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Nuclear War Survival Skills 2014-08-21

Cresson H. Kearny

  1. melbo
    Nuclear War Survival Skills or NWSS, by Cresson Kearny, is a civil defense manual. It contains information gleaned from research performed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory during the Cold War, as well as from Kearny's extensive jungle living and international travels.

    Nuclear War Survival Skills aims to provide a general audience with advice on how to survive conditions likely to be encountered in the event of a nuclear catastrophe, as well as encouraging optimism in the face of such a catastrophe by asserting the survivability of a nuclear war.

    The main chapters are preceded by forewords from Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner. Following this is an introduction which explains that even the fruition of theStrategic Defense Initiative program would not make "self-help civil defense" obsolete. A comparison is made of the civil defense preparations of Switzerland, Russia, and the United States, where it is concluded that: "Switzerland has the best civil defense system"; "The rulers of the Soviet Union... continue to prepare the Russians to fight, survive, and win all types of wars"; and that "the United States has advocated... a strategy that purposely leaves its citizens unprotected hostages to its enemies."[1] Thus, "The emphasis in this book is on survival preparations that can be made in the last few days of a worsening crisis."[1]

    The Dangers from Nuclear Weapons: Myths and Facts
    The first chapter aims to give background information to dispel various demoralizing myths and reaffirm the potential survivability and reality of nuclear weapons. "An all-out nuclear war between Russia and the United States would... be far from the end of human life on earth."[2] Myths listed include: "Fallout radiation from a nuclear war would poison the air and all parts of the environment. It would kill everyone."; "Fallout radiation penetrates everything; there is no escaping its deadly effects."; and "Unsurvivable "nuclear winter" surely will follow a nuclear war."[2]

    Psychological Preparations
    This chapter provides information on the immediate effects of thermonuclear explosions, and peoples' likely reactions to them, in an attempt to lessen the terror and confusion that would be prevalent after an unexpected nuclear attack. "Some people would think the end of the world was upon them if they happened to be in an area downwind from surface bursts of nuclear weapons that sucked millions of tons of pulverized earth into the air."[3]

    Warnings and Communications
    Illustrates the limitations of the National Warning System (NAWAS) and the Attack Warning Signal sirens, concluding that "In an all-out attack, the early explosions would give sufficient warning for most people to reach nearby shelter in time."[4]

    Due to the replacement of large warheads on inaccurate missiles with smaller warheads on more accurate missiles, "you may logically conclude that unless your home is closer than 10 miles from the nearest probable target, you need not evacuate to avoid blast and fire dangers."[5] Evacuation relevant to fallout radiation risk is thoroughly discussed, where it is noted that most available fallout risk-area maps are inaccurate, outdated, and misleading.[5]

    Shelter, the Greatest Need
    Provides information on fallout protection and basic structures; complete designs for "6 types of earth-covered expedient shelters" are provided in Appendix A.[6]
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