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    Studies by Once Top Secret Government Entity Portrayed Terrible Costs of Nuclear War

    Bronnen door Eric Hennekam

    Bericht van National Security Archive 22 juli 2014:

    On the morning of 20 July 1961, while the Berlin Crisis was simmering, President John F. Kennedy and the members of the National Security Council heard a briefing on the consequences of nuclear war by the NSC’s highly secret Net Evaluation Subcommittee. The report, published in excerpts today for the first time by the National Security Archive, depicted a Soviet surprise attack on the United States in the fall of 1963 that began with submarine-launched missile strikes against Strategic Air Command bases. An estimated 48 to 71 million Americans were “killed outright,” while at its maximum casualty-producing radioactive fallout blanketed from 45 to 71 percent of the nation’s residences. In the USSR and China, at the end of one month 67 and 76 million people, respectively, had been killed.

    This was President Kennedy’s first exposure to a NESC report, but the secret studies of nuclear war scenarios had been initiated by his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower. It may have been after this briefing, described by Secretary of State Dean Rusk as “an awesome experience,” that a dismayed Kennedy turned to Rusk, and said: “And we call ourselves the human race.”

    The NESC reports on nuclear war were multi-volume, highly classified studies and none has ever been declassified in their entirety. (Indeed, for years the very existence of the NESC was a well-kept secret.)  The summaries published here today — for the annual reports from 1957 to 1963 — provide a glimpse of the full reports, although important elements remain classified. Besides the summaries and fuller reports for 1962 and 1963, today’s posting includes a number of special studies prepared by the NESC, including an especially secret report requested by President Eisenhower that led to the production of the comprehensive U.S. nuclear war plan in 1960, the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP).

    Check out today’s posting at the National Security Archive’s Nuclear Vault – http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nukevault/ebb480/