When Joe Biden said this week that Putin, with his frequent references to Russia’s nuclear weapons and how he might be forced to use them, is playing an unpredictable game that could end carelessly or accidentally in ‘Armageddon’, he was only being realistic, asking us all to wake up to what is happening.
Yet he was jumped on by the media and some world leaders for frightening people unnecessarily. I couldn’t help remembering how my writing in 1982 about the need to educate ourselves about nuclear attacks was soundly rejected by newspapers and magazines. People then were offended when you tried to talk about nuclear war. After all, everyone knew that it would be the end of the world, so why talk about it? At least in the media, nothing seems to have changed.
Thinking that, in my new attempt to provide enough information to as many people as possible to give them a better chance of surviving a nuclear explosion, I may be wasting my time again, I have to do it anyway. If I save one person, or one family, from death or severe injury, it will be worth it.
Yes, in 1963 and in the 1980s we avoided Armageddon, but it has never gone away. For the past 30 + years it has continued to cast a gigantic shadow over us, with all those thousands of missiles ready to go on a moments notice. Meanwhile most of humanity pretends that it isn’t there.
Trying to put together my next post, I remembered that the first nuclear weapon knowledge I acquired was from a little book put out by the Canadian government after the 1963 Cuban confrontation between the USA and Russia – 11 Steps to Survival.
When I got my first copy, I read it over and over until I more or less had it memorized. Later I picked up about twenty copies from a Canada Post office and tried to distribute them to family and friends. No one wanted them. I was only able to give away 2-3 copies, and those who took them never mentioned them afterwards, so I suspect they didn’t read them.
Yet through all these years the evidence of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, collected so carefully by Japanese investigators, has been there, revealing that atomic explosions are not invincible weapons of God, that survival is possible. There is so much you can learn to yourself and your family a better chance of surviving. As for the ‘end of the world’ – if a nuclear winter, etc, comes, it would be better to be alive to face it, than dead already. That I’ll address though in another post.
Though no one wanted to read them, I kept my DDDD copies of 11 Steps to Survival. Reviewing it again this week, I’m struck at how relevant the book still is. Atomic explosions today are no different than they would have been in 1963 or 1980. The warheads tend to be smaller now (though still far more powerful than those at Hiroshima and Nagasaki), because large ones are less efficient and too expensive. The 5 megaton weapon chosen as the most likely to explode over your city might be 3 megatons now.
The giant 50 megaton bomb set off by the Russians back in the ’50s was just for show and intimidation of the world. There probably has never been a missile capable of carrying it.
The most important part of 11 Steps to Survival, in my opinion, are those pages up to p.24, describing the effects of a nuclear explosion and what you can do to try and mitigate them. But there is a lot of good advice afterward too.
Occasionally there are things that look out-dated. For example, on page 17 they describe for you the sound of an air raid siren. Do we still have these? We had tests back in the ’60s so I have heard them. I would think the ’emergency alert’ is more likely to come now on your phone or TV. Yet the sirens you hear in videos from Unkrainian cities sound just like those I heard in the ’60s.
I was only going to use a few pages from 11 Steps to Survival , but I see the Canadian government included permission to copy the book, so that’s what I’ve done. This one was printed in 1969, but the original was definitely older. The pictures show people in 1950s dress, with no sign of the long hair etc of 1969. Here it is:
The USA put out a similar book in the 60s, Survival Under Atomic Attack, but so far I’ve not been able to find a copy.
But today’s governments, and some other institutions are trying to address this. There are many relevant websites that I’m going to look at in another post.. But with respect to the core problem of survival, none of them appears to do a better job than 11 Steps to Survival.