Credible nuclear deterrence effects, debunking dogmatic "disarm or be annihilated" enemy propaganda. Realistic effects and credible nuclear weapon capabilities for deterring or stopping aggressive invasions and attacks which could escalate into major conventional or nuclear wars.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Evidence that inaccurate statements about weapons effects have historically caused increased threats to national security, instead of reducing them


Above: film of the Effects of Nuclear Weapons, beginning by debunking the radiation myths of Hiroshima. The 1977 edition of the Effects of Nuclear Weapons book, by Glasstone and Dolan, gives further data showing that there is evidence for "threshold" doses below which no negative effects occur:

"From the earlier studies of radiation-induced mutations, made with fruitflies [by Nobel Laureate Hermann J. Muller and other geneticists who worked on plants, who falsely hyped their insect and plant data as valid for mammals like humans during the June 1957 U.S. Congressional Hearings on fallout effects], it appeared that the number (or frequency) of mutations in a given population ... is proportional to the total dose ... More recent experiments with mice, however, have shown that these conclusions need to be revised, at least for mammals. [Mammals are biologically closer to humans, in respect to DNA repair mechanisms, than short-lived insects whose life cycles are too small to have forced the evolutionary development of advanced DNA repair mechanisms, unlike mammals that need to survive for decades before reproducing.] When exposed to X-rays or gamma rays, the mutation frequency in these animals has been found to be dependent on the exposure (or dose) rate ...

"At an exposure rate of 0.009 roentgen per minute [0.54 R/hour], the total mutation frequency in female mice is indistinguishable from the spontaneous frequency. [Emphasis added.] There thus seems to be an exposure-rate threshold below which radiation-induced mutations are absent ... with adult female mice ... a delay of at least seven weeks between exposure to a substantial dose of radiation, either neutrons or gamma rays, and conception causes the mutation frequency in the offspring to drop almost to zero. ... recovery in the female members of the population would bring about a substantial reduction in the 'load' of mutations in subsequent generations."

- Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, 3rd ed., 1977, pp. 611-3.

Why factual evidence for the effectiveness of civil defense countermeasures needs to be widely published in advance of a disaster, not covered up due to crazy secrecy

Civil defense countermeasures, to be taken seriously by the population, require the publication of solid facts with the scientific evidence to support those facts against political propaganda to the contrary. Secrecy over the effects of nuclear weapons tests does not hinder plutonium and missile production by rogue states, but it does hinder civil defense countermeasures, by permitting lying political propaganda to go unopposed.

Terrorists successfully prey on the vulnerable. The political spreading of lies concerning threats and the alleged ‘impossibility’ of all countermeasures, terrorizing the population in order to ‘justify’ supposedly pro-peace disarmament policies in the 1920s-1930s, resulted in the secret rearmament of fascist states which were terrorizing the Jews and others, eventually leading to World War II, which we will prove later in this post.

Lying exaggerations today about nuclear weapons effects:

(1) encourage terrorist states and other groups to secretly invest in such weapons to use either for political intimidation or for future use against countries which have no countermeasures, and

(2) falsely dismiss, in the eyes of the media and the public, cheap relatively effective countermeasures like civil defense and ABM.

Therefore, doom-mongering media lies make us vulnerable to the proliferation threat today in two ways, just as they led to both world wars:

(1) Exaggerations of offensive technology and a down-playing of simple countermeasures such as trenches, encouraged belligerent states to start World War I in the false belief that modern technology implied overwhelming firepower which would terminate the war quickly on the basis of offensive preparedness: if the facts about simple trench countermeasures against shelling and machine guns during the American Civil War had been properly understood, it would have been recognised by Germany that a long war based on munitions production and logistics would be necessary, and war would have been seen to be likely to lead to German defeat against countries with larger overseas allies and colonies that could supply munitions and the other resources required to win a long war.

(2) Exaggerations of aerial bombardment technology after World War I led to disarmament ‘supported by’ false claims that it was impossible to have any defense against a perceived threat of instant annihilation from thousands of aircraft carrying gas and incendiary bombs, encouraging fascists to secretly rearm in order to successfully take advantage of the fear and vulnerability caused by this lying political disarmament propaganda.

Historically, having weapons has not been enough to guarantee safety from terrorism and rogue states. Countermeasures are also needed, both to make any deterrent credible and also to negate or at least mitigate the effects of a terrorist attack. Some people who wear seatbelts die in car crashes; some people who are taken to hospital in ambulances, even in peace-time, die. Sometimes, lifebelts and lifeboats cannot save lives at sea. This lack of a 100% success rate in saving lives doesn't disprove the value of everyday precautions or of hospitals and medicine. Hospitals don't lull motorists into a false sense of security, causing them to drive faster and cause more accidents. Commonplace, like-minded pseudo-‘arguments’ against ABM and civil defense are similarly vacuous:

‘As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile system that is cost-effective and proven. If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile-defense construction in Europe will be removed.’

- President Obama, Prague Castle, Czech Republic, 4 April 2009.

Before 9/11, Caspar Weinberger was quizzed by skeptical critics on the BBC News program Talking Point, Friday, May 4, 2001: Caspar Weinberger quizzed on new US Star Wars ABM plans:

‘The [ABM] treaty was in 1972 ... The theory ... supporting the ABM treaty [which prohibits ABM, thus making nations vulnerable to terrorism] ... that it will prevent an arms race ... is perfect nonsense because we have had an arms race all the time we have had the ABM treaty, and we have seen the greatest increase in proliferation of nuclear weapons that we have ever had. ... So the ABM treaty preventing an arms race is total nonsense. ...

‘You have to understand that without any defences whatever you are very vulnerable. It is like saying we don't like chemical warfare - we don't like gas attacks - so we are going to give up and promise not to have any defences ever against them and that of course would mean then we are perfectly safe. ...

‘The Patriot was not a failure in the Gulf War - the Patriot was one of the things which defeated the Scud and in effect helped us win the Gulf War. One or two of the shots went astray but that is true of every weapon system that has ever been invented. ...

‘The fact that a missile defence system wouldn't necessarily block a suitcase bomb is certainly not an argument for not proceeding with a missile defence when a missile that hits can wipe out hundreds of thousands of lives in a second. ...

‘The curious thing about it is that missile defence is not an offensive weapon system - missile defence cannot kill anybody. Missile defence can help preserve and protect your people and our allies, and the idea that you are somehow endangering people by having a defence strikes me almost as absurd as saying you endanger people by having a gas mask in a gas attack. ...

‘President Bush said that we were going ahead with the defensive system but we would make sure that nobody felt we had offensive intentions because we would accompany it by a unilateral reduction of our nuclear arsenal. It seems to me to be a rather clear statement that proceeding with the missile defence system would mean fewer arms of this kind.

‘You have had your arms race all the time that the ABM treaty was in effect and now you have an enormous accumulation and increase of nuclear weapons and that was your arms race promoted by the ABM treaty. Now if you abolish the ABM treaty you are not going to get another arms race - you have got the arms already there - and if you accompany the missile defence construction with the unilateral reduction of our own nuclear arsenal then it seems to me you are finally getting some kind of inducement to reduce these weapons.’

Before the ABM system is in place, and afterwards if ABM fails to be 100% effective in an attack, or is bypassed by terrorists using a bomb in a suitcase or in a ship, civil defense is required and can be effective at saving lives:

‘Paradoxically, the more damaging the effect, that is the farther out its lethality stretches, the more can be done about it, because in the last fall of its power it covers vast areas, where small mitigations will save very large numbers of people.’
- Peter Laurie, Beneath the City Streets: A Private Inquiry into the Nuclear Preoccupations of Government, Penguin, 1974.



Above: David I. Feinstein of IIT Research Institute, Chicago, Illinois, developed a computer model (based on effects measured at nuclear tests), showing the large differences in protection between different types of building. Hiroshima and Nagasaki only burned down because they were overwhelmingly composed of wood-frame houses containing easily overturned charcoal cooking braziers which were aflame at the times of the attack (breakfast time Hiroshima; lunch preparation time Nagasaki).

Brick, concrete, and steel frame buildings are far more fire resistant (the Twin Towers fires were due to the injection of aviation fuel, which nuclear weapons don't provide). Feinstein's report AD676183 is based on a 10 megaton nuclear surface burst, which has a longer blast wind drag duration than the smaller Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions, so the speed attained by blast carried debris is greater and casualty rates are higher for blast for any fixed peak overpressure. There are huge differences in the median (50%) lethal peak overpressure for different situations: outdoors, 50% of people standing without any thermal radiation shadowing will be killed by burns and wind drag impacts for 3.0 PSI, but inside a 7-story load-bearing brick warehouse 9.2 PSI is needed. The types of buildings predominating in all modern cities provide immensely more protection than was generally available in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the predictions above, people are assumed to be standing with no "duck and cover" countermeasures. Injuries are here due primarily to flying glass, flying debris, bodily displacement by wind drag, and flash burns.

Because the blast wave takes time to arrive after the flash over large areas, unlike the popular impression based solely upon the always-lying television propaganda films of nuclear detonations whereby the blast effect is without exception falsely superimposed on the first flash of the explosion, there is enough warning time over most of the damaged area for people to effectively duck and cover, since lying prone allows the body length to attenuate some of the direct initial gamma radiation mid-line dose by self-shielding of tissue (see U.K. National Archives report HO 225/14, linked here), cuts down exposure to the thermal radiation by shadowing, and eliminates most dangers from wind drag and the exposed body area to flying glass and other debris as will be illustrated later in this post with data from Hiroshima. Note that Feinstein's model for standing personnel is accurate, but the results predicted for prone personnel are exaggerations because they ignore the shielding from thermal radiation by shadowing and do not properly account for the sliding resistance to translation. In addition, covering under a strong table or under a strong staircase - the "Morrison shelter" effect in WWII Britain, also demonstrated by 1950s nuclear tests on brick houses - protects reasonably well against the debris collapse of a house, since the weight of falling debris when a house collapses is completely unaffected by the strength of the blast wave.

Cumulative irreversible blast energy depletion, due to work done in causing damage


Above: when a blast wave hits a building, energy is irreversibly lost from the shock front in the process of reflection: only a portion of the shock front energy is able to diffract around the building, and there is always some irreversible energy loss due to the reflection process, even if the building is perfectly rigid. The main point is that a blast wave is not like a sound wave that diffracts around buildings with minimal energy loss. In a blast wave, there is a substantial amount of energy carried in the form of winds, the wind or dynamic pressure being kinetic energy per unit volume, or half the product of the density and the square of the wind velocity. The wind or dynamic pressure does not behave in the same way as the overpressure in sound and shock waves, because dynamic pressure does not diffract around buildings like overpressure: wind doesn't diffract like sound or water waves.

If you are in an open trench, the horizontal wind pressure will simply blow over the top of the trench without entering it, and only the overpressure component of the shock wave will be able to diffract down into the trench. This is precisely why open trenches give complete protection against wind drag displacement effects, and also of course the debris the winds may carry. This is the reason why ducking and covering in any depression in the ground gives complete protection against blast wind induced translation injuries and the debris carried by the winds, even though the (less dangerous) overpressure will diffract into the depression.

See page 86 and the final chapter of the 1957 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons and the associated photographs from Nevada nuclear tests on vehicles in open trenches and photos of equipment behind blast wind shielding walls at Nagasaki, which were removed from all later editions, although it does at least make it clear that biologically the major source of blast wave injuries is dynamic or wind pressure in blowing debris into people or blowing people into objects, rather than the direct biological effects of overpressure, which people are comparatively resistant to.

One serious problem with Glasstone's presentation of blast phenomena is the simplistic treatment of the Rankine-Hugoniot equations which do not in fact generally apply to nuclear explosion blast waves. Glasstone presents them as applying to an "ideal" shock wave, but only presents the precursor later as an example of a non-ideal blast wave, and does not emphasise sufficiently that the overpressure and dynamic pressure of a shock wave vary independently. The dynamic pressure behaves as a radial wind which exerts only head-on pressure, e.g. against the front face of a building and not the sides, while the overpressure acts in all directions once the shock front has passed the location of interest.

Emphasis on the Rankine-Hugoniot equations and the rigid relationship they produce between overpressure and dynamic pressure may give the false impression to readers of Glasstone that those relationships are generally valid, physical laws of nature. In fact, the Rankine-Hugoniot equations linking dynamic pressure to peak overpressure are generally bogus. Duck into an open trench, or into any ditch, gutter or other depression in the ground, and you get nearly the full overpressure diffracted in, but no dynamic (wind) pressure. The overpressure and the dynamic pressure therefore vary independently in many situations. While the overpressure will tend to diffract around targets with only a small reduction due to irreversible energy loss, the wind pressure can be seriously attenuated or eliminated, reducing casualty rates immensely (most injuries and fatalities in any explosion - nuclear or conventional - occur due to secondary blast effects stemming from translation of people or debris by the blast winds, rather than the direct effects of overpressure itself, which causes damage but does not produce the radial acceleration of debris or people which is actually due to wind pressure).

For instance, the peak reflected overpressure when a sound wave hits a rigid, reflecting surface, is simply the brief superposition of incident and reflected overpressures at the surface and is therefore simply equal to double the incident peak overpressure. But in a blast wave, the wind pressure of the blast also collides with the surface, and causes an additional pressure rise above that from the overpressure, so that the peak reflected overpressure is in excess of twice the peak incident overpressure! Therefore, the exact factor by which the peak reflected overpressure exceeds the peak incident overpressure in a blast wave depends on the wind (dynamic) pressure, which is not necessarily the value given by the Rankine-Hugoniot equations for an "ideal" blast wave. So if there is any attenuation of the wind pressure, then the peak reflected overpressure on a building will be reduced, even if the peak overpressure itself is not attenuated due to its diffraction.

Blast damage to buildings requires energy, which is used firstly in breaking materials and secondly in accelerating the broken materials, i.e. in producing the kinetic energy of the flying debris (which moves more slowly than the shock front and is therefore an irreversible depletion of shock front energy, i.e. an increase in entropy in accordance with the 2nd law of thermodynamics).

Even if somehow the peak overpressure was able to recover by a diffraction downwards of energy towards the ground to "fill in" the energy loss region near ground level (which is never a perfect compensation for the energy loss due to destruction caused), the unattenuated dynamic pressure of the blast winds at altitude will be unable to diffract downwards in this manner, because the winds do not diffract. So the peak reflected overpressure factor for the front of buildings will be reduced below that predicted by the Rankine-Hugoniot equations. Because the peak reflected overpressure determines much of the damage to many types of building, just as wind pressure determines injuries from flying debris and from bodily translation, there will always be a significant loss of blast wave effects due to energy loss from the damage done by blast wave as it moves outward in a built up area.


Above: Lord William Penney, head of Britain's Atomic Weapons Establishment during the development of the first nuclear weapon, worked on nuclear weapons effects during the Manhattan Project after working out the design safety for the floating Mulberry Harbours used for the D-Day invasions of France. He measured nuclear effects at the first nuclear test Trinity, observed the Nagasaki explosion from the observation B-29, and then visited both Hiroshima and Nagasaki ahead of the main American and British damage survey teams, collecting all natural precision blast overpressure indicators which could not be evaluated in the field and shipping them back to London for laboratory analysis. These included samples of bent metal poles, measurement of the volumes of collapsed blueprint containers and petrol cans of known strength steel, and calculation of the blast winds necessary to overturn memorial stones. A summary of the results are published in the paper by Penney and colleagues, 'The nuclear explosive yields at Hiroshima and Nagasaki', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, vol. A266, 1970, pp. 357-424.

"... Dr William Penney, later Lord Penney, came back from Hiroshima with a collection of crushed cans and bent poles from which he hoped to establish the yield of the Hiroshima weapon. There was a great deal of calculation to be done and the Government lent him two mathematicians, of whom [John] Corner was one, to help." - John Challens, The Independent, 26 July 1996.

See also Penney's discussion during an interview, of measuring early nuclear tests and of transporting Hiroshima debris from Japan to England, published in Leonard Bertin's book Atom Harvest, pages 144-148:

"There were squashed petrol cans there too," he told me, "and flagpoles bent over by the wind, panels that had given way under load, bits of concrete and bent tubing. I thought I could tell later what sort of loading had caused the damage and brought them back to England with me." Penney normally looks a bit like a mischievous schoolboy who is enjoying a secret joke, but the twinkle in his eye turns to a broad grin that spreads right across his face as he remembers the day when he finally arrived back in Britain by Clipper. The £450 excess that he had to pay on his "collection" immediately made him a focus of interested attention among the Customs Officers at the airport, who, in 1945, knew little about atom bombs and nothing of Dr. Penney. "A Customs man asked me what I had to declare and the chap just would not believe me when I told him the bags were full of old pipes and concrete and things", said Penney, with a chuckle. "He asked me to open them up and had a good look at the whole collection before finally deciding that I really must be crazy."


(It is interesting that some more recent studies at Los Alamos ignore Penney's precision measurements of the actual blasts, and use instead - or in addition - meaningless theoretical predictions of the yields of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki devices, which are not meaningful because of the statistical uncertainty of the time of initiation during supercritical assembly: the initiation time is random chance due to the way neutrons were generated from beryllium by alpha particles emitted in the radioactive decay of Po-210. Particularly in the gun-assembly type uranium weapon at Hiroshima, the precise yield depended on the random neutron chain reaction initiation time relative to the degree of supercriticality attained at that time by the relatively slow gun assembly mechanism. The only accurate way to determine whether a random event like a Po-210 decay will actually occur within a given interval of time, or whether a coin lands heads or tails, is to observe and thus determine the result, not to use a guesswork statistical prediction! If you observe a coin to land heads up, you don't then combine that with the theoretical prediction of 0.5 heads to give a "best average" of 0.75 +/- 0.25 heads! To some that might sound clever, but it is pseudoscience. If you have observed the coin precisely and found how it landed, you can throw out the "theoretical" prediction of 0.5 heads, and use the fact instead.)

Comparison of these precision, laboratory-quality measurements to peak blast overpressures measured at British nuclear weapons tests (where blast gauges were placed both at ground level and at various heights above the ground to determine precisely the effect of the popcorned desert sand on the blast precursor, unlike much of the American blast data compended in the secret report DASA-1200, Nuclear Weapons Blast Phenomena and unclassified summaries in Glasstone's The Effects of Nuclear Weapons) revealed that there was a significant reduction in peak overpressure due to damage done by causing damage in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, particularly beyond 1 km distance. This is an exponential attenuation due to damage done, that applies specifically to built-up cities, and is in addition to the normal fall in peak overpressure with distance that was observed in all the nuclear tests over unobstructed deserts or oceans. We discussed for evidence for this blast attenuation phenomenon before, particularly in the blog posts linked here and here. It dramatically reduces damaged areas from very high yield nuclear weapons detonated over built-up cities, yet is included in none of the official, exaggerating, blast damage prediction models for nuclear weapons!

This simple piece of hard science, basically the conservation of energy in the blast wave, is not a new discovery, but a censored out fact which was well known six decades ago. The very first edition of Glasstone's nuclear effects handbook, The Effects of Atomic Weapons, 1950, on page 57 had a section written by John von Neumann and Fredrick Reines of Los Alamos (it is attributed to them in a footnote) stating factually:

"... the structures ... have the additional complicating property of not being rigid. This means that they do not merely deflect the shock wave, but they also absorb energy from it at each reflection.

"The removal of energy from the blast in this manner decreases the shock pressure at any given distance from the point of detonation to a value somewhat below that which it would have been in the absence of dissipative objects, such as buildings."

Each wood-frame building destroyed at Hiroshima only removed about 1% of the peak overpressure on the average, so with standard blast gauge accuracy, you cannot even measure this effect with statistical significance using just a few buildings at a nuclear test in a desert: but over a distance of kilometres hundreds of buildings are involved in any given radial line from ground zero, and the blast energy is quickly soaked up, causing vast cumulative decreases from the peak overpressure measured at similar distances in unobstructed desert terrain. Moving from wood-frame to modern city buildings, much larger amounts of energy are required to accelerate heavier concrete debris, so there can be even more blast energy depletion in modern cities than there was in the predominantly wood-frame cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

(There is a very limited, brief mention of this blast attenuation due to damage done for a 1 kt terrorist surface burst in a city, on page 45 on the printed version - or page 51 on the linked PDF file - of the otherwise generally inaccurate 1979 U.S. Office of Technology Assessment report The Effects of Nuclear War, but that report conveniently failed to apply the same physical blast wave energy depletion effect to its grossly exaggerated predictions of the effects of any higher yield nuclear detonations, or even to mention Penney's evidence from Hiroshima and Nagasaki! The 1977 edition of Glasstone and Dolan's Effects of Nuclear Weapons does at least cite Penney's report in a bibliography, but does not discuss it. It also removed the final chapter "Principles of Protection".)

Debunking exaggerations of effects data from Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Another widely ignored fact is stated by Glasstone and Dolan in The Effects of Nuclear Weapons (1977), Table 12.17 on page 546, that the median distance in Hiroshima for survival after 20 days was 0.12 miles for people in concrete buildings and 1.3 miles for people standing outdoors.

Therefore the median distances for survival in modern city buildings and in the open differed by a factor of 11 for Hiroshima; the difference in areas was thus a factor of 112 or about 120.

Hence, taking cover in modern city buildings reduces the casualty rates and the risks of being killed by a factor of 120 for Hiroshima conditions, contrary to popular media presented political propaganda that civil defence is hopeless.

This would reduce 120,000 casualties to 1,000 casualties.


Above: Bogombogo Island (codenamed Belle Island by America) at the North-West of Eniwetok Atoll in the North Pacific, was selected for detailed ecological studies following two high yield nuclear weapons tests. (Ref.: Dr Ralph F. Palumbo, Radioactivity and Recovery of the Land Plants at Eniwetok Atoll, 1954-1957, University of Washington report UWFL-66, July 1960.) Bogombogo/Belle Island is 2.55 statute miles (4.10 km) from the centre of what used to be Elugelab Island, ground zero of the 10.4 megatons IVY-MIKE thermonuclear weapon test of November 1, 1952, and the 1.69 megatons 80% fission CASTLE-NECTAR test was detonated at the same spot on a barge over the IVY-MIKE crater on May 14, 1954. It received heavy blast and thermal damage, water wave flooding, and fallout radiation including extensive beta and gamma irradiation of plants (gamma doses of about 400 R to 6 months after CASTLE-NECTAR and beta doses about ten times larger). Dr Palumbo states in his article "Recovery of the Land Plants at Eniwetok Atoll Following a Nuclear Detonation" (Radiation Botany, vol. 1, 1962, pp. 182-9):

"The Mike detonation of 1952 had removed most of the plants and top soil from Belle Island, resulting in the depletion of some of the elements essential for plant growth. In spite of these deficiencies regrowth of the plants at Belle Island was rapid. ... A photograph of Belle Island taken [on May 22, 1954] eight days following the Nectar detonation shows the extent of the damage sustained by the plants. From the air the island looked brown and desolate. On closer inspection it was found that most of the plants had been scorched by the heat wave and many of them had been blown over or broken by the blast. ... Recovery of the plants was rapid. ... On the eighth day green buds, 1-3 mm in length, were observed on the stems of Scaevola and Messerschmidia plants. On the thirty-fifth day the shoot leaves were 7-15 cm long, covering much of the old stems and giving the plants a green and healthy appearance. By this time many of the other plants had formed new leaves and three species (Portulaca, Triumfetta, and Messerschmidia) had produced new flowers and fruits. The island now had lost its scorched appearance; from the air it looked green rather than brown as it had one month earlier.

"In August, three months after the detonation, the plants were growing well and some species, such as Boerhaavia, had produced new flowers. The leaves of most of the species had grown to maximum size, and the branches had grown almost to the pre-Nectar dimensions."

In 1950, the Top Secret British Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch report SA/16 (HO225/16 in the UK National Archives), The number of atomic bombs equivalent to the last war air attacks on Great Britain and Germany, concluded:

"The wide publicity given to the appalling destruction caused by the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki has possibly tended to give an exaggerated impression of their effectiveness. Perhaps the best way to counteract this impression, and to help to get the atomic bomb to scale, is to consider the numbers of atomic bombs that would have to be dropped on this country and on Germany to have caused the same total amount of damage as was actually caused by attacks with high explosive and incendiary bombs."


Median blast diffraction damage radii scale as the cube-root of bomb yield W, i.e as W1/3, so damage areas and casualties scale as the square of these radii, i.e. as W2/3. Damaged areas and casualties are roughly proportional to NW2/3, where N is the number of bombs dropped. For equal casualties from attacks 1 and 2, it follows that N1W12/3 = N2W22/3, hence N2 = N1(W1/W2)2/3. If for the purpose of comparison attack 2 consists of just one bomb, N2 = 1, therefore: W2 = N13/2W1. Allowing for the distribution of different bomb sizes and for the proportion of incendiaries, during World War II Britain and Germany received roughly 700,000 and 20,000,000 bombs, respectively, each equivalent to about 100 kg of TNT or 10-7 megatons. Hence, the 70 kt of small bombs dropped on Britain was equivalent to a single bomb of yield W2 = N13/2W1 = 700,0003/2x 10-7 = 59 megatons or to 15 one-megaton bombs, while the 2 Mt of small bombs dropped on Germany was equivalent to a single bomb of yield 20,000,0003/2x 10-7 = 8,944 megatons, or to 431 one-megaton bombs.

This "equivalent megatonnage" fact is nothing new: it has been known since the 1940s, but lying politically inspired propaganda still falsely claims that World War II bombing effects were "only" equivalent to the linear sum of small bomb yields, 70 kt for Britain and 2 Mt for Germany! As we will see in this blog post, such lies have always increased the threats of war, not reduced them. For any nuclear effect whose median lethal radius scales as Wa, N bombs each of yield W will produce equal casualties to a single bomb of yield N1/(2a)W. Radii for initial nuclear radiation and thermal effects scale only slowly with yield (due to atmospheric attenuation), and thermal effects require disproportionatly higher thermal energy deposits for larger yields, because thermal energy is released more slowly and causes a smaller temperature rise for any given energy deposit. Although the total fallout radioactivity from surface bursts increases directly with yield for a fixed time after detonation, the wind deposits the fallout, so the average fallout arrival time increases for bigger downwind areas and higher mushroom clouds, allowing more time for the radioactivity to decay before most of the fallout arrives, thus preventing linear rises in the average downwind radiation dose, and also allowing people more time to evacuate or to improvise radiation shielding. Bomb effects therefore don't scale up directly with bomb yield!

In 1941, Britain calculated that 0.5 megaton of conventional bombs dropped on Germany would end the war. By 1945, some 2 megatons (equivalent to many more megatons of large, inefficient nuclear weapons) had actually been dropped on Germany, which was still fighting. This was due to countermeasures which made the bombing inaccurate and mitigated the effects of the bombing.

Some equivalents to a 15,000 megaton nuclear war:

1. Energy generated by the sun in 0.2 microsecond
2. Sunlight received by Earth in 25 minutes
3. Energy released by storms on Earth over 18 days
4. 20% of the kinetic energy of Earth's atmosphere

The high casualty rates from thermal radiation in Japan are not generally applicable to all nuclear threats regardless of yield, burst altitude, atmospheric conditions, building types and population distribution (indoors or outside). The nuclear attacks on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred at morning commuting time and at lunch time when many people were outdoors and the percentage of the population outdoors - but not necessarily in a line-of-sight to the fireball - is typically only 1-25% depending on circumstances (U.S. Office of Technology Assessment Effects of Nuclear War, 1979).

1. Hiroshima and Nagasaki effects in wood-frame cities don't apply to modern concrete and steel cities, except for deliberate exaggerations to encourage proliferation and reduce civil defense readiness against terrorism: the widespread lethal effects are easily mitigated in all modern cities



Above: Dr Shields Warren (whose factual testimony on radiation hazards to the U.S. Congress in 1957 we discussed in the previous post) and Dr Ashley Webster Oughterson compiled detailed data on the survival of groups of people at various distances in Hiroshima according to the degree of protection they had in their book Medical effects of the atomic bomb in Japan, Based on the Six Volume Report of the Joint Commission for the Investigation of the Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan (McGraw Hill, New York, 1956). This graph shows the difference in survival rates for "duck and cover" protection (any kind of shadowing of the thermal pulse, even by just a leaf, provided protection since the heated surface layer ablation immediately produces a dark coloured smoke cloud which then protects the remainder of the material from subsequent exposure).



Above: at Hiroshima any opaque object like a hat prevented burns, so if personnel had ducked and covered when they saw the bomb fall, they would have avoided the thermal burns and flying glass injuries which caused the lethal synergism of combined infected wounds and radiation-depressed white blood cell counts, where the radiation exposure would not have caused a lethal effect if unaccompanied by burns and other trauma (see the graph of Hiroshima survival data above). Experiments on glass window breakage similarly show that even just by ducking 10, 20 and 24 degrees angle below the horizontal from behind from a glass window, reduces the number of skin-penetrating, blast-wind accelerated, high velocity glass fragments to a unit area of skin to about 40 %, 15 % and only 10 %, respectively, of the values horizontally behind the window (ref.: page 21 of Dr E. Royce Fletcher's report Glass Fragment Hazard from Windows Broken by Airblast, ADA105824, DNA 5593T, 1980; clothing also provides a measure of protection). This demonstrates that even feeble "duck and cover" reduces not just the thermal flash exposure from nuclear weapons, but also the blast fragment laceration hazard.

Data on survival from 0-100 days at Hiroshima (including radiation sickness which peaked a few days after the burst; delayed radiation effects made no significant increase in the following statistics) from the compilation by Dr Shields Warren and Dr Ashley Webster Oughterson, Medical effects of the atomic bomb in Japan, Based on the Six Volume Report of the Joint Commission for the Investigation of the Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan (McGraw Hill, New York, 1956), page 103:

0-1 km: 60.5% of people shaded from thermal radiation died, 93.7% unprotected died
1-1.5 km: 19.2% of people shaded from thermal radiation died, 85.3% unprotected died
1.5-2 km: 14.2% of people shaded from thermal radiation died, 83.7% unprotected died
2-3 km: 2.5% of people shaded from thermal radiation died, 14.5% unprotected died
3-4 km: 0% of people shaded from thermal radiation died, 0.5% unprotected died

Integrating these data for a uniform population density gives an overall reduction in mortality rates by a factor of 3.47 for simple "duck and cover" civil defense countermeasures. This figure applies for the predominantly wood-frame housing of Hiroshima in 1945; in a modern predominantly concrete city, there could be an additional protection factor of about 44 due to the difference in mortality rates in wood frame and in concrete buildings witnessed in Hiroshima as Glasstone and Dolan suggest in The Effects of Nuclear Weapons (1977), Table 12.17 on page 546, which states that the median survival distance for the general population in Hiroshima was 0.8 mile and that in concrete buildings was only 0.12 mile, so that the areas and thus casualties for wood frame buildings were (0.8/0.12)2 = 44 times higher than in concrete buildings. The combination of duck and cover civil defense plus the switch since 1945 from wood frame cities to modern concrete construction implies a reduction in casualties from those in Hiroshima by a factor of about 3.47*44 ~ 150.

Assuming a population density of 10,000 people per square kilometre, the Hiroshima data for people exposed to thermal radiation in a wood-frame city gives a result of 133,000 killed, while the Hiroshima data for "duck and cover" type thermal radiation shielding in modern concrete city buildings is 870 killed, around 150 times smaller. These data illustrate the magnitude of the lying exaggerations of nuclear weapons effects and widespread cynical disregard for life-saving civil defense countermeasures in popular presentations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for political propaganda, which either lie about or fail to mention the massive potential efficiency of civil defense countermeasures in modern cities.

It was the Hiroshima pilot (head of the 509th, the nuclear B-29 bomber group) Paul W. Tibbets himself who - based on experience of starting firestorms in medieval wooden parts of German cities - had first advised General LeMay on the way to cause firestorms in Japan:

"I pointed out that many Japanese buildings were constructed of flammable material [wood, bamboo furnishings, paper screens, etc.]. Paper houses, we called them. "All you need to do is 'area bomb' these cities", I said." (P. W. Tibbets, The Tibbets Story, Stein & Day, 1978.)

The resulting mechanism for the Hiroshima firestorm (Hiroshima received its nuclear bomb from Tibbets at 8:15 am local time) is confirmed by Dr Shields Warren and Dr Ashley Webster Oughterson's Medical effects of the atomic bomb in Japan, Based on the Six Volume Report of the Joint Commission for the Investigation of the Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan (McGraw Hill, New York, 1956) which states that the air raid warning was ignored (small numbers of B-29 aircraft had been flying over Hiroshima daily for weeks to take pre-bombing photos, to assess the weather and air defenses, etc.):

"Most of the people were at home preparing breakfast; consequently thousands of fires were burning in charcoal braziers [starting the firestorm after being overturned along with flammable furnishings by the blast wave]. Only a few people were in modern buildings. About 6,000 children and a large number of adults were in the open ..."

Tibbets stated in his 1978 book The Tibbets Story that the daily B-29 weather aircraft for weeks beforehand (something terrorists cannot do today!) had also the effect of eliminating the efficiency of civil and air defense (anti-aircraft artillery and fighter aircraft resources) for Hiroshima:

"... it would accustom the Japanese to seeing daytime flights of two or three bombers over their target ... we hoped they would be lulled into ignoring us, when we came to deliver the real thing ... air raid sirens would sound when we came overhead."

A typical situation was that of a widow and her three children, who evacuated the night before the nuclear explosion during an "air raid" warning set off by the first weather plane ahead of Tibbet's Enola Gay, and then returned to Hiroshima upon the "all clear" to immediately hear the attack warning again, due to the second weather aircraft (ahead of the Enola Gay):

"They reached home a little after 2:30 and she immediately turned on the radio, which, to her distress, was just then broadcasting a fresh warning. When she looked at the children and saw how tired they were, and she thought of the number of trips they had made in the past weeks, all to no purpose, she decided that inspite of the instructions on the radio, she simply could not face starting out again." (John Hersey, Hiroshima, 1946.)

Dr J. R. Oppenheimer, Director of Los Alamos, had wanted the bomb dropped at night when people would be indoors inside the wood-frame houses with curtains closed, avoiding thermal burns and causing 20,000 deaths (Oppenheimer's prediction for a nighttime Hiroshima attack), due entirely to nuclear radiation and blast effects (there would be no firestorm burns because no charcoal cooking braziers would be in use, and no thermal flash burns because nobody would be exposed to the thermal flash). However, Oppenheimer's requests to General Groves and also to Tibbets went nowhere, because General LeMay instructed Tibbets to drop nuclear bombs "only by visual sightings rather than by radar" (The Tibbets Story). This forced Tibbets to drop the nuclear bomb in daylight, causing a massive increase in casualties due to the firestorm from the thousands of overturned charcoal braziers inside wooden houses.

Likewise, for Nagasaki a similar situation occurred. Warren and Oughterson's Medical effects of the atomic bomb in Japan, Based on the Six Volume Report of the Joint Commission for the Investigation of the Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan (McGraw Hill, New York, 1956) states that in Nagasaki: "there were only about 400 people in the tunnel shelters, which had a capacity of 70,000." People in these crude shelters survived "even directly below the bomb."






Above: Here again are some extracts from the civil defence chapter XII, "Principles of Protection: Basis for Protective Action", in the 1962/64 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons:

'In Japan, where little evasive action was taken [due to ignorance of nuclear weapons effects and countermeasures in August 1945], the survival probability depended upon whether the individual was outdoors or inside a building and, in the latter case, upon the type of structure [easily inflammable bamboo and paper screen filled wood frame houses with easily-overturned charcoal cooking braziers existed throughout Hiroshima at the breakfast time attack and in the Nagasaki lunch time attack; such wood frame structures are no longer found in any modern city centres where they have long been replaced with non-flammable brick, steel and concrete]. At distances between 0.3 and 0.4 mile from ground zero in Hiroshima the average survival rate, for at least 20 days after the nuclear explosion, was less than 20 percent. Yet in two reinforced concrete office buildings, at these distances, almost 90 percent of the nearly 800 occupants survived more than 20 days, although some died later of radiation injury.

'Furthermore, of approximately 3,000 school students who were in the open and unshielded within a mile of ground zero at Hiroshima, about 90 percent were dead or missing after the explosion. But of nearly 5,000 students in the same zone who were shielded in one way or another, only 26 percent were fatalities. These facts bring out clearly the greatly improved chances of survival from a nuclear explosion that could result from the adoption of suitable warning and protective measures. [Table 11.17 on page 553 states that 50% survival after 20 days in Hiroshima occurred at 0.12 mile from ground zero for personnel in concrete buildings and 1.3 miles for personnel outdoors; an 11-fold difference in distances and a 120-fold difference in areas, casualty rates and the probability of becoming a casualty. Total casualties after 20 days show an even greater difference because the low LD50 for radiation caused by the burns-irradiation synergism was absent in buildings which prevented line-of-sight flash burns; the firestorm developed in wooden houses after charcoal braziers were overturned and took hours to spread to the contents of brick, masonry, concrete and steel-frame buildings, so survivors had time to escape the firestorm] ... survival in Hiroshima was possible in buildings at such distances that the overpressure in the open was 15 to 20 pounds per square inch. ... it is evident ... that the area over which protection could be effective in saving lives is roughly eight to ten times as great as that in which the chances of survival are small.'



Page 645 (1962/4 edition):

'The major part of the thermal radiation travels in straight lines, so any opaque object interposed between the fireball and the exposed skin will give some protection. This is true even if the object is subsequently destroyed by the blast, since the main thermal radiation pulse is over before the arrival of the blast wave.

'At the first indication of a nuclear explosion, by a sudden increase in the general illumination, a person inside a building should immediately fall prone, and, if possible, crawl behind or beneath a table or desk or to a planned vantage point. Even if this action is not taken soon enough to reduce the thermal radiation exposure greatly, it will minimise the displacement effect of the blast wave and provide a partial shield against splintered glass and other flying debris.

'An individual caught in the open should fall prone to the ground in the same way, while making an effort to shade exposed parts of the body. Getting behind a tree, building, fence, ditch, bank, or any structure which prevents a direct line of sight between the person and the fireball, if possible, will give a major degree of protection. If no substantial object is at hand, the clothed parts of the body should be used to shield parts which are exposed. There will still be some hazard from scattered thermal radiation, especially from high-yield weapons at long ranges, but the decrease in the direct radiation will be substantial.'

A person on the ground whose clothes ignite (which is only a risk under extremely high thermal exposure to dark coloured clothing) can immediately extinguish the clothes by simply rolling over to starve the flames of oxygen. Page 653 (1962/4 edition):

'Some, although perhaps not all, of the fallout in the Marshall Islands, after the test explosion of March 1, 1954, could be seen as a white powder or dust. This was due, partly at least, to the light color of the calcium oxide or carbonate of which the particles were mainly composed. It is probable that whenever there is sufficient fallout to constitute a hazard, the dust will be visible.'

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Elton) stated in the House of Lords debate on Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations, Hansard, vol. 444, cc. 523-49, 1 November 1983:

"Even if our entire nation were to disarm itself completely and stand aghast but with folded arms as motionless spectators of a European war, not all the huffing and puffing, even of the CND, will change the direction of the wind and not even one stray missile has to land on our soil for a large part of the debris of a continental nuclear war to be dumped by an unfavourable wind across the whole breadth of this country. ... Buildings can provide a shield against radiation, if properly used. They can even provide some protection against both flash and blast ...

"Those who claim that civil defence is a confidence trick—and I return very briefly indeed to the burden of my original theme—and that nothing worthwhile can be done to protect our people in time of war are themselves in a false position. ... As to the interlinking of the defence against an attack and provision to attack in kind, I think all of your Lordships in the House at the moment are old enough to recall our experience with gas in the last world war. There was gas in Germany, there was gas here. We had gas masks as part of our civil defence and gas was never used. I hope that I refer to a fruitful paradigm."




"The Germans did not use gas during the 1939-1945 war [except for hydrogen cyanide gas, used for example in the gas chambers from 1941 at Auschwitz concentration camp, which was stored in solid form called ‘Zyklon-B’ using a reaction with oxalic acid discovered by German chemist Dr Brune Tesch], but on its conclusion it was found that they held large stocks of both new and old war gases and some of these were ready for use in bombs and shells. [German chemist Dr Gerhard Schrader on December 23, 1936 discovered the first nerve gas, tabun, and the Nazis manufactured 12,000 tons of it between April 1942 and May 1945, but did not use it for fear of mustard gas reprisals, since Germany had a rubber shortage and hence could not produce enough gas masks: in 1939 Germany had only issued 9 million gas masks to civilians, compared to 38 million in Britain. From 1939-45, Britain produced 97 million civilian gas masks, many of which were replacements and size-upgrades for children. Dr Gerhard Schrader and three others also discovered sarin nerve gas in Nazi Germany in 1938. Soman nerve gas was discovered in 1944 in Germany by a Nobel Laureate, vitamin expert Dr Richard Kuhn.]

"... it is fair to assume that the knowledge that the population of this country all possessed efficient respirators [by September 1939, no less than 38 million gas masks had been issued to civilians] and were trained in their use, together with the possibility of retaliation, was an important deterrent. [Note that standard British World War II gas masks with activated charcoal absorbers give protection against all nerve gases; the airborne LDt50 (concentration-time product) dose of tabun needed to kill by unprotected skin absorption is 3,700 times higher than that for inhalation, and 3,100 times higher for sarin. Therefore, wearing a gas mask without protective clothing will give a protection factor of several thousand, vastly increasing the amount of nerve gas needed to kill people even under suitable weather conditions.]"

- U.K. Home Office, Civil Defence Manual of Basic Training, Vol. 2, Pamphlet No. 1, Basic Chemical Warfare, H.M. Stationery Office, London, 1949, p. 3.

Just as lying "anti-war" propaganda attacked civil defence against nuclear warfare during the Cold War, the "Cambridge Scientists' Anti-War Group" in 1937 published a book trying to ridicule as worthless civil defence in Britain, The Protection of the Public from Aerial Attack. Their main criticisms were directed at gas defences, where they exaggerated the risks because they were completely ignorant of the real dangers. For example, they tried to discredit gas-proofed rooms by showing that an immense concentration of gas outside could gradually diffuse into the room over a 3-hour period. But most non-persistent gas is blown away within 10 minutes, and the gas proof room was mainly designed to avoid skin absorption which requires much higher concentrations than those for inhalation; gas masks were to be issued for the inhalation threat. Obviously in an imaginary (impossible to produce in the real world) war atmosphere of 100% pure nerve gas, there is no oxygen so any gas mask would be of no use; you would suffocate. This is the typical kind of "overkill" delusion promoted by those who are really trying to encourage vulnerability, panic and surrender to terrorist threats and intimidation of all types.

"Recent experience in England has shown that air raid casualties among the civil population are in almost direct proportion to the extent to which people fail to take cover and expose themselves during air attacks. Thus, if the danger of injury by high explosive bombs from standing in a street during an air raid be rated as 100%, merely lying down in the street reduces this danger to 50%; lying down behind low cover or in a doorway reduces the danger to 33%; sheltering in a house or other place affording head and side cover away from windows reduces the danger to 11%; and taking cover in a shelter of the Anderson type, a covered trench, a surface shelter, or a basement with reinforced ceiling ... reduces the danger to about 4.5%.

"In other words, a person taking shelter in a house affording head and side cover away from windows runs 2.5 times the risk of injury from high explosive bombs as a person in a standard shelter of any of the types mentioned; one lying down behind low cover or in a doorway runs 7.5 times the risk of injury; one lying down in the street runs 11 times the risk of injury; and one standing in the street runs 22.5 times the risk of injury. ... If no public shelter is nearby, they should take the best cover they can find in doorways, behind walls, in ditches, or even lying down in the open. ... it is much safer to remain in an unprotected house than to be caught in the streets when bombs are falling."

- Dr Augustin M. Prentiss, Civil Air Defense: A Treatise on the Protection of the Civil Population against Air Attack, McGraw-Hill, London, 1941, pp. 287-8.



Above: the data proving the life-saving effectiveness of even poor, improvised protection such as "duck and cover" countermeasures against blast and blast wind carried flying debris during World War II bombing air raid attacks on U.K. cities; from page 12 of the U.K. Home Office, Civil Defence Manual of Basic Training, Vol. 2, Pamphlet No. 5, Basic Methods of Protection Against High Explosive Missiles, H.M. Stationery Office, London, 1949. Pages 12-18 explain:

"It cannot be too strongly emphasised that it is most important, from the point of view of reducing casualties as a whole, for everyone in an area under attack to make use of any shelter that is available. Recent research has shown that there would be less fatal casualties if everyone were in relatively poor shelter than if half the population were in shelter twice as good and the other half remained in the open. ... Protection against blast and splinters from a 500 lb. medium cased bomb exploding 50 ft. away will be afforded by the following materials of the thickness indicated:-

Lateral protection

(i) Mild steel plate - 1.5 inches
(ii) Reinforced concrete - 12 inches
(iii) Brickwork or masonry - 13.5 inches
(iv) Unreinforced concrete - 15 inches
(v) Ballast or broken stone - 24 inches
(vi) Earth or sand - 30 inches
(vii) Solidly stacked timber - 36 inches

Overhead protection

(i) Mild steel plate - 5/16 inches
(ii) Reinforced concrete - 6 inches
(iii) Efficient brick arching - 9 inches
(iv) Earth, sand or ballast - 18 inches
(v) The inside of an existing substantial building having a roof and not less than two storey floors overhead, provided that the floor above the protected space is supported to enable it to resist the debris load. ... Shelters providing protection against medium case type bombs also provide a measure of protection against the atomic bomb."

In the above quotation from the 1949 British civil defence manual, the lateral protection thicknesses are identical to those specified by the Revised Code (Section 13 of the U.K. Civil Defence Act, 1939) for the Guidance of Occupiers and Owners of Factory Premises, Factories, Mines and Commercial Buildings, and Other Persons Concerned in the Civil Defence (Approval and Revision of Code) Order, 1939, No. 920, 14 August 1939 (issued by the Lord Privy Seal, John Anderson), although two of the overhead thicknesses quoted above are considerably larger than those specified in 1939 (1/4 inch of mild steel plate and 4 inches of reinforced concrete specified in 1939 for overhead protection were both increased as a result of wartime experience, but the other standards were intact).

Notice that these air-raid protection guidelines are not designed for complete protection against a direct hit. They are merely designed to ensure survival 50 feet or 15 metres from a typical medium-cased, 500 pound or 227 kg chemical high explosive bomb such as TNT. Such a bomb typically is equivalent to 175 kg of TNT. If we use the cube-root scaling law from 0.175 ton to the blast yield fraction for the Hiroshima bomb (roughly 7 kilotons of blast yield), the destruction radius increases by a factor of 40,0001/3 = 34, so the British World War II shelter standard would provide protection at a distance of 34*15 = 510 metres or zero ground range distance (510 metres is on the order of the burst altitude).

Hence, nobody would have been killed by blast effects in Hiroshima on this basis. This whole treatment has been oversimplified above (not considering nuclear radiation shielding, for instance, which would generally require more shielding near the detonation point), just to get across the basic message that standard British civil defence - although not designed to take the blast from even a conventional 500 pound bomb nearer than 50 feet away - would still have provided adequate blast protection in Hiroshima. Sounds paradoxical, doesn't it? But we will see below how well typical World War II "Anderson" shelters survived the British nuclear weapons test at Monte Bello in 1952, and why the results were secret.

It is important to make the point that the stagnation of trench warfare in World War I was due to this defensive innovation on the battlefield: for troops to survive continual high explosive shelling, they needed to continually be under cover in simple trench shelters which protected against shrapnel, blast caused bodily displacement and flying debris. Efforts by one side or the other to overcome the defence and get the enemy out of their trenches by offensive innovations such as poison gas or tanks firing machine guns were soon overcome by simple countermeasures like gas masks and anti-tank rockets. The innovation of German ship sinking submarines in World War I (by October 1916 Germany had 100 submarines) were similarly overcome by defensive countermeasures: the allies invented hydrophones to detect and locate enemy submarines, depth charges to sink them, nets to catch them, and convoy tactics to protect merchant shipping and Britain's imported food supply. Britain's invention of radar, both fixed radar for detecting and locating incoming enemy bombers and radioing their positions to fighter defenses, and later in the war, using American technology miniaturized electronic radar "proximity fuses" inside AA (anti-aircraft) canon shells to help destroy aircraft from the ground, proved so effective against Nazi bombers that Germany lost the Battle of Britain, and Hitler had to fall back upon unmanned V1 cruise missiles and V2 guided rockets. The defence weapons technology catches up and negates new offensive advances. Lying exaggerations of the effectiveness of innovations like machine guns and high explosive shells prior to World War I made both sides believe that, due to the new technology, the war would be of short duration; taking the time required to rake a line of troops with a machine gun or blow them up with a high explosive cannon shell (just as modern claims are made that in a nuclear conflict, the duration of the war would be the time taken for a missile to deliver a bomb). These lying exaggerations ignored the effectiveness against machine guns and even high explosive fragments and blast winds of simple trench sheltering! Hence World War I did not end before the fall, as the deceptive predictions had claimed it would.



Contrary to mainstream groupthink lies, the 1946 report of the British Mission to Japan by ten Home Office scientists compared German conventional bomb effects on England to nuclear weapons effects on Japan, proving the utility of civil defence in nuclear war as we will demonstrate below. Dr Postol and others still claim to discredit civil defence today, using lying fire storm arguments that were disproved over 60 years ago, and they are repeatedly published and believed by the media. E.g., Postol's false claim - despite all known facts about the effects of thermal radiation on whitewashed wood or concrete in Hiroshima and at nuclear tests - that since the Hiroshima firestorm radius corresponds to the 10-20 calories/cm2 of thermal exposure radius, any nuclear bomb will cause a firestorm out to radius of 10-20 calories/cm2 of thermal exposure!

Apart from the ignition of a few air-raid "blackout" curtains in windows with a direct line-of-sight to the fireball, the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey in its secret 6-volume report found that the fire radius had absolutely nothing at all to do with the thermal exposure in Hiroshima, but as we will show, was actually a function of the blast wave effect in overturning charcoal breakfast-cooking braziers within wooden houses full of bamboo and paper screens! Fire storms occurred in Japanese cities of crowded wood frame housing, and in the wooden medieval old city areas of Hamburg, Dresden and other cities, which simply no longer exist since they have been long since replaced by steel, concrete, brick, etc.

Although the full 1947 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey report containing the Hiroshima firestorm mechanism data deplorably remained a classified secret until 1972, page 350 of the 1964 edition of Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons had presented independent unclassified nuclear test and fire storm evidence that: "... only certain sections - usually the older and slum areas [with non-whitewashed wood frame housing] - of a very few cities in the United States would be susceptible to fire storm development." This evidence has been generally ignored by Postol and others who promote delusions: "Groupthink is a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. Individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking are lost in the pursuit of group cohesiveness, as are the advantages of reasonable balance in choice and thought that might normally be obtained by making decisions as a group. During groupthink, members of the group avoid promoting viewpoints outside the comfort zone of consensus thinking. A variety of motives for this may exist such as a desire to avoid being seen as foolish, or a desire to avoid embarrassing or angering other members of the group. Groupthink may cause groups to make hasty, irrational decisions, where individual doubts are set aside, for fear of upsetting the group’s balance."

MIT's newsletter The Tech of July 12, 2000, reports - without any attack on the arrogant pseudoscience - that “Back off Man! I'm a Scientist” MIT professor Dr Postol claimed that because some Patriot missiles have malfunctioned and because foil balloons can be used as radar decoys when outside the atmosphere, ABM missile defenses won't be always 100% effective. Clearly, Postol hasn't heard of the advice from Robert Watson-Watt, the Chief Scientist on the World War II British Radar Project, defending Britain against Nazi attacks: ‘Give them the third best to go on with, the second best comes too late, the best never comes.’ Nothing ever done in the whole of science, medicine or anything else, has been guaranteed perfect. Just because radar air defenses, lifeboats, ambulances, seatbelts, medicine, first aid, etc., are not 100% perfect, does not mean they are useless. It would be lunacy to get rid of hospitals on the basis that they ‘lull people into a false sense of security and thus cause more accidents’.

As we shall see below, gross lying about the capabilities of aerial bombardment in order to defend the false dogmatic claim of Lord Grey in 1914 that an arms race caused World War I and therefore that weapons caused the war (rather than his own foolish diplomatic blunders), actually made World War II genocide more likely by encouraging European surrender to terrorism as soon as Hitler announced his secret creation of an air force in 1935. The lying exaggeration of weapons effects did not guarantee peace: it intimidated all those who wanted peace to surrender to terrorism, which caused a very "Unnecessary War" (Churchill's name for World War II, suggested to President Roosevelt: see Churchill's 1948 book, The Gathering Storm).

Lying about the effects of aerial bombardment to enemy despots had also the effect of causing and encouraging nuclear proliferation since 1945, not reducing it. Such lying simultaneously attacks (in the media-distorted perception) the capabilities of civil defense countermeasures, which proved completely effective where they were (rarely) taken in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as we will demonstrate below to start off with (in an earlier post we analyzed the rapid recovery of both of those cities, despite the fact that 93 other Japanese cities had been firebombed by conventional incendiaries to the same extent in fire-destroyed wood frame housing area as Nagasaki).

If the media can be forced to stop lying about nuclear radiation and nuclear weapons effects, and to stop lying that nothing can be done using civil defense, that will do a damn sight more to make the world a safer place than repeating the popular lie of Lord Grey, and that diplomacy will prevent proliferation threats to human life. "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" policies were extensively applied to the Nazi regime but just encouraged it. "Speak softly but carry a big stick" also encouraged the German invasion of Belgium that caused Britain to declare war on Germany in 1914 (Lord Grey spoke quietly as we shall see; he failed to make it clear in time to Germany that war would result from that action). It also caused, as we shall see, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, where Japan was losing an arms race and felt under pressure to attack sooner rather than later. Weapons do not cause or deter war or terrorism by themselves. There needs to be a credible deterrent to all forms of terrorist or otherwise hostile threats and attacks, that includes civil defense knowledge of the effectiveness of duck and cover and other simple countermeasures as we will prove below.

This is because, if nuclear weapons were used, people would need to know the actual facts to minimise the chance of injury, not exaggerations or downright lies which are still being promoted widely in the media by naive, pseudoscientific political activists who abuse the factual evidence.






British civil defence research in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1945



Above: the British Mission to Japan in 1945 evaluated the nuclear explosion damage at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, producing a report called The Effects of the Atomic Bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki (linked here, 42.5 MB pdf file). The purpose of the British Mission was for ten British Home Office bomb damage scientists to directly compare the British bomb damage assessment criteria from German air raids upon British cities with conventional bombs to the effects of nuclear weapons. Page 6 states:

"Photographs in this report and elsewhere show great areas of destruction in which, rising here and there like islands, there remain reinforced concrete buildings showing few signs of external damage. There were in fact many reinforced concrete buildings in Hiroshima and a number in Nagasaki. ... These observations make it plain that reinforced concrete framed buildings can resist a bomb of the same power detonated at these heights, without employing fantastic thicknesses of concrete."



On page 8, the report finds that Japanese wood-frame houses collapsed out to a ground range of 2.0 km in Hiroshima (at this range, 50% of the wood-frame houses were subsequently burned out by the fire storm, due to the blast wave displacement of breakfast cooking charcoal braziers and flammable traditional bamboo/paper screen furnishings in the wooden houses; at 2.6 km only 10% were burned out and at 1.0 km about 90% were burned out) and 2.4 km in Nagasaki, while typical brick type British type only collapsed out to an average distance of 910 metres (at 1.6 km they were standing but irrepairably cracked, at 2.4 km they needed repair before habitation and there was minor damage from 3.2-4.0 km). Page 9 states:

"The provision of air raid shelters throughout Japan was much below European standards. Those along the verges of the wider streets in Hiroshima were comparatively well constructed: they were semi-sunk, about 20 ft. long, had wooden frames, and 1 ft. 6 ins. to 2 ft. of earth cover. One is shown in photograph 17. Exploding so high above them, the bomb damaged none of these shelters.



"In Nagasaki there were no communal shelters except small caves dug in the hillsides. Here most householders had made their own backyard shelters, usually slit trenches or bolt holes covered with a foot or so of earth carried on rough poles and bamboos. These crude shelters, one of which is shown in photograph 18, nevertheless had considerable mass and flexibility, qualities which are valuable in giving protection from blast [better protection is provided by "earth arching", where a weak arched structural support is used during construction to hold up a mound of packed earth, but the earth acts to deflects the load around the weak support when hit by a blast wave]. Most of these shelters had their roofs forced in immediately below the explosion; but the proportion so damaged had fallen to 50 per cent. at 300 yards from the centre of damage, and to zero at about 1/2 mile.



"These observations show that the standard British shelters would have performed well against a bomb of the same power exploded at such a height. Anderson shelters [1.5 million of which were assembled in Britain by September 1939, each sleeping 6 people], properly erected and covered, would have given protection. Brick or concrete surface shelters with adequate reinforcement would have remained safe from collapse. The [indoor] Morrison shelter is [a steel table type shelter] designed only to protect its occupants from the debris load of a [collapsing] house, and this it would have done. Deep shelters such as the refuge provided by the London Underground would have given complete protection."

Page 11: "There were cases where a clump of grass or the leaf of a tree had cast a sharp shadow on otherwise scorched wood. Therefore the most intense flash from the ball of fire had ended in a time less than that required to shrivel vegetation. On the other hand, since direct injuries to the eye-ball were not common, the heat radiation may be presumed to have required a perceptible time to build up to its maximum intensity, during which some people had closed their eyes."

Above: U.S. Army photo showing how a mere leaf of Fatsia japonica attenuated the heat flash enough to prevent scorching to the bitumen on an electric pole near the Meiji Bridge, 1.3 km range, Hiroshima. It didn't even vaporize the leaf before the pulse ended, let alone did it ignite the wooden pole (most photos claiming to show thermal flash radiation effects in Hiroshima and Nagasaki show effects from the fires set off by the blast wave overturning cooking stoves, which developed 30 minutes to 2 hours later).

Page 12: "In general, even thin clothing protected from flashburn. There were a few exceptions, when the skin was burnt through uncharred fabric where the latter was stretched tightly, say over the point of the shoulder. On other occasions, equally rare, clothing caught fire without burning the skin [the flames were easy to put out when the thermal pulse subsided]."

Above: photos of a Hiroshima woman (left) with flash burns where the dark pattern lines printed on tight-fitting clothing conducted heat to the skin, and a Nagasaki man (right) with the shadow of his vest burned on his skin; from Figure 1.3 in the January 16, 2009 manual, Planning Guidance for Response to a Nuclear Detonation, developed by the U.S. Homeland Security Council Interagency Policy Coordination Subcommittee for Preparedness & Response to Radiological and Nuclear Threats.

Page 14: "The Japanese had provided fuel for the fires [in buildings] by introducing a mass of wooden detail [also paper screens and bamboo furnishings] into otherwise fireproof buildings. Photograph 20 shows the interior of one of the reinforced concrete buildings of the hospital in Nagasaki, 1/2 mile from the centre of damage. Having resisted the blast, these buildings and their services were denied to the city at a critical time because they were filled with such material as that shown in the photograph: a false lath and plaster ceiling hung on heavy timbers, a wooden floor raised on wooden beams, and plaster walls on battens and laths.

"As a result, about half the occupants were killed or were trapped and died in the fires which broke out nearly everywhere among this material It is a very plain lesson that a fireproof building should not be converted into a major fire risk and a trap for its tenants by ill-chosen fittings."



In order to estimate the casualty rate curve, the British Mission to Japan on page 18 uses detailed survival records from a group of 15,000 Hiroshima school children working throughout the city on the construction of fire breaks and other tasks when the bomb fell in the early morning. Scaling the data to the London population density of 45 people per acre, they calculated on page 19 that 65,000 people would be killed in a British city without evasive action, or 50,000 allowing for the fact that some people would be indoors inside brick rather than wooden buildings. Assuming 15 houses per acre of ground, they then calculated that 30,000 houses would be beyond repair after an Hiroshima type attack on a British city, with another 35,000 needing extensive repair. The British Home Office bombing effects scientists who had seen the destruction at Hiroshima and Nagasaki stated on page 13 of the Home Office Civil Defence Manual of Basic Training, Vol. 2 Pamphlet No. 6, Atomic Warfare (H. M. Stationery Office, 1950):

"If the people in our cities were caught, as were the Japanese, without [credible] warning, before any evacuation had taken place, and with no suitable shelters, the casualties caused by a [Hiroshima or Nagasaki type] high air burst would be formidable [thermal effects would be reduced severely in a surface or low air burst by shadowing due to structures blocking the line-of-sight to the fireball before the blast wave arrival time, and by loss of energy due to crater throwout, etc.]. The British Mission to Japan estimated that under these circumstances as many as 50,000 people might lose their lives in a typical British city with a population density of 45 persons to the acre. Much can be done, however, to mitigate the effects of the bomb and to save life, and it is certain that with adequate advance preparations, including the provision of suitable [WWII type] shelters and with good Civil Defence services, the lives lost could be reduced to a fraction of the number estimated by the British Mission."

That statement had been personally approved in June 1950 by no less than the then British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, who contributed a page-long personally signed Foreword to that "Atomic Warfare" pamphlet, explaining concisely that Civil Defence was needed to combat the proliferation of nuclear weapons (click on images for larger view):



2. The use of diplomacy to delude yourself that making yourself vulnerable makes you safer

On June 14, 1946, Bernard Baruch's plan for nuclear weapons disarmament and international control of nuclear technology had been presented to the United Nations. Learning from the failure of arms control on worthless, signed pieces of paper and endless hot air "talks" with Hitler's Nazi Germany in the 1930s, it proposed proper inspections of all facilities (not just the declared nuclear installations), and proposed that the U.N. Charter's veto clause should not apply to sanctions for stipulated violations. Stalin's Soviet Union was developing nuclear weapons secretly at that time, so it objected and on June 19, 1946 put forward propaganda counter-proposals which were totally useless for preventing proliferation and designed to put democracies at a disadvantage to dictatorships by:

(1) providing no safeguards against evasion, and

(2) demanding total nuclear disarmament by America before an international control plan was negotiated.

The Soviet counter-proposals to the Baruch plan were therefore rejected on the basis of the Nazi lesson. Britain had declared war on Germany when it invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. The Soviet Union then invaded eastern Poland on September 17, violating the 1932 Soviet–Polish Non-Aggression Pact, in accordance with a secret protocol contained in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 23, 1939:

'In addition to stipulations of non-aggression, the treaty included a secret protocol dividing Northern and Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence, anticipating potential "territorial and political rearrangements" of these countries. Thereafter, Germany and the Soviet Union invaded their respective sides of Poland, dividing the country between them. Part of eastern Finland was annexed by the Soviet Union after an attempted invasion. This was followed by Soviet annexations of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and eastern and northern Romania.' - Wikipedia.

The Soviet Union remained a Nazi ally and collaborator, actually joining in the Nazi genocide by murdering many thousands of Polish people for political reasons in the Katryn Forest Massacre:

'... Soviet NKVD officers also conducted lengthy interrogations of 300,000 Polish POWs in camps[136][137][137][138][139] that were, in effect, a selection process to determine who would be killed.[3] On March 5, 1940, in what would later be known as the Katyn massacre,[3][140][141] orders were signed to execute 25,700 Polish POWs, labeled "nationalists and counterrevolutionaries", kept at camps and prisons in occupied western Ukraine and Belarus.[142]' - Wikipedia.

This union of evil continued until 22 June 1941 when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, which turned Stalin into a temporary ally of convenience until the war ended. This was vital to the defeat of the Nazis, since its fierce battles on the Eastern Front against Russia sapped Nazi resources and morale far more effectively than aerial bombardment of cities. However, it meant that after the end of World War II, Russia set up sock-puppet governments in Poland, East Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Albania. On March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill's gave a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, stating:

'From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an "iron curtain" has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.'

On September 29, 1950, President Truman announced detection of the first Soviet nuclear test, and on January 31, 1950, he ordered that America was to proceed with hydrogen bomb development to remain ahead of Stalin. It is of interest to consider the historical lesson of what happens when disarmament is attempted in the face of a dictatorship to try to avert weapons proliferation and an arms race by setting a "good example to follow" and proclaiming pacifist sentiments while lying that a nuclear detonation could not be protected against and that if we all brainwash ourselves that civil defense is a confidence trick and therefore encourage and then surrender to terrorist demands, we will be guaranteed safe from war and oppression.

3. The historical fact nobody wants to learn lessons from: making yourself weak, and making peaceful agreements with evil terrorists, is a cranky, "snake oil" anti-war measure; if you are genuinely anti-war, you need to be able to mitigate it sufficiently so that you can deter evil by the threat of war



Above: David Low's illustration for the London Evening Standard newspaper of July 8, 1936, showing Hitler free to walk over the 'spineless leaders of democracy' (the steps of Hitler are labelled 'Rearmament', 'Rhineland fortified', 'Dantzig' ... 'Boss of the Universe').

Exaggeration of the effects of aerial bombing led to secret weapons proliferation by Germany, which was "banned" (on useless paper agreements) from rearmament after World War I. When Goering's air force was announced in 1935, it made the threat of war against Hitler incredible and unconvincing, so politicians had to follow the popular pacifist sentiments of the media, instead of stopping Hitler while there was still time (despite their massive arms reductions, Britain and France still had the edge on Germany until January 1938, according to RAND Corporation strategist Herman Kahn's evaluation in his 1960 On Thermonuclear War). This is highly relevant to President Obama's argument for nuclear disarmament, which will take away the nuclear deterrence that has prevented a Third World War since 1945. If we disarm, we need civil defense and ABM (anti-ballistic missile) systems (whose reliability and scope is never 100 % perfect), against the threat from secret and not-so-secret nuclear proliferation.

Otherwise, by telling the media, the terrorists and the rogue states that the (popularly exaggerated) effects of nuclear war are so terrible that we have disarmed and have no effective defenses against nuclear attack, we will encourage even more nuclear proliferation threats than those which have already occurred.

The wholesale exaggeration of nuclear weapons threats which has attacked and "ridiculed" (in the eyes of the media and public) civil defense efforts, has made nuclear weapons attractive to rogue states and terrorists.

If you make dictators and terrorists believe that nuclear weapons are the one kind of threat that there is no protection against, instead of reducing nuclear proliferation, you encourage proliferation (threats) while simultaneously undermining the credibility of civil defense countermeasures. Beginning in 1936, Britain's Home Office published best-selling technical and scientific handbooks on chemical warfare precisely to avert this problem (notice that all of the early handbooks deal with chemical warfare, not explosives or incendiaries):



"Since the demoralizing psychological effect of gas upon the civil population is almost in direct proportion to its ignorance of the nature and effects of gas, the first step in any effective scheme of protection is the education of the general public on this subject. Nothing will so allay public fear and possible panic as a clear understanding of the powers and limitations of war gases, a knowledge of what to do when subjected to gas attacks, and confidence in the anti-gas equipment and measures furnished by the local authorities.

"It is accordingly important that sensational newspaper articles that exaggerate the power of gas and dwell upon the horrors of gas warfare should be firmly suppressed [i.e. concisely and competently repudiated exposed as frauds, using factual data to set the record straight, and not simply allowed to proliferate unhindered with the facts kept "secret"; a course of action that promotes, rather than prevents, public hysteria], especially in times of emergency when the threat of gas attack is imminent. On the other hand, full and free public discussion, by qualified experts, of the real powers and limitations of gas should be encouraged and widely disseminated by all forms of public presentation, such as the press, radio, and motion pictures."

- Dr Augustin M. Prentiss, Civil Air Defense: A Treatise on the Protection of the Civil Population against Air Attack, McGraw-Hill, London, 1941, pp. 127-8.

The idea that exaggerating the effects of war will prevent war and encourage disarmament is still rife today, despite having been categorically discredited by its encouragement of proliferation and its encouragement of aggressive terrorism in the 1930s. This is the whole reason why Glasstone and Dolan's The Effects of Nuclear Weapons was first published openly in 1950, although the latest revision is now being withheld from widespread open publication.

‘During World War II many large cities in England, Germany, and Japan were subjected to terrific attacks by high-explosive and incendiary bombs. Yet, when proper steps had been taken for the protection of the civilian population and for the restoration of services after the bombing, there was little, if any, evidence of panic. It is the purpose of this book to state the facts concerning the atomic bomb, and to make an objective, scientific analysis of these facts. It is hoped that as a result, although it may not be feasible completely to allay fear, it will at least be possible to avoid panic.’

– Dr George Gamow (the big bang cosmologist), Dr Samuel Glasstone, DSc (Executive Editor of the book), and Professor Joseph O. Hirschfelder, The Effects of Atomic Weapons, Chapter 1, p. 1, Paragraph 1.3, U.S. Department of Defense, September 1950.

In 1950, the Top Secret British Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch report SA/16 (HO225/16 in the UK National Archives), The number of atomic bombs equivalent to the last war air attacks on Great Britain and Germany, concluded:

‘The wide publicity given to the appalling destruction caused by the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki has possibly tended to give an exaggerated impression of their effectiveness. Perhaps the best way to counteract this impression, and to help to get the atomic bomb to scale, is to consider the numbers of atomic bombs that would have to be dropped on this country and on Germany to have caused the same total amount of damage as was actually caused by attacks with high explosive and incendiary bombs.

‘During the last war a total of 1,300,000 tons [i.e. 1.3 megatons of bombs] were dropped on Germany by the Strategic Air Forces [of Britain and America]. If there were no increase in aiming accuracy, then to achieve the same amount of material damage (to houses, industrial and transportational targets, etc.) would have required the use of over 300 atomic bombs together with some 500,000 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs for targets too small to warrant the use of an atomic bomb... the total of 300,000 civilian air raid deaths in Germany could have been caused by about 80 atomic bombs delivered with the accuracy of last war area attacks, or by about 20 atomic bombs accurately placed at the centres of large German cities...’

This report, SA/16, was kept "Top Secret" for 8 years, and then "Restricted" for another 22 years. It was never published, and civil defence was gradually undermined by the exaggeration of nuclear weapons effects by political groups such as CND, the full facts remaining secret.

Before Dr Pseudoscience of CND makes the claim that the Home Office miss-divided 1.3 megatons of bombs into 20 kilotons, adding that "everyone can see that 1.3 Mt is just 65 times 20 kt", it should be pointed out, as explained in the comments at http://glasstone.blogspot.com/2006/03/samuel-glasstone-and-philip-j-dolan.html and http://glasstone.blogspot.com/2007/03/above-3.html, that blast damage radii for overpressure diffraction damage scale at most as the cube-root of yield (or more slowly than the cube-root if allowance for blast attenuation by the work energy used in destroying houses while the blast knocks down successive houses in a radial line from ground zero is included in the calculations). Areas of damage scale as the square of the ground range, or the two-thirds of yield at most.

Hence, the 1.3 megatons of small bombs dropped as mentioned in this blog post is not anywhere remotely equivalent to a single 1.3 megaton nuclear bomb. It turns out that 1.3 megatons as a single explosive is only the equivalent of 4.64 kilotons of 100 kg bombs, because efficiency is greater for smaller bombs.

(This is the reason that America stopped designing very high yield thermonuclear weapons after the 1954 nuclear tests of Operation Castle, and the mean yield of the 4,552 nuclear warheads and bombs in the deployed 1.172 Gt or 1,172 Mt U.S. nuclear stockpile is only 0.257 Mt or 257 kt. 257 kt is just 12 times the yield of the Nagasaki bomb, so by the cube-root scaling law the blast destruction radii for the mean yield of 257 kt is just 2.27 times the blast destruction radii in Nagasaki. Because there are no flimsy wood-frame inflammable cities in the West, the actual effects of typical stockpiled nuclear weapons today would be less severe than they were in Nagasaki.)

Because the average bomb size of conventional (chemical) high explosive bombs was under 100 kg in WWII, they were far more efficient than a megaton nuclear bomb: relative area damaged = number of bombs * {bomb yield}2/3

Hence to get the same area damaged by 100 kg TNT bombs as by a 1 Mt nuclear bomb, you would need only 1/(10-7)2/3 = 46,400 conventional 100 kg bombs, a total of just 46400*0.0001 = 4.64 kilotons of bombs doing the same area destruction as a single 1 megaton bomb. To emphasise this non-linear addition law:

1 megaton of TNT as a single explosion = 4.64 kt of 100 kg bombs in an air raid

The relative efficiency of the single 1 Mt nuclear bomb in this example is only 0.464% compared to conventional small TNT explosive bombs.

Hence, heavy conventional high explosive bombing raids with hundreds of aircraft in WWII produced the same destruction as a relatively large thermonuclear weapon. The fact that easily mitigated effects (such as delayed fallout and thermal radiation which is easily avoided by ducking and covering skin) were absent in the high explosive attacks, where the energy wasn't wasted but mainly went into blast wave damage, made conventional warfare far more dangerous.



Above: All that happened to the Anderson shelters 400 yards from the 25 kt Hurricane nuclear test on 3 October 1952 was that a few sand bags were blown off by the arrival of the blast wave, but by that time the initial nuclear radiation and thermal radiation pulses were already over, so the sandbags had shielded the radiation. Frank H. Pavry, who as part of the British Mission to Japan had observed the surviving air raid shelters near ground zero in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, organized the construction of 15 Anderson shelters. In World War II, two types of shelters were issued by the U.K. government to householders: the 'Morrison' (a steel table designed to resist the debris load from the collapse of a house, which was introduced in March 1941 and named after the Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison), and the 'Anderson' which was an outdoor shelter supplied to 2,100,000 householders (a 14-gauge corrugated steel arch shelter, 2 m long, 1.4 m wide and 1.8 m high, designed to accommodate 6 people and to be sunk to 1.2 metre depth and covered by at least 40 cm of earth; it was invented in 1938 and named after Sir John Anderson, who was in charge of U.K. Air Raid Precautions/Civil Defence).

Frank H. Pavry's report, Operation HURRICANE: Anderson Shelters, Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, AWRE-T17/54, was originally classified 'Secret - Atomic'. The 15 Anderson shelters had survived very well. Nearest to the bomb ship, they survived a peak overpressure of 55 psi or 380 kPa without internal damage: sand bags on the outside were hurled off when the blast wave arrived, but by that time they had done their job of shielding the initial neutron and gamma radiation. (They could have been replaced before fallout arrived.) At a peak overpressure of 12 psi or 83 kPa, even the sandbags on the outside remained intact. (Pavry had used sand bags instead of the recommended packed earth as a convenience.)

This rightly gave conviction to the British Home Office civil defence effects team. The bomb ship HMS Plym, can be seen moored in 40 feet of water 400 yards off Trimouille Island, Monte Bello group. The public information film on Operation Hurricane states: 'At Montebello the advance party is already at work: 200 Royal Engineers had arrived in April to find an empty wilderness of salt, bush and spinifex ... Within the danger zone they erected the familiar [World War II British civilian] Anderson shelters, well-protected by sandbags ... These tests would influence the pattern of civil defence against some future atomic attack. ... On shore, they find many of the Anderson shelters have survived the ordeal remarkably well – better than some of the concrete-block houses.' (The full report on the Anderson shelters exposed at Operation Hurricane is 'Operation Hurricane: Anderson Shelters', Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston, report AWRE-T17/54, 1954, UK National Archives reference ES 5/19 and also duplicated at DEFE 16/933. See also 'Penetration of the gamma flash into Anderson shelters and concrete cubicles', AWRE-T20/54, 1954, UK National Archives ref ES 5/22 duplicated at DEFE 16/935.)

4. How peace-making encourages war: proof that if you are genuinely anti-war, you make yourself strong enough to credibly deter war and provocative evils like genocide



The ‘King and Country’ Debate, 1933: Student Politics, Pacifism and the Dictators



"On 9 February 1933 the Oxford Union debated and carried by 275 votes to 153 the motion ‘That this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country’. After a few days this became a major news story, first in Britain then also in the world press: the British embassies in Madrid and Santiago cabled the Foreign Office in alarm at the appearance of the story in the Spanish and Chilean press. The motion was taken up also by student debating societies all over Britain and overseas: in the United States, for example, any pledge to take no part in war came to be known as the ‘Oxford pledge’ or the ‘Oxford oath’. Since the debate, which took place ten days after Hitler had become chancellor of Germany, appeared to contrast British liberal, pacifist effeteness with fascist martial virility it was seized on in Germany and Italy. The Liberal M.P. Robert Bernays told the house of commons how he had been asked about the debate later in 1933 by a prominent Nazi youth leader: ‘There was an ugly gleam in his eye when he said: “The fact is that you English are soft.”’ And on 7 July 1934 Alfred Zimmern, professor of international relations at Oxford, wrote from Geneva to the former Union president responsible for the debate: ‘I hope you do penance every night and every morning for that ill-starred Resolution. It is still going on sowing dragons’ teeth. If the Germans have to be knocked out a second time it will be partly your fault.’"

- Martin Ceadel, "The ‘King and Country’ Debate, 1933: Student Politics, Pacifism and the Dictators", The Historical Journal vol. 22 (1979), pp. 397-422.

Careless journalist Vernon Bartlett in 1933 wrote Nazi Germany Explained, a book published by Victor Gollancz, based in part on the author's 40 minute interview of Adolf Hitler. Bartless wrote enthusiastic nonsense that was widely believed to be true, for example claiming that Hitler's eyes were "so large and so brown one might grow lyrical about them if one was a woman." (In fact, as Martin Gilbert and Richard Gott explained in their 1967 book The Appeasers, Hitler actually had blue - not brown - eyes!) Bartlett argued that Nazism should be tolerated because "a form of government which suits us, and which we have been able to adapt through centuries, may not suit other people."

Winston S. Churchill was the first to reveal, in the London Daily Express newspaper of November 1, 1934, that:

"Germany is arming secretly, illegally and rapidly. A reign of terror exists in Germany to keep secret the feverish and terrible preparations they are making."


Above: America made the nuclear bomb in secret, hiding the £2 billion cost from Congress and pretending the facilities were being used for other purposes! So did Britain, hiding the £150 million deveopment cost (to 1952) until it was ready to test its first nuclear bomb. Thus, even democracies made their first nuclear bombs in a clandestine fashion, and it is far easier for dictatorships and terrorists to keep their work secret.

Churchill was deemed a war-monger for calling for action against Hitler before the Nazi power became so strong that a World War would be needed. The exaggeration of weapons effects in aerial bombardment had been so great that any course of action involving any risk of war was rejected by most of the media, the public, and thye politicians in favour of diplomacy by talks and agreements, which gave the Nazis time to make ever more preparations for war as Herman Kahn shows in detail:

"... in spite of the tremendous scale of the violations it still took the Germans five years, from January 1933 when Hitler came in to around January 1938, before they had an army capable of standing up against the French and the British. At any time during that five-year period if the British and the French had had the will, they probably could have stopped the German rearmament program. This ... makes me feel that the treaty provisions were as successful as one had a right to expect [i.e., World War II was not caused by a failure to sign enough bits of paper, 'peace treaties', but was caused by a failure to physically force thugs to obey them while there was still time to avert a major war]. ... it is an important defect of 'arms control' agreements that the punishment or correction of even outright violation is not done automatically ... but takes an act of will by policy level people in the nonviolating governments ... [As a result of the devastation caused by World War I] one of the most important aspects of the interwar period [was] the enormous and almost uncontrollable impulse toward disarmament ... there developed an enormous impulse to remove this disease or at least its manifestations. As late as 1934, after Hitler had been in power for almost a year and a half, [British Prime Minister] Ramsey McDonald still continued to urge the French that they should disarm themselves by reducing their army by 50 per cent, and their air force by 75 per cent.

"In effect, MacDonald and his supporters urged one of the least aggressive nations in Europe to disarm itself to a level equal with their potential attackers, the Germans. ... Probably as much as any other single group I think that these men of good will can be charged with causing World War II. [Emphasis by Herman Kahn, unless otherwise indicated.] ... It is ... one thing to fear and detest an evil [i.e., war] and quite a different thing to ignore all of the realistic aspects of the problem [the need to actually prevent war not by utopian, worthless treaties with thugs, but instead by means of exerting force against thugs to curtail their power before their capability becomes too great to safely oppose]. ... Hitler came into power in January 1933 and almost immediately Germany began to rearm [German peacetime engineering industries were already suitably tooled up to "secretly" make armaments, and had the weapons blueprints ready; see for example Lorimer's 1939 Penguin book, What Hitler Wants] ... but it was not until October 14, 1933 [that] Germany withdrew from a disarmament conference and the League of Nations ... Hitler's advisors seem to have been greatly worried that this action might trigger off a violent counteraction - for example, a French occupation of the Ruhr. But the British and the French contented themselves with denouncing the action."

- Herman Kahn, On Thermonuclear War, Princeton University Press, 1960, pp. 390-1. (A limited preview version of this book online here.)

The mechanism for the most deadly war in human history, World War II, is ascribed above by strategist Herman Kahn to the popular unilateral disarmament movement. The idea was that making yourself defenseless against thugs would prevent any possibility of war. In order to justify disarmament, the effects of aerial bombardment were grossly exaggerated.

The Italian General
Guilio Douhet set the scene for the exaggerations in his 1921 book The Command of the Air. Douhet claimed that defence against aerial bombardment was practically impossible owing to the difficulty in detecting, locating and intercepting enemy bombers before they reached their objective. From this assumption, he argued that there is no way to protect civilian populations so any air raid would force the attacked country to surrender. This led him to propose that immense resources should be allocated to bomber air forces which should be used against the enemy's capital and other key cities. The popular concern generated led to the worthless Hague Air Warfare Rules of 1923, Article 22 of which stated:

"Aerial bombardment for the purpose of terrorizing the civilian population, of destroying or damaging private property not of military character, or of injuring noncombatants is prohibited." (Likewise, the League of Nations Assembly on September 10, 1938 adopted the worthless resolution that: "The intentional bombing of civilian populations is illegal". Declaring bombing illegal on pieces of paper has no significance in total war.)

British General J. F. C. Fuller, famous for his early support (against groupthink prejudice within an army that still thought in terms of cavalry and was generally hostile towards or at least suspicious of technology) of armoured tanks to penetrate through fortified enemy lines, tactics which ironically were bungled by the British Army in World War I (which only tried them in a half-hearted manner, squandering the factor of surprise) and were only first fully and efficiently implemented as part of the Nazi Blitzkrieg, wrote in his 1923 book The Reformation of War:

"I believe that in future warfare great cities, such as London, will be attacked from the air - and that a fleet of 500 airplanes, each carrying 500 ten-pound bombs of, let us suppose mustard gas [a skin blistering agent in the chart of war gases; more lethal alternatives such as phosgene and even just plain old chlorine were also tried and tested in World War I], might cause 200,000 minor casualties and throw the whole city into panic within half an hour of their arrival. Picture, if you can, what the result will be: London for several days will be one vast raiding bedlam, the hospitals will be stormed, traffic will cease, the homeless will shriek for help, the city will be in pandemonium. ... Then will the enemy dictate his terms, which will be grasped at like straw by a drowning man. Thus may a war be won in forty-eight hours and the losses of the winning side may be actually nil! ... the belligerent possessing an overwhelming striking force need not necessarily resort to wholesale slaughter and destruction in order to gain his end. He might bring sufficient pessure to bear upon the enemy people by employing a non-lethal gas. Or he might combine non-lethal gas attacks with incendiary bombs, thus starting widespread conflagrations, which, while increasing the moral effects of his blow, would also cause immense material destruction."

Francis V. Drake wrote a terror-mongering article called "A New Era in Speed" in the Atlantic Monthly of May 1934, stating:

"The real terror for the civilian population during the next war will be from gases that are intensely poisonous, and perhaps from bacteria as wel. Consider a comparatively modest force of, say, 200 planes making a night attack upon a city ... Such a squadron could drop at least 400 tons of containers packed with poison gas under high pressure. The gas would be odourless. There would be no warning. It will be the first time in history that one Power can strike down the civilian population of another long before military forces come into contact, perhaps within half an hour of the declaration of war."

Brigadier-General P. R. C. Groves, Director of Flying Operations at the British Air Ministry, in 1934 wrote in his book Behind the Smoke Screen:

"In Europe, warfare - hitherto primarily an affair of fronts - will be henceforth primarily an affair of areas. In this 'War of Areas' the aim of each belligerent will be to bring such pressure to bear upon the enemy people as to force them to oblige their government to sue for peace. The method of applying this pressure will be by aerial bombardment of national nerve centers, chief among which are the great cities. Existing air fleets are capable of inflicting destruction on a cyclonic scale, and they are constantly growing. It seems highly probable, therefore, in a future conflict, if any great disparity should exist between the strengths in the air of the belligerants, that the stronger will quickly overwhelm the opponent, possibly even before the latter could bring its naval and military forces to bear."

Just as the exaggeration of the effects of nuclear weapons and the alleged impossibility of civil defense against them during and after World War II led Stalin to order the testing of a Soviet nuclear bomb some 60 years ago, the exaggeration of the effects of aerial bombardment for disarmament propaganda in the 1930s had the same effect on Hitler.

As a result, on March 9, 1935, Germany announced officially the constitution of its new air force headed by Herman Goering, a famous German fighter plane ace of World War I who shot down 22 aircraft. The exaggeration in the popular media since the 1920s of the effects of aerial bombardment (from misrepresentative 1917 World War I precision bombing data) led to hysteria at any thought of another war, thereby increasing the appeasement of Hitler by Britain and France. On March 16, 1935, Hitler decreed conscription in Germany, and had an army of 36 divisions. The Council of the League of Nations responded in April not by requiring action against Hitler, but by the very opposite: all member states voted unanimously against unilateral action by any member state. Hence, as a group they could not agree to stop Hitler, but they could agree to stop any member state acting by themselves against Hitler. Under no circumstances could Hitler be stopped, for fear that Goering would respond by wiping out the planet with his air force.

"Following the line of argument of the disarmament theorists, we might as well disband the police force in the hope of ending crime."

- Captain W. E. Johns, Editorial, Popular Flying, May 1936.

On 26 April 1937, Nazi and Italian fascists bombed the unprotected Spanish town of Guernica using 24 aircraft laden with about 22 tons of high explosives and incendiaries. The results were exaggerated for propaganda, with the official casualty figure announced as 1,654 people killed and 889 wounded, although:

"The number of civilian casualties was very controversial and a matter of propaganda.

"A recent study by Raul Arias Ramos in his book La Legion Condor en La Guerra Civil states that there were 250 dead; and the study by Joan Villarroya and J.M. Sole i Sabate in their book España en Llamas. La Guerra Civil desde el Aire states that there were 300 dead [13] — these sources have been cited by historians such as Stanley Payne and Antony Beevor as well as media such as the BBC and El Mundo." - Wikipedia.


The popular media reported the propaganda without question, and by popular demand the event forced the British government Home Office to increase its emphasis of Air Raid Precautions on high explosives. It had already begun informing the population on protection they could take against gas attacks (such as preparing gas-proofed rooms) by issuing Air Raid Precautions Handbook No. 1, Personal Protection Against Gas, in August 1936. This was a beautifully written, 100 page technical book containing 7 chapters and 4 appendices with an index. According to page v of the second edition of that handbook (published in March 1938), the first edition sold 477,000 copies between August 1936 and March 1938. It explained the chemical nature of all known war gases, persistent (such as mustard gas liquid) and non-persistent (such as tear gas) agents, toxic smoke particles, the effect of wind and rain upon dispersal and dilution, methods of gas delivery, detection, protection of houses by taping over gaps in door and window frames to keep gas concentrations low indoors until the gas outdoors had been dispersed by the wind, types of gas mask and how they work, and decontamination. This shows the popular public demand for technical information on protection against gas!

For comparison, on 10 November 1980, Home Secretary Brittan stated in a written answer in the House of Commons that 150,000 copies of widely criticised and falsely "ridiculed" (because it was non-technical, with no hard science presented to back up the "silly sounding" protection advice it contained) nuclear civil defence pamphlet Protect and Survive had been printed at a cost of £9,758 (the price of the published booklet was 50p and it was placed on sale in May 1980). In the event of the imminent threat of nuclear war, it would have been reprinted for free issue to all householders. Therefore, the gross turnover from the first print run of Protect and Survive was £75,000. On 27 July 1981 Mayhew stated in a written answer to a question in the House of Commons that 81,000 copies of Protect and Survive had been sold up to that time, i.e. over a period of 14 months. On 5 March 1981, Mayhew had stated in response to a question about EMP wiping out all "radio and computer networks" to a 2,500 km radius, that Protect and Survive advice on using radio receivers was valid because: "We are advised that domestic transistor radios with internal aerials are substantially immune from damage by electromagnetic pulse. Precautions will be taken to reduce the risk of damage to wartime broadcasting service transmitters." Mayhew was referring to the Home Office EMP experimental research by A. D. Perryman which was published in its Restricted journal Fission Fragments, Issue No. 21, April 1977, page 25, EMP and the Portable Transistor Radio. On 16 January 1984, Home Secretary Hurd stated in a written answer in the House of Commons: "The booklet Protect and Survive will be replaced by further publications in due course. The scientific rules for assessing casualties from nuclear explosions are being reviewed and the results will be published as soon as the work is completed." On 19 January 1984, Hurd was asked "... does the Minister accept that these calculations fail to take account of the additional radiation arising from the blast destruction of buildings?" John Newman had examined effects of fallout blown into a buildings, due to blast-broken windows, in Health Physics, vol. 13 (1967), p. 991: ‘In a particular example of a seven-storey building, the internal contamination on each floor is estimated to be 2.5% of that on the roof. This contamination, if spread uniformly over the floor, reduces the protection factor on the fifth floor from 28 to 18 and in the unexposed, uncontaminated basement from 420 to 200.’ But measured volcanic ash ingress, measured as the ratio of mass per unit area indoors to that on the roof, was under 0.6% even with the windows open and an 11-22 km/hour wind speed as reported in U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory report USNRDL-TR-953, 1965. The main gamma hazard is from a very big surrounding area, not from trivial fallout nearby! Hence, the gamma radiation that needs to be shielded is not that from fallout under your feet. Even if the roof is blown off a building, since 90% of the fallout gamma radiation dose is from direct gamma rays (not Compton effect air scattered gammas) any walls or indeed pile of rubble will shield the long range direct gamma rays which are coming to you almost horizontally.

Home Secretary Hurd replied: "We are updating our estimates and information and that will be published. One of the difficulties about this subject is the way in which some people persist in believing that the only possibility worth considering is a massive nuclear attack. That is simply not so. Civil defence planning and training must deal with a whole range of possibilities, including, of course, conventional attack."

Mr. Neil Thorne then stated:

"Will my right hon. Friend please make it clear that a increasing number of countries are capable of joining the nuclear powers and therefore any hostilities of this sort could come from one of those, which would create a very different scale of casualties from that following action by one of the super powers? Therefore, it would be quite wrong to reject civil defence purely and merely because some people believe that a major confrontation is quite incomprehensible."

Home Secretary Hurd replied:

"I have never understood the argument that because not every one could be saved, no attempt should be made to save anyone."

On 20 December 1984, the Home Secretary stated to the House of Commons that: "Work is in hand on a replacement for Protect and Survive. It cannot be finalised until the review of the blast and radiation effects of nuclear weapons is available." He was then asked "whether he will include information on the properties of and protection against chemical weapons in any revised edition of Protect and Survive." He replied: "It will be included when this work is complete. ... It will cover those areas of civil defence which would be of direct relevance to the public including the action the public could take for protection against the effects of hostile attack and information on these effects and the complementary action that would be taken by local and central Government."

The General Preface on page iii of the August 1936 Air Raid Precautions Handbook No. 1, Personal Protection Against Gas, stated:

"... the risk of attack from the air, however remote it may be, is a risk that cannot be ignored ... The use of poison gas in war is forbidden by the Geneva Gas Protocol of 1925 ... Nevertheless, the risk of poison gas being used remains a possibility and cannot be disregarded."



Above: in 1938, the British government stockpiled 38 million gas masks for the civilian population, using rubber imported from the colonies. Germany had a rubber shortage and earmarked its rubber for offensive military purposes, so had only issued 9 million civilian gas masks when war broke out in 1939. Between 1939-45, Britain produced 97 million gas masks, many of which were replacements for growing children (they were manufactured in a range of different sizes and types, including special "hood" type designs with hand operated pumps for babies and people with asthma and even unconscious hospital patients). Despite the fact that the nerve gases had actually been discovered in Nazi Germany (just like nuclear fission), the Nazis were never in a position to efficiently use nerve gas for fear of mustard gas reprisals (despite Nazi Germany stockpiling 12,000 tons of the first nerve gas, tabun).

Updates to British civilian gas mask cannisters were issued whenever a new threat was identified. For example, the first (Mark I) cannister issued in 1938 had a good activated charcoal absorber for all toxic gases except carbon monoxide (which behaves like oxygen in a gas mask, and is not absorbed), and after the war was found to give adequate protection against nerve gas. However, the Mark I had only a thin cotton cloth filter in it for tiny toxic smoke particles and was soon found to provide insufficient protection against such solid particles. This threat was negated by the issue of an extra 2-cm thick filter blue/green cannister, which was taped on to the front end of all the original black cannisters, producing the Mark II cannister. During the war, it was illegal to tavel without a gas mask, and posters warned: "Hitler will send no warning, so always carry your gas mask." An article entitled "Gas may yet be used in this war" was published in The War Illustrated on 30 October 1941, stating that Hitler was reserving gas to hinder home defense activities during his planned invasion of Britain:

"In the last Great War gas was used within nine months of the opening of hostilities, but it has not yet been employed in this. It was used by the Italians in Abyssinia with the most horrible results ... If it is used against us, then it will probably be as an accompaniment to an invasion attempt, since of all the weapons in the modern armoury gas may be credited with the most panic-raising effects. Such panic, however, would be almost certainly the result of ignorance and unpreparedness ..."

The article went on to explain that due to wind dispersion, gas is not very efficient. Quoting from the British official history by C. W. Glover, Civil Defence, it showed that very large amounts of gases had to be used on the battlefields of World War I for each gas casualty: 295 kg of tear gas (eye, nose and chest irritant) per casualty, 104 kg of choking gases (e.g., phosgene) per casualty, 27 kg of blister gases (e.g., mustard agent) per casualty. In most wind conditions, most of the released gas is simply blown away and dispersed to safe concentrations so it cannot cause many casualties, particularly if gas masks are available. Although high concentrations of gas, or airborne liquid droplets of persistent agents, can affect skin that is not protected by a gas mask, the airborne concentrations required to kill by skin absorption are much higher than the concentrations needed to kill by inhalation, so gas masks do provide a very good degree of protection, especially when worn indoors with doors and windows shut to help prevent or minimise the risk of skin exposure to liquid droplets. The article also stated that in World War I the use of gas caused only 1.32% of all battle deaths, and only 5.7% of non-fatal battle injuries.

After Guernica, attention extended from gas attacks to high explosives and incendiaries. In 1932, former and future Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin had falsely told the House of Commons:

"I think it is well for the man in the street to realise that there is no power on earth that can protect him from being bombed. Whatever people may tell him, the bomber will always get through. The only defence is in offence, which means that you have to kill more women and children more quickly than the enemy if you want to save yourself."

However, in March 1938 the British Home Secretary Samuel Hoare issued to every household in Britain the 38-page long booklet The Protection of Your Home Against Air Raids. (Available in full here.) Key pages from this booklet are reproduced below:





"... history is apparently not among the areas of expertise claimed by IPPNW [international physicians for the prevention of nuclear war]. Its spokesmen have yet to comment on the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 (for which Kellogg and Briand received the Nobel Peace Prize), the Oxford Peace Resolution of 1934, the Munich Agreement of 1938, or the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, and on the effectiveness of these measures in preventing World War II. ...

"Sir Norman Angell (also a Nobel Peace Prize winner), in his 1910 best-seller entitled The Great Illusion, showed that war had become so terrible and expensive as to be unthinkable. The concept of ‘destruction before detonation’ was not discovered by Victor Sidel (Sidel, V. W., ‘Destruction before detonation: the impact of the arms race on health and health care’, Lancet 1985; ii: 1287-1289), but was previously enunciated by Neville Chamberlain, who warned his Cabinet about the heavy bills for armaments: ‘even the present Programmes were placing a heavy strain upon our resources’ (Minutes of the British Cabinet meeting, February 3, 1937: quoted in Fuchser, L. W., Neville Chamberlain and Appeasement: a Study in the Politics of History, Norton, New York, 1982). ...

"Psychic numbing, denial, and ‘missile envy’ (Caldicott, H., Missile envy: the arms race and nuclear war, New York: William Morrow, 1984) are some of the diagnoses applied by IPPNW members to those who differ with them. However, for the threats facing the world, IPPNW does not entertain a differential diagnosis, nor admit the slightest doubt about the efficacy of their prescription, if only the world will follow it. So certain are they of their ability to save us from war that these physicians seem willing to bet the lives of millions who might be saved by defensive measures if a nuclear attack is ever launched.

"Is this an omnipotence fantasy?"

- Jane M. Orient, MD, ‘INTERNATIONAL PHYSICIANS FOR THE PREVENTION OF NUCLEAR WAR: MESSIAHS OF THE NUCLEAR AGE?’, The Lancet (British medical journal), 18 November 1988, pp.1185-6. (See also link here.)

Dr Jane Orient, 'Homeland Security for Physicians', Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, vol. 11, number 3, Fall 2006, pp. 75-9:


'In the 1960s, a group of activist physicians called Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) undertook to "educate the medical profession and the world about the dangers of nuclear weapons," beginning with a series of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine. [Note that journal was publishing information for anti-civil defense propaganda back in 1949, e.g. the article in volume 241, pp. 647-53 of New England Journal of Medicine which falsely suggests that civil defense in nuclear war would be hopeless because a single burned patient in 1947 with 40% body area burns required 42 oxygen tanks, 36 pints of plasma, 40 pints of whole blood, 104 pints of fluids, 4,300 m of gauze, 3 nurses and 2 doctors. First, only unclothed persons in direct line of sight without shadowing can get 40% body area burns from thermal radiation, second, duck and cover offers protection in a nuclear attack warning, and G. V. LeRoy had already published, two years earlier, in J.A.M.A., volume 134, 1947, pp. 1143-8, that less than 5% of burns in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were caused by building and debris fires. In medicine it is always possible to expend vast resources on patients who are fatally injured. In a mass casualty situation, doctors should not give up just because they don't have unlimited resources; as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they would need to do their best with what they have.] On its website, www.psr.org, the group boasts that it "led the campaign to end atmospheric nuclear testing." With this campaign, the linear no-threshold (LNT) theory of radiation carcinogenesis became entrenched. It enabled activists to calculate enormous numbers of potential casualties by taking a tiny risk and multiplying it by the population of the earth. As an enduring consequence, the perceived risks of radiation are far out of proportion to actual risks, causing tremendous damage to the American nuclear industry. ... Efforts to save lives were not only futile, but unethical: Any suggestion that nuclear war could be survivable increased its likelihood and was thus tantamount to warmongering, PSR spokesmen warned. ...


'For the mindset that engendered and enables this situation, which jeopardizes the existence of the United States as a nation as well as the lives of millions of its citizens, some American physicians and certain prestigious medical organizations bear a heavy responsibility.


'Ethical physicians should stand ready to help patients to the best of their ability, and not advocate sacrificing them in the name of a political agenda. Even very basic knowledge, especially combined with simple, inexpensive advance preparations, could save countless lives.'



Herman Kahn argues, in his 1960 book On Thermonuclear War, that there was a financial motivation involved (hot air and paper both being cheap), and a cynical disregard for human decency by politicians who gained votes by making ever more "peace treaties" with thugs, which on even superficial inspection were obviously bogus as well as completely worthless:

"In May of 1935 the British, anxious to allay their anxieties cheaply [emphasis by Kahn], signed a naval agreement with the Germans, an act which probably ranks as the height of idiocy. ... the Germans agreed in this treaty that they would not use submarines in warfare against merchant shipping. This was an obviously worthless promise, since they had no other worthwhile purpose for their submarines."

Of course, human politics and disarmament intelligence has progressed a great deal since 1935. For example, we now have the revolutionary concept that instead of just signing treaties with thugs to "ensure peace", we back up those treaties by sanctions against violation. If only sanctions had been tried against Hitler, the modern disarmament fanatic claims, he would have been able to quietly gas the Jews and allow Anne Frank and others to die in "peaceful" concentration camps, without a World War. Actually, sanctions were tried against the fascists in the 1930s: they proved just as useless in the 1930s as they were against Saddam's Iraqi regime (where they just caused suffering to innocent people, not to the leadership). Kahn explains in On Thermonuclear War that sanctions failed because, if they were implemented strongly then they would have been effectively a declaration of war (which everyone feared and wanted to avoid), so they were applied in a deliberately stupid (ineffective) way to avoid any risk of provoking a war:

"In October 1935 Mussolini launched his invasion of Abyssinia. This was the most dramatic challenge yet to the authority of the League of Nations. In commenting on the attitude of the British government, Churchill states, 'The Prime Minister had declared that sanctions meant war; secondly, he resolved that there be no war; and thirdly, he decided upon sanctions. It was evidently impossible to reconcile these three conditions.'24 The sanctions were applied, but in an innocuous fashion that irritated but did not handicap Mussolini, but only discredited the idea of using sanctions in the future."

How World War I was started by a declaration of war planned two years beforehand, by a militant Germany using a trivial excuse (just as Hitler later used trivial excuses in order to justify his invasions of European countries during the 1930s). How Britain's bungling Foreign Minister of 1914, Lord Grey, diplomatically caused World War I by claiming that going to war was necessary for maintaining Britain's Imperialistic "respect and good name and reputation" and to avoid "economic consequences", and then later sowed the seed for World War II by his lying excuse that a gun shot during an arms race caused World War I.

“... small matters are only the symptoms of the dangerous disease, and are only important for that reason. ... long antagonisms express themselves in trifles.”

- Winston S. Churchill, The World Crisis, 1911-1914, Charles Scribner’s Sons, vol. I, 1923, p. 52.

Quite often, World War I is alleged to have been the result of a war escalating from one bullet shot during an arms race between European powers, not as the result of political stupidity and agreements on pieces of paper like World War II. Actually, World War I was not started by either weapons or the arms race in Europe, but by politicians and treaties. The first declaration of war was by Germany against Russia, a war which Germany had been planning since 1912 as we shall see; like the Reichstag fire, the European crisis was a smokescreen type excuse, not the underlying cause of the first World War. As in the run-up to World War II and during the Cold War, one of the major factors influencing the German decision and thus the cause of World War I was lying about countermeasures against weapons effects. As Tuchman explained in The Guns of August, it was widely believed that due to innovations in warfare like massive tactical high explosive cannon shells and machine guns, there was no protection possible and the war would be over very quickly (before the leaves fell off the trees in the fall of 1914, as Tuchman puts it). One side would annihilate the other, which was assumed falsely to take no countermeasures and simply to stand in the open while being machine-gunned or shelled. This was a lie because the machine gun and other technology had been used previously in the American Civil War, where trench sheltering had proved an effective countermeasure, allowing survival and preventing the new technology from causing the instant "knock out blow" claimed. German efforts to regain a knockout blow by using gas weapons against troops in trenches in World War I failed because gas mask countermeasures were promptly invented and distributed.

As we explained earlier in relation to civil defense, most fatal casualties are caused by flying debris and blast wind effects which are easily prevented by any form of simple shelter such as trench. The trench is therefore one of the main reasons why Germany's planning failed to win World War I: the hastily dug trenches prevented a quick knock-out blow, changing the nature of the war into a long duration matter of munitions productions and logistics. Germany also failed to upset the logistics supply to Europe using the innovation of torpedoes from submarines, since anti-submarine countermeasures like hydrophones, depth charges, steel wire nets, convoys, etc., were promptly invented and were a great success. Similarly in World War II, Hitler relied on blitzkrieg or "lightning war" tactics based on installing radios with message coding machines in tank columns, which proved effective at first for surprise European invasions, but was a failure later when the allies broke down the Nazi logistics by destroying fuel dumps and also by breaking the secret Enigma and Fish codes for the radio messages, giving a forewarning of impending Nazi assaults. Before both World Wars, countermeasures were neglected and thus the effectiveness of the offense was exaggerated. This miscalculation of neglecting simple countermeasures was the key error behind German offensive actions in causing false confidence leading to the outbreak of both World Wars.

In the First Balkan War of 1912-3, the Ottoman Empire was driven out of the Balkans by Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece. Serbia then fought the other Balkan states, doubling its territory in the Second Balkan War. The Serbians (whose ally was Russia) then threatened Bosnia (whose ally was Austria). In response to the Serbian-Russian threat to Bosnia, the Austrians decided to help defend Bosnia by holding military manoeuvres there. The Austrian Archduke Ferdinand was inspecting those troops in Sarajevo, Bosnia when a Serbian (Gavrilo Princip) assassinated him and his wife on June 28, 1914. So it was a dispute between Bosnia and Serbia, but the heir to the Austrian throne was assassinated.

In response, on July 23, Austria sent an unacceptable ultimatum to Serbia and then broke off diplomatic relations with it on July 25. In order to protect its ally Serbia from Austria, Russia mobilized some of its soldiers the next day, and on July 31 both Russia and Austria had fully mobilized. Germany sided with Austria against the Russian mobilization. Germany declared war on Russia on August 1, which was the first declaration of war. In December 1912 the Chiefs of Staff of the German Kaiser had argued that Germany needed a war with Russia before Russia had completed its military modernisation programme, which would have made it an unacceptable threat. So Germany had, since 1912, been looking for an excuse to declare war on Russia, not because it was in an arms race with Russia, but because it preferred the idea of having a war with Russia to having an arms race to maintain the peace. This is similar to the aggressive role of Germany in World War II, and also to the role of Japan in attacking Pearl Harbor in 1941 to start a war with America before further expansion of the American Navy. The reason for the surprise attack was a simple calculation by the Imperial Japanese navy, which predicted that at the end of 1941 Japan would have 70 percent of the warship strength of America, but this strength: 'would fall to 65 percent in 1942, to 50 percent in 1943, and to a disastrous 30 percent in 1944.' (Source: H. P. Willmott, Empires in the Balance, Annapolis, 1982, p. 62.)

Barbara W. Tuchman's 1962 Pulitzer Prize-winner, The Guns of August - August 1914, begins by explaining the roots of World War I: how Germany had become war obsessed by 1914, while Britain had become complacent that a European war was impossible because of the interdependence of trade, peace treaties, mutual defence agreements, etc., so no nation would risk economic ruin by starting a war. In Germany, General Friedrich von Bernhardi wrote the 1914 best-seller Germany and the Next War. Tuchman says on pages 24-25 (1964 Four Square edition) that von Bernhardi's 1914 book was the forerunner to Hitler's Mein Kampf, in gluing together the military philosophy of Karl von Clausewitz (that war is the extension of politics) to the evolutionary biology of Charles Darwin (that the evolution of improved forms of life on this planet is due to the "struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest") to "prove" that war "is a biological necessity":

"Three of its chapter titles, The Right to Make War, The Duty to Make War, and World Power or Downfall, sum up its thesis. ... Nations, he said, must progress or decay; 'there can be no standing still,' and Germany must choose 'world power or downfall'."

But at the other extreme, British author Normal Angell had published a diametrically opposite thesis on war in his bestselling book The Great Illusion: A Study of the Relation of Military Power to National Advantage (Putnam's, New York, 1913, 4th ed.). Tuchman says on page 24: "A new book, The Great Illusion by Normal Angell, had just been published, which proved that war was impossible. By impressive examples and incontrovertible argument Angell showed that in the present financial and economic interdependence of nations, the victor would suffer equally with the vanquished; therefore war had become unprofitable; therefore no nation would be so foolish as to start one. Already translated into eleven languages, The Great Illusion had become a cult."

On August 3, 1914, after Belgium refused passage to the German army (which wanted to outflank its old enemy, France), France declared war on Germany to protect Belgium. When Germany invaded Belgium on August 4, Britain was forced to declare war on Germany under the terms of a protection treaty made between Britain and Belgium in 1839. So it wasn't an arms race or a bullet that caused World War I, it was a domino effect of old political treaties and mutual defence agreements between countries on pieces of paper, which were supposed to preserve the peace but instead caused the countries to be sucked into war.

The stupid political agreements to deter war simply failed and trapped other countries into declaring war; it was not the failure of deterrence in an arms race (contrary to modern propaganda). As Kennedy, the future U.S. President wrote (when he was working in the American Embassy in London in the late 1930s and witnessed the manipulation of World War I propaganda for disarmament), the causes of war go deeper than armaments:

“The [excuse] statement of Lord Grey, British Foreign Minister [responsible for getting Britain into World War I], made in 1914, that, ‘The enormous growth of armaments in Europe, the sense of insecurity, and fear caused by them; it was these that made war inevitable,’ had a tremendous effect on post-war British opinion. Armaments were looked upon as something horrible, as being the cause of war, not a means of defense. ... but England’s failure to rearm has not prevented her from becoming engaged in a war; in fact, it may cost her one. The causes of war go deeper than armaments.”

- John F. Kennedy (1917-63), Why England Slept, Wilfred Funk, Inc., New York, 1940, reprinted by Greenwood, 1981, pp. 6-7.

This is a very important point. In his personal political history of World War I, War Memoirs (1933), David Lloyd George does not mince words in his extensive blame of Grey (1862-1933) for the bungling political incompetence which caused World War I. Grey's famous claim that Kennedy quotes,

"The enormous growth of armaments in Europe, the sense of insecurity, and fear caused by them; it was these that made war inevitable",

was in fact just an excuse for his own blunders. Grey's complete political incompetence as British Foreign Minister helped cause World War I; moreover, his excuse (blaming weapons instead of his own incompetence) sowed the lie that led to World War II. Wikipedia explains briefly what Lloyd George's 1933 War Memoirs document at length:

"In 1914, Grey played a key role in the July Crisis leading to the outbreak of World War I. His attempts to mediate the dispute between Austria-Hungary and Serbia by a "Stop in Belgrade" came to nothing, owing to the tepid German response. He also failed to clearly communicate to Germany that a breach of the treaty not merely to respect but to protect the neutrality of Belgium — of which both Britain and Germany were signatories — would cause Britain to declare war against Germany. When he finally did make such communication German forces were already massed at the Belgian border and Helmuth von Moltke convinced Kaiser Wilhelm II it was too late to change the plan of attack. Thus when Germany declared war on France (3 August) and broke the treaty by invading Belgium (4 August), the British Cabinet voted almost unanimously to declare war on August 4, 1914."

Barbara W. Tuchman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1962 book, The Guns of August, which reportedly influenced Kennedy’s handling of the Cuban Missiles Crisis that year, records that Lord Grey on 3 August 1914 obscenely begged Parliament to go to war in order to preserve imperialistic "respect and good name and reputation" and to avoid "economic consequences", with the following words (page 141 of the Four Square edition, London, 1964):

“I ask the House from the point of view of British interests to consider what may be at stake. ... if, in a crisis like this, we run away ... we should, I believe, sacrifice our respect and good name and reputation before the world and should not escape the most serious and grave economic consequences.”

This shows clearly that not weapons but politicians cause wars, and that war is a political act. Karl von Clausewitz stated in On War in 1832:

"The War of a Community - of whole Nations, and particularly of civilised Nations - always starts from a political condition, and is called forth by a political motive. It is, therefore, a political act."

Both the Nazis and Soviet Union understood Clausewitz, although democracies have often been embarrassed by him and have usually tried to pretend that wars are caused purely by naughty weapons, not by politicians (the patronising and sneering attack of lawyer James Newman against Herman Kahn's On Thermonuclear War in a notorious Scientific American book review is a typical example of the pseudo-moralistic, elitist and unethical attitude). General von Blomberg's foreword to the 1936 edition of Clausewitz endorsed his view, as did Lenin when he wrote "politics is the reason, and war is only the tool" (quoted by Marshal V. D. Sokolovsky, et al., Military Strategy: Soviet Doctrine and Concepts, Praeger, London, 1963).

Having thus engaged in World War I in order to somehow preserve Britain's "respect", "reputation" and "economy", Lord Grey wrote on page 285 of vol. II of his 1925 book Twenty-Five Years that the lesson to be learned from World War I is that nations must try:

“to find at least one common ground on which they should come together in confident understanding: an agreement that, in the disputes between them, war must be ruled out as a means of settlement that entails ruin.”

Grey's pontificating is the backdrop to the appeasement of fascist states terrorising the Jews and others in the 1930s. Here you find the reason why Hitler was able to do what he pleased for six years. Here you see the reason why weapons effects were exaggerated to “justify” appeasement, without opposition for fear of wanting war. Here you see why a critic of Hitler in pre-war Britain would be visited by a leading member of the British government and accused point-blank of being a threat to national security. Here you see why collaboration with evil was widely praised.

However, this does not mean that Grey's critic Lloyd George was more competent than Grey; Lloyd George believed falsely that diplomacy can avert war and that Grey had simply bungled the diplomacy. Later, Hitler taught him hot air cannot prevent war.



Above: colour film of former World War I British Prime Minister David Lloyd George cavorting with Adolf Hitler in 1936, and seeing Hitler's autobahn (the world's first motorways). Lloyd George (who was a cabinet minister in 1914 when World War I started and Prime Minister later in the war), condemned British Foreign Minister Lord Grey in his 1933 War Memoirs for causing World War I by fumbling incompetence in 1914. In August 1936, Lloyd George tried to be less incompetent at averting war himself when he met Hitler at Berchtesgaden and tried to resolve the political differences between Britain and the Nazis diplomatically. As he did with everybody else who met him, Hitler completely and utterly brainwashed Lloyd George with lies, irrelevant (but impressive) Nazi achievements in civil engineering and overcoming poverty, and sheer personality (Hitler greeted Lloyd George with enthusiastic flattery: "Here is the man who won the war!").

Lloyd George wrote in the November 17, 1936 issue of the London Daily Express newspaper that Hitler:


"is a born leader of men. A magnetic, dynamic personality with a single-minded purpose, a resolute will and a dauntless heart. He is not merely in name but in fact the national Leader. He has made them safe against potential enemies by whom they were surrounded. He is also securing them against that constant dread of starvation, which is one of the poignant memories of the last years of the War and the first years of the Peace. Over 700,000 died of sheer hunger in those dark years. You can still see the effect in the physique of those who were born into that bleak world. The fact that Hitler has rescued his country from the fear of a repetition of that period of despair, penury and humiliation has given him unchallenged authority in modern Germany. As to his popularity, especially among the youth of Germany, there can be no manner of doubt. The old trust him; the young idolise him. It is not the admiration accorded to a popular Leader. It is the worship of a national hero who has saved his country from utter despondency and degradation. It is true that public criticism of the Government is forbidden in every form. That does not mean that criticism is absent. I have heard the speeches of prominent Nazi orators freely condemned. But not a word of criticism or of disapproval have I heard of Hitler. He is as immune from criticism as a king in a monarchical country. He is something more. He is the George Washington of Germany - the man who won for his country independence from all her oppressors. To those who have not actually seen and sensed the way Hitler reigns over the heart and mind of Germany this description may appear extravagant. All the same, it is the bare truth. ... What Hitler said at Nuremberg is true. The Germans will resist to the death every invader at their own country, but they have no longer the desire themselves to invade any other land."

Lloyd George of course had his first-hand impression of the Nazis revised. In 1938 he wrote another book, The Truth About Peace Treaties in which he blamed the Nazi aggression upon the French for effectively trying to starve the defeated Germans by the draconian terms of the Versailles Treaty (which Lloyd George himself helped to formulate) of June 29, 1918 which ended World War I six months later. The point here is that diplomacy and paper agreements were not a failure for want of trying; there were endless efforts to talk to Hitler and to get "peace treaties" signed by people. Trying to stop genocide by getting people to talk and agree to peace is like trying to stop crime by the same tactics: it misses the whole point. If you want to stop crime, you are just flattering yourself if you think you can get somewhere by talking to criminals or getting them to sign treaties (flattery is of course something politicians are very susceptible to).

Key earlier blog posts on this subject are linked here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Laws and agreements to prevent crime all suffer from the fundamental problem that criminals ignore them, or if pushed by fear of the consequences of violating the laws, then pretend to abide them, while breaking them secretly, so that even in principle crime can't be stopped or prevented by an "innocent until proved guilty" system of law. In the real world, no system of arms control and no disarmament agreements work perfectly, because terrorists seek to overcome them. This goes too for dictatorships, as shown by the examples of Hitler, the organization behind 9/11, the secret acquisition of nuclear weapons by South Africa in the 1980s, etc. Historically, groupthink on peaceful agreements, disarmament pacts, and laws has led to complacency and allowed problems to escalate ever further, as demonstrated by the Munich Pact in 1938 and the events which led up to it from 1933. Chamberlain later claimed that by 1938 it was too late to avoid a serious war, and Britain was unprepared at that time anyway, so appeasement by then was possibly the best of all options, buying time for British rearmament and civil defence activities like gas masks to successfully deter a gas attack; Hitler should have been stopped much earlier than Munich, say in 1933-4, which would have averted a major war (as Herman Kahn argued in On Thermonuclear War).

However, a close study of the facts discredit Chamberlain's assertion. First, despite the resources acquired by invasions, Nazi Germany only had a 6-weeks supply of munitions in September 1938, and the position of France was actually deteriorating relative to Germany: in other words, France should have acted rather than delayed since German armament was occurring faster than French armament. Furthermore, the combined naval power of France and Britain in September 1938 still outweighed that of Germany; their relative weakness to Germany then was only in air power. France had 1,454 aircraft, Britain 1,550, but the German Luftwaffe had 3,356, although these were mainly tactical, short-range aircraft incapable of reaching Britain from Germany, and Britain's Thames Estuary was already protected by a revolutionary, secret radar-guided air defense system. The figures from Appendix B of Stephen Roskill's Hankey, Man of Secrets, 1931-1963, Vol. III (Collins, London, 1974) such as 3,356 German aircraft is the actual number, contrasted to the A. I. Sitrep British intelligence report for 31 August 1938 which estimated a threat of only 2,650 German aircraft. Hence, the information Chamberlain actually had available was even more favorable to the suggestion that Hitler could have been resisted at that time. Germany had acquired many resources from its invasions, but in September 1938 it was still short of vital military resources such as oil and rubber. It was militarily prepared with only a 6-week munitions supply for a series of invasions, not to fight a World War. In August 1939, just before warfare started, Germany, Italy, France and Britain actually had 4,210, 1,531, 1,234, and 1,750 aircraft, respectively (ref.: Anthony P. Adamthwaite, The Making of the Second World War, George Allen and Unwin, London, 2nd ed., 1979, pp. 227-8). Hence, the appeasement at Munich in delaying the war gave a bigger advantage to the Nazis than to anyone else.

"At no time did Hitler threaten to initiate war against France and England. He simply threatened to 'retaliate' if they attacked him. The Munich crisis had an incredible sequel in March 1939. ... Hitler occupied the rest of Czechslovakia. The technique he used is such an obvious prototype for a future aggressor armed with H-bombs that it is of extreme value to all who are concerned with the problem of maintaining a peaceful and secure world ..."

- Herman Kahn, On Thermonuclear War, Princeton University Press, 1960, p. 403.



"I asked Hitler about one in the morning while we were waiting for the draftsmen whether he would care to see me for another talk ... I had a very friendly and pleasant talk, on Spain (where he too said he had never had any territorial ambitions), economic relations with S. E. Europe, and disarmament. I did not mention colonies, nor did he. At the end I pulled out the declaration which I had prepared beforehand and asked if he would sign it. As the interpreter translated the words into German Hitler said Yes I will certainly sign it. When shall we do it? I said 'now', and we went at once to the writing table and put our signatures to the two copies which I had brought with me."

- British Prime Minister Chamberlain, letter to his sister Hilda, on 2 October 1938.

"This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine [waves the piece of paper to the crowd - receiving loud cheers]. Some of you, perhaps, have already heard what it contains ... My good friends, for the second time in our history a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time."

- Neville Chamberlain on arriving at Heston Aerodrome, announcing the Munich deal with Hitler, conceding the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany.







Above: David Low's cartoon of Munich, published on 30 September 1938. It shows (from left) Hitler, appeaser British Prime Minister Chamberlain, appeaser French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier, Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin standing in the doorway, captioned: "What, no chair for me?"



Above: David Low's earlier illustration for the London Evening Standard newspaper of July 8, 1936, showing Hitler free to walk over the 'spineless leaders of democracy' (the steps of Hitler are labelled 'Rearmament', 'Rhineland fortified', 'Dantzig' ... 'Boss of the Universe'). The pathetic truth is that David Low was pretty much alone in attacking Hitler with cartoons, and the Nazis actually persuaded the British government to put pressure on Low's newspaper editors to make him tone down his cartoon attacks on the Nazis, for fear of upsetting Hitler (what a complete travesty of the supposed "democratic freedom of the press" in Britain!):

In 1936 during the Berlin Olympic Games Low received his first request to tone down his depiction of Hitler in the interests of "good relations between all countries".

In 1937 the British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax visited Germany and met with the Propaganda Minister Goebbels, who told him that Hitler was very sensitive to criticism in the British press, and he singled out Low for attention.

Lord Halifax contacted the manager of the Evening Standard to see if Low could be toned down. He said:

"You cannot imagine the frenzy that these cartoons cause. As soon as a copy of the Evening Standard arrives, it is pounced on for Low's cartoon, and if it is of Hitler, as it generally is, telephones buzz, tempers rise, fevers mount, and the whole governmental system of Germany is in uproar. It has hardly subsided before the next one arrives. We in England can't understand the violence of the reaction."

His attempt to influence newspaper management was unsuccessful, so the Foreign Secretary then decided to speak with Low directly. At their meeting, this is how David Low described Lord Halifax's explanation.

"Once a week Hitler had my cartoons brought out and laid on his desk in front of him, and he finished always with an explosion. That he was extremely sore; his vanity was badly touched... So the Foreign Secretary asked me to modify my criticism, as I say, in order that a better chance could be had for making friendly relations... The Foreign Secretary explained to me that I was a factor that was going against peace.' 'Do I understand you to say that you would find it easier to promote peace if my cartoons did not irritate the Nazi leaders personally?' 'Yes,' he replied. '...I said, "Well, I'm sorry." Of course he was the Foreign Secretary what else could I say? So I said, "Very well, I don't want to be responsible for a world war. But, I said "It's my duty as a journalist to report matters faithfully and in my own medium I have to speak the truth. And I think this man is awful. But I'll slow down a bit." So I did."

Meanwhile Hitler within a month invaded Austria. Low felt vindicated and went back to his old ways. Low said:

"...I was good for about three weeks. Then Hitler bounced in and invaded Austria, showing that he had given our Foreign Secretary a run-around, had taken him for a ride. I considered that let me out, so I resumed criticism."

It was no surprise when after the war it was revealed that Low was high on the Nazi's death list.

It wasn't only Hitler complaining about Low. In 1938 Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain singled out Low while appealing to newspapers to temper their critical commentary of Germany. Chamberlain said:

"Such criticism might do a great deal to embitter relations when we on our side are trying to improve them. German Nazis have been particularly annoyed by criticisms in the British press, and especially by cartoons. The bitter cartoons of Low of the Evening Standard have been a frequent source of complaint."


- http://hmmh.blogspot.com/2006/02/cartoonist-fought-hitler.html


Winston Churchill, who had been warning of the need to halt the "secret" Nazi armament programme since Hitler came to power, was similarly opposed as a "war-monger" by pacifist politicians in Parliament, backed by most of the mainstream media:

"The new appeasement was a mood of fear, Hobbesian in its insistence upon swallowing the bad in order to preserve some remnant of the good, pessimistic in its belief that Nazism was there to stay and, however horrible it might be, should be accepted as a way of life with which Britain ought to deal."

- Sir Martin Gilbert, The Roots of Appeasement, 1968.



Above: C. E. M. Joad's pacifist plea Why War? published by Penguin Books in August 1939, just days before Britain declared war on Germany: 'My case is that war is not something that is inevitable, but is the result of certain man-made circumstances; that man can abolish them, as he abolished the circumstances in which plague flourished.' Joad had long championed the pacifist case in Britain, presenting it in the infamous Oxford Union Society debate, on 9 February 1933 (ten days after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany) of the proposition: “That this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country.” Joad's eloquence led the motion to be passed by a vote of 275 to 153. The Oxford Union would not fight. Joad's argument simply omitted altogether the whole problem that if you don't fight a tyrant, the tyrant is free to massacre in cold blood, to starve ethnic minorities, and all the other horrors of life under an evil regime. When someone stood up in the famous debate and tried to get him to see reason by asking if he would fight an enemy soldier who was raping his sister, Joad - who reportedly had little respect for women - replied flippantly as Ceadel reports:

"When asked what he would do if he saw a German raping his sister, he replied in his famous falsetto voice: 'I should try and come between them'."

- Martin Ceadel, "The ‘King and Country’ Debate, 1933: Student Politics, Pacifism and the Dictators", The Historical Journal vol. 22 (1979), pp. 397-422.

This is a very important point, because it underlines the problem that once the effects of weapons of war have been exaggerated sufficiently to make war seem worse than any imaginable oppression, the pacifist case is invincible and has historically ridden roughshod over all conceivable objections by techniques such as sycophantic joking, or angry shouting and attempted "ridicule". As discussed in detail in an earlier post, World War II was caused by the promotion of gross, wanton exaggerations of a few unopposed 1917 World War I aerial bombing effects (analogous in many ways to surprise attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where people just stood there in surprise and so were burned or hit by glass): in a nutshell, this exaggeration led to appeasement which permitted Hitler to do whatever he wanted until 1939. Beginning in the 1920s, a succession of military writers and pacifists had competed with each other (in the popular media of books, broadcasts, novels and articles), to exaggerate the effects of aerial bombing, high explosives, incendiaries, and poison gas, until a picture was developed and presented which was virtually identical to "end of the world" modern descriptions of nuclear warfare. Modern cities would allegedly be wiped out by high explosive blast, incendiary-caused firestorms and life would be snuffed out without fail by the lingering poison gas clouds, according to this propaganda effort which set out variously to scare-monger, to sell books and other media, to support armament to deter war, or to support disarmament in the mistaken belief that being unarmed and unprotected will somehow prevent thugs from attacking you, and that protection efforts are hopeless anyway.

Britain began evacuating its cities of 1,500,000 children and the vulnerable on 1 September 1939 and declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, the day Winston Churchill explained to the House of Commons precisely why the war was necessary, plus exactly what the war was aiming to achieve through violence:

"This is not a question of fighting for Danzig or fighting for Poland. We are fighting to save the whole world from the pestilence of Nazi tyranny and in defence of all that is most sacred to man. This is no war for domination or imperial aggrandisement or material gain; no war to shut any country out of its sunlight and means of progress. It is a war, viewed in its inherent quality, to establish on impregnable rocks, the rights of the individual, and it is a war to establish and revive the stature of man."

Three types of exaggeration of the aerial threat

There are three aspects to the exaggeration of any kind of aerial threat. First, the size of the attack, i.e. the number of each type of weapon and how they will actually be used in a war (if an enemy wants to use thermal radiation or fallout radiation against civilians, he would need to organize the attack when the weather conditions were correct, e.g. not in low-visibility or when the winds were blowing in the wrong direction). In theory, if you are a pacifist or other civil defense objector and you simply postulate a big enough attack, then you don't need to worry so much about the direction of the wind or any details of calculating the effects: you "overkill" by postulating an incompehensible weight of attack. This is what the propagandarists have to do at the very start of their attack on humanitarian countermeasures, to have any chance of trying to make civil defence seem "absurd". Second, there are the detailed effects exaggerations (which we have covered in the many posts on this blog), and thirdly there is the exaggeration of the inefficiency of civil defense against those effects. Thus, there are three separate kinds of argument which can be combined against civil defense in any situation. This blog is concerned primarily with the second and third kinds of exaggeration: the exaggeration of nuclear effects and the exaggeration of the inefficiency of civil defense countermeasures. The issue of what weight of attack is most likely is primarily a matter for military strategy, tactics, and political decisions, rather than science. However, as shown in a previous post, there are a wide variety of ways in which weapons can be used, and if we have a protected second-strike capability, an enemy will have nothing to gain and plenty to lose by launching everything they have in one go. Herman Kahn, Thomas Schelling, and Albert Wohlstetter of the RAND Corporation showed how a protected second-strike capability reduces the risk of nuclear "escalation" in any conflict.

This means that escalation of a conflict to an all-out nuclear war, the staple of 1960s nuclear fiction from Dr Strangelove to Planet of the Apes, in fact has been deterred effectively by the triad of second-strike capable submarines, hardened missile silos and supersonic jet bombers that was developed in the 1960s. Escalation in conflict simply removes bargaining chips if the other side has a protected nuclear force with a second-strike capability. Hence, the instability of potential tit-for-tat nuclear escalation was removed by the hardened, second-strike capable nuclear force. The threat since that time has been primarily from smaller nuclear crises, such as limited war, accidents, and terrorist nuclear threats. Herman Kahn has also listed ways in which nuclear weapons might be "tested" in order to intimidate an opponent while controlling the effects. E.g., sufficiently high altitude bursts for electromagnetic impacts would cause an immense amount of electronic damage to the civilian power infrastructure and to orbiting satellites used for many vital purposes, without causing the blast, thermal and fallout consequences of a near surface burst, while an underwater burst (simply a bomb set off below the waterline inside a ship like Britain's first nuclear test HURRICANE, detonated off the coast of a city) could produce terrific base surge irradiation hazards and contamination of the city, without causing other significant blast or thermal effects damage.

‘With proper tactics, nuclear war need not be as destructive as it appears when we think of [World War II nuclear city bombing like Hiroshima]. The high casualty estimates for nuclear war are based on the assumption that the most suitable targets are those of conventional warfare: cities to interdict communications ... With cities no longer serving as key elements in the communications system of the military forces, the risks of initiating city bombing may outweigh the gains which can be achieved. ...

‘The elimination of area targets will place an upper limit on the size of weapons it will be profitable to use. Since fall-out becomes a serious problem [i.e. fallout contaminated areas which are so large that thousands of people would need to evacuate or shelter indoors for up to two weeks] only in the range of explosive power of 500 kilotons and above, it could be proposed that no weapon larger than 500 kilotons will be employed unless the enemy uses it first. Concurrently, the United States could take advantage of a new development which significantly reduces fall-out by eliminating the last stage of the fission-fusion-fission process.’

- Dr Henry Kissinger, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, Harper, New York, 1957, pp. 180-3, 228-9.

"... even a cursory examination of the situation should reveal that strategic bombing of cities may, and very likely would be, as obsolete in the next war as trench warfare [or gas] was in the last. ... In the last war strategic bombing was resorted to in order to deprive the army at the front of weapons and supplies [from munitions industry located in cities]. Obviously, if you had a super-weapon that could wipe out an entire army in the field or on the march at one blow, there would be no further need of depriving an army that was no longer in being. ...

"... our giving up the right to use the H-bomb as a tactical weapon against [Soviet] armies would leave her free to march into the countries of western Europe. It would then be too late to stop her, for we could not drop the H-bomb on the cities of western Europe. The only time to stop Russia's armies is before they cross into the territory of our allies, during the crucial period when they are mobilized in large numbers and on the march.

"The American people, and the other free peoples of the world, could not agree to such a scheme to disarm them in advance and thus give the masters of the Kremlin a free hand. To do so would not prevent war, it would encourage it. Instead of being preventable, it would become inevitable. We wouldn't even save our cities from the fate of strategic bombing with A- and H-bombs, since the Kremlin has never kept its promises when they did not suit its purposes. ...

"These are the brutal facts that would confront us were we to renounce the right to use A- and H-bombs as tactical weapons against armies in the field [lacking the concrete buildings of modern cities for protection]. As long as we retain that right, the chances are good that we could prevent global war, for no nation would be likely to risk such a war in the face of the possibility that the main bulk of its armies might be wiped out at the outset. ...

"... Our justification for building the hydrogen bomb is thus not merely to prevent its use, but to prevent World War III, and to win it if it comes. We are not building it to bring Russia to its knees. We are building it to bring her to her senses."

- William L. Laurence, The Hell Bomb, Hollis and Carter, London, 1951, pp. 72-87.

Herman Kahn, in his 1960 book On Thermonuclear War, additionally explains the failure of early RAND Corporation systems analysis efforts to study just the "most probable" possibility. In a nutshell: if the "most probable" war scenario is 99.999% probable, then the "most probable" outcome will also have a high overall probability of being the outcome to actually occur so it can be focussed on, but if there are 100 different nearly equally probable outcomes, ranging from say 0.9-1.1% probability, then it is no good merely focussing on the "most probable" outcome because doing that will almost certainly mislead you: it is only 1.1% likely to actually occur, and 98.9% likely to not occur. So, if many similarly probable scenarios exist, you cannot afford to concentrate merely on one very slightly more likely scenario, but instead you must adopt a broad-spectrum policy of use against the wide range of threats against you.

These facts are all extremely inconvenient to those who just want to exaggerate nuclear weapons effects en masse in order to make civil defense seem absurd, so many don't bother, and pretend that escalation is not deterred by the protected second-strike capability. Therefore, they exaggerate the bombardment threat, by claiming that any nuclear detonation will automatically escalate the conflict into an all-out war where the scale of the conflict will be such as to increase the inefficiency of civil defense by overwhelming it, cratering every square inch of the country. Others take the Hiroshima and Nagasaki incendiary effects on predominantly wood-frame cities, scale them up to higher yields, and apply them to modern cities, neglecting differences such as the construction materials, the lack of open charcoal cooking braziers and paper/bamboo screens and easily inflammable furnishings like World War II dark coloured "black-out" air raid curtains in modern buildings. Then they add in fallout, as if a surface burst can produce the thermal effects of an air burst, which it can't (because of the use of energy for cratering and the shadowing effect of buildings on the line-of-sight thermal transmission from the low fireball before the blast wave can arrive). They ridicule the ease of shielding the radiation from fallout, even though wherever the bomb contains any kind of U-238 tamper or reflector, much of the intense radiation for the few days following the detonation is very easily-shielded low energy gamma radiation from U-240, Np-239, and U-237 caused by neutron capture in the U-238 (for a surface burst on ground containing a lot of sodium, you can get high energy, hard-to-shield, Na-24 activity as well, but that is dependent on the type of soil). Naturally, they ignore the dangerous and vital research which people like Dr Carl F. Miller and colleagues of the U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory did at the 1946-62 atomspheric nuclear tests on improvised fallout protection, evacuation and decontamination techniques.

Exaggerating the effects of nuclear weapons makes you more vulnerable by getting rid of the simple, effective countermeasures: it encourages panic and helplessness in any attack, thereby maximising the numbers of people hurt by flash burns, flying glass and radiation, and maximising the scale of a tragedy.



Above: as this illustration shows, you can't even expect secrecy to work efficiently against nuclear proliferation in a democracy. If you think that secrecy will prevent nuclear proliferation, you need to look at the history of proliferation, beginning with Stalin's bomb test of 1949 when the facts were still officially highly classified. The New York Times science journalist William L. Laurence, eye-witness of the first nuclear tests (1945-6)and the bombing of Nagasaki, in his 1951 book on the physics and uses of the hydrogen bomb, The Hell Bomb (Hollis and Carter, London), identified fusion "boosting" and "spark plug" principles. He explains that liquid deuterium undergoes self-sustaining fusion (i.e., "ignition", as contrasted to a a non-sustaining fusion reaction where the energy losses due to radiation cool the fuel and prevent further fusion before the deuterium has all been fused into helium) at 50,000,000 C but only if it is maintained at that temperature for a period of 200 microseconds, which is 200 times longer than the 1 microsecond duration of such an immense temperature in a fission bomb. This is the basic problem that Teller and Ulam faced in using a fission bomb to ignite deuterium in the hydrogen bomb in 1951, and Laurence explains that three simple scientific facts overcome the problem:

(1) The "ignition" time for self-sustaining fusion decreases as the temperature is increased. For liquid deuterium the ignition time is 200 microseconds for 50 million C, 30 microseconds for 100 million C, and 4.8 microseconds for 200 million C.

(2) The speed of the fusion reaction is proportional to the square of the density of the deuterium fuel (suggesting that compressing the fusion fuel to 14 times its normal density will speed up the reaction by the needed factor of 200 at 50 million C).

(3) Using a mixture of deuterium and tritium (produced by neutron capture in lithium, so that lithium deuteride in the form of a white solid can used in place of liquid deuterium) speeds up the fusion reaction: deuterium-tritium fusion requires 20 times less "ignition" time than pure deuterium for similar fuel density and a temperature 50,000,000 C.

(The innovation of potentially using neutron-fissionable lithium to replace tritium in thermonuclear weapons, by making tritium as a fission product, had already been openly published in 1946 by Austrian physicist Dr Hans Thirring in his book Die Geschichte der Atombombe / The History of the Atom Bomb published in Vienna and reprinted in the July 1950 U.S. Congressional Hearings before the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, The Hydrogen Bomb and International Control: Technical and Background Information. (Thirring's 1946 book stated: "in a super atom bomb, about as many tons of lithium hydride [sic.] could be used as there are kilograms of plutonium in the present bomb. Under such conditions an effect some thousands of times greater than that hitherto known could be achieved.")

On page 46, Laurence argues from these facts that the temperature of a fission bomb needs to receive a deuterium-tritium "boost" to higher temperatures prior to the ignition of the main charge of deuterium or deuterium-tritium:

"It can thus be deduced that the only feasible H-bomb is one in which a relatively small amount of a deuterium-tritium mixture will serve as additional superkindling, to boost the kindling supplied by the improved model A-bomb, for lighting a fire with a vast quantity of deuterium. ...

"A deuterium bomb with a D-T booster would become a certainty if the temperature of the A-bomb trigger could be raised to 150 million or, better still, 200 million degrees. At the former temperature the D-T superkindling ignites in 0.38 microseconds; at the higher temperature the ignition time goes down to as low as 0.28 microseconds."

On page 53, Laurence mentioned "liquid deuterium and its tritium spark plug". Again, the concept of the "spark plug" to ignite a deuterium charge was used in the early thermonuclear weapons. He also pointed out on page 50 that lithium-6 (which is 7.42 % of natural lithium, and produces tritium upon neutron capture) does not need to be separated from natural lithium: "there is no need to separate it from its heavier twin [lithium-7], since the latter has no affinity for neutrons and nearly all of them are gobbled up by the lighter element." This only applies to the moderated, low energy "slow" neutrons in a reactor. For higher neutron energy (i.e. unmoderated fission neutrons), lithium-7 absorbs the high energy neutron then releases tritium, helium and another neutron, so lithium-7 produces even more tritium.

The New Yorker on December 15, 2008, published an article by David Samuels called Atomic John: A truck driver uncovers secrets about the first nuclear bombs. A truck driver went to several American and British museums which been given early nuclear weapons (with the fissile material and high explosives removed to make them safe), and by simply probing inside them with a miniature video camera and by taking measurements when the curator was not looking, he was able to draw up the blue prints, published on Wikipedia (here and here). This shows the way that secrets can leak out, even if nobody with security clearance to nuclear weapon blueprints actually leaks them.

Contrary to popular belief, natural uranium and also thorium-232 (which becomes fissile uranium-233 when it captures a neutron) are plentiful: on average there is 9 tons of uranium and 14 tons of thorium per square kilometre, within just one metre of the surface. Heavy water (to slow down or "moderate" fission neutrons from their initial high energy to low energy, where the probability of fission is much greater than non-fission capture) is one part in 7,000 of sea water, so it can be produced simply by distillation. Nuclear reactors with pure moderators of graphite or heavy water can run on natural uranium to manufacture plutonium by neutron capture in uranium-238 or uranium-233 by neutron capture in thorium, or the small proportion of uranium-235 in natural uranium can be enriched by simply pumping uranium hexafloride gas under pressure through porous metal barriers. The lighter uranium-235 hexafloride molecules have higher velocities and are thus slightly more likely to penetrate the barrier than the heavier molecules, so a cascade of diffusion tubes such as that used at Oak Ridge will separate the isotopes. Glasstone's Sourcebook on Atomic Energy explained that the barriers are easily manufactured. The submicroscopic holes are simply created by acid etching; a porous barrier of silver or nickel is formed simply by alloying it with a much more reactive metal like zinc, which is easily dissolved away in hydrochloric acid to leave microscopic holes for diffusion. So the nuclear threat won't easily disappear.



Architects of Armageddon: the Home Office Scientific Advisers' Branch and civil defence in Britain, 1945–68



Melissa Smith's article in the British Journal for the History of Science on the scientific research behind the British civil defence corps until it was disbanded in 1968

This detailed, 32 pages-long article has not been printed on paper (presumably it will be in the first issue of the journal printed in 2010) yet, but it is already available online as a PDF file so it will be reviewed in detail below.

Ms Smith is a PhD student at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine of the University of Manchester, researching the Home Office's Scientific Advisory Branch contributions to British civil defence police up to 1968. She won a prize for an earlier version of the article, and there is a mention at the earlier blog posts here and here, because the Scientific Advisory Branch research has been so widely ignored by historians, either out of ignorance or prejudice.

Civil defence in Britain started out to reduce the effects of conventional bombing in World War II, and succeeded in reducing casualty rates to way below those observed from 1917 air raids during World War I: in World War II a total of 71.27 kilotons (in average units of 175 kg of explosive, according to the British Home Office) of bombs, V1 cruise missiles and V2 supersonic ballistic missiles hit Britain, killing 60,595 and injuring 86,182, a casualty rate of 2 casualties/ton, 60 times fewer than the prediction based on World War I data! (Primary sources for these data are the official home front H.M. Stationery Office histories of World War II published in the 1950s, particularly Terence H. O'Brien's excellent 729 pages long Civil defence - History of the Second World War Series, H.M. Stationery Office, 1955, which together with other related sources, was on the bookshelves of the U.K. National Archives enquiry room at Kew when I was doing research there in the 1990s, and made interesting reading while awaiting requested civil defence reports. Some key data from O'Brien and other sources are compiled in Peter Laurie's book on civil defence, Beneath the City Streets. Harford M. Hyde and G. R. Falkiner Nuttall state in their 1938 book Air Defence and the Civil Population, The Cresset Press, London, pp. 44-5, that in the 1914-8 war there were 103 German air raids by 643 aircraft on England, dropping altogether 8,776 bombs with a total mass of 270 tons, killing 1,414 and injuring 3,416.)

Because simple civil defence countermeasures proved so successful against World War II conventional bombing, the Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch exposed simple Anderson shelters (a corrugated steel arch supposed to be covered with a few feet of packed earth, but covered with sandbags for convenience in the first british nuclear test) to the first British nuclear test on October 3, 1952, and found they survived 12 psi peak overpressure with the sandbags intact but just had the sandbags blown off by the blast at 55 psi peak overpressure. By the time the blast arrived, much of the the thermal and initial nuclear radiation pulses were over, so the shelters provided good all-round protection (sandbags could have been replaced, or earth could have been shovelled on the shelter, before a hazardous fallout radiation dose was accumulated).

British civil defence had been restarted against the Soviet Union's nuclear threat as a result of the U.K. Joint Intelligence Committee's Top Secret report, ‘Russian interests, intentions and capabilities’, JIC (48) 9 (0), 23 July 1948, L/WS/1/1173 (U.K. National Archives document CAB 158/3, reproduced in Richard J. Aldrich, ed., Espionage, Security, and Intelligence in Britain, 1945-1970, Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York, 1998, pp. 76–77). This report gave a better prediction of Russian nuclear capabilities than the American CIA (for an analysis of the reasons for the CIA failure, see Donald P. Steury, How the CIA Missed Stalin's Bomb: Dissecting Soviet Analysis, 1946-50, CIA). The 23 July 1948 report, written at the height of the Berlin airlift (when the Russians shut off access to the Western part of Berlin to try to starve the population there), stated that the Soviet Union was producing every month 500 tanks, 300 fighter aircraft and 150 bombers, and that the Soviets would "produce their first atomic bomb by January 1951", obtaining 6-22 bombs by January 1953 and producing further bombs "at the rate of 2 to 4 per year". This report caused NATO to be set up in addition to British civil defence, although it had underestimated the threat: the first Russian nuclear test occurred on August 29, 1949.

After fallout from that first Russian test had been detected, civil defence was restarted in many countries. The 36 pages long "Restricted" classified Home Office Civil Defence Corps., Training Memorandum No. 3, Revised Edition, 1953: Civil Defence in Other Countries (H.M. Stationery Office, 1953) states that America had over 3,000,000 F.C.D.A. civil defence volunteers by May 31, 1952; Sweden had 900,000 enrolled civil defence personnel by January 1953; Canada had 52,000 in April 1952; Norway had 47,400 on July 1, 1952 (all of whom had completed basic training), and Denmark had 9,000 in July 1952 (in Denmark all private structures built after 1950 had to include shelters and all persons between 16-65 years of age were subject to conscription in civil defence).

I was disappointed in reading the article to find that Ms Smith does not cover any details whatsoever of the nuclear weapons tests research into protection against blast, thermal radiation and fallout, and while she mentions Home Office scientists visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Frank Pavry and George Stanbury attending the first British test, she omits to give the details and results of the civil defence research at even the first British nuclear weapon test, Operation HURRICANE in 1952, which was specifically designed (an underwater burst in a ship) to simulate a terrorist attack and to provide a maximum amount of civil defence information to check and extend the results in Glasstone's 1950 compilation The Effects of Atomic Weapons. She incorrectly states that the HURRICANE research was mainly concerned with blast, when in fact extensive fallout measurements were made for civil defence purposes. The whole point of exploding HURRICANE inside a ship was to gain civil defence information, contrary to her claim:

"However, civil defence always remained a low priority relative to the primary aim of weapons development."

This claim contradicts the stated civil defence objectives of the HURRICANE nuclear test director, Dr (later Lord) William G. Penney. See, for example, the interview of Penney published in journalist Bertin's 1955 book Atom Harvest, where Penney also describes his work on modelling the base surge in an underwater explosion.

From Leonard Bertin's book Atom Harvest, pages 149:

"When the planning began," Sir William Penney tells us, "a lot of thought was given to deciding which type of explosion would provide information and experience of the greatest value. Purely scientific measurements are most easily made when the weapon is placed at the top of a high tower, but there were other weighty considerations. The civil defence authorities in this country badly needed more data about atomic explosions and accordingly the test was planned to get as much novel information as possible for civil defence. The decision was thus taken to explode the weapon in a ship moored near land, thus simulating an explosion in a port."

(See also photographic plate 12 on page 161 on the PDF of the book for photos of sandbagged WWII type Anderson shelters surviving the HURRICANE nuclear test.)


Penney's early research on this fallout radiation problem is published in the 96-pages long, Los Alamos handbook compiled by a group headed by the brilliant neutron bomb inventor, Samuel T. Cohen, Cross-roads handbook of explosion phenomena, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory report LA-550, April 9, 1946 (6.1 MB PDF download link here; notice that Cohen adds an amendment to correct radiation calculation errors in Penney's paper!).

The purpose of that handbook was to predict the radioactive fallout contamination and other effects from the forthcoming CROSSROADS-BAKER nuclear weapon test, a 23.5 kt device to be detonated 90 feet below the surface of water 180 feet deep in Bikini Lagoon on July 25, 1946. Penney failed to predict the radiation hazards adequately, and was stunned to watch the radioactive base surge spreading out from the base of the collapsing water column while attending the test as a blast effects scientist. In his later BBC broadcast, Penney vividly described the BAKER base surge as: ‘a thin pancake mixture spreading as it is poured into a frying pan.’ Later, Penney and his colleague Hicks simulated the base surge in the laboratory by releasing columns of dyed water into water of slightly different density (produced by varying the salinity of the water), and presented a 24-pages long paper called "The Base Surge: the Mechanism of Fall-Out" at the secret 1948 Symposium on the Physical Effects of Atomic Weapons, Paper No. 14, declassified by the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment in 1955.

This paper demonstrates vital British civil defence research on fallout in 1948 influencing the nature of the test of Britain's first nuclear weapon, an objective decided upon in August 1950 (over two years before the test), according to page 68 of Richard Moore's book The Royal Navy and nuclear weapons. Ms Smith seems to think that the first Home Office information on fallout came from the 1950 American manual The Effects of Atomic Weapons, when in fact the Home Office received the vitally important 1948 AWRE Symposium on the Physical Effects of Atomic Weapons, as proved, for instance, by the discussion in the 1949 Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch paper HO 225/14, The advantage of lying prone in reducing the dose of gamma rays from an airburst atomic bomb.



Above: the residual contamination from the 1946 Bikini Atoll 23.5 kt BAKER nuclear test at 27 m depth in 55 m deep lagoon water, as published on page 285 of the 1950 edition of Glasstone's U.S. Department of Defense book The Effects of Atomic Weapons. To Penney detonated the first British nuclear bomb, 25 kt HURRICANE, at 2.7 m depth underwater in a 1,370-ton river class frigate anchored in 12 m of water 350 m off Trimouille Island, Monte Bello. The shallow HURRICANE explosion sucked up far more seabed mud than BAKER did, thus creating far more severe close-in fallout, and leaving a saucer-shaped crater on the seabed 6 m deep and 300 m across.

Unfortunately, the HURRICANE test fallout information was so important (as a bargaining chip for trading with America in exchange for megaton surface burst fallout data) that it was classified "Top Secret". Stanbury therefore in 1953 and 1954 had to write up a special more obscure "Restricted" version of the HURRICANE fallout results for civil defence use, HO 225/42, giving the fallout pattern from the HURRICANE test as idealized ellipses of similar area and length to the measured "fan shaped" pattern, without revealing the source of the new data, although still showing the vastly higher one-hour dose rates on adjacent land than those Glasstone (1950) gave for the 1946 BAKER underwater test. The difference was due to the considerably shallower depth of water in the HURRICANE test, which caused more mud to be taken up in the mushroom cloud, increasing the close-in fallout. In another report, HO 225/51, they applied the idealized elliptical version of the HURRICANE nuclear test fallout pattern to the situation of two bombs detonated off the port of Liverpool.

Ms Smith also omits to mention the Fission Fragments journal publication in the late 1960s of a draft Atomic Weapons Research Establishment report on the shielding of fallout gamma radiation at the British Operation ANTLER nuclear tests for civil defence in 1957 (also available as National Archives report HO 227/114 Extracts from a draft report entitled Operation Antler, the Attenuation of Residual Radiation by Structures). She makes no mention of the fact that the Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch was given the classified November 1957 manual, the Capabilities of Atomic Weapons (only declassified in 1997) which was extensively checked and used by Stanbury in Home Office Advisory Branch reports on fallout and thermal radiation transmission. (For thermal effects assessing the classified American manual see National Archives documents HO 227/23, HO 227/90, HO 225/109, HO 225/112; for fallout assessments of the classified American manual see for example HO 225/101 Downwind fallout area from groundburst megaton explosions 1960.)



Instead of showing examples of Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch nuclear weapons testing research, Ms Smith tends to play down the more impressive basis for civil defence by using the example of core refuge shelter design tests done in 1955 with radioactive sources distributed around buildings in England, which is useful for illustrating that there was at least some kind of evidence behind Protect and Survive advice, but this kind of British research was not really secret and had already been published in an American report. She helpfully points out that, in 1955, Edward Leader-Williams at the Scientific Advisory Branch wrote a Preliminary note on refuge rooms (National Archives document HO 338/18), and that Leader-Williams had also been behind the implementation of the "Morrison" indoor refuge shelter design developed as a result of the Blitz (the Government's November 1940 Shelter Census found that 60% of Londoners were not going out to cold, wet shelters during Blitz night air raids but were just taking cover under tables, which usually protected them even if the house collapsed, hence the development of a strong indoor refuge room table shelter, the "Morrison"). She does later cite A. D. Perryman's 1964 Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch report CD/SA 117, Experimental determination of protective factors in a semi detached house with or without core shelters, National Archives document HO 225/117, which is the key document behind Protect and Survive. A concise illustrated summary of it was published in the report by D. T. Jones, The Protection Against Fallout Radiation Afforded by Core Shelters in a Typical British House, published on pages 298-303 of the U.S. Proceedings of the Symposium held at Washington, D.C. April 19-23, 1965 by the Subcommittee on Protective Structures, Advisory Committee on Civil Defense, U.S. National Research Council, Protective Structures for Civilian Populations (available freely as a PDF download from Google is linked here). Jones' report states that a survey of protective factors (fallout gamma radiation dose rate reduction factors) in 11 districts of Britain in 1958 showed that, with no protection other than windows being blocked (with say sandbags) to the same mass per unit area as the walls, some 36% of houses had protective factors of 1-25, 28% had protection factors of 25-39, 29% had 40-100 and 7% had over 100. In the summer of 1963, the benefit from "core shelters" in houses of the easily improvised Protect and Survive sort were measured for radiation shielding efficiency at the Civil Defense School, Falfield park, Gloucestershire. The measured protection factor of 21 in the house was increased to 39 inside the Protect and Survive "lean to" shelter consisting of simply doors piled with bags of matter leaning against an inner wall.

It is vitally important to stress that all such measurements using say 1.25 MeV mean energy gammas from Co-60 or similar standard radioactive sources, massively underestimate protection factors from the most threatening types of fallout hazard, i.e. those from the U-238 encased thermonuclear bombs, due to low gamma ray energy caused by fractionation and neutron induced non-fission activities like U-239, Np-239, U-240, and U-237 in the U-238 casing, as explained by Dr Terry Triffet (fallout characterization project officer for Operation REDWING) at the 22-26 June 1959 Congressional Hearings on the Biological and Environmental Effects of Nuclear War. Dr Triffet on pages 61-111 of those published hearings and also in weapon test report WT-1317 co-authored with Philip D. LaRiviere showed that at 1 week after burst, the mean gamma ray energy of fractionated fallout 8 statute miles downwind on Bikini Lagoon barge YFNB 29 due to 5.01 Mt burst 87% fission REDWING-TEWA in 1956 was just 0.25 MeV (4.5 grams per square foot of fallout was deposited there, giving a peak dose rate on the barge of 40 R/hr at 2.7 hours after burst), while at 60 statute miles on ship LST 611 downwind it was 0.35 MeV (due to less depletion of high energy fission products at greater distances, a fractionation effect) where only 0.06 gram/square foot of fallout was deposited giving a peak dose rate of 0.25 R/hr at 14 hours after burst. On page 205 of the June 1959 hearings on the Biological and Environmental Effects of Nuclear War, Dr Triffet explained that the low gamma ray energy makes most of the radiation very easy to shield by improvised emergency countermeasures:

'I thought this might be an appropriate place to comment on the variation of the average energy. It is clear when you think of shielding, because the effectiveness of shielding depends directly on the average energy radiation from the deposited material. As I mentioned, Dr Cook at our [U.S. Naval Radiological Defense] laboratory has done quite a bit of work on this. ... if induced products are important in the bomb [dirty bombs with U-238 jackets], there are a lot of radiations emanating from these, but the energy is low so it operates to reduce the average energy in this period and shielding is immensely more effective.'

George R. Stanbury of the Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch investigated the contribution of low-energy Np-239 to fallout radiation for civil defence purposes in his 1959 report The contribution of U239 and Np239 to the radiation from fallout, National Archives document HO 226/75 (beware: Stanbury makes a calculating error in the computation of the contribution from U-239, but that is not as important as the Np-239 which is accurate). The Home Office gained a detailed confirmation of this from Dr Carl F. Miller's Fallout and Radiological Countermeasures, vol. 1, in 1963, which merited a lengthy review report, National Archives document HO 227/74. (Page 432 of the 1962/64 editions of Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons also confirmed Stanbury's estimate that non-fission neutron induced activities in U-238 cased bomb fallout contribute up to about 40% of the gamma radiation about 4 days after detonation.)

Ms Smith falls into the popular prejudice (discredited by Professor Freeman Dyson in his 1984 book Weapons and hope, where he explains that when as a nuclear weapons design consultant he visited Los Alamos and LANL in 1958, all of the nuclear weapons being designed were of far lower yield than the old 10-15 megaton range weapons tested in 1952-4):

"In November 1952, however, the United States tested the world’s first hydrogen bomb, or H-bomb.32 This new type of weapon was not only hundreds of times more powerful than the atomic bomb, but also generated far greater quantities of radioactive dust – fallout – which was produced when an H-bomb was detonated at ground level, and which could spread radiation hundreds of miles from the site of the explosion."

Multimegaton weapons were largely abandoned in the late 1950s (with the exception of fifty stockpiled 9 megaton warheads used for the massive, liquid-fueled Titan II missile, which was retained specifically in the stockpile in order to threaten to shake up the shelter system under the Kremlin in the event of a war, before the lower-yield earth penetrator was developed), because firstly they are extremely ineffective weight-for-weight compared to using a larger number of lower yield weapons, and secondly, their immense weight of many tons requires massive delivery systems. Because the area of destruction is less than proportional to the yield, bigger weapons are less effective than the same energy delivered by a larger number of smaller yield weapons. This is precisely why nobody stockpiles 50 megaton bombs for deterrence, although such yields were successfully tested for political purposes.



Above: the 1950 edition of Glasstone's U.S. Department of Defense book The Effects of Atomic Weapons predicted effects from fission air bursts of up to 200 kilotons (the highest yield predicted for the 1951 GREENHOUSE test series at Eniwetok), which includes the yield ranges of many nuclear weapons still stockpiled today. This graph from page 374 of that book shows that damage distances only vary slowly for large variations in explosive energy.

When you look at the average warhead yields stockpiled since about 1960, and take account of the fact that damage radii typically scale as the cube-root of yield, the thermonuclear weapons are typically about one order of magnitude larger in yield than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki weapons, so that the damage radii are increased by a factor of typically 101/3 ~ 2. Thus, analyses of the effects on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not obsolete; the testing of an undeliverable (82 ton mass) 10 megaton yield bomb at Eniwetok in 1952 did not change the real civil defence situation at any time because such massive bombs and their delivery systems were never deployed in significant numbers!

In any case, there were wide variations in nuclear strategy during the period that her article covers, which altered the way in which nuclear weapons would be used in war. In the 1950s, tactical nuclear warfare was rehearsed in Nevada nuclear weapons tests: nuclear weapons would be used as low air bursts dropped over enemy beach defenses prior to invasions of D-Day kind, preventing slaughter. On page 171 of On Thermonuclear War (1960), Herman Kahn argues: "... in World War I and World War II ... civilian morale played a essential role in furnishing men and materials to the fighting fronts. This is no longer true, and therefore civilians and their property are no longer military targets. The idea of bonus nonmilitary damage is now not only immoral, it is senseless." This was put made into national policy by U.S. Defense Secretary McNamara in his famous "no cities" Ann Arbor, Michigan speech of June 1962:

"The U.S. has come to the conclusion that, to the extent feasible, basic military strategy in a possible general nuclear war ... should be the destruction of the enemy's military forces, not of his civilian population."

As Clausewitz stated, the objective of a war is the resolution of a disagreement by the hot-blooded extension of politics, not an attempt to slaughter civilians (which is the major threat from the cold-blooded "peaceful" use of gas chambers and starvation in concentration camps). "Total war" by the indiscriminate bombing of cities in World War II hardened civilian resolve and defeated its military purpose: two megatons of conventional explosives and incendiaries dropped on Germany did not alone end World War II. However, Ms Smith's article is just a general overview of a large body of research so these issues should not obscure the fact that her article is far closer to the facts than the unbalanced, ignorant attacks of previous historians who based all of their conclusions about civil defence effectiveness on the books and thoughts of scientifically ignorant politicians, ignoring the actual research done by the Home Office Scientific Advisory branch altogether. Ms Smith concludes:

"... The implicit assumption by historians that scientific advisers were providing mere technical background to civil defence decisions has led to their important role in civil defence policy being ignored. Yet while ministers and top officials were arguing about the future of civil defence, the scientific advisers were helping define the terms on which nuclear war and civil defence would be understood. Far from being merely a group of boffins, there to be tapped by policymakers for technical data as required, the advisers played an active role in deciding how civil defence would be framed and how its problems would be solved. Policymakers and politicians took the final decisions about civil defence policy, but fundamental decisions taken by the Home Office scientists helped determine their range of options.

"Understanding these interactions is crucial in shedding light on the diverse ways in which science has been, and still is, used as a tool to shape policy."

The exact mechanism by which the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended World War II




Above: munitions were being manufactured in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as in all Japanese cities. Before Hiroshima, no fewer than 93 Japanese cities had all been burned down (with the same average area destroyed as that due to the nuclear explosion in Nagasaki) using conventional incendiary air raids at a mere fraction of the cost in money, resources, and human work that the nuclear bombs required. This photo appropriately shows the remains of the torpedo plant at Nagasaki after the nuclear blast. Japan began the war against America at Pearl Harbor by dropping a revolutionary secret new weapon: specially designed torpedoes which could operate in harbor water normally too shallow for torpedoes; America likewise ended the war by dropping a secret new kind of bomb.

On October 1, 2009, Professor Freeman Dyson in a lecture at Tufts University "argued that it was not the August 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki but the Soviet invasion of Manchuria that convinced the Japanese to surrender at the end of World War II."

The exact mechanism is:

(1) News of Hiroshima convinced Joseph Stalin that the war against Japan was nearly over, so to be included on the list of victors in that war Stalin declared war against Japan on 8 August 1945 (two days after Hiroshima). (President Truman had already indicated to him that America was preparing to use nuclear weapons, and spies at Los Alamos had already given Stalin the key nuclear weapons secrets.)

(2) Japan's leaders had been holding out against nightly air raids and city firestorming by incendiaries, in the hope that Stalin would help negotiate an armistice or conditional surrender.

(3) Once Stalin had declared war on Japan on 8 August and had firmly backed that up by invading Japanese-held Manchuria on 9 August, and America had dropped a second nuclear weapon (Nagasaki) on Japan also on 9 August, Japanese hopes for Soviet diplomatic assistance evaporated.

The successful attacks of the Soviet Union in Manchuria, in the week after it declared war on Japan, defeated Japanese resolve and led to the Japanese surrender on 15 August, as Tsuyoshi Hasegawa demonstrates in his 2006 book, Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan. But this Soviet invasion of Manchuria was not independent of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Stalin waited until Hiroshima before he declared war on Japan and launched his invasion of Manchuria.

So nuclear weapons acted in two separate ways on Japan: (1) they added to the damage already being done nightly in thousand-bomber air raids on the cities of Japan, and (2) they pushed Stalin into hastily declaring war on Japan and starting to fight the Japanese before Japan could surrender to America. David Holloway's 1996 book, Stalin and the Bomb, documents Stalin's entirely delusional and paranoid dictatorial thought. Stalin viewed any offer of friendship and disarmament from "capitalists" as either suspicuous (trickery by capitalists?) or else as a sign of the inherent and exploitable weakness of democracy (the gullible stupidity of the capitalist politicians). His decisions were based entirely upon getting the biggest gains for the Soviet Union as he could, and he did not want friendship or collaboration with "capitalists" unless there was a material Soviet gain to be expected from it. He was not the kindly "Uncle Joe" character portrayed by World War II propaganda, and had no qualms about violating the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact. Wikipedia states:

"On August 6 and 9, the Americans dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. Also on August 9, the Soviet Union launched a surprise invasion of the Japanese colony in Manchuria (Manchukuo), in violation of the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact. These twin shocks caused Emperor Hirohito to intervene and order the Big Six to accept the terms the Allies had set down for ending the war in the Potsdam Declaration. After several more days of behind-the-scenes negotiations and a failed coup d'état, Hirohito gave a recorded radio address to the nation on August 15. In the radio address, called the Gyokuon-hōsō (Jewel Voice Broadcast), he read the Imperial Rescript on surrender, announcing to the Japanese populace the surrender of Japan."

There has been a great deal of propaganda over the facts due to the controversy over the role of nuclear weapons. Clearly America could have won the war without using nuclear weapons, but Stalin would have continued to hold out for as long as possible before getting involved so in that case the war would have been extended, and conventional air raids plus a ground invasion of Japan could have caused a predicted million casualties. (Cynical historians at the BBC hyped propaganda that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were simply demonstrations of American power to the Soviet Union, beginning the Cold War. The BBC's Laurence Rees, who was behind it, also wrote a 1992 book to his BBC TV series on propaganda, We Have Ways of Making You Think, where he writes: "Goebbels was undeniably a nasty piece of work, but he was a genius in his chosen field and one should be prepared to learn from nasty people as well as nice ones." In 2008, having failed to sway opinion in 1995 to the view that Hiroshima was designed to be a demonstration to Stalin, Rees wrote another BBC book, World War Two: Behind Closed Doors – Stalin, the Nazis and the West, which stated: "The reason the bomb was dropped was – as common sense suggested all along – primarily because the Americans wanted to end the war as quickly as possible and, crucially, prevent the need to invade the Japanese home islands.") See also Norris McWhirter's article, "The BBC's Hiroshima Disgrace", in the October 1995 issued of Freedom Today, analyzing the 1989 and 1995 BBC TV propaganda.

The person behind the way nuclear weapons were used against both Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan was in fact Colonel Paul Tibbets, head of the 509th, who piloted the Enola Gay in the Hiroshima attack. His autobiography, The Tibbets Story, published in 1978, is factual and frank on the way the bombs were used: they were used to maximise casualties in order to try to shock the Japanese into conceding defeat before they ran out of nuclear weapons. The problem for America was that it was producing plutonium too slowly to produce more than two bombs for delivery in August. Colonel Tibbets explains simply:

"The use of a second bomb the same week was calculated to indicate that we had an endless supply of this superweapon ... Actually, a third atomic bomb would not be ready until September, but we were confident two would be enough."

In other words, it was a confidence trick. America could not have caused as much destruction in Japan with nuclear weapons as it had already caused with conventional chemical explosives and incendiary attacks, because it didn't have enough nuclear weapons. According to page 336 of Glasstone's Effects of Atomic Weapons (1950), the March 9, 1945 air raid dropping 1,667 tons of TNT and incendiary bombs on Tokyo caused more casualties than Hiroshima or Nagasaki and destroyed 15.8 square miles, compared to just 4.7 at Hiroshima and 1.8 at Nagasaki, while the average for 93 air raids on other Japanese cities gave a mean of 1.8 square miles destroyed per raid of 1,129 tons of TNT and incendiaries. In other words, the same area destruction as 93 Nagasaki nuclear attacks had already been done in Japan by non-nuclear bombing air raids! That's how much more destructive "conventional" warfare was compared to nuclear weapons. The same occurred in Europe, where for example on February 13, 1945, 800 RAF Lancasters dropped 3 kt of TNT and incendiary bombs on Dresden, destroying 15 square miles and killing a similar number of people as were killed in Hiroshima.

The only reason why the casualty rates at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not lower was the element of surprise deliberately exploited by Tibbets, who records in his autobiography how he sent small groups of weather observation aircraft over the cities at the same time each day for weeks before dropping the bombs in part to make the population complacent (ignoring the air raid siren warnings), and also to reduce the concern of the AA (anti-aircraft) guns of the cities: hence, as widely documented by survivors accounts, most people at Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not take cover, but stood and watched the lone B-29 drop its bomb, often from behind glass windows, because they were unaware of the hazard of a nuclear weapon. If they had known, and had ducked and covered when they saw the bomb fall, they would have avoided the thermal burns and flying glass injuries which caused the lethal synergism of combined infected wounds and radiation-depressed white blood cell counts, where the radiation exposure would not have caused a lethal effect if unaccompanied by burns and other trauma:



Above: Dr Shields Warren (whose factual testimony on radiation hazards to the U.S. Congress in 1957 we discussed in the previous post) and Dr Ashley Webster Oughterson compiled detailed data on the survival of groups of people at various distances in Hiroshima according to the degree of protection they had in their book Medical effects of the atomic bomb in Japan, Based on the Six Volume Report of the Joint Commission for the Investigation of the Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan (McGraw Hill, New York, 1956).

The high casualty rates from thermal radiation in Japan are not generally applicable to other situations. The U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment study The Effects of Nuclear War in 1979 pointed out that on a cold winter night typically only 1 % of the population would be exposed to thermal radiation, compared to typically 25 % for the summer and daytime. In addition, the weather (atmospheric visibility) affects thermal transmission from bomb to target, just as the wind direction affects fallout delivery to a target in a surface burst. Nobody therefore can assert that a nuclear weapon explosion will automatically produce the effects exhibited on Hiroshima. Even if the atmospheric conditions were similar, other factors would be different and the results would not be the same. For example, Glasstone and Dolan, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons (1977), in Table 12.17 on page 546, stated that the distance from ground zero in Hiroshima for 50 % survival after 20 days was 0.12 miles for people in concrete buildings and 1.3 miles for people standing outdoors. Therefore the difference in distances between the range for 50% survival in modern city buildings and that for people flash burned, irradiated and blasted while standing in the open, was a factor of 11 for Hiroshima, so the difference in areas is a factor of 112 ~ 120. Hence, taking cover in modern city buildings would reduce the risk of being killed by a factor of 120 for Hiroshima conditions, contrary to popular media presented political propaganda that civil defence is hopeless.

Notice that Japanese and the media presentations in general of the effects on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have generally whitewashed over the difference in survival rates due to "duck and cover" in their data, and prefer to instead present the data politically to butress the falsehood that survival was impossible, claiming falsely that this is proved by printing photos of burned corpses and such like, while ignoring the 93 Nagasaki sized conflagrations produced by non-nuclear incendiary bombing before Hiroshima. Like C. E. M. Joad's propaganda which helped Hitler in 1933-9, they lie to support political initiatives which claim to cause disarmament and peace by snubbing civil defence, but which in fact simply encourage proliferation of weapons to terrorists and dictatorships which ignore treaties and revel in creating the one system of weapons which democracies falsely hype - using lies from Hiroshima - as being impossible to defend against. They don't care about scientific facts which people need to know to reduce risks which history has shown can never be averted simply by signing contracts with dictatorships and terrorists; they just care just about promoting their lying propaganda because it is currently deemed "politically correct" by scientifically ignorant, prejudiced politicians.


Relevant analogy to gas attack risk in World War II

"The use of gas is indeed a two-edged sword which may cut equally well both ways, and the certainty of reprisal on its own citizens will undoubtedly restrain any belligerent state from embarking upon unlimited gas warfare from the air, unless it is in desperate circumstances and is willing to gamble all on one gigantic blow, in the hope of crushing its adversary before he can retaliate.

"Although the use of gas against the civil population, at least in the early stages of a war, may be considered as unlikely, nevertheless, there is always the ever-present danger that it may be used at any time and may come as a complete surprise. For this reason, the only safe course that any government worthy of the name can adopt is to see that all possible steps are taken in time of peace to prepare for such an eventuality and that its civil population will be adequately protected against such attacks. It is in recognition of this danger that each country in Europe has provided gas masks and shelters for its entire urban population and has set up a most elaborate system of Passive Defense in its great cities."

- Lieutenant Colonel Augustin M. Prentiss, General Staff Corps., United States Army, Civil Air Defense: A Treatise on the Protection of the Civil Population against Air Attack, McGraw-Hill, London, 1941, p. 65.

Exaggeration of the effects of chemical and biological war

The first nerve gas, tabun, was discovered in Nazi Germany by the chemist Dr Gerhard Schrader who was peacefully developing organophosphate insect killers for farmers at the Leverkusen Laboratories of I. G. Farbenindustrie. Similarly, the most powerful nerve "gas" (actually a liquid droplet agent, since it is extremely persistent with a low vapor pressure and only evaporates very slowly in typical weather conditions), VX, was discovered by British pesticide chemist Dr Ranajit Ghosh at the ICI Plant Protection Laboratory in 1952. (In 1958 the VX formula was reportedly given to America, together with some British thermonuclear test data, in part exchange for the blueprint of the Mk 28 nuclear weapon.) These chemists were working on ways to feed humanity and prevent starvation, by preventing plagues of insects from eating crops. They were not working on weapons! Organophosphates are simply organic compounds that contain phosphorus: human DNA contains phosphorus and so is an organophosphate in the general definition.

Typical exaggerations of nerve gases like VX claim that say 1 kg of VX could kill 1,000,000 people by inhalation. However, because it has such a low vapor pressure, it doesn't form a gas and you would need to disperse it as an aircraft spray of small liquid droplets to spread it uniformly over a wide area. Chemical warfare experiments show that the contaminated air forms a layer typically 300 metres thick, so the mean air concentration is simply X/(300A) milligrams/m3 where X is the amount of liquid released (in milligrams) and A is the ground area covered. Hence, 1 kg of VX released over an area of 1 km2 will typically produce a concentration of 0.0033 mg/m3 which is too low to kill before the wind disperses it.

"The signatories, including Great Britain, of the Geneva Protocol of 1925, have each undertaken not to initiate biological warfare but history has shown that, in spite of such an undertaking, an enemy may use any weapon, forbidden or not, if it is thought to be effective and particularly of his victim is considered to be unprepared to meet it." - Introduction to Biological Warfare, British Civil Defence Manual of Basic Training, Vol. II, Pamphlet No. 7, 1951, classified Restricted.

"It can be said that Nature has continually waged biological warfare against Man ... Sennacherib's armies besieging Jerusalem were strick down by a 'pestilence' ... Plague cut down the crusaders at the gates of Jerusalem, typhus riddled the Moors in Spain, and dysentery thinned Napoleon's ranks as they advanced in Moscow. During the Boer war typhoid fever did more damage than bullets ...

"Some extreme statements have been made ... from animal experiments ... 1 ounce of botulinus toxin would be enough to kill 840,000,000,000 mice and by comparing the weight of a mouse with that of a human being [for equal concentrations of poision per unit of body mass] it would be enough to kill about 220,000,000 human beings. This is about the population of North America. But this does not make 1 ounce of botulinus toxin a suitable weapon to use on the 220 million people in North America. ... It has been suggested, rather facetiously, that the world's population could be drowned in a swimming pool - given everybody's cooperation!"

- J. C. Cotterill, British Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch, "Biological Warfare", Fission Fragments, issue No. 17, June 1971, pp. 27-28.

War after the Cold War

After the Cold War, Harvard politican scientist Samuel Huntington addressed the problem of the next battleground in an article in Foreign Affairs and in an interview in the 28 June 1993 issue of Time. In ancient times, most wars were made between kings or tribes. Both twentieth century World Wars and the Cold War were between ideologies such as imperialism versus democracy or democracy versus dictatorships of fascism or communism. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the nature of war has continued its evolution and wars have predominantly been between rival religious "civilizations" (as termed by Huntington). E.g., the Croation versus Serbian Civil War which started in the former Yugoslavia after the Soviet Union collapsed (sparked when Croatia declared itself independent on 29 May 1991), was a war between people who spoke the same language but followed different religions or forms of "civilization". In the 1993 Time interview, Huntington argued:

"The conflicts among civilizations will be increasingly central: the West and Islam, Islam and Hindu civilizations in India, Islam vs. the slavic Orthodox Russian civilization, China and Japan as civilizations. ... Islam is the most strict religion in the world outside of Christianity. There is no separation between religion and politics. ... The most significant dividing line in Europe now is the line where Western Christianity ends and Orthodox Christianity and Islam begin. That is a line which hasn't changed much in several hundred years. Its significance was suppressed during the cold war. ... In Asia there is the Hindu-Muslim conflict in India, which could involve Pakistan. ... the Asian and virtually all the Middle Eastern Islamic states are increasing their military strength. There is this Confucian-Islamic connection between China and North Korea on one hand and Middle Eastern states like Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya on the other. ... The cold war was relatively simple. The Russians certainly had no martyr complex. They were rational in ways we tend to think of as rationality. It is not clear that people in these other civilizations think in the same way."

In previous posts we have mentioned some of the nuclear war groupthink in popular 1960s films such as Planet of the Apes and Dr Strangelove. The key conclusion is that people want to consider nuclear war "unthinkable", and this need to avoid thinking drives the desire to absurdly exaggerate the effects, just as this same head-in-the-sand attitude led to a situation which allowed both World Wars. It is important to grasp Herman Kahn's argument that Hitler did not start World War II by declaring war against Britain or France. He talked only peace, tried to invade countries without any opposition by intimidating them into peaceful surrender, and merely threatened to "retaliate" if attacked. Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, just as it had in 1914. It was not the other way around. Kahn's point is that Hitler went out of his way to make it all too easy for his enemies to avoid war.

The cold-blooded "civilized" methods of Hitler, organizing the Holocaust with IBM punched card sorters (mechanical computers) and organized "peaceful" gas chambers, present a paradox to those who falsely claim that the root of all evil in wars is the bomb or the gun. Disarmament does not prevent the underlying cause of war, and if war is a symptom of a disease, then trying to prevent war will prevent the problem being identified and treated. Covering up symptoms, like papering over cracks or sweeping problems under the carpet, does not prevent the underlying problem. Is war a disease, or only the symptom of a disease? If Britain and America had surrendered to fascism or communism to avoid any risk of conflict, would that have created a terrific utopia, rather than hell on Earth? There are still some nutcases who think it would, but the majority in the West at least have so far elected politicians who do not believe in the obviously bogus doctrine of "security through vulnerability".

Summary and conclusion

Terrorists successfully prey on the vulnerable. The political spreading of lies concerning threats and the alleged ‘impossibility’ of all countermeasures, terrorizing the population in order to ‘justify’ supposedly pro-peace disarmament policies in the 1920s-1930s, resulted in the secret rearmament of fascist states which were terrorizing the Jews and others, eventually leading to World War II.


Lying exaggerations today about nuclear weapons effects:


(1) encourage terrorist states and other groups to secretly invest in such weapons to use either for political intimidation or for future use against countries which have no countermeasures, and


(2) falsely dismiss, in the eyes of the media and the public, cheap relatively effective countermeasures like civil defense and ABM.


Therefore, doom-mongering media lies make us vulnerable to the proliferation threat today in two ways, just as they led to both world wars:


(1) Exaggerations of offensive technology and a down-playing of simple countermeasures such as trenches, encouraged belligerent states to start World War I in the false belief that modern technology implied overwhelming firepower which would terminate the war quickly on the basis of offensive preparedness: if the facts about simple trench countermeasures against shelling and machine guns during the American Civil War had been properly understood, it would have been recognised by Germany that a long war based on munitions production and logistics would be necessary, and war would have been seen to be likely to lead to German defeat against countries with larger overseas allies and colonies that could supply munitions and the other resources required to win a long war.


(2) Exaggerations of aerial bombardment technology after World War I led to disarmament ‘supported by’ false claims that it was impossible to have any defense against a perceived threat of instant annihilation from thousands of aircraft carrying gas and incendiary bombs, encouraging fascists to secretly rearm in order to successfully take advantage of the fear and vulnerability caused by this lying political disarmament propaganda.


Historically, it has been proved that having weapons is not enough to guarantee a reasonable measure of safety from terrorism and rogue states; countermeasures are also needed, both to make any deterrent credible and to negate or at least mitigate the effects of a terrorist attack. Some people who wear seatbelts die in car crashes; some people who are taken to hospital in ambulances, even in peace-time, die. Sometimes, lifebelts and lifeboats cannot save lives at sea. This lack of a 100% success rate in saving lives doesn't disprove the value of everyday precautions or of hospitals and medicine. Hospitals don't lull motorists into a false sense of security, causing them to drive faster and cause more accidents. Like-minded ‘arguments’ against ABM and civil defense are similarly vacuous.



Extract from an earlier post on thermal ignition by radiant exposure:




Above: thermal ignition nuclear test pages from Glasstone, 1964. Normal white-washed wood can't be ignited readily by yields below about 100 megatons unless it has paper trash piled around it or is decayed, because the thermal pulse is so short that a cloud of black smoke forms by ablation of less than 1 mm thickness of the wood. The smoke screens the underlying wood, preventing ignition as will be demonstrated.

"THERMAL IGNITION OF FRAMEHOUSES", testimony by Dr Frank H. Shelton (Technical Director of the U.S. Armed Forces Special Weapons Project), on page 28 of the U.S Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Special Subcommittee on Radiation, Hearings entitled The Biological and Environmental Effects of War, June 22-26, 1959

Dr Shelton was asked to resolve the uncertainty as to whether persistent ignition can occur to a wooden house in a nuclear attack (in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, no houses were ignited by direct thermal radiation on the wood; instead the blast wave overturned charcoal cooking braziers used at breakfast time 8:15 am in Hiroshima and for preparing lunch at 12:01 pm in Nagasaki, although a few fires were ignited as we shall see in black-colored air raid "black out" curtains in windows - which are no longer used, modern light-colored curtains requiring far larger ignition energies). Shelton responded by assembling extracts from four paragraphs (7.62, 7.93, 7.82 nd 7.38) of Glasstone's June 1957 Effects of Nuclear Weapons as follows:

"7.62 Wood is charred by exposure to thermal radiation, the depth of the char being closely proportional to the energy received. For sufficiently large amounts of energy, wood in some massive forms may exhibit transient flaming, but persistent ignition is improbable under the conditions of a nuclear explosion. However, the transitory flame may ignite adjacent combustible material which is not directy exposed to the radiation. ...

"7.93 From the evidence of charred wood found at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was originally concluded that such wood had actually been ignited by thermal radiation and that the flames were subsequently extinguished by the blast. But it now seems more probable that, apart from some exceptional instances, such as [the ignition of adjacent combustible trash by the transient flames], there was no actual ignition of the wood. The absorption of the thermal radiation caused charring in sound wood but the temperatures were generally not high enough for ignition to occur. Rotted and checked wood and excelsior, however, have been known to bur completely, and the flame is not greatly affected by the blast wave.

"7.82 The fact that accumulations of ignitable trash close to a wooden structure represent a real fire hazard was demonstrated at the nuclear tests carried out in Nevada in 1953. In these tests, three miniature wooden houses, each having a yard enclosed with a wooden fence, were exposed to 12 calories per square centimeter of thermal radiation. One house, at the left, had weathered siding showing considerable decay, but the yard was free from trash. The next house also had a clean yard; and, further, the exterior siding was well maintained and painted. In the third house, at the right, the siding which was poorly maintained, was weathered, and the yard was littered with trash.

"7.38 The state of the three houses after the explosion was as follows: the third house, at the right, soon burst into flame and was burned to the ground. The first house, on the left, did ignite but it did not burst into flame for 15 minutes. The well-maintained house in the center with a clean yard suffered scorching only."



Above: people escaping the firestorm in the bamboo furnishings and paper screen filled wooden houses at Hiroshima, where thermal ignition was due to black coloured air-raid "blackout" curtains (which ignite easily, unlike light colours), and the overturning of thousands of household charcoal cooking braziers used during the breakfast-time attack in Hiroshima (the Nagasaki attack occurred when lunch was being prepared). The firestorm did not develop instantly, and lying propaganda is debunked by the facts:

‘The evidence from Hiroshima indicates that blast survivors, both injured and uninjured, in buildings later consumed by fire [caused by the blast overturning charcoal braziers used for breakfast in inflammable wooden houses filled with easily ignitable bamboo furnishings and paper screens] were generally able to move to safe areas following the explosion. Of 130 major buildings studied by the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey ... 107 were ultimately burned out ... Of those suffering fire, about 20 percent were burning after the first half hour. The remainder were consumed by fire spread, some as late as 15 hours after the blast. This situation is not unlike the one our computer-based fire spread model described for Detroit.’

- Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, U.S. Department of Defense, DCPA Attack Environment Manual, Chapter 3: What the Planner Needs to Know About Fire Ignition and Spread, report CPG 2-1A3, June 1973, Panel 27.

The originally ‘secret’ May 1947 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey report on Nagasaki states (vol. 1, p. 10):

‘... the raid alarm was not given ... until 7 minutes after the atomic bomb had exploded ... less than 400 persons were in the tunnel shelters which had capacities totalling approximately 70,000.’

This situation, of most people watching lone B-29 bombers, led to the severe burns by radiation and flying debris injuries in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The originally ‘secret’ May 1947 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey report on Hiroshima, pp. 4-6:

‘Six persons who had been in reinforced-concrete buildings within 3,200 feet [975 m] of air zero stated that black cotton black-out curtains were ignited by flash heat... A large proportion of over 1,000 persons questioned was, however, in agreement that a great majority of the original fires were started by debris falling on kitchen charcoal fires... There had been practically no rain in the city for about 3 weeks. The velocity of the wind ... was not more than 5 miles [8 km] per hour....

‘The fire wind, which blew always toward the burning area, reached a maximum velocity of 30 to 40 miles [48-64 km] per hour 2 to 3 hours after the explosion ... Hundreds of fires were reported to have started in the centre of the city within 10 minutes after the explosion... almost no effort was made to fight this conflagration within the outer perimeter which finally encompassed 4.4 square miles [11 square km]. Most of the fire had burned itself out or had been extinguished on the fringe by early evening ... There were no automatic sprinkler systems in building...’

The vital six secret volumes of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey consist of three volumes on Hiroshima dated May 1947 and three on Nagasaki dated June 1947. (These are completely separate from the brief unclassified summary on the effects published by the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey in 1946.) These secret volumes were finally declassified in 1972 and may be inspected at the British National Archives, as documents AIR 48/160, AIR 48/161, AIR 48/162, AIR 48/163, AIR 48/164, and AIR 48/165.

Dr Ashley Oughterson and Dr Shields Warren noted a fire risk on page 17 of their book Medical effects of the atomic bomb in Japan, Based on the Six Volume Report of the Joint Commission for the Investigation of the Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan (McGraw Hill, New York, 1956):

‘Conditions in Hiroshima were ideal for a conflagration. Thousands of wooden dwellings and shops were crowded together along narrow streets and were filled with combustible material.’



Above: seasoned ponderosa pine and douglas fir wood was just surface-charred to less than 1 mm depth (regardless of intensity), and not ignited, by a 30 kiloton TEAPOT Nevada test in 1955. The depth of charring shown in the curves are experimentally accurate to within +/- 10 % and apply to normal incidence (face-on exposure). (If the wood is exposed at angle A to the direction of the fireball, the radiant exposure needed for the same depth of charring is increased by the factor 1/cosine A.) Source: Kyle P. Laughlin, Thermal Ignition and Response of Materials, Report to the Test Director, Operation TEAPOT, Nevada Test Site, February-May 1955, Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, weapon test report WT-1198, December 1957 (declassified in July 1960), AD0611227. Laughlin exposed many inflammable materials to 30 kt Nevada nuclear weapons tests at Operation TEAPOT in 1955, discovering that thermal ignition to cause fires required thin kindling fuels (particularly newspaper litter, straw or sawdust), while thick inflammable materials such as plywood just undergo thermal ablation, i.e. the emission of smoke due to the vaporization of a fraction of a millimetre of the surface layer (e.g., the outer paint layer). The smoke produced in this way by the first part of the thermal radiation then shields and protects the underlying wood from reaching ignition temperature! Laughlin concludes his report as follows:

"Timber impregnated with flammable preservative oils, when painted with a white-pigmented fire-retarded coating composition [i.e. simply white-wash] whose chemical and physical characteristics fulfil requirements as specified by the Engineering Division of the Association of American Railroads, should be capable of resisting the thermal effects of atomic devices if the structure survives physically the effects of the blast wave. [For higher yield devices, even more thermal radiation exposure is required for the same effect, because the longer duration of the thermal pulse for bigger weapons produces a smaller temperature rise in any given material.]"

This had been known since the very first nuclear test, TRINITY (July, 16 1945):

‘The measured total radiation at [9.1-km] from the centre was 0.29 calories/cm2 ... Examination of the specimen exposed at [975 m] shows ... the charred layer does not appear to be thicker than 1/10 millimetre.... scorching of the fir lumber used to support signal wires extended out to about [1.9 km] ... the risk of fire due to the radiation ... is likely to be much less than the risk of fire from causes existing in the buildings at the time of explosion.’ – W. G. Marley and F. Reines, July 16th Nuclear Explosion [TRINITY, 1945]: Incendiary Effects of Radiation, Los Alamos report LA-364, October 1945, originally Secret, pp. 5-6.

“... the flow of heat [even within the fireball] into a massive object, such as a shot tower, shield, or coral rock, will be comparatively slow [in comparison to the brief duration of high fireball temperatures] even with a high temperature gradient. Consequently, the interior portions of large structures in the neighborhood [of the fireball] may not receive enough heat to evaporate ...”

- S. L. Whitcher, et al., Operation HARDTACK, Project 2.8, U.S. Naval Radiological Defense laboratory, weapon test report WT-1625 (1961), p. 12.

“The fact that only a thin layer of sand was actually either vaporized or melted, even though in contact with the fireball ... indicates that the thermal effects penetrate only superficially into solid material during the short duration of the very high temperatures. By computing the energy required to heat, decarbonate, and melt 264 tons of coral sand and to heat, melt and vaporize 165 tons of iron ... 8.5 % of the available radiant energy [i.e., 3% of the 15.2 kt yield of the 61-m high tower REDWING-INCA test, because the radiant energy was 35% of the total energy of the explosion] was utilised for heating the tower and soil material.”

- Charles E. Adams and J. D. O’Connor, U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, report USNRDL-TR-208, 1957, p. 13.

"An investigation was undertaken to determine the probability of ignition of thick woods by thermal radiation. ... Measurements were made to determine the irradiance and time necessary to produce glow and flaming ignition in ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and maple. ... It was concluded that for sound solid woods of a normal moisture content, it is almost impossible to start continued ignition with nuclear weapons of a size less than about 100 Mt at a distance where blast damage would not be severe." [Emphasis added.]

- F. W. Brown, III, Ignition of Thick Wood Specimens by High-Temperature Thermal Radiation, Naval Civil Engineering Lab., California, 1965, report AD0475535.

"The radiant exposure to ignite tinder materials for thermal radiation from nuclear weapons was measured. The experiments involved 41 materials commonly encountered in urban areas and are to provide basic data of direct use in the determination of fires caused by nuclear weapons and to provide basic information for ignition prediction models. The radiant exposures for ignition of the most susceptible common material, newspaper (dark picture) ranged from 5.1 cal/cm2 to 31 cal/cm2 for bursts of 20 kt to 100 Mt respectively. Black roll roofing, a common material representing an important but less susceptible fuel, ignited at 38 cal/cm2 for a 1 MT pulse and 45 cal/cm2 for a 10 Mt pulse. Other thin fuels ignited at various intermediate or higher exposures."

- John Bracciaventi, R. Heilferty, and Willard L. Derksen, Radiant Exposures for Ignition of Tinder by Thermal Radiation from Nuclear Weapons, Naval Applied Science Lab., Brooklyn, 1966, report AD0640595.

ABOVE: U.S. Army photo showing how a mere leaf of Fatsia japonica attenuated the heat flash enough to prevent scorching to the bitumen on an electric pole near the Meiji Bridge, 1.3 km range, Hiroshima. It didn't even vaporize the leaf before the pulse ended, let alone did it somehow ignite the wooden pole (most photos claiming to show thermal flash radiation effects in Hiroshima and Nagasaki purely show effects from the fires set off by the blast wave overturning cooking stoves, which developed 30 minutes to 2 hours later).

'Even blades of grass cast permanent shadows on otherwise badly scorched wood. The [Hiroshima nuclear bomb heat] flash lasted less time than it took the grass to shrivel.' - Chapman Pincher, Into the Atomic Age, Hutchinson and Co., London, 1950, p. 50.

ABOVE: the heat flash radiation which causes the scorching is so unscattered or unidirectional that any shading from the fireball source stops it even if you are exposed to the scattered radiation from the rest of the sky: shadows still present in October 1945 in the bitumen road surface of Yorozuyo Bridge, 805 m SSW of ground zero, Hiroshima, pointed where the bomb detonated (U.S. Army photo).

“The foliage making up the crowns [upper branches and leaves] of the trees, while it has a high probability of being exposed to the full free-field radiation environment from air bursts... may, however, materially reduce the exposure of the forest floor by generating quantities of smoke and steam, as well as by direct shading.” - Philip J. Dolan, Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons, U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency, 1978 revision, Secret – Restricted Data, Chapter 15, "Damage to Forest Stands", paragraph 15-9.

"Green leaves and needles on tree crowns smoke and char but do not ordinarily sustain ignition. This smoke production materially reduces the radiant exposure of the ground surface." - Capabilities of Atomic Weapons, U.S. Department of Defense, TM 23-200, Confidential, 1960, page 11-2.

“Fuels seldom burn vigorously, regardless of the wind conditions, when fuel moisture content exceeds about 16 percent. This corresponds to an equilibrium moisture content for a condition of 80 percent relative humidity. Rainfall of only a fraction of an inch will render most fuels temporarily nonflammable and may extinguish fires in thin fuels... Surface fuels in the interior of timber stands are exposed to reduced wind velocities; generally, these fuels retain their moisture as a result of shielding from the wind and shading from sunlight by the canopy.” - Philip J. Dolan, Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons, U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency, 1978 revision, Secret – Restricted Data, Chapter 15, "Damage to Forest Stands", page 15-60. (This material can also be found in the U.S. Department of Defense's Capabilities of Atomic Weapons, TM-23-200, Confidential, 1960, p. 11-3.)



Above: Figure 6.24a of the 1957 Effects of Nuclear Weapons showing effect of a nuclear explosion giving a peak overpressure of 3.8 psi to a natural Pisonia dominated forest stand (similar to American beech forests) with a mean tree height of 50 feet and a mean diameter at the stem base of 2 feet (note that the test report WT-921 states that at 8,800 feet where the peak overpressure was 4.2 psi some 58% of trees were snapped so the figure of 90% given by Glasstone 1957 is not justified; about 50% of the trees were broken by 3.8 psi not 90%); this photo is identified as Bikini Atoll's Eniirikku (codenamed Uncle by America) Island, at a position just 9,300 feet from the 110 kt CASTLE-KOON nuclear surface burst test of 1954 in Figure 3.8 on page 38 of the originally Secret - Restricted Data report on forest stands exposed at Operation Castle, WT-921. Notice that the forest was not ignited; it did not burn contrary to anti-civil defense lies which are popularized by propaganda ... [for remainder of this thermal effects post, please click here].

***

The Effects of Nuclear Explosions

‘The purpose of a book is to save people [the] time and effort of digging things out for themselves. ... we have tried to leave the reader with something tangible – what a certain number of calories, roentgens, etc., means in terms of an effect on the human being. ... we must think of the people we are writing for.’


– Dr Samuel Glasstone, DSc, letter dated 1 February 1957 to Colonel Dent L. Lay, Chief, Weapons Effects Division, U.S. Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, Washington, D.C., pages 2 and 4, concerning the preparation of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons.



Glasstone and Dolan stated in The Effects of Nuclear Weapons (1977), Table 12.17 on page 546, that the median distance in Hiroshima for survival after 20 days was 0.12 miles for people in concrete buildings and 1.3 miles for people standing outdoors. Therefore the median distances for survival in modern city buildings and in the open differed by a factor of 11 for Hiroshima; the difference in areas was thus a factor of 112 or about 120. Hence, taking cover in modern city buildings reduces the casualty rates and the risks of being killed by a factor of 120 for Hiroshima conditions, contrary to popular media presented political propaganda that civil defence is hopeless. This would reduce 120,000 casualties to 1,000 casualties.


From Dr Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons (1962/64 ed., page 631): ‘At distances between 0.3 and 0.4 mile from ground zero in Hiroshima the average survival rate, for at least 20 days after the nuclear explosion, was less than 20 percent. Yet in two reinforced concrete office buildings, at these distances, almost 90 percent of the nearly 800 occupants survived more than 20 days, although some died later of radiation injury. Furthermore, of approximately 3,000 school students who were in the open and unshielded within a mile of ground zero at Hiroshima, about 90 percent were dead or missing after the explosion. But of nearly 5,000 students in the same zone who were shielded in one way or another, only 26 percent were fatalities. ... survival in Hiroshima was possible in buildings at such distances that the overpressure in the open was 15 to 20 pounds per square inch. ... it is evident ... that the area over which protection could be effective in saving lives is roughly eight to ten times as great as that in which the chances of survival are small.’


Lord Mayhew, House of Lords debate on Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations, Hansard, vol. 444, cc. 523-49, 1 November 1983: ‘... if there had been effective civil defence at Hiroshima probably thousands of lives would have been saved and much human suffering would have been avoided. There is no question about it. ...’


Since the 1977 update by Glasstone and Dolan, extensive new updates to EM-1 for a further revised edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons have not actually been published with unlimited public distribution, due to President Carter’s 1979 executive order which transferred responsibility for civil defense from the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Civil Preparedness Agency to the new agency (which is not an Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, and is not concerned with the analysis of nuclear weapons test effects data), the Federal Emergency Management Agency. However, the February 1997 U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Special Weapons Agency 0602715H RDT&E Budget Item Justification Sheet (R-2 Exhibit) states that a revision of Glasstone and Dolan’s unclassified Effects of Nuclear Weapons was budgeted for 1997-9:


“FY 1997 Plans: ... Provide text to update Glasstone's book, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, the standard reference for nuclear weapons effects. ... Update the unclassified textbook entitled, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons. ... Continue revision of Glasstone's book, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, the standard reference for nuclear weapons effects. ... FY1999 Plans ... Disseminate updated The Effects of Nuclear Weapons.


The new publications are either classified or unclassified with limited distribution restrictions (e.g., Bridgman’s Introduction to the Physics of Nuclear Weapons Effects, which includes several chapters on nuclear weapons design to enable initial radiation outputs to be calculated precisely) which prevents up-to-date basic nuclear effects information to justify civil defense against the latest nuclear threats from being widely disseminated; the books are printed for use only by government agencies. The problem with this approach is that widespread public understanding of the best information for civil defense countermeasures is prevented.



‘The evidence from Hiroshima indicates that blast survivors, both injured and uninjured, in buildings later consumed by fire [caused by the blast overturning charcoal braziers used for breakfast in inflammable wooden houses filled with easily ignitable bamboo furnishings and paper screens] were generally able to move to safe areas following the explosion. Of 130 major buildings studied by the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey ... 107 were ultimately burned out ... Of those suffering fire, about 20 percent were burning after the first half hour. The remainder were consumed by fire spread, some as late as 15 hours after the blast. This situation is not unlike the one our computer-based fire spread model described for Detroit.’


- Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, U.S. Department of Defense, DCPA Attack Environment Manual, Chapter 3: What the Planner Needs to Know About Fire Ignition and Spread, report CPG 2-1A3, June 1973, Panel 27.


‘It is true that the Soviets have tested nuclear weapons of a yield higher than that which we thought necessary, but the 100-megaton bomb of which they spoke two years ago does not and will not change the balance of strategic power. The United States has chosen, deliberately, to concentrate on more mobile and more efficient weapons, with lower but entirely sufficient yield ...’ - President John F. Kennedy in his television broadcast to the American public, 26 July 1963.


‘During World War II many large cities in England, Germany, and Japan were subjected to terrific attacks by high-explosive and incendiary bombs. Yet, when proper steps had been taken for the protection of the civilian population and for the restoration of services after the bombing, there was little, if any, evidence of panic. It is the purpose of this book to state the facts concerning the atomic bomb, and to make an objective, scientific analysis of these facts. It is hoped that as a result, although it may not be feasible completely to allay fear, it will at least be possible to avoid panic.’


Dr George Gamow (the big bang cosmologist), Dr Samuel Glasstone, DSc (Executive Editor of the book), and Professor Joseph O. Hirschfelder, The Effects of Atomic Weapons, Chapter 1, p. 1, Paragraph 1.3, U.S. Department of Defense, September 1950.


‘The consequences of a multiweapon nuclear attack would certainly be grave ... Nevertheless, recovery should be possible if plans exist and are carried out to restore social order and to mitigate the economic disruption.’


- Philip J. Dolan, editor of Nuclear Weapons Employment FM 101-31 (1963), Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons DNA-EM-1 (1972), and The Effects of Nuclear Weapons (1977), Stanford Research Institute, Appendix A of the U.S. National Council on Radiological protection (NCRP) symposium The Control of Exposure to the Public of Ionising Radiation in the Event of Accident or Attack, 1981.


‘Suppose the bomb dropped on Hiroshima had been 1,000 times as powerful ... It could not have killed 1,000 times as many people, but at most the entire population of Hiroshima ... [regarding the hype about various nuclear "overkill" exaggerations] there is enough water in the oceans to drown everyone ten times.’


- Professor Brian Martin, PhD (physics), 'The global health effects of nuclear war', Current Affairs Bulletin, Vol. 59, No. 7, December 1982, pp. 14-26.


In 1996, half a century after the nuclear detonations, data on cancers from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors was published by D. A. Pierce et al. of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, RERF (Radiation Research vol. 146 pp. 1-27; Science vol. 272, pp. 632-3) for 86,572 survivors, of whom 60% had received bomb doses of over 5 mSv (or 500 millirem in old units) suffering 4,741 cancers of which only 420 were due to radiation, consisting of 85 leukemias and 335 solid cancers.


‘Today we have a population of 2,383 [radium dial painter] cases for whom we have reliable body content measurements. . . . All 64 bone sarcoma [cancer] cases occurred in the 264 cases with more than 10 Gy [1,000 rads], while no sarcomas appeared in the 2,119 radium cases with less than 10 Gy.’


- Dr Robert Rowland, Director of the Center for Human Radiobiology, Bone Sarcoma in Humans Induced by Radium: A Threshold Response?, Proceedings of the 27th Annual Meeting, European Society for Radiation Biology, Radioprotection colloquies, Vol. 32CI (1997), pp. 331-8.


Zbigniew Jaworowski, 'Radiation Risk and Ethics: Health Hazards, Prevention Costs, and Radiophobia', Physics Today, April 2000, pp. 89-90:


‘... it is important to note that, given the effects of a few seconds of irradiation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, a threshold near 200 mSv may be expected for leukemia and some solid tumors. [Sources: UNSCEAR, Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation, New York, 1994; W. F. Heidenreich, et al., Radiat. Environ. Biophys., vol. 36 (1999), p. 205; and B. L. Cohen, Radiat. Res., vol. 149 (1998), p. 525.] For a protracted lifetime natural exposure, a threshold may be set at a level of several thousand millisieverts for malignancies, of 10 grays for radium-226 in bones, and probably about 1.5-2.0 Gy for lung cancer after x-ray and gamma irradiation. [Sources: G. Jaikrishan, et al., Radiation Research, vol. 152 (1999), p. S149 (for natural exposure); R. D. Evans, Health Physics, vol. 27 (1974), p. 497 (for radium-226); H. H. Rossi and M. Zaider, Radiat. Environ. Biophys., vol. 36 (1997), p. 85 (for radiogenic lung cancer).] The hormetic effects, such as a decreased cancer incidence at low doses and increased longevity, may be used as a guide for estimating practical thresholds and for setting standards. ...


‘Though about a hundred of the million daily spontaneous DNA damages per cell remain unrepaired or misrepaired, apoptosis, differentiation, necrosis, cell cycle regulation, intercellular interactions, and the immune system remove about 99% of the altered cells. [Source: R. D. Stewart, Radiation Research, vol. 152 (1999), p. 101.] ...


‘[Due to the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986] as of 1998 (according to UNSCEAR), a total of 1,791 thyroid cancers in children had been registered. About 93% of the youngsters have a prospect of full recovery. [Source: C. R. Moir and R. L. Telander, Seminars in Pediatric Surgery, vol. 3 (1994), p. 182.] ... The highest average thyroid doses in children (177 mGy) were accumulated in the Gomel region of Belarus. The highest incidence of thyroid cancer (17.9 cases per 100,000 children) occurred there in 1995, which means that the rate had increased by a factor of about 25 since 1987.


‘This rate increase was probably a result of improved screening [not radiation!]. Even then, the incidence rate for occult thyroid cancers was still a thousand times lower than it was for occult thyroid cancers in nonexposed populations (in the US, for example, the rate is 13,000 per 100,000 persons, and in Finland it is 35,600 per 100,000 persons). Thus, given the prospect of improved diagnostics, there is an enormous potential for detecting yet more [fictitious] "excess" thyroid cancers. In a study in the US that was performed during the period of active screening in 1974-79, it was determined that the incidence rate of malignant and other thyroid nodules was greater by 21-fold than it had been in the pre-1974 period. [Source: Z. Jaworowski, 21st Century Science and Technology, vol. 11 (1998), issue 1, p. 14.]’


W. L. Chen, Y. C. Luan, M. C. Shieh, S. T. Chen, H. T. Kung, K. L. Soong, Y. C. Yeh, T. S. Chou, S. H. Mong, J. T. Wu, C. P. Sun, W. P. Deng, M. F. Wu, and M. L. Shen, ‘Is Chronic Radiation an Effective Prophylaxis Against Cancer?’, published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring 2004, page 6, available in PDF format here:


‘An extraordinary incident occurred 20 years ago in Taiwan. Recycled steel, accidentally contaminated with cobalt-60 ([low dose rate, gamma radiation emitter] half-life: 5.3 y), was formed into construction steel for more than 180 buildings, which 10,000 persons occupied for 9 to 20 years. They unknowingly received radiation doses that averaged 0.4 Sv, a collective dose of 4,000 person-Sv. Based on the observed seven cancer deaths, the cancer mortality rate for this population was assessed to be 3.5 per 100,000 person-years. Three children were born with congenital heart malformations, indicating a prevalence rate of 1.5 cases per 1,000 children under age 19.


‘The average spontaneous cancer death rate in the general population of Taiwan over these 20 years is 116 persons per 100,000 person-years. Based upon partial official statistics and hospital experience, the prevalence rate of congenital malformation is 23 cases per 1,000 children. Assuming the age and income distributions of these persons are the same as for the general population, it appears that significant beneficial health effects may be associated with this chronic radiation exposure. ...’


‘Professor Edward Lewis used data from four independent populations exposed to radiation to demonstrate that the incidence of leukemia was linearly related to the accumulated dose of radiation. ... Outspoken scientists, including Linus Pauling, used Lewis’s risk estimate to inform the public about the danger of nuclear fallout by estimating the number of leukemia deaths that would be caused by the test detonations. In May of 1957 Lewis’s analysis of the radiation-induced human leukemia data was published as a lead article in Science magazine. In June he presented it before the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy of the US Congress.’ – Abstract of thesis by Jennifer Caron, Edward Lewis and Radioactive Fallout: the Impact of Caltech Biologists Over Nuclear Weapons Testing in the 1950s and 60s, Caltech, January 2003.


Dr John F. Loutit of the Medical Research Council, Harwell, England, in 1962 wrote a book called Irradiation of Mice and Men (University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London), discrediting the pseudo-science from geneticist Edward Lewis on pages 61, and 78-79:


‘... Mole [R. H. Mole, Brit. J. Radiol., v32, p497, 1959] gave different groups of mice an integrated total of 1,000 r of X-rays over a period of 4 weeks. But the dose-rate - and therefore the radiation-free time between fractions - was varied from 81 r/hour intermittently to 1.3 r/hour continuously. The incidence of leukemia varied from 40 per cent (within 15 months of the start of irradiation) in the first group to 5 per cent in the last compared with 2 per cent incidence in irradiated controls. …


‘What Lewis did, and which I have not copied, was to include in his table another group - spontaneous incidence of leukemia (Brooklyn, N.Y.) - who are taken to have received only natural background radiation throughout life at the very low dose-rate of 0.1-0.2 rad per year: the best estimate is listed as 2 x 10-6 like the others in the table. But the value of 2 x 10-6 was not calculated from the data as for the other groups; it was merely adopted. By its adoption and multiplication with the average age in years of Brooklyners - 33.7 years and radiation dose per year of 0.1-0.2 rad - a mortality rate of 7 to 13 cases per million per year due to background radiation was deduced, or some 10-20 per cent of the observed rate of 65 cases per million per year. ...


‘All these points are very much against the basic hypothesis of Lewis of a linear relation of dose to leukemic effect irrespective of time. Unhappily it is not possible to claim for Lewis’s work as others have done, “It is now possible to calculate - within narrow limits - how many deaths from leukemia will result in any population from an increase in fall-out or other source of radiation” [Leading article in Science, vol. 125, p. 963, 1957]. This is just wishful journalese.


‘The burning questions to me are not what are the numbers of leukemia to be expected from atom bombs or radiotherapy, but what is to be expected from natural background .... Furthermore, to obtain estimates of these, I believe it is wrong to go to [1950s inaccurate, dose rate effect ignoring, data from] atom bombs, where the radiations are qualitatively different [i.e., including effects from neutrons] and, more important, the dose-rate outstandingly different.’


Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, 3rd ed., 1977, pp. 611-3:


‘From the earlier studies of radiation-induced mutations, made with fruitflies [by Nobel Laureate Hermann J. Muller and other geneticists who worked on plants, who falsely hyped their insect and plant data as valid for mammals like humans during the June 1957 U.S. Congressional Hearings on fallout effects], it appeared that the number (or frequency) of mutations in a given population ... is proportional to the total dose ... More recent experiments with mice, however, have shown that these conclusions need to be revised, at least for mammals. [Mammals are biologically closer to humans, in respect to DNA repair mechanisms, than short-lived insects whose life cycles are too small to have forced the evolutionary development of advanced DNA repair mechanisms, unlike mammals that need to survive for decades before reproducing.] When exposed to X-rays or gamma rays, the mutation frequency in these animals has been found to be dependent on the exposure (or dose) rate ...


At an exposure rate of 0.009 roentgen per minute [0.54 R/hour], the total mutation frequency in female mice is indistinguishable from the spontaneous frequency. [Emphasis added.] There thus seems to be an exposure-rate threshold below which radiation-induced mutations are absent ... with adult female mice ... a delay of at least seven weeks between exposure to a substantial dose of radiation, either neutrons or gamma rays, and conception causes the mutation frequency in the offspring to drop almost to zero. ... recovery in the female members of the population would bring about a substantial reduction in the 'load' of mutations in subsequent generations.’


George Bernard Shaw cynically explains groupthink brainwashing bias:


‘We cannot help it because we are so constituted that we always believe finally what we wish to believe. The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it and become blind to the arguments against it. The moment we want to disbelieve anything we have previously believed, we suddenly discover not only that there is a mass of evidence against, but that this evidence was staring us in the face all the time.’


From the essay titled ‘What is Science?’ by Professor Richard P. Feynman, presented at the fifteenth annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, 1966 in New York City, and published in The Physics Teacher, vol. 7, issue 6, 1968, pp. 313-20:


‘... great religions are dissipated by following form without remembering the direct content of the teaching of the great leaders. In the same way, it is possible to follow form and call it science, but that is pseudo-science. In this way, we all suffer from the kind of tyranny we have today in the many institutions that have come under the influence of pseudoscientific advisers.


‘We have many studies in teaching, for example, in which people make observations, make lists, do statistics, and so on, but these do not thereby become established science, established knowledge. They are merely an imitative form of science analogous to the South Sea Islanders’ airfields - radio towers, etc., made out of wood. The islanders expect a great airplane to arrive. They even build wooden airplanes of the same shape as they see in the foreigners' airfields around them, but strangely enough, their wood planes do not fly. The result of this pseudoscientific imitation is to produce experts, which many of you are. ... you teachers, who are really teaching children at the bottom of the heap, can maybe doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.’


Richard P. Feynman, ‘This Unscientific Age’, in The Meaning of It All, Penguin Books, London, 1998, pages 106-9:


‘Now, I say if a man is absolutely honest and wants to protect the populace from the effects of radioactivity, which is what our scientific friends often say they are trying to do, then he should work on the biggest number, not on the smallest number, and he should try to point out that the [natural cosmic] radioactivity which is absorbed by living in the city of Denver is so much more serious [than the smaller doses from fallout pollution] ... that all the people of Denver ought to move to lower altitudes.'


Feynman is not making a point about low level radiation effects, but about the politics of ignoring the massive natural background radiation dose, while provoking hysteria over much smaller measured fallout pollution radiation doses. Why is the anti-nuclear lobby so concerned about banning nuclear energy - which is not possible even in principle since most of our nuclear radiation is from the sun and from supernova debris contaminating the Earth from the explosion that created the solar system circa 4,540 million years ago - when they could cause much bigger radiation dose reductions to the population by concentrating on the bigger radiation source, natural background radiation. It is possible to shield natural background radiation by the air, e.g. by moving the population of high altitude cities to lower altitudes where there is more air between the people and outer space, or banning the use of high-altitude jet aircraft. The anti-nuclear lobby, as Feynman stated back in the 1960s, didn't crusade to reduce the bigger dose from background radiation. Instead they chose to argue against the much smaller doses from fallout pollution. Feynman's argument is still today falsely interpreted as a political statement, when it is actually exposing pseudo-science and countering political propaganda. It is still ignored by the media. It has been pointed out by Senator Hickenlooper on page 1060 of the May-June 1957 U.S. Congressional Hearings before the Special Subcommittee on Radiation of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, The Nature of Radioactive Fallout and Its Effects on Man:


‘I presume all of us would earnestly hope that we never had to test atomic weapons ... but by the same token I presume that we want to save thousands of lives in this country every year and we could just abolish the manufacture of [road accident causing] automobiles ...’


Dihydrogen monoxide is a potentially very dangerous chemical containing hydrogen and oxygen which has caused numerous severe burns by scalding and deaths by drowning, contributes to the greenhouse effect, accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals, and contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape: 'Dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people every year. Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage. Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance. For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death.'


From the site for the petition against dihydrogen monoxide: ‘Please sign this petition and help stop This Invisible Killer. Get the government to do something now. ... Contamination Is Reaching Epidemic Proportions! Quantities of dihydrogen monoxide have been found in almost every stream, lake, and reservoir in America today. But the pollution is global, and the contaminant has even been found in Antarctic ice. DHMO has caused millions of dollars of property damage in the Midwest, and recently California.’


A recent example of the pseudoscientific radiation 'education' masquerading as science that Feynman (quoted above) objected to in the 1960s was published in 2009 in an article called 'The proportion of childhood leukaemia incidence in Great Britain that may be caused by natural background ionizing radiation' in Leukemia, vol. 23 (2009), pp. 770–776, which falsely asserts - in contradiction to the evidence that the no-threshold model is contrary to Hiroshima and Nagasaki data: 'Risk models based primarily on studies of the Japanese atomic bomb survivors imply that low-level exposure to ionizing radiation, including ubiquitous natural background radiation, also raises the risk of childhood leukaemia. Using two sets of recently published leukaemia risk models and estimates of natural background radiation red-bone-marrow doses received by children, about 20% of the cases of childhood leukaemia in Great Britain are predicted to be attributable to this source.' The authors of this pseudoscience which is the opposite of the facts are R. Wakeford (Dalton Nuclear Institute, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK), G. M. Kendall (Childhood Cancer Research Group, Oxford, UK), and M. P. Little (Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Imperial College, London, UK). It is disgusting and sinful that the facts about childhood leukemia are being lied on so blatantly for non-scientific purposes, and it is to be hoped that these leukemia investigators will either correct their errors or alternatively be banned from using scientific literature to promote false dogma for deception until they mend the error of their ways and repent their sins in this matter.


Protein P53, discovered only in 1979, is encoded by gene TP53, which occurs on human chromosome 17. P53 also occurs in other mammals including mice, rats and dogs. P53 is one of the proteins which continually repairs breaks in DNA, which easily breaks at body temperature: the DNA in each cell of the human body suffers at least two single strand breaks every second, and one double strand (i.e. complete double helix) DNA break occurs at least once every 2 hours (5% of radiation-induced DNA breaks are double strand breaks, while 0.007% of spontaneous DNA breaks at body temperature are double strand breaks)! Cancer occurs when several breaks in DNA happen to occur by chance at nearly the same time, giving several loose strand ends at once, which repair proteins like P53 then repair incorrectly, causing a mutation which can be proliferated somatically. This cannot occur when only one break occurs, because only two loose ends are produced, and P53 will reattach them correctly. But if low-LET ionising radiation levels are increased to a certain extent, causing more single strand breaks, P53 works faster and is able deal with faster breaks as they occur, so that multiple broken strand ends do not arise. This prevents DNA strands being repaired incorrectly, and prevents cancer - a result of mutation caused by faults in DNA - from arising. Too much radiation of course overloads the P53 repair mechanism, and then it cannot repair breaks as they occur, so multiple breaks begin to appear and loose ends of DNA are wrongly connected by P53, causing an increased cancer risk.


1. DNA-damaging free radicals are equivalent to a source of sparks which is always present naturally.


2. Cancer is equivalent the fire you get if the sparks are allowed to ignite the gasoline, i.e. if the free radicals are allowed to damage DNA without the damage being repaired.


3. Protein P53 is equivalent to a fire suppression system which is constantly damping out the sparks, or repairing the damaged DNA so that cancer doesn’t occur.


In this way of thinking, the ‘cause’ of cancer will be down to a failure of a DNA repairing enzyme like protein P53 to repair the damage.


Dr Jane Orient, 'Homeland Security for Physicians', Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, vol. 11, number 3, Fall 2006, pp. 75-9:


'In the 1960s, a group of activist physicians called Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) undertook to "educate the medical profession and the world about the dangers of nuclear weapons," beginning with a series of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine. [Note that journal was publishing information for anti-civil defense propaganda back in 1949, e.g. the article in volume 241, pp. 647-53 of New England Journal of Medicine which falsely suggests that civil defense in nuclear war would be hopeless because a single burned patient in 1947 with 40% body area burns required 42 oxygen tanks, 36 pints of plasma, 40 pints of whole blood, 104 pints of fluids, 4,300 m of gauze, 3 nurses and 2 doctors. First, only unclothed persons in direct line of sight without shadowing can get 40% body area burns from thermal radiation, second, duck and cover offers protection in a nuclear attack warning, and G. V. LeRoy had already published, two years earlier, in J.A.M.A., volume 134, 1947, pp. 1143-8, that less than 5% of burns in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were caused by building and debris fires. In medicine it is always possible to expend vast resources on patients who are fatally injured. In a mass casualty situation, doctors should not give up just because they don't have unlimited resources; as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they would need to do their best with what they have.] On its website, www.psr.org, the group boasts that it "led the campaign to end atmospheric nuclear testing." With this campaign, the linear no-threshold (LNT) theory of radiation carcinogenesis became entrenched. It enabled activists to calculate enormous numbers of potential casualties by taking a tiny risk and multiplying it by the population of the earth. As an enduring consequence, the perceived risks of radiation are far out of proportion to actual risks, causing tremendous damage to the American nuclear industry. ... Efforts to save lives were not only futile, but unethical: Any suggestion that nuclear war could be survivable increased its likelihood and was thus tantamount to warmongering, PSR spokesmen warned. ...


'For the mindset that engendered and enables this situation, which jeopardizes the existence of the United States as a nation as well as the lives of millions of its citizens, some American physicians and certain prestigious medical organizations bear a heavy responsibility.


'Ethical physicians should stand ready to help patients to the best of their ability, and not advocate sacrificing them in the name of a political agenda. Even very basic knowledge, especially combined with simple, inexpensive advance preparations, could save countless lives.'


Dr Theodore B. Taylor, Proceedings of the Second Interdisciplinary Conference on Selected Effects of a General War, DASIAC Special Report 95, July 1969, vol. 2, DASA-2019-2, AD0696959, page 298 (also linked here):


'I must just say that as far as I'm concerned I have had some doubts about whether we should have had a civil defense program in the past. I have no doubt whatsoever now, for this reason, that I've seen ways in which the deterrent forces can fail to hold things off, so that no matter what our national leaders do, criminal organizations, what have you, groups of people over which we have no control whatsoever, can threaten other groups of people.'


This point of Taylor is the key fact on the morality. Suppose we disarm and abandon nuclear power. That won't stop fallout from a war, terrorists, or a foreign reactor blast from coming. Civil defence knowledge is needed. Even when America has ABM, it will be vulnerable to wind carried fallout. No quantity of pacifist hot air will protect people against radiation.


Charles J. Hitch and Roland B. McKean of the RAND Corporation in their 1960 book The Economics of Defense in the Nuclear Age, Harvard University Press, Massachusetts, pp. 310-57:


‘With each side possessing only a small striking force, a small amount of cheating would give one side dominance over the other, and the incentive to cheat and prepare a preventative attack would be strong … With each side possessing, say, several thousand missiles, a vast amount of cheating would be necessary to give one side the ability to wipe out the other’s striking capability. … the more extensive a disarmament agreement is, the smaller the force that a violator would have to hide in order to achieve complete domination. Most obviously, “the abolition of the weapons necessary in a general or ‘unlimited’ war” would offer the most insuperable obstacles to an inspection plan, since the violator could gain an overwhelming advantage from the concealment of even a few weapons.’


Disarmament after World War I caused the following problem which led to World War II (reported by Winston S. Churchill in the London Daily Express newspaper of November 1, 1934):


‘Germany is arming secretly, illegally and rapidly. A reign of terror exists in Germany to keep secret the feverish and terrible preparations they are making.’


British Prime Minister Thatcher's address to the United Nations General Assembly on disarmament on 23 June 1982, where she pointed out that in the years since the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 10 million people had been killed by 140 non-nuclear conflicts:


‘The fundamental risk to peace is not the existence of weapons of particular types. It is the disposition on the part of some states to impose change on others by resorting to force against other nations ... Aggressors do not start wars because an adversary has built up his own strength. They start wars because they believe they can gain more by going to war than by remaining at peace.’


J. D. Culshaw, the then Director of the U.K. Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch, stated in his article in the Scientific Advisory Branch journal Fission Fragments, September 1972 (issue No. 19), classified 'Restricted':


'Apart from those who don't want to know or can't be bothered, there seem to be three major schools of thought about the nature of a possible Third World War ...


* 'The first group think of something like World War II but a little worse ...


* '... the second of World War II but very much worse ...


* 'and the third group think in terms of a catastrophe ...


'When the Armageddon concept is in favour, the suggestion that such problems exist leads to "way out" research on these phenomena, and it is sufficient to mention a new catastrophic threat [e.g., 10 years later this was done by Sagan with "nuclear winter" hype, which turned out to be fake because modern concrete cities can't produce firestorms like 1940s wooden-built areas of Hamburg, Dresden and Hiroshima] to stimulate research into the possibilities of it arising. The underlying appeal of this concept is that if one could show that the execution of all out nuclear, biological or chemical warfare would precipitate the end of the world, no one but a mad man would be prepared to initiate such a war. [However, as history proves, plenty of mad men end up gaining power and leading countries into wars.]'


J. K. S. Clayton, then Director of the U.K. Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch, stated in his introduction, entitled The Challenge - Why Home Defence?, to the 1977 Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch Training Manual for Scientific Advisers:


'Since 1945 we have had nine wars - in Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam, between China and India, China and Russia, India and Pakistan and between the Arabs and Israelis on three occasions. We have had confrontations between East and West over Berlin, Formosa and Cuba. There have been civil wars or rebellions in no less than eleven countries and invasions or threatened invasions of another five. Whilst it is not suggested that all these incidents could have resulted in major wars, they do indicate the aptitude of mankind to resort to a forceful solution of its problems, sometimes with success. ...'


It is estimated that Mongol invaders exterminated 35 million Chinese between 1311-40, without modern weapons. Communist Chinese killed 26.3 million dissenters between 1949 and May 1965, according to detailed data compiled by the Russians on 7 April 1969. The Soviet communist dictatorship killed 40 million dissenters, mainly owners of small farms, between 1917-59. Conventional (non-nuclear) air raids on Japan killed 600,000 during World War II. The single incendiary air raid on Tokyo on 10 March 1945 killed 140,000 people (more than the total for nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined) at much less than the $2 billion expense of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs! Non-nuclear air raids on Germany during World War II killed 593,000 civilians.


House of Lords debate Nuclear Weapons: Destructive Power, published in Hansard, 14 June 1988:


Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone: ‘My Lords, if we are going into the question of lethality of weapons and seek thereby to isolate the nuclear as distinct from the so-called conventional range, is there not a danger that the public may think that Vimy, Passchendaele and Dresden were all right—sort of tea parties—and that nuclear war is something which in itself is unacceptable?’


Lord Trefgarne: ‘My Lords, the policy of making Europe, or the rest of the world, safe for conventional war is not one that I support.’


House of Commons debate Civil Defence published in Hansard, 26 October 1983:


Mr. Bill Walker (Tayside, North): ‘I remind the House that more people died at Stalingrad than at Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Yet people talk about fighting a conventional war in Europe as if it were acceptable. One rarely sees demonstrations by the so-called peace movement against a conventional war in Europe, but it could be nothing but ghastly and horrendous. The casualties would certainly exceed those at Stalingrad, and that cannot be acceptable to anyone who wants peace’


On 29 October 1982, Thatcher stated of the Berlin Wall: ‘In every decade since the war the Soviet leaders have been reminded that their pitiless ideology only survives because it is maintained by force. But the day comes when the anger and frustration of the people is so great that force cannot contain it. Then the edifice cracks: the mortar crumbles ... one day, liberty will dawn on the other side of the wall.’


On 22 November 1990, she said: ‘Today, we have a Europe ... where the threat to our security from the overwhelming conventional forces of the Warsaw Pact has been removed; where the Berlin Wall has been torn down and the Cold War is at an end. These immense changes did not come about by chance. They have been achieved by strength and resolution in defence, and by a refusal ever to be intimidated.’


'The case for civil defence stands regardless of whether a nuclear deterrent is necessary or not. ... Even if the U.K. were not itself at war, we would be as powerless to prevent fallout from a nuclear explosion crossing the sea as was King Canute to stop the tide.' - U.K. Home Office leaflet, Civil Defence, 1982.


‘... peace cannot be guaranteed absolutely. Nobody can be certain, no matter what policies this or any other Government were to adopt, that the United Kingdom would never again be attacked. Also we cannot tell what form such an attack might take. Current strategic thinking suggests that if war were to break out it would start with a period of conventional hostilities of uncertain duration which might or might not escalate to nuclear conflict. ... while nuclear weapons exist there must always be a chance, however small, that they will be used against us [like gas bombs in World War II]. ... as a consequence of war between other nations in which we were not involved fall out from nuclear explosions could fall on a neutral Britain. ... conventional war is not the soft option that is sometimes suggested. It is also too easily forgotten that in World War II some 50 million people died and that conventional weapons have gone on killing people ever since 1945 without respite.’ - The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Lord Gray of Contin), House of Lords debate on Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations, Hansard, vol. 444, cc. 523-49, 1 November 1983.


‘All of us are living in the light and warmth of a huge hydrogen bomb, 860,000 miles across and 93 million miles away, which is in a state of continuous explosion.’ - Dr Isaac Asimov.

‘Dr Edward Teller remarked recently that the origin of the earth was somewhat like the explosion of the atomic bomb...’ – Dr Harold C. Urey, The Planets: Their Origin and Development, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1952, p. ix.


‘But compared with a supernova a hydrogen bomb is the merest trifle. For a supernova is equal in violence to about a million million million million hydrogen bombs all going off at the same time.’ – Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001), The Nature of the Universe, Pelican Books, London, 1963, p. 75.


‘In fact, physicists find plenty of interesting and novel physics in the environment of a nuclear explosion. Some of the physical phenomena are valuable objects of research, and promise to provide further understanding of nature.’ – Dr Harold L. Brode, The RAND Corporation, ‘Review of Nuclear Weapons Effects,’ Annual Review of Nuclear Science, Volume 18, 1968, pp. 153-202.


‘It seems that similarities do exist between the processes of formation of single particles from nuclear explosions and formation of the solar system from the debris of a [4 x 1028 megatons of TNT equivalent, type Ia] supernova explosion. We may be able to learn much more about the origin of the earth, by further investigating the process of radioactive fallout from the nuclear weapons tests.’ – Dr Paul K. Kuroda (1917-2001), University of Arkansas, ‘Radioactive Fallout in Astronomical Settings: Plutonium-244 in the Early Environment of the Solar System,’ pages 83-96 of Radionuclides in the Environment: A Symposium Sponsored By the Division of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology At the 155th Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, California, April 1-3, 1968, edited by Symposium Chairman Dr Edward C. Freiling (1922-2000) of the U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, Advances in Chemistry Series No. 93, American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C., 1970.


Dr Paul K. Kuroda (1917-2001) in 1956 correctly predicted the existence of water-moderated natural nuclear reactors in flooded uranium ore seams, which were discovered in 1972 by French physicist Francis Perrin in three ore deposits at Oklo in Gabon, where sixteen sites operated as natural nuclear reactors with self-sustaining nuclear fission 2,000 million years ago, each lasting several hundred thousand years, averaging 100 kW. The radioactive waste they generated remained in situ for a period of 2,000,000,000 years without escaping. They were discovered during investigations into why the U-235 content of the uranium in the ore was only 0.7171% instead of the normal 0.7202%. Some of the ore, in the middle of the natural reactors, had a U-235 isotopic abundance of just 0.440%. Kuroda's brilliant paper is entitled, 'On the Nuclear Physical Stability of the Uranium Minerals', published in the Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 25 (1956), pp. 781–782 and 1295–1296.


A type Ia supernova explosion, which always yield about 4 x 1028 megatons of TNT equivalent, result from the critical mass effect of the collapse of a white dwarf when its mass just exceeds 1.4 solar masses due to matter falling in from a companion star. The degenerate electron gas in the white dwarf is then no longer able to support the pressure from the weight of gas, which collapses, thereby releasing enough gravitational potential energy as heat and pressure to cause the fusion of carbon and oxygen into heavy elements, creating massive amounts of radioactive nuclides, particularly intensely radioactive nickel-56, but half of all other nuclides (including uranium and heavier) are also produced by the 'R' (rapid) process of successive neutron captures by fusion products in supernovae explosions. Type Ia supernovae occur typically every 400 years in the Milky Way galaxy. On 4 July 1054, Chinese astronomers observed in the sky (without optical instruments) the bright supernova in the constellation Taurus which today is still visible as the Crab Nebula through telescopes. The Crab Nebula debris has a diameter now of 7 light years and is still expanding at 800 miles/second. The supernova debris shock wave triggers star formation when it encounters hydrogen gas in space by compressing it and seeding it with debris; bright stars are observed in the Orion Halo, the 300 light year diameter remains of a supernova. It is estimated that when the solar system was forming 4,540 million years ago, a supernova occurred around 100 light years away, and the heavy radioactive debris shock wave expanded at 1,000 miles/second. Most of the heavy elements including iron, silicon and calcium in the Earth and people are the stable end products of originally radioactive decay chains from the space burst fallout of a 4 x 1028 megatons thermonuclear explosion, created by fusion and successive neutron captures after the implosion of a white dwarf; a supernova explosion.


‘The expression of dissenting views may not seem like much of a threat to a powerful organization, yet sometimes it triggers an amazingly hostile response. The reason is that a single dissenter can puncture an illusion of unanimity. ... Among those suppressed have been the engineers who tried to point out problems with the Challenger space shuttle that caused it to blow up. More fundamentally, suppression is a denial of the open dialogue and debate that are the foundation of a free society. Even worse than the silencing of dissidents is the chilling effect such practices have on others. For every individual who speaks out, numerous others decide to play it safe and keep quiet. More serious than external censorship is the problem of self-censorship.’




— Professor Brian Martin, University of Wollongong, 'Stamping Out Dissent', Newsweek, 26 April 1993, pp. 49-50


In 1896, Sir James Mackenzie-Davidson asked Wilhelm Röntgen, who discovered X-rays in 1895: ‘What did you think?’ Röntgen replied: ‘I did not think, I investigated.’ The reason? Cathode ray expert J. J. Thomson in 1894 saw glass fluorescence far from a tube, but due to prejudice (expert opinion) he avoided investigating that X-ray evidence! ‘Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion.’ - Richard Feynman, in Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics, Houghton-Mifflin, 2006, p. 307.


From 1945-62, America tested 216 nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, totalling 154 megatons, with a mean yield of 713 kilotons


From 1949-62, Russia tested 214 nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, totalling 281 megatons, with a mean yield of 1.31 megatons


From 1952-8, Britain tested 21 nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, totalling 10.8 megatons, with a mean yield of 514 kilotons


From 1960-74, France tested 46 nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, totalling 11.4 megatons, with a mean yield of 248 kilotons


From 1964-80, China tested 23 nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, totalling 21.5 megatons, with a mean yield of 935 kilotons


In summary, from 1945-80, America, Russia, Britain, France and China tested 520 nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, totalling 478.7 megatons, with a mean yield of 921 kilotons


Mean yield of the 5,192 nuclear warheads and bombs in the deployed Russian nuclear stockpile as of January 2009: 0.317 Mt. Total yield: 1,646 Mt.


Mean yield of the 4,552 nuclear warheads and bombs in the deployed U.S. nuclear stockpile as of January 2007: 0.257 Mt. Total yield: 1,172 Mt.


For diffraction damage where damage areas scale as the two-thirds power of explosive yield, this stockpile's area damage potential can be compared to the 20,000,000 conventional bombs of 100 kg size (2 megatons of TNT equivalent total energy) dropped on Germany during World War II: (Total nuclear bomb blast diffraction damaged ground area)/(Total conventional blast diffraction damaged ground area to Germany during World War II) = [4,552*(0.257 Mt)2/3]/[20,000,000*(0.0000001 Mt)2/3] = 1,840/431 = 4.3. Thus, although the entire U.S. stockpile has a TNT energy equivalent to 586 times that of the 2 megatons of conventional bombs dropped on Germany in World War II, it is only capable of causing 4.3 times as much diffraction type damage area, because any given amount of explosive energy is far more efficient when distributed over many small explosions than in a single large explosion! Large explosions are inefficient because they cause unintended collateral damage, wasting energy off the target area and injuring or damaging unintended targets!


In a controlled sample of 36,500 survivors, 89 people got leukemia over a 40 year period, above the number in the unexposed control group. (Data: Radiation Research, volume 146, 1996, pages 1-27.) Over 40 years, in 36,500 survivors monitored, there were 176 leukemia deaths which is 89 more than the control (unexposed) group got naturally. There were 4,687 other cancer deaths, but that was merely 339 above the number in the control (unexposed) group, so this is statistically a much smaller rise than the leukemia result. Natural leukemia rates, which are very low in any case, were increased by 51% in the irradiated survivors, but other cancers were merely increased by just 7%. Adding all the cancers together, the total was 4,863 cancers (virtually all natural cancer, nothing whatsoever to do with radiation), which is just 428 more than the unexposed control group. Hence, the total increase over the natural cancer rate due to bomb exposure was only 9%, spread over a period of 40 years. There was no increase whatsoever in genetic malformations.


The earth's atmosphere is a radiation shield equivalent to being protected behind a layer of water 10 metres thick. This reduces the cosmic background radiation by about a factor of 100 of what it would be without the earth's atmosphere. Away from the largely uninhabited poles, the Earth's magnetic field also protects us against charged cosmic radiations, which are deflected and end up spiralling around the magnetic field at high altitude, in the Van Allen trapped radiation belts. On the Moon, for example, there is no atmosphere or significant magnetic field so the natural background radiation exposure rate at solar minimum is 1 milliRoentgen per hour (about 10 microSieverts/hour) some 100 times that on the Earth (0.010 milliRoentgen per hour or about 0.10 microSieverts/hour). The Apollo astronauts visiting the Moon wore dosimeters and they received an average of 275 milliRoentgens (about 2.75 milliSieverts) of radiation (well over a year's exposure to natural background at sea level) in over just 19.5 days. It is a lot more than that during a solar flare, which is one of the concerns for astronauts to avoid (micrometeorites are another concern in a soft spacesuit).



The higher up you are above sea level, the less of the atmosphere there is between you and space, so the less shielding you have to protect you from the intense cosmic space radiations (emitted by thermonuclear reactors we call 'stars', as well as distant supernovae explosions). At sea level, the air above you constitutes a radiation shield of 10 tons per square metre or the equivalent of having a 10 metres thick water shield between you and outer space. As you go up a mountain or up in an aircraft, the amount of atmosphere between you and space decreases, thus radiation levels increase with altitude because there is less shielding. The normal background radiation exposure rate shoots up by a factor of 20, from 0.010 to 0.20 milliRoentgens per hour, when any airplane ascends from sea level to 36,000 feet cruising altitude. (The now obsolete British Concorde supersonic transport used to maintain radiation-monitoring equipment so that it could drop to lower-altitude flight routes if excessive cosmic radiation due to solar storms were detected.) Flight aircrew get more radiation exposure than many nuclear industry workers at nuclear power plants. Residents of the high altitude city of Denver get 100 milliRoentgens (about 1 milliSievert) more annual exposure than a resident of Washington, D.C., but the mainstream anti-radiation cranks don't campaign for the city to be shut to save kids radiation exposure, for mountain climbing to be banned, etc.!


1994 revised Introduction to Kearny’s Nuclear War Survival Skills, by Dr Edward Teller, January 14, 1994:


‘If defense is neglected these weapons of attack become effective. They become available and desirable in the eyes of an imperialist dictator, even if his means are limited. Weapons of mass destruction could become equalizers between nations big and small, highly developed and primitive, if defense is neglected. If defense is developed and if it is made available for general prevention of war, weapons of aggression will become less desirable. Thus defense makes war itself less probable. ... One psychological defense mechanism against danger is to forget about it. This attitude is as common as it is disastrous. It may turn a limited danger into a fatal difficulty.’


Advice of Robert Watson-Watt (Chief Scientist on the World War II British Radar Project, defending Britain against enemy attacks): ‘Give them the third best to go on with, the second best comes too late, the best never comes.’


From Wikipedia (a source of groupthink): ‘Groupthink is a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. Individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking are lost in the pursuit of group cohesiveness, as are the advantages of reasonable balance in choice and thought that might normally be obtained by making decisions as a group. During groupthink, members of the group avoid promoting viewpoints outside the comfort zone of consensus thinking. A variety of motives for this may exist such as a desire to avoid being seen as foolish, or a desire to avoid embarrassing or angering other members of the group. Groupthink may cause groups to make hasty, irrational decisions, where individual doubts are set aside, for fear of upsetting the group’s balance.’



The 1987 edition of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Attack Environment Manual, summarizing some of the then unclassified scientific basis for civil defense countermeasures against a variety of nuclear weapon effects (further evidence has since been declassified, as explained in posts on this blog), is now online and can be downloaded as PDF chapters:

http://www.lrc.fema.gov/downloads/attack_env_1.pdf

http://www.lrc.fema.gov/downloads/attack_env_2.pdf

http://www.lrc.fema.gov/downloads/attack_env_3.pdf


http://www.lrc.fema.gov/downloads/attack_env_4.pdf

http://www.lrc.fema.gov/downloads/attack_env_5.pdf

http://www.lrc.fema.gov/downloads/attack_env_6.pdf

http://www.lrc.fema.gov/downloads/attack_env_7.pdf

http://www.lrc.fema.gov/downloads/attack_env_8.pdf

http://www.lrc.fema.gov/downloads/attack_env_9.pdf

Just to summarize the main points again:

(1) Even a Cold War all-out USSR-US nuclear war before arms reductions would have devastated <5% of the land area of either country by blast, leaving the people and resources of the surviving >95% area to rebuild it, just as occurred after other wars where megatons of conventional bombs which are - for equal quantities - much more efficient at causing destruction than a few nuclear bombs. The commentary of the film of the first 10.4 megaton test, Operation Ivy, argues that the bomb had the energy of all the bombs dropped in World War II: yeah, more impressively, the daily sunlight received on Earth and even the natural storm energy on the planet is even more powerful than a nuclear war as tabulated above. Energy tells you nothing about the destruction. A protracted war using conventional weapons can kill more people and cause more suffering than a brief burst of energy which is easily mitigated as explained above.

(2) Fallout decays. If it didn't decay, it wouldn't emit radiation. The more intense the fission product radiation, the faster it is decaying.

After 7 hours, 90% of the 1 hour radioactivity from fission products has decayed and gone!

After 2 days, 99% of the 1 hour radioactivity from fission products has decayed and gone!

After 2 weeks, 99.9% of the 1 hour radioactivity from fission products has decayed and gone!

What about the 5.3 year half life of cobalt-60? If you put a cobalt case on the bomb instead of a standard fissionable (not fissile, just fissionable by high energy neutrons from fusion reactions) U-238 case, you actually reduce the fallout problem because cobalt-60 formed by capturing a neutron in cobalt-59 emits less radiation energy than the average for the fission products formed by 1 fission of U-238, and it also doesn't contribute to the energy release in the bomb.

Cobalt-60 emits only 2.5 MeV as two gamma rays (1.17 and 1.33 MeV) per neutron absorbed in cobalt-59.

FOR COMPARISON, uranium-238 when fissioned by one neutron emits 6 MeV as delayed fission product gamma rays, and about 200 MeV altogether! (Glasstone and Dolan, 1977, p. 12.)

Total gamma radiation doses are approximately directly proportional to the total gamma ray energy emitted, so a uranium-238 jacket emits 6/2.5 = 2.4 times as much residual gamma radiation as a cobalt-60 jacket, and emits 200/2.5 = 80 times as much energy in total! This is why Stanley Kubrick's cobalt-60 hype is a complete lie.

YOU GET LESS RADIATION FROM COBALT-60 BOMBS THAN FROM USING THE NEUTRONS FOR U-238 FISSION IN STANDARD WEAPONS, AND YOU GET THAT REDUCED RADIATION SPREAD OUT MORE SLOWLY IN COBALT-60 BOMBS THAN IN STANDARD WEAPONS: YOU GET LESS, AND YOU GET IT MORE SLOWLY! YOU ALSO GET NO ADDITIONAL INITIAL EFFECTS. COBALT-60 PROPAGANDA IN FILMS LIKE "DR STRANGELOVE" IS A LIE ... JUST LIKE THE FILMS OF NUCLEAR TESTS WHICH SUPERIMPOSE THE SOUND OF THE BLAST ON THE INSTANT OF THE FLASH, TO TRY TO DISCREDIT "DUCK AND COVER" COUNTERMEASURES BY CONVEYING THE SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE THAT THERE IS NO TIME TO DUCK AND COVER

So the total amount of radiation energy in fallout is reduced if cobalt is used in the bomb in place of the standard U-238 pusher, and the cobalt also reduces its radiation energy at a slower average rate than fission products, allowing biological recovery of most of the radiation exposure while it is being received, and also giving people time to decontaminate the fallout before a significant radiation dose can be accumulated.

Like a clean nuclear weapon (with an inert tungsten or lead pusher in place of U-238), you need more fusion fuel in a nuclear bomb if you remove the U-238 secondary stage pusher or jacket to replace it with cobalt. This is because the fission of U-238 in that pusher adds X-ray energy to the fusion core, making the fusion reaction last longer and burn more efficiently than it would without U-238 fissioning around it. So extra lithium deuteride is needed to overcome the loss in efficiency of the fusion stage when the fissionable U-238 jacket is removed and replaced by cobalt.

As always, there are three defenses against the fallout:

TIME - while the fallout decays fast, you don't need to take cover or evacuate the heavily contaminated area for long; when it decays slowly, the radiation energy emission is spread out so you have more time to decontaminate, cleaning up the area before getting a large radiation dose.

MASS - any kind of mass shields the radiation. Over a contaminated flat surface with no obstacles, 10% of the gamma dose comes downwards as a result of air-scatter but 90% of the gamma dose at 1 metre height (mean body height) is from gamma rays coming directly from fallout, and half of that is from fallout on the ground within 15 metres radius around you (the other half comes directly from deposited fallout at beyond 15 metres radius), so the gamma rays are almost all towards you coming horizontally and in practice will be shielded by the walls of buildings and any other horizontal mass that shields them from you. Boxes filled with plastic bags full of water (or anything else) are an ideal improvised shield, which can be placed on and around a table to make an improvised shelter within a house for protection.

DISTANCE - sheltering as far as possible from the contaminated outside and the roof (e.g., in a central ground floor or basement area) minimises the gamma dose, since the intensity of the radiation falls off both geometrically as the inverse square law of distance as the gamma radiation spreads out from a fallout particle, and also falls off by an exponential factor due to absorption in the air and other materials. Evacuation from the contaminated area while the fallout decays, is an alternative to taking shelter within the contaminated area.

Small boats offer good protection because fallout landing in the water diffuses and sinks so its gamma radiation is shielded by the water to a considerable extent by the water! In open ocean, the fallout after Pacific tests was mixed uniformly down to the thermocline at 60 metres depth and at times beyond two days after the detonations, the gamma dose rates about the water were about 535 times smaller than those on land. The fallout landing on the boat itself gives some deck radiation, but this is only one quarter of that on similarly exposed land for most ships, and only one seventh of the dose on land for very small boats and rafts.

5 Comments:

At 4:58 pm, Blogger nick black said...

One of your very best. A fascinating read.

 
At 4:15 pm, Blogger Paul said...

Hi,

I'm trying to find out who the author of these articles is. I am a debater and am trying to find the most up to date articles from the most qualified authors possible.

So Nige. If I could get a brief biography about your education and work in the field of nuclear war, I could use these articles in a debate about why nuclear winter would not lead to extinction.

Also if you could point me towards some up to date articles or books about the survivability of nuclear war.

Thankyou

 
At 4:33 pm, Blogger nige said...

Hi Paul,

A nuclear winter can't happen because nuclear weapons can't burn brick, steel and concrete buildings. The 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers were aircraft with a lot of aviation fuel, which burned inside the buildings. A nuclear bomb doesn't deposit aviation fuel inside buildings, and anyway, buildings shadow one another from the thermal pulse before the blast arrives (by which time the thermal pulse is generally over). If the thermal pulse is strong, you get immediate surface ablation which causes a smoke screen that stops further heating and prevents fires. The only way you get ignition is by having (1) large windows with a direct line-of sight to the fireball (no intervening buildings) with no blinds and rooms filled with junk like old papers, magazines, and easily inflammable old-type furnishings (not banned by modern fire safety standards) of the 1953 "Encore" nuclear test type, or rooms again with an unobstructed line of sight to the fireball with black-colored World War II air raid "black out" curtains (which were used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to stop city house lights being used to guide American bombers to targets in night-time air raids, something no longer done!) which can ignite easily, or (2) easily overturned charcoal cooking stoves inside thousands of wooden houses filled with paper screens and bamboo inflammables, as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the breakfast time and lunch time attacks.

The worst firestorm of WWI was in Hamburg in a medieval crowded part of wooden multistory buildings and killed 5% of the population at risk, although CND and other propaganda from Ted Postol and others claims that the entire population was killed. You can't have that happen again: the wooden buildings were replaced with brick and concrete. Although it is possible for some fires to ignite inside buildings containing some wooden furnishings and non-fire resistant bedding and sofas, the non-wooden buildings don't cause anything like the same risks of either firespread or the intensity of burning required for firestorms that wooden houses give. The firestorm in Hiroshima was lethal because the the population was in shock from the explosion and survivors outdoors (due to no "duck and cover", just watching the bomb fall and getting facial burns and blast debris/displacement injury in addition to INR), and so were generally injured and unable to rescue people trapped under easily-collapsed wooden buildings, before they burned, many taking 30 minutes to 2 hours to ignite! This situation won't occur again. The centres of even American cities generally don't contain wooden houses anymore: British and most European cities haven't had wooden houses built for centuries. American wooden houses are generally now in suburbs on the periphery of cities and are unlikely to be within reach of the thermal effects of modern MIRVed missile warheads (100-300 kt yield range).

The TAPPS nuclear winter people including Sagan were debunked in the 1980s. First, modern cities of brick and concrete can't be ignited or burn with the intensity of predominantly wooden buildings in Hiroshima: so you don't get a firestorm. There's not enough smoke to cause a nuclear winter.

[Continued below]

 
At 4:33 pm, Blogger nige said...

[Continued]

Sagan and another guy wrote another article and also their 1989 book called "A Path Where No Man Thought", denying the debunkers by claiming that nuclear weapons would all be used against oil refineries and firests, and the burning oil and trees would produce the soot needed for nuclear winter.

Again, there is evidence that this is a lie: the forests imported to the Nevada test site and naturally on Bikini Atoll islands and Eniwetok Atoll islands were filmed receiving massive thermal radiation and just "smoked" during the thermal flash. The smoke shielded thermal radiation. There was no firestorm! The vegetation shadows and thus protects the fine kindling underbrush from
thermal radiation. I've blogged this in detail. Some British tests in Australia and over Christmas and Malden islands caused isolated fires in dry vegetation, but this was the exception and not the rule. Most of the data given for ignition in the 1957 edition of Glasstone's "Effects of Nuclear Weapons" was wrong (as Glasstone acknowledged in the Preface to the February 1964 reprinted edition), because experimenters had exposed dried forest kindling to thermal radiation. In fact, there is almost always some equilibrium moisture in it, which dramatically increases the thermal energy needed for sustained ignition (not just temporary flaming/smoking which only lasts for the duration of the thermal pulse).

Oil and gas tanks were ignited by the Texas City ship explosion in 1947, but that was from hot fragments of an exploding ship full of chemical explosive. Nuclear weapons produce thermal flash and blast, and the thermal flash merely scorches the paint on the outside of the oil or gas tank. When the blast arrives after the thermal flash subsides, it may damage the oil or gas tank, but doesn't ignite it. This is confirmed by nuclear test data from 1955. In addition, Saddam's army ignited all of the oil fields in Kuwait in the early 1990s, and we're still alive: in Hiroshima the soot from the firestorm fell out as the "black rain" (which wasn't significantly radioactive, since the black rain from the firestorm fell an hour after the detonation, when radioactive mushroom cloud had been blown miles downwind, leaving only trivial diffusive airborne activity in the target area). The "black rain" at Hiroshima tells you what happens to soot in the atmosphere after a firestorm: it rapidly gets washed out in rain. Even if that doesn't happen, it won't form a stable, uniform cloud; turbulent instabilities will prevent soot from freezing the whole planet.

So there is no firestorm, no nuclear winter, and the whole thing is a lie.

Thanks for your interest! Since this blog is not a very effective means to convey organized information, I'm editing a free PDF book, and if and when it is published, the bio info will be in that and the accompanying website. I believe with Feynman that the authority of expert consensus is overrated, and facts are more important than authoritive politically-bias groupthink.

As stated in this post, the "survivability of nuclear war" depends on whether we want to face the facts or behave in the way that most people in Hiroshima did (not ducking and covering), in our Cold War propaganda era gullible belief - based on lying propaganda for commie political terrorism - that "the survivors will envy the dead" (quotation from Premier Khrushchev).

Best wishes,
Nige

 
At 6:03 pm, Blogger Paul said...

Nige,

Thankyou so much, I'm tired of worthless arguments about how nuclear winter will kill the plankton in the ocean, or cause mass famine across the world.

Constantly having to debate the work of Alan Robock and Owen Toon, and their 2007 study of an Indo-Pak war.

Your articles will help immensely

Also, is there an estimated date for the PDF file?

Gratefully,

Paul

 

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