This propaganda video from the USA during the cold war says about itself:
Atomic Alert: 1950’s Era Duck & Cover Nuclear Safety Film for Children
22 July 2014
Atomic Alert (1951) is an Encyclopedia Britannica produced film for elementary school children. It was prepared by the University of Chicago’s Institute of Nuclear Studies.
The film is a 50’s era education film detailing atomic radiation and what to do during an attack. It shows children learning about radiation and Geiger counters, what atomic blasts are and how they can be safe during such an event.
It talks about hiding in basements if they hear air raid sirens to avoid radiation. Even better is a basement with a strong work table that one can hide under (I.e. Duck and Cover).
First is to hide in the basement. A cross-section of a home is shown with a drawing of a child, all by his lonesome, curled up in a corner of the basement.
It also talks about other advice like laying flat on the ground if you cannot get to a basement and wait for the danger to pass. And it tells children not to drink the water as it may be radioactive but it also tells them to wash with soap and water to remove any radiation.
Like most safety films of this era, we can look back on them and recognize that we weren’t really prepared for any major disasters. (Unfortunately, not much has changed since then.)
Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:
It’s the first Monday of the month and that means the air alarm systems in our country is tested again at noon. In Schagen and Tubbergen this time were was no siren, to take account of the refugees housed in these towns.
The local authority of Tubbergen told RTV Oost that it had decided not to use the siren in the village “to avoid the sound from unnecessarily evoking traumatic memories.” In the other villages in Tubbergen, the siren did go off.
Schagen says they have made the same evaluation, reports RTV NH: “In our town there are currently 180 refugees, including 60 children, in crisis emergency housing. They are largely from Syria and are fleeing a terrible war“, said a spokesperson.
These noisy warmongering sirens are relics from the cold war. 1952-1986 there was in the Netherlands a governmental organisation called Bescherming Bevolking (BB). Translated into English: protection of the people. That sounds nice. However, reality was not so nice. In an internal document, BB described as its aim: ‘making the people totally war-minded’.
They meant a nuclear third world war. They lied to the people that it would be easy to survive a nuclear holocaust. In 1961, a series of four booklets, paid by the taxpayers, and entitled “Wenken voor de bescherming van uw gezin en uzelf” (Hints for protecting your family and yourself), was delivered to all houses in the Netherlands. The booklets spuriously claimed that private citizens could easily survive nuclear attacks by taking a few simple measures, like whitewashing their windows.
Well-known Dutch author Harry Mulisch wrote a parody of these booklets, called “Wenken voor de bescherming van uw gezin en uzelf tijdens de jongste dag” (Hints for protecting your family and yourself during Doomsday). He succeeded in making the BB look deservedly ridiculous, contributing to its demise in 1986.
However, unfortunately, though the BB is dead, these hellishly noisy warmongering ‘the Russians are coming’ scaremongering sirens have unfortunately not been silenced yet.
In my native land, Guyana, a former British colony, the sirens went off on Fridays at 10:00 a.m. I don’t know if the practice is still in force.
In the Netherlands, first Monday every month.
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