It has emerged that the United States of America planned during the Cold War era to systematically destroy civilian’s lives in major Soviet bloc cities such as East Berlin, Leningrad, Moscow and others.
The Chinese capital, Beijing was also named as part of the cities to be destroyed as the Chinese had adopted the Soviet ideology, and was likely to support the Soviet Union in an event of a direct war between the US and the Soviet Union at the time.
However, the most targeted cities were Moscow and Leningrad. The two cities were designated as Ground Zeroes, or sites for bombings. The number one target of Ground Zeroes was to completely wipe out people rather than targeting military facilities.
The US’s National Archives and Records Administration released the document which detailed a study produced in 1956 that included list of the US’s targeted cities, in case nuclear war was to break out between the superpowers in three years.
The study was part of the Atomic Weapons Requirements Study under the Strategic Air Command (SAC) program which offered insight into the Cold War planning. The study directed that US warplanes would have to unleash overwhelming destruction in an all-out war with the Soviet Union in case a direct war breaks out.
The study also called for the development of a 60 megaton bomb. This bomb would have produced 70 times the explosive yield of the bomb that destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
What is shocking to many observers in this revelation is the fact that the study added civilian populations of the target cities among the primary military targets, although there were no military facilities in the targeted areas.
According to the CNN, this disturbing document was made public as a result of a 2006 records request by William Burr. The document is titled the Strategic Air Command Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959. Burr is a senior analyst at George Washington University’s National Security Archive. He is in charge of the nuclear history documentation project of the university.
Burr wrote that the people who authored the study stated explicitly their intentions and that it something that would have been considered if the war had broken out between the two superpowers.
“Their target priorities and nuclear bombing tactics would expose nearby civilians and ‘friendly forces and people’ to high levels of deadly radioactive fallout. Moreover, the authors developed a plan for the ‘systematic destruction’ of Soviet bloc urban-industrial targets that specifically and explicitly targeted ‘population’ in all cities, including Beijing, Moscow, Leningrad, East Berlin, and Warsaw”, Burr said.
In the 1950s, long-range missiles and submarine launchers did not exist, and the primary aim of the US was to eliminate the Soviet air power, which was regarded as key in the event of the Soviets attempting to deploy their own nuclear weapons.
Therefore, there were plans to follow that up with a series of what was described as “final blows” which will be delivered by atomic bombs eight times the yield of the “Little Boy” bomb that destroyed Japan’s Hiroshima. This will be much larger than necessary to destroy specific targets, suggesting that collateral damage was an aim.
The Cold War was a state of political and military tension after World War II between powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others) and powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its allies).
The term “cold” is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, although there were major regional wars known as proxy wars, which was supported by the two sides. The Cold War destroyed the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving The Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics and the US as two superpowers battling for supremacy.