Duck and Cover

October 13, 2007


Duck & Cover – 1940’s Instructional Vid

“Duck and Cover” was a suggested method of personal protection against the effects of a nuclear bomb, which was taught to generations of US school children from the late 1940’s through the 1980’s, many assisted by “Burt the Turtle” here. Immediately after seeing the flash (which, of course, would be the last thing they would ever see), they had to stop what they were doing and get on the ground under some cover—such as a desk, or at least next to a wall—and assume the fetal position, lying face-down and covering their heads with their hands. Paranoia was understandably high at the time, and while “assuming the position” would effectively be useless if hit, the PR was invaluable in calming nerves. Today, the focus is directed toward areas prone to earthquakes and tornadoes, and; “Drop, Cover and Hold On” is suggested, time and wits permitting.


The children here are indeed perched atop the Bikini Atoll, present day, and the bomb in the background is as follows: On July 25, 1946 at 8:34 a.m. local time, Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands was rocked by the underwater detonation of a 23 kiloton atomic bomb. This was the second test explosion of Operation Crossroads, a test conducted by the United States Navy to study the affects of nuclear weapons on ships, equipment, and material. The first detonation (Test ABLE) had taken place on July 1, with an aerial detonation of nuclear device at an altitude of 520 feet. The July 25 underwater detonation (Test BAKER) used a device anchored 90 feet underwater, sealed in a watertight steel caisson. For the test, a target fleet of 90 vessels was assembled, including old and surplus U.S. warships as well as three captured German and Japanese ships.



~ X Anemi

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