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"Duck and Cover": A 1951 Civil Defense Film That Substituted for a Civil Defense Program

Gary North
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May 16, 2011

The U.S. government never deployed an underground bomb shelter system. Civil defense was basically a minor program for public relations. It operated for years in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Finally, under Clinton, all of its booklets and records were ordered destroyed.

In 1951, the year before the hydrogen bomb was invented, the government produced a low-budget film to be shown in public schools. There was even a Smokey Bear cartoon character to being the message silently: Bert the Turtle. The film was released in 1952.

The film did not mention this: there were underground blast shelters at Hiroshima. The handful of people who fled into them on August 6, 1945, emerged unscathed. The only reason I know about this is because of Arthur Robinson's research in 1985 at the Oak Ridge Civil Defense library. The U.S. government never constructed such shelters for its civilian population.

Here is the film.

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