This Is Only Test How Washington Prepared for Nuclear War

BOOK: This Is Only Test How Washington Prepared for Nuclear War
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This Is Only a Test
This Is Only a Test
How Washington D.C. Prepared for Nuclear War

David F. Krugler

THIS IS ONLY A TEST
© David F. Krugler, 2006.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

First published in 2006 by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN™ 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010 and Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England RG21 6XS Companies and representatives throughout the world.

PALGRAVE MACMILLAN is the global academic imprint of the Palgrave Macmillan division of St. Martin’s Press, LLC and of Palgrave Macmillan Ltd. Macmillan® is a registered trademark in the United States, United Kingdom and other countries. Palgrave is a registered trademark in the European Union and other countries.

ISBN 1–4039–6554–4

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Krugler, David F., 1969– This is only a test : how Washington, D.C. prepared for nuclear war / by David Krugler.

p.
cm
.
Includes bibliographical references and index
.
ISBN 1–4039–6554–4 (alk. paper
)

1.
Civil defense—Washington (D.C.) 2. Nuclear warfare. I. Title.

UA928.5.W3K89 2006 363.3509753

09045—dc22 2005054648

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Design by Newgen Imaging Systems (P) Ltd., Chennai, India.

First edition: April 2006

10987654321

Printed in the United States of America.

For Am
y

ANNOUNCER
:
ATTENTION PLEASE
...
HERE IS A SPECIAL CIVIL DEFENSE

ANNOUNCEMENT
.
THE ATTACK WARNING SIRENS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
,
MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA ARE SOUNDING THE ALERT SIGNAL AS PART OF THE OBSERVANCE OF NATIONAL CIVIL DEFENSE DAY
.
THIS IS A TEST ALERT
...
NOT AN ACTUAL EMER
GENCY
.
I REPEAT
...
THIS IS A CIVIL DEFENSE TEST OF THE ATTACK WARNING SIRENS AND NOT AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY
.

THIS IS NATIONAL CIVIL DEFENSE DAY AND THE ATTACK WARNING SIRENS ARE SOUNDING THE ALERT SIGNAL AS PART OF A TEST DRILL
. I
F YOU SHOULD HEAR THIS SIGNAL IN AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY SITUATION YOU WOULD TUNE YOUR RADIO TO CONELRAD
. . . 640
OR
1240
ON YOUR RADIO DIAL FOR EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS
.
TODAY THIS SIGNAL MEANS

ALERT WASHINGTON
.”
BE ALERT TO THE DANGERS OF A POSSIBLE ENEMY ATTACK
.
PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR SURVIVAL
.
BE SECURE IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT YOUR FAMILY IS SAFEGUARDED
.

THE ATTACK WARNING SIRENS IN THE WASHINGTON WARNING AREA ARE SOUNDING THE ALERT SIGNAL AS PART OF A CIVIL DEFENSE DRILL
.
THIS IS A TEST
...
THERE IS NO ACTUAL EMERGENCY
.

Text of a radio announcement broadcast i
n
Washington, D.C., at 1:25 p.m.
,
December 7, 1959. Eighteen years before
,
the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had begun
.

Contents

List of Abbreviations and Acronyms
i
x
Acknowledgments
x
i

Introduction 1 A Nuclear Weapons Primer 9 1 By the Bomb’s Imaginary Light 11 2 The Promise and Politics of Dispersal 27 3 The District Defends Itself 45 4 Downtown, Out of Town, or Underground? 59 5 Apathy and the Atom 77 6 The Eisenhower Way 97 7 Practice Makes Perfect 111 8 Capital Confusion 131 9 Land of the Blind 149 10 The Satchel Has Been Passed . . . 169 Postscript 183

Source Abbreviations
191
Notes
195
Index
239

This page intentionally left blank

Abbreviations and Acronyms
ACC
Area Communications Circuit
AEC
Atomic Energy Commission
CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
CND
Council of National Defense
Conad
Continental Air Defense Command
Conelrad
control of electromagnetic radiation
CRP
Crisis Relocation Planning
DCD
D.C. Office of Civil Defense
DEMA
D.C. Emergency Management Agency
DEW
Distant Early Warning Line
DRP
District Response Plan
EAPs
Emergency Action Papers
ExComm
Executive Committee of the NSC
FBS
Federal Buildings Services
FCC
Federal Communications Commission
FCDA
Federal Civil Defense Administration
FEMA
Federal Emergency Management Agency
GSA
General Services Administration
HEW
Department of Health, Education and Welfare
ICBM
intercontinental ballistic missile
IRBM
intermediate range ballistic missile
JCS
Joint Chiefs of Staff
JEEP
Joint Emergency Evacuation Plan
MDW
Military District of Washington
NAWAC
National Warning Control System
NBS
National Bureau of Standards
NCPC
National Capital Planning Commission
NCRPC
National Capital Regional Planning Council
NDAC
National Damage Assessment Center
NEACP
National Emergency Airborne Command Post
NSC
National Security Council
NSRB
National Security Resources Board
OCD
Office of Civilian Defense
OCDM
Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization
ODM
Office of Defense Mobilization
OEP
Office of Emergency Planning

OPAL
Operation Alert OWI Office of War Information PEF Presidential Emergency Facilities PEOC Presidential Emergency Operations Center RACES Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service SAC Strategic Air Command SIOP Single Integrated Operational Plan SLBM submarine-launched ballistic missile TVA Tennessee Valley Authority WASP Washington Area Survival Plan WHEP White House Emergency Plan WHMO White House Military Office WPA Works Progress Administration

Acknowledgments

I
’m grateful for the help of many people and institutions. For financial support of my research, I thank the Eisenhower World Affairs Institute; the Harry S. Truman Library Institute; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Organization of American Historians and the White House Historical Association; and the University of Wisconsin, Platteville. My research benefited greatly from the guidance of dozens of archivists and librarians. I thank the staff of the National Archives, Washington, D.C., and College Park, Md., especially Janis Wiggins, Marjorie Ciarlante, Wayne T. De Cesar, Tab Lewis, and Judith Koucky; archivist Karen Fishman and curator Barbara Wolanin, the Architect of the Capitol; Jackie Cohan, the City of Alexandria Archives and Record Center; Barbara Constable, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library; Gail Rodgers McCormick, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.; Dorothy Barnes and Sabrina Baron, Historic Takoma, Inc.; and Eileen McGuckian, the Peerless Rockville Collection. I also thank the staff of the Fairfax City Regional Library (Va.), Georgetown University Special Collections, George Washington University Special Collections, Greenbelt Public Library (Md.), Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, Library of Congress, Maryland State Archives, Montgomery County (Md.) Archives, Montgomery County Historical Society, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University, National Security Archive, and the Washingtoniana Division of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, Washington, D.C.

Numerous individuals generously responded to inquiries about sources and records. They include Eduard Mark, Department of the Air Force; Alfred Goldberg, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Historical Office; Cliff Scroger, Department of Energy; Donald A. Ritchie, Senate Historical Office; and Michael Warner, Central Intelligence Agency. I am indebted to the late Floyd Paseman for introducing me to Dr. Warner. I appreciate the help of both Christopher Bright, who shared sources with me and offered sugges
tions for chapter 7, and Paul E. Ceruzzi, who provided me with a copy of his paper on Tysons Corner. Special thanks to Alan Lessoff, of Illinois State University, who invited me to present a paper at the 1st Biennial Urban History Conference and whose incisive comments improved the book. Albert LaFrance answered my questions about Mount Weather and “phonevision”; his website “A Secret Landscape: The Cold War Infrastructure of the Nation’s Capital Region” was an important resource as
well. Thanks to Mari Vice for fielding my queries concerning geology and to Brian Peckham for sharing his historic map of Washington, D.C., with me.

This book is better thanks to the input of several readers. Joong-Jae Lee, my colleague at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville, read drafts of the first chapters, as did Frank Valadez and Don Litteau. Their insightful suggestions helped me revise the book at a critical stage. Throughout the writing process, the constructive criticism offered by Eric Pullin was invaluable; I’m especially grateful for his help. Special thanks to Matthew Gilmore, who has supported this project in several ways. In addition to reading chapters, Matthew guided me to sources, first as a Reference Librarian at the Washingtoniana Division and later as founder and coeditor of H-DC, the online discussion network on Washington, D.C., history and culture. I also appreciate the photographs he took for me of dozens of images in the Washington Star Photograph Collection.

Klaus Larres helped arrange my interview with General Andrew J. Goodpaster. General Goodpaster, who passed away before the book appeared in print, gave graciously of his time and answered many questions; his contri
bution to this book is substantial. Thanks as well to Roemer McPhee for answering questions about the Emergency Action Papers; and to Henry Rapalus, for sharing documents and sitting for an interview about his civil defense work during the 1950s.

Editor Brendan O’Malley enthusiastically supported this project from the moment I approached Palgrave, and he provided excellent guidance during the book’s early stages. History Editor Alessandra Bastagli expertly ushered the book through its revisions and into production. Her recommendations have resulted in a much-improved work, and I appreciate the extra time she allowed me to complete the manuscript.

Family and friends have given support every step of the way. My sister Katie and brother-in-law Mike Pospisil generously opened their home to me during a research visit to the Truman Library. Steve Ryan answered questions about martial law. For the weekly diversion of cards and conversation, I thank Mark Sethne, Dennis Ciesielski, and Peter Hadorn. During the final month of work on the book, Dan Kinney coaxed me out of the house for much-needed breaks. The suggestions, encouragement, and love of my parents, John and Dee Krugler, were of inestimable help. Teachers both, my parents inspired me to follow their paths into education. My father is also a historian, and his careful reading of the manuscript aided in revisions. I am most indebted to Amy Lewis, who made Washington, D.C., my destination long before it was a book idea; who gave me a proper introduction to Kierkegaard; and whose unceasing encouragement and faith made these pages possible. It is to her I dedicate this book.

BOOK: This Is Only Test How Washington Prepared for Nuclear War
5.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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