Feds Plan To Save Themselves During a Nuclear War
the 1950’s how did the United States government plan to survive
a nuclear attack from the Soviet Union? By sacrificing the people
and imposing war socialism, of course.
an issue of Time Magazine from August 10, 1992, Ted Gup reported
on the then newly disclosed plans that the federal government had
developed for salvaging the state in the event of a nuclear attack
on the United States by the Soviet Union. Mr. Gup served 8 years
as a investigative reporter for the Washington Post before joining
Time Magazine in 1987, chronicling such stories as the trade in
poached ivory, the spotted owl, and the plight of the West Virginia
reflecting the statist strain of thinking in the 1950’s or perhaps
just that of Time Magazine the story was introduced
with this byline: "How times change. Though the Soviet Union
is gone, Washington was once convinced that World War III could
break out without warning... and in case of nuclear attack the U.S.
government hoped to save the President and keep the country running
by relying on ... THE DOOMSDAY BLUEPRINTS." Unfortunately,
if Doomsday had arrived, the idea of a President running the country
would have followed the mass devastation and murder of a nuclear
war with mass starvation and social extinction from central planning.
Gup reports that these doomsday plans have not been rendered obsolete
even with the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet
Union; he writes: "Nor is it a matter only of remote historical
interest. Many of these doomsday regulations would still be put
into effect after a nuclear attack, and while preparations for rescuing
America’s leaders and cultural treasures remain in place, efforts
to shield the civilian population were virtually abandoned decades
doomsday planners of the 50’s envisioned a post-apocalyptic urban
America largely in ruins and darkened under the breakdown of private-sector
and governmental services and the imposition of martial law, food
rationing, price controls, censorship and the curtailment of individual
liberties. They also envisioned outright federal dictatorship, too.
In a 1955 top-secret memo to advisors, then President Eisenhower
wrote: "We would have to run this country as one big camp severely
regimented." What happens to a country and its people by being
run as one big camp should have been uppermost in President Eisenhower’s
mind from his then relatively recent experience in Germany and Poland
after the war. Later on, he asked "Who is going to bury the
dead? Where would one find the tools? The organization to do it?
We must not assume that we are going to handle these problems with
calmness... We will be running soup kitchens we are going to be
taking care of a completely bewildered population. Government which
goes on with some kind of continuity will be like a one-eyed man
in the land of the blind." Yet this is the same government
that was planning on taking over every major activity of society
after the nuclear holocaust.
estimated dead would run into the tens of millions, with the major
cities of the United States in ruins or in ashes. But in addition
to the millions of civilian casualties, would be another, more prominent
casualty. The pretence of constitutional government. The Doomsday
Blueprints were developed in the early and mid-50’s during the Eisenhower
administration and the doomsday central planners were charged with
developing a vast and secret comprehensive plan with one single-minded
mission to save the federal government which would then preserve
and restore law and order and prime the pump of the devastated economy.
To achieve these ends, the doomsday planners labored to create a
vast and secret doomsday bureaucracy shadowing their vast and secret
master plan. Mr. Gup described their plan’s effects with these words:
"Confronted with the potential horrors of atomic warfare, they
drafted detailed contingency plans and regulations that, while trying
to save constitutional government, would have radically tranformed
the U.S.’s political and social institutions." Indeed, no where
in Mr. Gup’s piece and maybe in the Doomsday Blueprints themselves is the State and local governments mentioned at all. Presumably
they would be steamrolled over in Washington’s or rather the White
House’s drive to impose war socialism on the ashes of American
Doomsday Blueprints elaborated a comprehensive national survival
plan developed by the President, the National Security Agency and
various crisis agencies, most recently the Federal Emergency Management
Agency and that encompassed every federal agency and department.
The Blueprints were elaborated in a series of regulations running
into several hundred pages-called the Code of Emergency Federal
Regulations. Action plans based on them were held by all agencies
and duplicates were kept at each relocation site. The plans relied
on redundancy. If one location was vaporized, others would take
up the slack. Officials were divided into three squads Alpha, Bravo
and Charlie and one team would remain at headquarters while the
other two redeployed at other sites.
pursuit of its plans, the United States government issued nearly
55 million wallet-sized instruction cards on what to do during an
attack. Senior government officials were given a special emergency
phone number to call in the event on an attack which bypassed the
commercial phone networks and connected directly to crisis operators.
Users had a secret codeword "FLASH" that indicated to
the operators that the call was "essential to national survival."
Kept with the President at all times were the Presidential Emergency
Action Documents and "Plan D" a summary of the new dictator’s
options for responding to the surprise attack without a Congressional
declaration of war, of course.
doomsday planners secret bureaucracy planned and built a network
of relocation sites for the federal government in a ring around
the capitol that became known as the Federal Arc. Amongst these
there were Raven Rock, code-named "Site R" or the "Underground
Pentagon" as it was more commonly called a 81,000 sq.ft complex
located near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and Mount Weather, a 61,000
sq.ft mountain bunker near Berryville, Virginia, where the President
and the Cabinet would be relocated, and which was code-named "High
Point." The director of Mount Weather was given a simple commission
directly from President Eisenhower: "I expect your people to
save our government." Buried underneath the 5-star Greenbrier
resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, was built the relocation
center for the entire United States Congress. Built with its own
replicas of the House and Senate chambers and a vast hall for joint
sessions of Congress this site was code-named "Casper."
Only a half dozen members of Congress at any one time knew it even
existed. Of course, even the Federal Reserve Board had its own relocation
site. A 43,000 sq. ft radiation-proof facility dug out of Culpeper,
Virginia which was stocked with a 30-day supply of freeze-dried
food to be served up on fine bone china. The facility was also equipped
with a cold storage tunnel for bodies until they could be buried.
(This facility was not mothballed until July 1992.)
Weather was the primary relocation site for both the cabinet and
other bureaucrats and became the de facto relocation site for the
President himself. As such, the administration of Mount Weather
tracked the men who were in direct line of Presidential succession.
In the event of an attack the Cabinet Secretaries, the Supreme Court
Justices and the President himself would be airlifted to this bunker.
Once past "Bluegrass Tower" (the helipad control tower’s
code-name) and inside, the passengers were required to present special
ID cards before they were cleared passed the 6-ft thick steel blast
door. The facility was equipped with a series of radioactive sensors.
If the government officals arrived after the attack each would be
checked for radiation. Anyone radioactive would trigger alarms a
bell and a flashing light either yellow or red, depending on the
level of radioactivity detected. Decontamination showers and medicated
soap awaited those exposed. Incinerators awaited their clothes and
their bodies if they died. All occupants were issued military coveralls.
The facility was equipped with a subterranean hospital, which would
shuttle patients around in electric "ambulance" golf carts.
the President’s lead to run the country as one large camp, the Mount
Weather site would be ruthless. Except for the President and his
successor, no individual was deemed to be indispensible. Patients
with injuries which were considered to time or resource consuming
to treat were to be flagged with a blue toe tag and left to die
naturally. And thenafter, cremated. An armory was installed on site
stocked with automatic rifles. The security forces in the bunker
were instructed to shoot-to-kill to prevent unauthorized people
from entering even the family members of officials and local employees
already in the bunker. Suspected saboteurs and any troublemakers
were to be thrown outside no matter what the radiation count was.
bunker could house several thousand people, but only the President,
the Cabinet Secretaries and the Supreme Court Justices had private
quarters. Interesting how the Vice-President the actual constitutional
successor is not mentioned (and it is also interesting to note
how the executive and judicial branches were to be housed together,
perhaps demonstrating how the Supreme Court’s function has long
since been as the legal sanctioner for Presidential aggrandizement).
In case the ordeal of the attack resulted in mental breakdown, Mount
Weather was equpped with a padded isolation cell that soon was
dubbed the "rubber room" and sedatives and straitjackets.
Weather was also equipped with an underground weather monitoring
network that issued daily reports over the decades reporting wind
direction and speed, trying to anticipate radiation dispersal patterns.
And at the disposal of the President was a television studio which
was prepared to provide the President or his newly-minted successor
with the ability to annoy a national audience (or what would be
left of it and its TV sets) using the Emergency Broadcast System.
every year the gevernment conducted elaborate test drills with thousands
of bureaucrats in mock nuclear strike exercises. As it happened
it was during one of these annual drills where Eisenhower and the
Cabinet were meeting in Mount Weather when he was presented with
a note that the Soviet Union had just shot down a U-2 Spy Plane.
(Eisenhower exclaimed: "I’ll be a son of a bitch.") Several
plans were hatched on how best to evacuate the President and the
First Family from the White House. One proposal involved compensating
for the total destruction of Washington, D.C. including the Potomac
River. Edward Beach, a Naval aide assigned to devise Eisenhower’s
escape route, early on realized the results should Washington be
hit by a Soviet hydrogen bomb: "It would eliminate the Potomac
River, but it would sure raise hell and dig a deep hole where Washington
had been. We would have a deep lake there, so shelters in Washington
would have been counterproductive. Even if you survived the blast,
you’d probably drown." Accordingly, Mr. Beach’s agency purchased
a refurbished PT boat and docked it at the Washington Navy Yard
on the Potomac River. When the time came, President Eisenhower would’ve
been whisked from the White House in a special black Cadillac limosine
retrofitted with a tank engine to meet up with the waiting PT boat
at a pre-arranged meeting point on the River. Once safely beyond
the blast zone, Ike would’ve been met by Secret Service agents and
transported to one of three underground command posts. The PT boat,
as well as the secret command post buried underneath Camp David,
were secretly maintained by elite commandos under the innocuous
sounding name the Naval Administrative Unit. (During one doomsday
drill, a Presidential convoy to Mount Weather was halted on the
narrow road by the sudden appearance of a farmer’s truck loaded
with pigs, which was forced to laboriously inch in reverse back
up the road until it passed the entrance to the bunker. Such are
the best laid plans of central planners overturned.)
avoided boondoggle was the brief consideration of the idea for retrofitting
a Polaris submarine to function as a mobile undersea presidential
command post by removing the missile tubes. No doubt the planners
scuttled the idea once they realized that the sub would then be
useless for any possibility of supersecret presidential revenge
sneak attacks on the Soviets from underneath the polar ice caps.
main plan that was actually settled upon and implemented and that
was in effect until 1970 was code-named Outpost Mission. In the
mid-50’s an elite unit of helicopter pilots and crewmen called the
2857th Test Squadron was organized and stationed at Olmsted
U.S. Air Force Base in Pennsylvania, diguised as a search and rescue
team. Stationed just outside the blast range of Washington, only
the pilots and base commander knew their real purpose. When the
time came the unit’s helicopters would swoop in and whisk the President
and other officials and family off the White House lawn and away
to Mount Weather or another of the underground command posts, or
to a heavily reinforced communications warship, the U.S.S. Northampton,
lying off the east coast.
the plans called for the team to be prepared to extract the President
in the event that Washington had been hit. Under the White House
below the East Wing the Presidential White House bunker was constructed,
complete with food, communications equipment and cutting torches.
The 2857th Test Squadron’s rescue plan involved stocking
the helicopters with decontamination kits and crowbars and acetylene
torches to cut through the walls of the underground Presidential
bunker. The unit would fly test runs dressed in full gear wearing
dark blast visors to protect their eyes from the atomic flash, and
dressed head-to-toe; boots, gloves, and rubber bodysuits saturated
with lead a total of 20 lbs per man. Extra radiation suits were
included for the President and the First Family. In the event that
the helicopter units couldn’t penetrate the rubble to reach the
bunker a backup unit stood ready with heavy equipment including
cranes to extract the President. In the 1960’s the squadron was
moved to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware a sure sign of the increase
in the destructive yield of state weaponry and was decommissioned
entirely in 1970. Yet another sign that there would be no survivors and no bunker left at all. Indeed, a 1962 Pentagon study tracked
the day-and-nightime locations of the dozen men in line to the Presidential
succession and all were well within the kill zone of a nuclear strike
on Washington. The study found that with a 100-megaton weapon, any
helicopter within 50 miles of the White House would be vaporized
sceptical commentator about the ability of the government to work
miracles was a government man himself. Bud Gallagher was a Strategic
Air Command pilot and was Squadron Commander of Outpost Mission
from 1958 to 1962 and three years later was appointed as director
for Mount Weather a post he held for 25 years. Gallagher was what
was known as an "atomic-cloud sampler." In 52’ and 53’
he flew straight through 13 mushroom clouds to test the amount of
radiation passing through his body. To do this, he was given a small
X-ray plate coated in vaseline to swallow to be removed with a
string that hung out of his mouth. Commenting on the preparations
he spent his life being a part of in Mount Weather and elsewhere,
Mr. Gallagher stated:
the years, we always reacted like we could handle an all-out nuclear
attack. I don’t think people even our top people in government have any idea of what a thousand multimegaton nuclear weapons
on the U.S. would do. We’d be back in the Stone Age. It’s unthinkable."
these top government people believed they could work miracles. The
same government that had just brought the human race to the brink
of extinction. In 1956, Mr. Gallagher sat in the cockpit of his
F-84 Thunderjet on the airstrip of Bentwaters Royal Air Force Base
in England. Strapped under the plane was an atomic bomb. In the
middle of the Suez crisis, Mr. Gallagher sat waiting for the order
to launch, and the target was a Finnish airfield assumed to be one
that the Soviets would otherwise use to launch a first strike. "I
don’t think people realize how close we were to nuclear war."
he later said.
what would’ve happened? How did the Doomsday central planners envision
their plans would unfold? What would the government do in its new
blank slate utopia in the late 1950’s after they dropped the big
coast-to-coast the top-secret Bomb Alarm inside Mount Weather would
register impacts from nuclear strikes. The Bomb Alarm’s network
of sensors and copper pressure wires that crisscrossed the country
and registered heat, light and pressure changes would display these
changes on a giant map of the continental United States. Hundreds
of tiny red light bulbs would light up to mark the sites of atomic
impacts. Washington. New York City. Chicago. Los Angeles....
the attack commenced the Doomsday Blueprints would come into full
effect. Before leaving the White House the President would have
removed the executive orders from the vault, already signed and
authorized long before, that would impose martial law.
the Emergency Broadcast System, recorded messages from both President
Eisenhower and entertainer Arthur Godfrey would be broadcast to
the people. The message would be stark: "The country has come
under nuclear attack, but the government continues to function."
In an attempt to sooth the psyche’s of a shattered people, celebrity
newsmen who agreed beforehand to accompany the President in retreat
would lend their voices and names to the effort to calm the survivors,
testifying to the heroism of the fourth estate.
the Presidential address would most likely inform the people on
how the government was going to work to improve their quality of
life through martial law, state planned production and rationing.
And maybe that the American people have two-out-of-three branches
of government still working for them, which isn’t too bad. Options
for a counterstrike would be decided upon almost immediately.
the mountain of the Mount Weather bunker, remote cameras and radiation
detectors would monitor the air. If destroyed in the attack backup
portable units would be pushed outside the bunker and men from the
security force would venture outside insulated in rubberized radiation
suits to probe the air.
nuclear exile the surviving bureacracy would swing into motion.
Publication and distribution to the public of the Emergency Federal
Register would begin that would inform the survivors of the emergency
laws and regulations now in effect, including martial law.
Civil Service Commission would enact a regulation to designate government
employees who are reported dead to be "on administrative leave
until the reported date of death." The Post Office would announce
that postage stamps would no longer be needed to send letters and
postcards to the recently depopulated areas. Special delivery would
be phased out except for medicines and surgical dressings.
Treasury Department would order surviving banks to remain open during
normal hours of business, but would confiscate property by imposing
withdrawal limits "to prevent hoarding." The Treasury
would move to oversee private-sector price and wage controls for
rent and salaries. Following an agreement with private companies
"in non-critical target areas," they would begin printing
checks. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation would order surviving
bank examiners to report at once to the nearest surviving Federal
Reserve Bank "where they can assist in the reconstruction of
the banking system."
Federal Reserve Governors from the safety of their Culpeper hideout
would continue their function as the central counterfeiting agency.
Deep inside the Fed’s bunker forklift’s would begin moving out a
mountain of the governments stored worthless paper currency. Inside
the Fed’s vault sat tons of 5, 10, 50 and 100 dollar bills in shrinkwrapped
packages forming a wall of pre-printed fiat money standing almost
9 ft tall. This gigantic vault still housed this wall of the governments
currency into the late 1980’s ready at a moment’s notice to prime
the pump of the hollowed out post-nuclear economy.
Federal Highway Administration would fan out to attempt to protect
motorists from nuclear fallout. The Department of Agriculture would
act to implement its national food-rationing program. Establishing
decrees on what every person what be allowed to consume, each civilian
would be restricted to a maximum caloric intake of 2,000 to 2,500
calories a day. Among the weekly rations for civilians were six
eggs and 3 and a half quarts of milk. (Not mentioned is any plans
for confiscating surplus food to facilitate rationing and "prevent
hoarding," but this would seem, given everything else planned,
a sure likelihood.)
Department of Housing and Urban Development would enact its regulations
to relocate and house the surviving population. These regulations
were code-named "Asp," "Bear," "Cat"
and "Dog." and contained elaborate plans for how HUD planned
on housing millions of displaced Americans defacto refugees. (Mr.
Gup makes no mention of the possibility of resorting to forced labor
to bury the dead or to build temporary housing for the survivors,
but this would also seem like a likely eventuality.)
ago established regulations would come into effect for producing
goods and services deemed to be vital to national survival. The
upper management of major companies from their bunkers where regularly
updated company records were stored and rooms were available for
the excutives and their families, along with dining halls, security
vaults and radio-communications equipment would put into effect
their "unified emergency plans." Although private producers
would be shackled with controls, the plans would prevent outright
nationalization of surviving industry, but would subordinate private
production to the production dictates of the doomsday bureacracy.
What and in what amount and where it would be distributed and at
what price would be determined by the state.
coordinating all of the Doomsday Blueprints activities would be
the Wartime Information Security Program, or WISP (as in Whisper) the national censorship office. CBS Vice-President Theodore F.
Koop agreed to act as the national censor with a staff of 40 civilian
executives in a secure facility located well outside Washington
and stocked with censorship manuals and regulation codes. The site
was equipped with its own communications and broadcasting center.
(Although the existence of the censorship office was exposed to
the public in 1970 and the public was told that it had been shutdown,
its duties were transferred to yet another arm of what an internal
memo referred to as "the shadow government.")
would’ve thought that the government that came of age in the war
against Hitler would end up having more Presidential bunkers like
the Fuhrer bunker where he met his own end than Hitler could’ve
ever dreamed of.
enormous waste of resources, manpower and time. All the unknown
lost potential that was destroyed by the statism that the Cold War
so vividly represents. The absurdity of the government’s assumptions
and elaborate planning to treat people like cattle. And although
some of the sites are being converted into document storage and
office space and some procedures have been rendered obsolete, Mr.
Gup winds up his cover story with an admonition from the doomsday
planners themselves "that new dangers abound nuclear proliferation,
the resurgence of ethnic nationalism, and the renewed threat of
terrorism and that only the dead have seen the last of war."
Obsolete bureaucracy’s, as we all know, are only really productive
in inventing new reasons for their own continued existence.
different the 20th Century might have been if people "the people" had understood the arguments for peace
and freedom. Sacrificing human liberty at the cost of state power
has had only disastrous results. The antidote to war and total
war and the total war mentality is liberty, not slavery. But of
course this goes against the entire grain of statist thinking. The
goal of the Doomsday Planners like all central planners and bureaucracies was the continued survival of the government and its rule over the
survivors of the very same holocaust that it brought about. Violence
and the destruction of property and human lives is unfortunately,
something they understand all to well. The ways of bureaucracy and
the even more perverse mentality of total war, which deliberately
targets innocents in order to "demoralize" their will
and ability to fight, only brings out the very worst in the human
the musings of the United States government to provoke a third world
war in 1952 by launching a preemptive nuclear strike on the Soviet
Union with or without the support of the NATO alliance were revealed
to the public in a new book The Hidden Hand by Richard J Aldrich,
a Professor of Politics at Nottingham University; musings which
simply speak for themselves. Revealed in it is the report of British
Vice-Admiral Eric Longley-Cook that was so top secret that only
six copies were produced. In it one US general was quoted as saying
that the West could not afford to wait until Europe or even America
was devastated by a nuclear holocaust. "We have a moral obligation
to stop Russia’s aggression by force, if necessary, rather than
face the consequences of delay. We can afford to create a wilderness
in Russia without serious repercussion on Western civilisation."
Young [send him mail]
is studying computer science in Ontario, Canada.