TA.TV: Propaganda – “U.S. Nuclear Test Film #55 – Let’s Face It'” (1951)

Federal Civil Defense Administration Presents Lets Face It – No date – 13:25 – Color – Civil Defense, based on the assumption that a nuclear attack from the former Soviet Union was imminent, ranked high on the list of U.S. priorities in the 1960s. The Federal Civil Defense Administration was in charge of this Cold War activity. A key point emphasized in the video is that for citizens to survive a nuclear attack, they must be prepared. This meant they must know the locations of approved Civil Defense shelters or have their own shelter at their home, or both.
In the opening scenes, an Air Raid Warden is blowing his whistle while air raid sirens are blaring, and citizens are heading toward the shelters. The narrator extols citizens to prepare a fallout shelter with adequate food and emergency supplies. He warns that the usual emergency services such as fire, police and hospitals may not be available after a nuclear attack. He also urges citizens to know the sanctioned evacuation routes from potentially targeted cities. Citizens were expected to evacuate in an orderly manner, free from panic and driving mishaps.

The video shows that many nuclear tests were conducted at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) to gain data that would help in Civil Defense preparedness. As part of Operation Cue, the video depicts many unidentified atmospheric tests fired to learn potential effects of detonations on citizens and cities and to test the effectiveness of Civil Defense organizations.

At the NTS, entire cities or “doomtowns,” including houses containing furniture, appliances, food, and mannequins representing people, were built. Utility stations and automobiles were also located in the town. The houses were constructed with various exteriors. Inside each house was an array of instruments to gather the pertinent data on blast, heat and radiation effects. The majority of the houses were destroyed by the blasts. Industrial-type buildings and transportation structures, such as railways, bridges and freeways were also subjected to nuclear blasts.

The video shows military troops participating in Camp Desert Rock Exercises and witnessing the power and fury of an atomic blast. The underlying message given is that if citizens remain calm and “face it,” they can survive the bomb.

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