Thursday, March 24, 2011
1961 Fallout Protection Book
The one shown at left, FALLOUT PROTECTION – WHAT TO KNOW AND DO ABOUT NUCLEAR ATTACK dates from December 1961. It was issued by the Department of Defense - Office of Civil Defense, and is a pretty handy reference guide for survival.
It covers everything from what happens when a five-megaton nuclear burst occurs, what the effects of radiation are (guess I'd better read up on that), and also how to get rid of fallout during the aftermath of the catastrophe.
The booklet also covers how to prepare for a nuclear attack, and that's the part of the book that is the most interesting to me. Part of my family's lore is that for a little while during the late 1950's, my parents seriously considered building a bomb shelter. It was to be a joint effort with some good friends of theirs, who were also the neighbors living right behind us. Logistically, it would have worked out great, since our yards butted up against each other in the back.
Which leads me to the booklet. Here's a few spreads showing how to build a bomb shelter. (Click on each so you can read it; you never know, it might come in handy some day!)
I just love the two-color inked illustrations. There is a sense of simple optimism that pervades them; maybe it's the cheery yellowish color?
Here's an illustration from the booklet showing the cleanup during the aftermath of a nuclear attack. It looks like fire hoses are going to play a big part.
"The Shelter". In it, a well-prepared family in their bomb shelter is attacked by neighbors desperately trying to get in, during a perceived nuclear attack. In the story, the neighbors on the outside practically become animals, willing to do anything to survive, even using a battering ram to break down the door to the shelter.
I guess the concerns about what to do about other neighbors, relatives in town, etc. created too many questions for my parents and their friends that were impossible to answer. Thus, it was decided to skip the shelter and cast our fate to the wind (even if it if carried a little radiation).