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Tuesday, September 19

Surviving the The Atomic Age:Part I

The Golden Age of Civil Defense Propaganda: Atomic Scare Films

A nuclear attack was just another hazard that came with ordinary American life in the 50's and 60's. The enemy was never named in Atomic Scare Films and it was never suggested that perhaps the US government's use of bombs in Japan might have sparked the possibility of a nuclear war. The most important aspect of Civil Defense short films of the cold war era was to instill an underlying fear in post war America. People in rural areas weren't excluded from the fear tactics. Hey you, on your tractor, what will you do when you see the flash? Sure, go about your daily lives, water your lawns, have backyard cookouts, take a ride in the family car, but never forget that at any time, any day, your life could be in danger. It's not a matter of "if", but a matter of "when". The following are some films I found from that era on the internet:

Atomic Bomb Newsreel (vintage)
This is how we learned how to plan to survival in the atomic age. Watch the Navy test atomic bombs in Bikini . See our brave soldiers endure the effects of plutonium in the ironically named Pacific, all in the name of peace, ironically. Watch a Nevada town being tested for the effects of a blast. Watch the troops dust off the radioactive fallout with a broom! All this and more on Google Video
Duck And Cover (1951)
"Teacher, how can we tell when an atomic bomb is going to explode?" It's 1951. What happens when you see the flash? Duck and Cover! Bert the turtle, the "Duck and Cover" mascot of the cartoon world, teaches children how to survive in a real world where an atomic bomb can explode at any time. Was this a prelude to Duct tape and plastic? Watch "Duck and Cover" at YouTube or at GoogleVideo.
Target YOU! (c 1953)
An urgent Civil Defense short designed to scare you into keeping your house clean and prepare a home shelter for the very worst. An atomic bomb. Watch "Target You" at Google Video.
Occupying A Shelter (1965)
How to survive a nuclear attack in a community shelter by the US Army and The Department of Federal Civil Defense. Brought to you in living color. Watch it on Google Video
A new look at the H bomb
What is radioactive fallout? Oh it's those particles that fall out of a mushroom cloud. You had better go into your shelter, but don't worry, radioactivity only lasts for a few hours to a few days. Don't forget your battery operated radios. Watch it at Google Video
Introduction to cold war
The Manhattan Project, Enola Gay, Cuban Missle Crisis, clips from various civil defense films of the atomic age. Watch it at Google Video
Alert today, alive tomorrow (1956)
Neighborliness and working together have always been wonderful human virtues and that is what kept humanity going. But, uh oh, atomic bombs can obliterate us! Civilians can be bombed? Who knew? What to do? What to do? The military will be busy fighting a war and it's up to civilians (who survive) to set up local civil defense units in conjunction with the Federal Civil Defense Headquarters. Let's watch what happens when Redding, Pa. gets bombed. Watch it at Google Video
How about a fun list of 100 Atomic films? The Conelrad 100

"It's a dangerous world. I wish it wasn't that way. I wish I could tell the American people, don't worry about it, they're not coming again. But they are coming again." -G.W. Bush

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