❝Target category No. 275 from the nuclear target list for 1959 may be the most chilling. It is called simply “Population.”
For the first time, the National Archives and Records Administration has released a detailed list of the United States’ potential targets for atomic bombers in the event of war with the Soviet Union, showing the number and the variety of targets on its territory, as well as in Eastern Europe and China.
It lists many targets for “systematic destruction” in major cities…The targets are referred to as DGZs or “designated ground zeros.” While many are industrial facilities, government buildings and the like, one for each city is simply designated “Population.”
❝“It’s disturbing, for sure, to see the population centers targeted,” said William Burr, a senior analyst at the National Security Archive, a research group at George Washington University that obtained the target list in response to a request first made in 2006. Mr. Burr, who specializes in nuclear history, said he believed it was the most detailed target list the Air Force had ever made public.
❝The targets are identified only generically, with code numbers that correspond to specific locations. The exact addresses and names of facilities from that period are in a still-classified “Bombing Encyclopedia,” which Mr. Burr said he was trying to get declassified…
❝Targeting civilians has often been viewed as a way of undermining enemy morale, prompting a revolt or surrender — and conceivably leading to a shorter war. And so the large-scale bombing of civilians has sometimes been defended on humanitarian grounds, even after the firebombings of Tokyo and Dresden, Germany, and the atomic bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
One of the most contemptible events in the run-up to World War 2 was the deliberate bombing of civilians, of the city of Madrid in Spain by Hitler’s Condor Legion. Interceding on behalf of Franco’s fascist Phalange in the Spanish Civil War.
I thought this article might be a reasonable follow-on to discussions about the TV series, Manhattan – with the posting just below this one about journalistic agitprop on behalf of the project leading up to the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagaski. In one of this season’s last episodes, a scientist chartered by peers to attempt to convince the military not to drop the bomb on a civilian population – instead reverses the policy and calls for killing as many civilians as possible so the horrors of nuclear weapons shows the world what awaits the stupidity of a nuclear arms race.
We now have confirmation how well that worked out. At least from “our side”. You know, the one with the moral high ground.