Surviving the Cold War

I recently received a stack of atomic bomb survival pamphlets from a fellow ephemera enthusiast, and what a treat! These pamphlets, published in the 1950s, offer a fascinating look into the national public consciousness at the onset of the Cold War. 

Initiated by the U.S. government in response to the Soviet Union's first atomic bomb detonation, the little booklets and leaflets were intended to quell fears and help citizens prepare for an a-bomb attack. They offer advice on everything from preventing radiation burns to protecting food and water supplies.

The initial atomic bombs were relatively small by today's standards, so much of the information is out of date and doesn't take into account modern studies on the long-term effects of radiation, which makes for an intriguing and often humorous read. My favorite advice in the booklets relates to cleaning your house following the fallout:

Unless you are careful, some radioactivity is likely to be tracked in by people or pets ... but don't worry. There isn't much chance really dangerous amounts will pile up in the house. ... You can get rid of all the radioactive dirt you've picked up if you keep scrubbing.

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