Friday, October 23, 2015

Cold War -- Part 2

Cartoon turtle was campy propaganda tool
Dozens of books about the Korean War have been written, and there are still questions about the genesis of the conflict and what might have happened had the UN actually defeated the North Koreans.

By 1952, America's military escapades had begun to wind down and headlines announced:

Many Korean Vets
Being Returned
To Civilian Life

"As of January 31, 1952, there were 655,000 living veterans (living?) with U.S. military service since the Korean conflict began. This is an average discharge rate of nearly 35,000 a month for the 19-month period (since the start of the war in 1950)."

Most of that report dealt with numbers that had been released by the Veterans Adminstration regarding wounded servicemen who were being treated or were rehabilitating. The VA said that about 4,000 veterans were receiving some kind of care or compensation as a result of action in Korea.


"Albert N. Gant, fund chairman of the 1952 county Red Cross drive, reports that the drive is proceeding satisfactorily. The general public is requested to have their contributions ready when solicitors call."

(Albert, of Fairfield, wore many hats, including that of county truant officer and township trustee at one time.)

But the really big news came in March 1954:

Franklin County
Considered To Be
Non-Target Area

"If Russia should choose to launch an all-out saturation type bombing on the United States, the state of Indiana might have to bury 214,185 of her citizens, provide medical treatment for 114,635 injured citizens and care for 462,180 disaster affected people."

Seems to be somewhat specific in the numbers, but they could be off by two or three, I suppose. In any event, those were figures released by the Indiana Department of Civil Defense, the guys with the white helmets who also directed traffic at the football games on Friday nights.

However, the CD warned that "these figures would be increased considerably if more powerful atomic or hydrogen bombs were used."

Yeah, that makes sense.

Fred Cretors, who was in charge of producing the 80-page document, was quoted in the Brookville Democrat as saying "it would take up to half of all able bodied citizens in every county to handle the dead, injured and homeless in such a catastrophe."

Cretors had this down to a science that boggles the mind.

Either that, or he was guessing at it.

Whoa, a real A-bomb!
The document was designed to give "detailed instructions for setting up both State and county Civil Defense programs."

The whole thing was carved up into 40 or so variables, all managed from a central location in Pendleton, which of course the Soviets would be unable to hit with any sort of weapon.

Every county was to construct a plan based on the overall agenda Cretors had laid out. Obviously the areas where most of the people lived were considered primary targets, though it would take a complete doofus to miss that connection.

After that, the criteria seemed to waver a little, depending on where the county was located in relationship to Indianapolis, Gary, Fort Wayne, Evansville or South Bend.

Dearborn County seemed vulnerable because, darn it, Cincinnati was close, and that was in ... sigh, Ohio, where Cretors had no jurisdiction.

Franklin County, it was finally revealed, met none of the major target criteria, which meant that the Operation Skywatch teams were on the lookout for ... Dumbo the flying elephant.

The American Civil Defense fear propaganda apparatus spent millions of dollars promoting silly cartoons and publishing pointless documents all telling us what to do in case an atomic bomb were to be dropped.

Kids were told to "duck and cover" under their desks. Air raid shelters were set up in store basements and private bomb shelters could be built and stocked with food and fresh water.

All the while, the government kept testing atomic weapons.

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