayor Larry Agran believes that municipalities
"effectively destroyed the nuclear war-civil defense planning of FEMA by
our non-cooperation."In any event, the refusal to participate in the Administration's crisis
relocation plan was part of a larger movement by local communities to engage
in "municipal foreign policy."Says
political scientist Michael Shuman, "It used to be that one could
envision a local authority as a kind of hermetically sealed island which could
not be influenced by outside events."But cities now have to deal with cuts in domestic spending, trade
oscillations and competition, and environmental problems, all of which are
"reminders that cities must take international affairs seriously."Because both national and international developments were felt first
and last in the cities, many local leaders believed they had no choice but to
assume a larger role in the debate over these issues.
of municipal foreign policy included cities opening trade offices in foreign
countries, establishing sister city relationships with the Soviet Union and
Nicaragua against the wishes of the Reagan Administration, and divesting
billions of dollars from firms that did business in South Africa.Specifically with regard to the arms race and President Reagan's
defense policies, local communities took action in a number of ways.For example, they endorsed the Bilateral Nuclear Weapons Freeze.By the decade's end, over 900 local governments had passed a nuclear
freeze resolution and 160 had declared themselves "nuclear free
zones" - a move tantamount to the rejection of any government nuclear
policy.In 1987, a delegation of
American mayors and city council members issued the Nevada Declaration,
calling upon the Administration to negotiate an end to nuclear weapons
testing.Meanwhile, almost 800
local officials had joined two organizations committed to reversing the arms
race:Local Elected Officials of
America and Local Elected Officials for Social Responsibility.Thus it is not surprising that over 120 communities refused to
participate in FEMA's crisis relocation plan.
city council of Cambridge, Massachusetts, led the way in September of 1981
when it published a ten-page booklet entitled "Cambridge and Nuclear
message:the best civil defense is
a political offense.The booklet
was prepared in response to the civil defense plan for Cambridge developed by
the Massachusetts State Civil Defense Agency.In case of nuclear attack, residents had been told to evacuate to the
"host" community of Greenfield, about 75 miles to the northwest.Should you find yourself in a traffic jam en route to Greenfield, the
report read, "turn off your engine, remain in your car, listen for
official instructions and be patient."Said city Councilwoman Saundra Graham, "I thought it was a comic
book."The council held
hearings on the subject and concluded that any
civil defense was futile.
protest that started in Cambridge soon spread across the country.By the end of 1982, New York City's council voted 35 to 5 to reject the
Administration's plans; the city of Alexandria, Virginia, whose residents were
expected to drive 300 miles on one tank of gas to its host community of
Webster Springs, West Virginia, unanimously rejected its emergency evacuation
plan; and an official in the Emergency Management Agency in Greensboro, North
Carolina, removed the "fallout shelter" signs from the 170 buildings
so designated by FEMA because, she said, they did not offer shelter from
radiation or starvation.In addition to Los Angeles, other California communities refused to
participate as well, including San Francisco, Humboldt, Monterey and Palo
Alto."The bottom line,"
said one Marin County supervisor as his Board in 1982 withdrew from FEMA's
CRP, "is that there's no way we can evacuate skeletons."By 1984, state governments in Maryland, California, New Mexico, Maine,
Wisconsin, and Massachusetts all had refused to participate in FEMA projects
or simply diverted federal funds earmarked for nuclear planning to natural
towns of Burlington, Connecticut and Becket, Massachusetts, however, decided
in September 1982 to put FEMA's CRP plan to a test.But the Burlington Organization for the Movement of Bodies to Safety
(BOMBS) and the Becket League to Assist the Scorched and Terrified (BLAST) set
about in a less serious fashion than perhaps FEMA would have preferred.After a cablegram was sent to the Soviet government, advising it that
Burlington's actions would not be a prelude to nuclear attack, about 150
spirited Burlington residents drove the 65 miles up Route 8 to Becket, halting
on two occasions because autos ran out of gas.Upon reaching the host community, residents were welcomed with the
sign, "Water contaminated, cold beer ahead" while two teenagers in
surgical masks ominously scanned entrants with Geiger counters.The citizens of Becket saluted the evacuees for carrying out the
exercise in less than three of the allotted four hours, as well as executing
the requirement to haul innumerable portable toilets and boxes of diapers.
of course, realized that the host community of Becket was located 12 miles
from a General Electric plant that produced parts for the Polaris missile,
making it a prime target for nuclear attack.Recognizing the futility of it all, Mrs. Bill Tomaney, one of the BOMBS
organizers, said that if there really was an attack, Becket residents
"would all be in Canada by the time we got there."Still, such sober thoughts were not allowed to puncture the euphoric
spirit of a block party.The drill
was followed by a parade and the presentation of a charred key to the city of
Burlington.In this nation-wide debate, civil defense was considered so fantastic,
so impossible to implement, that it became a subject to be ridiculed as much
as be debated.
The Decline of
opposition grew against FEMA's evacuation plans, the Administration, in an
astonishingly ironic action, contributed to the decline of its own civil
defense program by asking Americans to embrace a totally different type of
protective system:the Strategic
Defense Initiative (SDI)."Would
it not be better to save lives than avenge them?" Reagan asked
rhetorically in March 1983 as he called upon the scientific and technical
community to devise the means to render nuclear attack impossible through a
space shield.Star Wars took the debate over MAD and civil defense to its ultimate
conclusion.Instead of relying on
a deterrence that could fail and thus have to prepare for that failure, why
not simply do away with the "ability" to wage nuclear war?Americans found SDI appealing because they could go on with their daily
lives knowing that "something" was being done yet without the
reminder of Armageddon that fallout shelters and evacuation plans provided.
the Administration made such extravagant promises regarding a comprehensive
protective system that, rather than complement one another, SDI and civil
defense appeared to be in contradiction.Star
Wars was initially sold as a shield to protect the public from nuclear attack.But to also advocate civil defense would have admitted that SDI was
less than perfect -- that an impregnable shield was impossible to achieve.If the Reagan Administration continued to promote civil defense, how
could it justify spending billions of dollars on a strategic defense system
that in the end would not change the mutual hostage reality of MAD?
any event, the Administration was stymied in its drive for Congressional
support for civil defense as the peace movement effectively fueled antagonism
against FEMA's programs on Capital Hill.With its own growing interests in strategic defenses, the
Administration appears to have lost faith in its civil defense plans by
mid-decade, slashing its FY1986 budget proposal by half from $248 million to
$120 million and emphasizing the insurance benefits of civil defense to the
population rather than its role as an essential ingredient of deterrence.By April of 1987, CRP was abandoned.Of the $154.8 million dollars the Administration requested for its 1988
civil defense budget, over three-fourths was earmarked for federal salaries
and expenses.FEMA had become just
another federal bureaucracy, and the Administration's dreams of a strong civil
defense program to bolster its counterforce strategy evaporated.
relegated the Reagan Administration's grand civil defense plans to the dust
bin?A number of contributing
factors can be identified.First,
the project got off to a bad start with careless and simplistic comments about
nuclear war and its consequences which gave opponents the ammunition they
needed to frame the debate to their advantage within the media.A second factor was the lack of strong public support.While opinion polls showed that most people favored the concept of
civil defense, only a small portion of Americans actually made the effort to
prepare for a nuclear war.The
vast majority were either apathetic, since there was no real crisis to
motivate the public, or fatalistic due largely to the shared belief that
nuclear war could not be survived.
the Administration's misfortune, its own enthusiasm energized the opposition,
which was a third factor in the demise of Reagan's program.When the Administration talked of fighting and winning a nuclear war, it
provoked a vocal and persuasive minority to detail the horrors of nuclear war,
speak of the impossibility of survival, and charge the White House with
fostering a false sense of security.By
focusing on the vital point where civil defense was to be implemented, the local
level, the peace movement was remarkably successful in discrediting civil
defense, even while it largely failed in its goal of derailing Reagan's military
the consequences of the Administration's shift from civil defense to strategic
defense cannot be underestimated.Ironically,
in SDI the American public finally found an appealing alternative to MAD, as
long as the goal of strategic defense was to provide protection for cities, not
silos.But Reagan officials faced a
contradiction in promoting both civil defense and strategic defense, a
contradiction which alienated those who believed SDI could be 100% effective.If a choice had to be made between the two, it was not a difficult one to
make for the Administration.Evacuation
plans and fallout shelters represented the total vulnerability of America, while
space based defenses symbolized its invincibility through the promise of
defense plans were quietly shelved to make way for strategic defense, thus
perpetuating the Administration's attempts to escape the horrors of nuclear war.
Scheer, With Enough Shovels:Reagan,
Bush & Nuclear War (New York:Random
House, 1982), pp. 20, 21.
McNamara, The Essence of Security:Reflections
in Office (New York:Harper
& Rowe, Publishers, 1968), pp. 58-59.
Gray and Keith Payne, in an influential 1980 Foreign Policy article,
argued that nuclear war was a "rational" option in the support of
U.S. foreign policy objectives and that America should embrace a war-winning
strategy with civil defense measures that would "hold U.S. casualties
down to a level compatible with national survival and recovery" --
about 20 million deaths.Colin
Gray and Keith Payne, "Victory is Possible," Foreign Policy
39 (Summer 1980), pp. 14, 26, 25.See
also Richard Foster, "From Assured Destruction to Assured
Survival," Comparative Studies 2 (March 1980), pp. 58-59.For an opposing view, see Michael Howard, "On Fighting Nuclear
War," International Security (Spring 1981), pp. 3-17.Gray and Howard would later debate the topic in the same publication,
Summer 1981, pp. 185-187.
Jervis, The Illogic of American Nuclear Strategy (Ithaca:Cornell University Press, 1984), p. 26.
K., Lawrence, Preparing for Armageddon:A Critique of Western Strategy (New York:St. Martin's Press, 1988), p. 3.
Nitze, "Assuring Strategic Stability in an Era of Detente," Foreign
Affairs 54 (January 1976), p. 223.
With Enough Shovels, p. 105;Robert
Scheer, "Civil Defense Program to be Revised," Los Angeles
Times, 15 January 1982, p. 1.
Miller, "Despite Foes and Skeptics, Administration Presses Ahead on
Civil Defense," New York Times, 10
June 1982, p.
belligerent language by those in the Soviet Union who spoke of the need to prepare to win
a nuclear war only heightened American Cold War fears.Soviet civil defense chief and deputy defense minister General A.T.
Atunin wrote in 1982 that adequate preparation for nuclear survival
"has become without a doubt, one of the decisive factors ensuring the
ability of the state to function in wartime, and in the final analysis, the
attainment of victory."(Dusko
Doder, "Soviet Official Urges 'War Footing' to Combat U.S. Goal of
Superiority," Washington Post, 11 March 1982, p. PA1.)For critique of the effectiveness of Soviet civil defense efforts,
see Fred M. Kaplan, "The Soviet Civil Defense Myth," Bulletin
of the Atomic Scientists, March 1978, pp. 15-20 and Robert Scheer,
"Civil Defense Program to be Revised," Los Angeles Times,
15 January 1982, p I1; Michael Nacht, The Age of Vulnerability:Threats to the Nuclear Stalemate (Washington, D.C.:The Brookings Institution, 1985), pp. 111-115.
Text of National Security Decision Directive Number 23, 3
February 1982, RWRL.National Security Decision Directive Number 26, 25
February 1982, RWRL.
page 1, cited from Christopher Simpson, National Security Directives of
the Reagan and Bush Administrations (Boulder:Westview Press, 1995), pp. 46-47.NSDD-13 remains classified.This
account is taken from Robert Scheer, "Pentagon Plan Aims at Winning
Nuclear War," Los Angeles
August 1982, p.
Kelly, "New Civil Defense Aim:Empty
Major Cities," U.S.
News and World Report,
April 1982, p.
most comprehensive study on continuity of government during and after a
nuclear attack is Edward Zuckerman, The Day After World War III (New
York:The Viking Press, 1984).
Complex of Tricky Issues," Newsweek, 26
April 1982, p.
31.Jack Anderson, "After
the Bomb, Plan to Collect Survivor's Taxes," Washington
Prochnau, "There's No Escaping 'Bolt Out of the Blue,'" Washington
April 1982, p.
A1; "Return to Sender," New York Times,15
August 1982, sec.
IV, p. 20.
Labels Study's Survival Tips for Nuclear War 'Absurd,'" Los
October 1984, p.
Captain Thomas J. Wadsworth to the President, 7
ID#212102, PR003, WHORM: Subject File, RWRL.
Kerrdoja, "Fallout Shelters:Making
a Comeback," Newsweek, 22
February 1982,p. 10; "Official Backs Need For Nuclear Shelters," Los Angeles
such idea was by Bruce Clayton, a California
ecologist, who devised what he called a "nuclear-safe trench" you
could dig in a backyard and cover with an automobile.David Lomb, "Civil Defenses Termed Inadequate," Los
October 1981, p
Newsweek poll, see "Poll Finds 7 out of 10 Imagining Outbreak of
Soviet Nuclear War," Washington Post, 27 September 1981, p. 17;
"Federal Agency Says Poll Finds Support For Evacuation Plan," New
York Times, 5 July 1982, p. 17.
Garret, "Civil Defense and the Public:An Overview of Public Attitude Studies" (Washington, D.C.:Federal Emergency Management Agency, August 1979), pp. 23, 25.
Gallup, The Gallup
Poll:Public Opinion 1981
(Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, Inc., 1982), p. 163; George Gallup, The
Poll:Public Opinion 1983
(Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, Inc., 1983), p. 266.
Yankelovich and John Doble, "The Public Mood:Nuclear Weapons and the U.S.S.R.," Foreign Affairs 63
(Fall 1984), pp. 34, 36.
Told They're Under attack," San Francisco Chronicle, 5
January 1984, p.
Kleidman, Organizing for Peace:Neutrality,
the Test Ban, and the Freeze (Syracuse:Syracuse University, 1993), p. 2.
Defense on Ground Zero," St. Louis
August 1982, p.
Soiffer, "Anti-Nuclear Speech Draws 1500 in S.F.", San
Francisco Chronicle, 17 March 1983, p.
Shelter Fraud," New York Times, 13 April 1, 1982, p. 23; "A
Worse Than Bad Idea," St. Louis
January 1982, p.
in both the Ford and Reagan administrations argued this point.Norman Kempster, "Two U.S. Agencies Plan Civil Defense
Moves," Los Angeles Times, 7 November 1976, p. 1;
"Statement by Louis O. Giuffrida Before the Subcommittee on Military
Installations And Facilities, 12 March 1982, p. 5, FG331, Box 1, folder
J. Kerr, Civil Defense in the U.S.:Bandaid for a Holocaust?
(Boulder:Westview Press, 1983),
Larry Agran, "Mayor as Global Leader," Macalaster College Mayor's
Forum, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 7 March 1989, and Michael H. Shuman,
"Dateline Main Street:Local
Foreign Policies," Foreign Policy, 65, Winter 1986-87 for
discussion on municipal action to influence national policy.
Only Atomic-proof Defense," Los Angeles Times, 20
September 1981, p. V5.
Bennetts, "City Says No to 'Crisis Relocation,'" New York Times,
10 June 1982, p. 1; Ben Franklin, "Festival Rings With Ridicule of
Civil Defense Plan," New York Times, 30 May 1982, p. 20; "A
Complex of Tricky Issues," Newsweek 26 April 1982, p. 31;
Reginald Stuart, "Some Local Officials Refuse to Plan Mass Relocation
in an Atom Threat," New York Times, 12 May 1982, p. A20.
Viets, "Marin Opts Out for Nuclear War," San Francisco
March 1982, p.
2.The Board of Supervisors also
published an information booklet on the effects of atomic weapons to
encourage residents to support a mutual verifiable disarmament policy.Marin County Board of Supervisors, The Nuclear Threat To Marin
County:A Prevention and Source
Document, undated, "California Room Collection," Marin Country
McCombs, "Digging In for the Bomb," Washington Post, 19
January 1984, p. D1; "Mainers Sound Off About Federal Nuclear
Evacuation," Christian Science Monitor, 27 March 1984, p. 1;
Carl Ingram, "State Official Labels Nuclear Evacuation Plan Hoax on
Public," Los Angeles Times, 18 March 1982, p. 3.
Domowitz, "A Picnic, Dance, and Nuclear War Evacuation," Christian
Science Monitor, 10 September 1982, p.
14; Allan Appel, "Burlesque in Burlington,"
The Progressive, February 1983, p. 36.
Yonas, "The Strategic Defense Initiative," in Weapons in Space,
eds. Franklin A. Long, et al. (New York:W.W. Norton & Co., 1986), p. 73.
had become a lightening rod for controversy as other Federal agencies
grumbled about its lack of cooperation and coordination.The National Security Council, which wanted to keep the White House
profile low after so many negative stories concerning civil defense,
complained confidentially that FEMA showed "no imagination in selling
the program" while defending it publicly as if it were just
"another element of salaries and expenses rather than a policy."For criticism of FEMA, see Memo, Bob Helm to Robert Kimmitt, 27
September 1983, ID#179880, ND002, WHORM: Subject File, RWRL; Memo, John
Grimes and John Douglass to Robert McFarlane, 26 September 1984, ID#246645,
ND002, WHORM: Subject File, RWRL.
Security Decision Directive Number 259, 4
ID#44478255, ND002, WHORM: Subject File, RWRL.
information cited from Curt Suplee, "Where to Go On H-Day?Forget It," Washington
April 1987, p.