There are two diametrically opposite views on civil defense. Russian official policy holds that civil defense is feasible even in a nuclear war. American official policy, or at any rate the implementation of that policy, is based on the assumption that civil defense is useless.
The Russians, having learned a bitter lesson in the second world war, have bent every effort to defend their people under all circumstances. They are spending several billion dollars per year on this activity. They have effective plans to evacuate their cities before they let loose a nuclear strike. They have strong shelters for the people who must remain in the cities. They are building up protected food reserves to tide them over a critical period.
All this may mean that in a nuclear exchange, which we must try to avoid or to deter, the Russian deaths would probably not exceed ten million. Tragic as such a figure is, the Russian nation would survive. If they succeed in eliminating the United States they can commandeer food, machinery and manpower from the rest of the world. They could recover rapidly. They would have attained their goal: world domination.
In the American view the Russian plan is unfeasible. Those who argue on this side point out the great power of nuclear weapons. In this they are right. Their argument is particularly impressive in its psychological effect.
But this argument has never been backed up by a careful quantitative analysis which takes into account the planned dispersal and sheltering of the Russian population and the other measures which the Russians have taken and those to which they are committed.
That evacuation of our own citizens can be extremely useful if we see that the Russians are evacuating is simple common sense. With the use of American automobiles an evacuation could be faster and more effective than is possible in Russia. To carry it out we need not resort to the totalitarian methods of the iron curtain countries. It will suffice to warn our people and advise them where to go, how to protect themselves. The Federal Emergency Management Administration contains the beginnings on which such a policy might be built.
The present book does not, and indeed cannot, make the assumption that such minimal yet extremely useful government guidance will be available. Instead it outlines the skills that individuals or groups of individuals can learn and apply in order to improve their chances of survival.
This book is not a description of civil defense. It is a guide to "Stop-gap" civil defense which individuals could carry out for themselves, if need be, with no expenditures by our government. It fills the gap between the ineffective civil defense that we have today and the highly effective survival preparations that we could and should have a few years from now. However, if we go no further than what we can do on the basis of this book, then the United States cannot survive a major nuclear war.
Yet this book, besides being realistic and objectively correct, serves two extremely important purposes. One is: it will help to save lives. The second purpose is to show that with relatively inexpensive governmental guidance and supplies, an educated American public could, indeed, defend itself. We could survive a nuclear war and remain a nation.
This is an all-important goal. Its most practical aspect lies in the fact that the men in the Kremlin are cautious. If they cannot count on destroying us they probably will never launch their nuclear arsenal against us. Civil defense is at once the most peaceful and the most effective deterrent of nuclear war.
Some may argue that the Russians could evacuate again and again and thus, by forcing us into similar moves, exhaust us. I believe that in reality they would anger us sufficiently so that we would rearm in earnest. That is not what the Russians want to accomplish.
Others may say that the Russians could strike without previous evacuation. This could result in heavy losses on their part which, I hope, they will not risk.
Civil defense as here described will not eliminate the danger of nuclear war. It will considerably diminish its probability.
This book takes a long overdue step in educating the American people. It does not suggest that survival is easy. It does not prove that national survival is possible. But it can save lives and it will stimulate thought and action which will be crucial in our two main purposes: to preserve freedom and to avoid war.
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