Cold War Wind Patterns, 1963.

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What does this map show? It relies on the wind patterns of an average spring day, in that particular decade. That decade was the 1960s, and about the biggest worry to be carried on those spring winds: fallout. This map projects fallout, if an "enemy" were to drop 3,000 megatons on various military, industrial, and civilian targets at the same time, both ground detonations and air bursts. From the Saturday Evening Post, 23 March 1963.

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Rural Civil Defense, 1960.

Bombs have fallen. At least one has struck St Paul-Minneapolis. Another has exploded above the Great Lakes port of Duluth-Superior. Air force [sic] bases at Grand Forks, Rapid City and maybe Minot have been hit. So have other areas...Here, there is nothing to do now but wait. Radioactive fallout, if it isn't already here, will be filtering down within the next hour or two. Heaviest concentration will be between the next 6 to 12 hours, with no one daring to leave the family fallout shelter. Tomorrow, it may be safe to run to the barn long enough to check on livestock. Not all animals could be gotten under cover, but the producing cows and most valuable breeding stock are inside.

Cold War advice on preparing your farm for the inevitable nuclear war. From a 1960 issue of The Farmer.

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Communist Crop Pests, 1960.

The advertisement is selling crop spraying equipment, and it's quite a small ad, so there's no time for them to explain the references. First, a critter, wearing a military cap adorned with a star, is holding up a sign that reads, "The 5th Column to Hold Up American Farmers." The ad's copy reads, "Farewell, Comrades! Our training to destroy American farm crops not up-to-date on Comfort Multi-Purpose Sprayer.". A "Fifth Column" is an organized group of moles or dissenters, thwarting war efforts from within a country. However, the style of dress of the head 'critter', and the broken english used for his speech would indicate that the critter is intended to be an invader from the Soviet Union. So, who are these invading armies? My best guess is the Russian aphid, a common wheat and barley pest in the midwest. Today, selling insecticide by Photoshopping a suicide-bomber vest and turban onto an anthropomorphic insect wouldn't go over so well; times were much different back when enemies were clear and well-defined.

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The USS Nautilus. Artist's Impression

In December, 1952, Collier's Magazine made the USS Nautilus its cover story. Nautilus was the first US nuclear-powered sub, and it set record after record during its time at sea. The date of the Collier's article, however, is a clue to this picture's origin. Construction on the Nautilus started 14 June 1952, and the ship wasn't seaworthy until 1954. The design for the sub was definitely in existence, but the ship itself was still a few years away. With the help of Rear Admiral Homer N Wallin, Collier's was able to assemble an excellent description of our newest not-so-secret weapon.

The above image has to be enlarged to be appreciated; the detail is tremendous, and I'd bet the original was huge. The diagram spanned two pages, from edge to edge. I find it a bit disconcerting that the area marked "nuclear lab" is right next to the galley, but I'd imagine that this artist's rendition isn't completely accurate; it does closely resemble the map seen here, though. The article gives quite a few details about the Nautilus' capabilities, no doubt as a show of US power and induce fear in our enemies of the surprise attack from such a formidable opponent. The details in the diagram above do show a bit more than I'd expected -- in the room marked "Crew's Quarters", the following detail is shown:

Yes sir, our red-blooded sailors, spending months cruising beneath the choppy waves, will enjoy the companionship of the all-American pin-up gal (nsfw). Maybe the artist was far more truthful about the submarine's nature than I thought.

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Fallout Protection for Homes With Basements

That swanky snack bar isn't a weekend project from Handy Andy -- it's secret is that the instant the Emergency Broadcast System begins to pierce the air, the snack bar converts into a fallout shelter. The booklet "Fallout Protection for Homes with Basements" -- available in online and hard-copy formats, was produced by Civil Defense and mailed out to homeowners who completed a questionnaire about their house's construction. Based on those answers, using an 'electronic computer', the CD calculated how much radiation protection your unshielded basement can provide...and offer a lot of advice on what to do if your basement comes up short. Unlike the traditional image of a fallout-shelter as an impenetrable fortress buried in the back yard, these fallout shelter suggestions are practical, cheap, simple...and aren't a waste of space if nuclear war never happens (knock on wood). What surprised me is the fact that fallout doesn't behave like a gas -- it falls like snow, piles up on the ground, but it's the radiation the fallout emits that is what will get you. The fallout shelters don't have doors, and the booklet says several times that if you must go do important things (read: use the toilet), you can wander about for a few minutes at a time. If you're hiding out under a converted snack bar, at least you won't have to go far for a can of peanuts.

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