Is it time to break out our geiger counters again?
Last week, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists made it known we are officially “30 seconds closer to midnight.” Their warning, a reference to the 70-year-old Doomsday Clock, which was adjusted Thursday to reflect statements made by freshly inaugurated U.S. President Donald Trump, places “doomsday” at 2 1/2 minutes away. It’s the closest the clock has been to midnight since the government started testing thermonuclear bombs in 1953, when bomb shelters were commonplace.
In fact, commercially produced family-size fallout shelters were a feature of many suburban backyards. These apocalypse-ready rooms were engineered to fit cozily beneath lawns and patio furniture, and their sales fueled a cottage industry catering to the midcentury Boy Scout mentality. The Federal Civil Defense Administration (later the Office of Civil Defense), which was formed in 1950 to prepare civilians for nuclear attack, dispersed information for a mostly suburban audience (it was assumed cities would be toast), initially emphasizing evacuation before settling on fallout shelters as a viable recourse for survival.
Continue reading with photographed images at These pictures show how cozy fallout shelters were perfect for the 1950s nuclear family