JF Ptak Science Books
Diamond, Philip. Should it Happen Here. 1937. Self-published. RAre. 12 leaves. Original printed wrappers. Nice copy. Formerly in the Library of Congress Pamphlet Collection, and previous to that one of the U.S. copyright deposit copies. $125
[An Earlier post on this blog, Mapping the Invasion of America, 1942, addressed another vision of the invasion of the United States--it is also the Most Viewed post that I've written, having been read more than 400,000 times. See also Part II of this post, here; and consider a related post on the Nazi sub-orbital Amerika Bomber]
Philip Diamond discovered an interesting concept in "blurryness" in the pursuit of building with a purpose. In his pamphlet Should it Happen Here, self-published (and printed by the Brighton Press of Brooklyn, U.S.A.) in 1937, Diamond established a need for creating (1) inexpensive housing for the unemployed and (2) poison-gas-proof housing for Americans in general, and came up with (1.5) inexpensive poison-gas-proof housing. In blurring the lines between the two needs I'm not sure that he satisfied anyone's needs, spreading his engineering/architectural gifts jut a little (or a lot) of bit too thin.
One thing Diamond was sure of was that the next war would be governed by "one man flying in an aircraft and releasing vapors of poisonous gas for destruction" and assured his readers that in this new war "there would be no front lines". "The future war will not be carried to the front line; it will be carried to the front door." That of course was true for hundreds of millions of people in Europe and the Soviet Union and South Asia, but not so in the same sense for anyone in America--unless those Americans happened to live on a remote chain of Alaskan islands. Diamond was sure that war was coming directly to the U.S., and although he doesn't name the country/countries that would be responsible for attacking America with poison gas, he did name one of the aircraft that would come here to do that--the HE112. (The HE 112 was a prototype fighter aircraft that wasn't adopted, with fewer than 100 produced. How this would get across Europe and then across the Atlantic and then across the U.S. I'm not sure.)
Once Diamond gets to the design of his house things get a little fuzzy--and heavy./ Very heavy. HE proposed a domed structure with a foot-thick "exterior roof" and a foot-thick "interior roof" of concrete, between which would be sandwiched three feet of sawdust. The sawdust was supposed to act as both a filter to noise and soot and dust from the outside world, as well as a filter for poisonous gases.
The 5-foot thick structure would be embedded on a 10-foot thick concrete bed (for earthquake protection) and surrounded on its sides by another 10-foot concrete structure of something that I can't figure out. Not surprisingly, the author announced with a section headings that there would be "No WIndows". There would be a double entry equipped with an "air condition" that would wash folks entering the house and decontaminate the gases that might've impregnated their clothing or bodies (though Diamond says nothing about outerwear).
Once inside (charmingly referred to as "the vault") the occupants would find two bedrooms, a kitchen/dining room, and two lavatories (one "miniature" for the children, not so much for "hygiene", but to "protect the delicate moal grace amongst the children". That was the best line in the pamphlet, and about the only thing that really made any sense.)
6 million of these houses could be constructed for the unemployed, costing $3,000/each, meaning that this part of the project could be funded with 18 billion dollars. This was at a time when the New Deal was having a heart attack, unemployment was spiking again, and the entire GDP of the U.S. was $91 billion, which means that Mr. Diamond was seeking a 20% cut of the GDP pie. In current terms, that 20% would mean $3 trillion.
So far as I can determine Mr. Diamond's plan was not taken seriously.
Also, this I think is my only encounter with a title pages that starts out with the words "Sub-title".