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‘The Catalog of Nuclear Death’: The U.S.’s Hair Raising Plan to Obliterate Russia


‘The Catalog of Nuclear Death’: The U.S.’s Hair Raising Plan to Obliterate Russia, 
The U.S. Air Force’s titled 1956 Atomic Weapons Requirement Study outlined all the targets it planned to hit if World War III broke out and how many bombers and nuclear weapons it would need to get the job done. In short, the report is a catalog of nuclear death. The National Interest, by WarIsBoring 10 Dec 21, Here’s What You Need to Know: The Air Force’s 1956 Atomic Weapons Requirement Study detailed the U.S.’s nuclear plan to attack Russia if the need should ever arrive. 

In one scene from Stanley Kubrick’s iconic Cold War film Dr. Strangelove, an irate president Merkin Muffley refuses to get on board with a massive nuclear attack already in progress. Played by Peter Sellers, Muffley is trying to decide what to do after a rogue U.S. Air Force general sends his planes to bomb the Soviet Union.

“You’re talking about mass murder, general, not war!” Muffley angrily tells George C. Scott’s Gen. Turgidson, after the officer suggests the impending strikes could actually work. “Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed,” Turgidson quips.

“But I do say no more than 10 to 20 million killed … tops,” the general stammers. “Uh, depending on the breaks.”

Released to a public faced with the ever present threat of nuclear annihilation in 1964, Kubrick probably had no idea just how close he was to the truth. Eight years earlier, the Air Force put together a report detailing how to obliterate the Soviet Union, China and their allies.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University obtained the document through a Mandatory Declassification Review and released it online on Dec. 22, 2015.

The flying branch’s blandly titled 1956 Atomic Weapons Requirement Study outlined all the targets it planned to hit if World War III broke out and how many bombers and nuclear weapons it would need to get the job done. Over the course of more than 800 pages, intelligence analysts identified more than 2,000 potential “designated ground zeroes” in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, including both military bases and cities.

“The SAC study includes chilling details,” William Burr, a nuclear researcher and analyst at the National Security Archive, wrote along with the release. “According to its authors, their target priorities and nuclear bombing tactics would expose nearby civilians and ‘friendly forces and people’ to high levels of deadly radioactive fallout.”

In short, the report is a catalog of nuclear death.

In 1956, Washington no longer had a monopoly on atomic bombs, but appeared to be winning the nuclear arms race. While Moscow had set off its first atomic weapon seven years before, the Pentagon had already started fielding even more powerful thermonuclear hydrogen bombs.

With long-range ballistic missiles still in development, the Air Force relied on a fleet of lumbering bombers and faster fighters to lob the nuclear arsenal in any actual war. The attack would come from warplanes armed with free-fall bombs or from early cruise missiles like the much maligned Snark………………

Those targets or target complexes that do not have a direct bearing on the destruction of SovBloc air power objective are part of the systematic destruction objective,” the authors explained. “The importance of the latter is not minimized.”

H-bombs would be reserved for important military targets, like air bases. American planes would drop atomic bombs on the rest……

The report includes a five-page key to every single category that might appear in the voluminous lists of bombing targets. It includes country codes for various facilities in all eight members of the Warsaw Pact. Depending on the type of target, three digit identifiers for Communist China, North Korea, North Vietnam and pre-Shah Iran might also be present.

Every single entry has a special eight-number code corresponding to an entry in a master “bombing encyclopedia.” The first four digits indicate a general zone, while the last four digits indicate the particular site or collection of sites within that particular area. This recording method theoretically allows for up to 9,999 individual targets within a given space.

The analysts clearly tried to pick out anything and everything that might have any effect on the war effort, from facilities producing cutting tools to rubber tires to the antibiotic streptomycin. Most notably, the Air Force defined “275” as the code for “population.”

Every single entry has a special eight-number code corresponding to an entry in a master “bombing encyclopedia.” The first four digits indicate a general zone, while the last four digits indicate the particular site or collection of sites within that particular area. This recording method theoretically allows for up to 9,999 individual targets within a given space.

The analysts clearly tried to pick out anything and everything that might have any effect on the war effort, from facilities producing cutting tools to rubber tires to the antibiotic streptomycin. Most notably, the Air Force defined “275” as the code for “population.”

“The authors developed a plan for the ‘systematic destruction’ of Soviet bloc urban-industrial targets that specifically and explicitly targeted ‘population’ in all cities, including Beijing, Moscow, Leningrad, East Berlin and Warsaw,” Burr pointed out. “Purposefully targeting civilian populations as such directly conflicted with the international norms of the day, which prohibited attacks on people per se (as opposed to military installations with civilians nearby).”

But other contemporary sources make it abundantly clear the Pentagon saw any person tied to a war effort as a viable military target. A now declassified 1952 U.S. Navy film on chemical and biological warfare specifically states a goal “to incapacitate the enemy’s armed forces and that portion of his human population that directly supports them.” With similar thoughts in mind, the U.S. Army had looked into radiological warfare and built deadly dirty bombs………

“The anonymous authors may not have been scientists,” Burr said. “But in light of the 1954 Castle Bravo test, which spread radioactive debris globally, they should have known better.”……. This first appeared in WarIsBoring here.  https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/catalog-nuclear-death-uss-hair-raising-plan-obliterate-russia-197705

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December 11, 2021 - Posted by | Reference, USA, weapons and war

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