NATO COnference on Damage Assessment, Summary Report, May 5-6, 1964. Printed at the NATO Headqaurters, Paris, 1964/ 11x8 inches, 127pp, gvc-bound. Very good condition. RARE. $250
“…our choice of path may be delayed too long… “ Dante, Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto XII, line XIII, 2nd level of Hell (envy).
[This item is available for purchase from our blog bookstore, here.]
The NATO Conference on Damage Assessment Summary Report (May 5-6, 1964) was not one written for its outcome, necessarily, but the means of getting there. The outcomes were highly differentiated levels of sameness, a strategic tour of Dante’s creation cataloging the layers of deep destruction like those of his funneling pit.
Professionally the paper dealt with several different ways of computing nuclear exchange scenarios (given names of understated inelegance like Jumbo, Brisk, Frisky, Dart and Dusk) with lots of smokily mirrored hocus pocus, the necessary ingredient of the philosophical technology of Mutually Assured Destruction. MAD. Somehow it all worked out without any exchange ever happening. (The principal contributor here was James Coker, chief of the National resource Evaluation Center, Office of Emergency Planning, Executive off of the President, who I wrote earlier about here.)
bout here.) “Which utterly with sadness had confused me, New torments I behold, and new tormented Around me, whichsoever way I move, And whichsoever way I turn, and gaze.” Dante, Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto VI, third circle, gluttony.
The first image shows the effects of a 20 megaton nuclear blast detonated in in a city, presenting an incredible picture of absolute destruction, reaching out from ground zero for more than 11 miles.
This doesn't begin to measure the overall damage inflicted by radiation, which is deeply, extraordinarily, severe. This again is the effect of one weapon, the 100% fatality rate eventually reaching out 12 miles; 90% reaching over 40 miles. General casualties extend to 80% up to 70 miles from ground zero.
The emergency planning end of the paper comes in at about this point.The fallout map of the U.S. shows a possible situation of an unspecified (though wide-ranging) attack (on a "spring day") and its effects on the population as it is housed in various shelters and bunkers, suggesting the amount of time needed to "survive" the attack by staying inside the fail safe habitation.
The following chart, "Lifesaving Potential of Improved Strategic Defense" (in millions of people) shows the effect of the installation of the shelters and bunkers. In this scenario, in a massive strike, the fatality rate in the U.S. of an unprotected population was 65%, or 144 million. On the other end of the extreme was "ballistic missile defense plus blast shelters plus fallout shelters", or a massively- protected population of fictional expanse shows that in spite of all precautions 45.2 million people would die (as "unavoidable fatalities").
“These have no longer any hope of death; And this blind life of theirs is so debased, They envious are of every other fate.” Canto III, Vestibule of Hell, the Opportunists.
This document is nothing if not a death sentence had the massive strike ever been launched. In the dozens of such reports that I've seen, there hasn't been one with the Really Big One with thousands of euphemistically-named "exchanges", which I assume would make all of these others pale by comparison.