IF THE RUSSIANS ATTACK CANADA
If war comes with Russia the ABCs of military strategy decree that at least nine Canadian cities will almost certainly be hit by atomic bombs. Canada offers Stalin tempting secondary targets too. Here’s what we can expect from such an attack, what we can do to protect ourselves, and what we haven’t yet begun to do
SEE MAP ON NEXT PAGE FOR LIKELIEST TARGETS IN CANADA
To MOST CANADIANS the defense of Canada means two things: The first, which we are doing, involves the dispatch of Canadian troops from Canada to resist aggression abroad. The second, which we have barely begun to do, involves the creation, for use in Canada, of a military and civilian force sufficiently strong and well trained to ensure Canada’s survival if she is attacked from abroad.
If another world war comes, a part of it will almost certainly be fought in Canada. The ABCs of military strategy virtually decree that in such a war Canada would be attacked in strength by air and on a limited scale by land. Our ability to protect ourselves from crippling damage, to recover from our wounds, to maintain our production and to carry the fight back to the enemy might well spell out for our nation the difference between life and death. In more intimate and terrifying terms, it could spell out the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of us as individuals.
Toward these sombre facts the attitude of most Canadians is a mixture of fear, apathy and ignorance. There is ample evidence that many are deeply worried about the possibility of attack by a foreign enemy using atomic weapons or worse, in a lecent poll conducted by the Canadian Institute of Public Opinion, thirty-six percent felt that an enemy attack on us was imminent; in some parts of the country the proportion was as high as fifty percent. In another poll taken in larger centres seventy-five percent thought the Government was not doing enough to instruct the public in protecting itself from aerial bombardment. People’s nerves are edgy: last fall a blanket of smoke which drifted over many eastern cities from Alberta forest fires touched off thousands of anxious enquiries on whether it was made up of radio-active clouds from an atomic explosion. A few weeks ago, when there was an explosion at the Sarnia synthetic-rubber plant, thousands of residents rushed into the streets in nightclothes, convinced that the city was being bombed.
Perhaps because the possibility of an A-bomb exploding in our own towns is too horrible to face, most of us are apathetic about, taking steps to protect ourselves. In the eyes of most Canadian military strategists, Vancouver, Ottawa, Halifax and Sault Ste. Marie are four cities on a list of nine Canadian primary targets. Yet when Vancouver radio station CKWX offered free advice to its listeners about shelters only three enquiries were received—all from areas far from the city. Ottawa, the nerve centre of our government, is one of the few larger cities that has yet to appoint a local co-ordinator of civil defense. In Halifax the local coordinator has difficulty persuading people to turn up at meetings. Most residents there share a view that’s sometimes heard in Sault Ste. Marie —a canal area often described as “the most impartant mile in America”: “The bomb will kill us anyway, so why worry about it?” Continued on next page
Asked by the Canadian Institute of Public Opinion what they would do in the event of an atomic burst, only one third of those questioned had any suggestions to offer. Of these, the majority spoke vaguely of “hiding under the bed” or “taking to the country.” Paradoxically, many people who live in “sife” areas are deeply afraid. An Anglican clergyman, living in a remote New' Brunswick hamlet, placed an urgent phone call to Hon. Paul Martin, the minister responsible for civil defense in Ottawa, demanding to know what was going to be done to protect his church. A member of parliament, whose constituency is deep in the Rocky Mountain bush country, asked Martin for Geiger counters, respirators and rescue equipment; he was acting under pressure from constituents. Fortunately, Canadians have not yet approached the stage where they will buy U-236 Atomic Shock Cure (water, salt and bicarbonate of soda), aluminum pyjamas and lead brassieres and girdles. Jn the United States the market for fanciful nostrums like these is booming.
Whatever dangers the future holds for the average Canadian living in Canada, panic doesn’t offer any part of the solution. Neither does a reluctance to look squarely at the facts. A straightforward assessment of the risks we may have to face, based on the best available information, is likely to be the best antidote for public apathy and hysteria.
The writers feel the public has the right to know the answers to the following questions: What will be the nature of an enemy attack on Canada? To what extent will atom bombs be used? What are the most likely targets in Canada? What casualties can we expect? Can Canada be knocked out by blows from the air? How well can we protect ourselves militarily? What preparations can civilians make to defend themselves, their families and their communities?
We still have time to prepare against atom attack—providing we use it intelligently. It is the authors’ opinion that if Russia attacks us at all it will not be until 1954 at the earliest. However,
if Russia attacks us at any time, the following probabilities will still be supported by the simple logic of warfare:
I The war would likely begin with a predawn 1 sneak attack by fifty or sixty Russian planes bearing A-bombs. Perhaps nine of these bombs would be dropped on Canadian targets; the rest would be destined for the United States.
The Russians would probably fly down from North Cape in Siberia (not to he confused with the Norwegian North Cape) and carefully skirt our advance-warning devices. The most probable Canadian targets would be Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa, Montreal, Windsor and Halifax. Because of their limited stock of A-bombs, the Russians would not likely consider any other target worth hitting in the initial surprise attack.
O There is no infallible defense against attacking “ enemy aircraft. This being the case, we must
be prepared for the possibility of a great many casualties. Assuming that all nine bombs landed squarely on their targets and that our cities were completely unwarned and unprepared, it is possible that casualties would total 750,000, including 325,000 dead and 425,000 wounded. A more optimistic view is that only fifty percent of the bombs would be successfully planted because of interception by our planes and guns or the enemy’s failure in operation or navigation. In this case the casualties might total only 375,000.
9 A good system of civil defense can drastically J reduce the number of casualties and give the average person in a bombed area an excellent chance of survival. Because of the sturdy construction of most large Canadian cities, we can protect ourselves to a large extent against the blast, heat and radiation effects of an atomic burst. Given the protective devices that we are capable of developing, Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have reduced their casualties hy seventy-five percent. If fifty percent of the Russian bombs landed on unwarned, unprepared cities, the casualties might total 375,000. In the same centres total civil defense might cut casualties to 104,000.
à In the event of war there can be no wholesale ^ evacuation of our cities. No modern nation can go on fighting a war if civilian workers desert their machines in the face of enemy fire. Our cities must fight back; every factory, in effect, becomes a front-line position that must be held. Every day a worker is off the job is a day presented to the enemy.
Besides being strategically unwise, it is also physically impossible to hurriedly evacuate a large city. Let’s assume that Toronto has been bombed and that only one highway remains undamaged. If every one of the city’s 200,000 car owners decided to take to the hills, the highway would become hopelessly clogged, shutting out emergency goods and personnel being rushed to the city’s relief. Furthermore, it has been estimated that if these 200,000 cars were heading westward at fiftyfoot intervals, the first car would be in the outskirts of Winnipeg just about the time the last one left Toronto seventy hours later.
C Since our aim will be to keep communities ** together as producing units there should he an increasing emphasis on the social-welfare aspects of civil defense. Once the immediate jobs of firefighting and rescue work are attended to, there remains the problem of keeping the community functioning with minimum discomfort and discontent. This means feeding and sheltering many people, providing information, dealing with problems of children and the family. These are primarily
social-welfare jobs. This is one of the reasons why civil-defense planning was transferred from the Department of National Defense to the Department of National Health and Welfare last February.
/. The citizens of each community are responsible w for their own civil-defense preparations. The federal government has stated that it will provide leadership, instructors, training materials and certain equipment. But in the last analysis your community will be as safe as you and your neighbors make it.
If Russia is determined to wage war on us, the authors are of the opinion that the opening blow will be a sneak aerial raid on about sixty Canadian and American targets. It has been suggested that the war would start with Russian ships or submarines slipping into North American ports with concealed atomic bombs. We reject this possibility for two reasons: To be successful, the entire operation would have to be carried out in absolute secrecy. Would it not be a better security risk to limit the secret to a small number of fast-striking air crews rather than to the crews of a large number of slow-moving vessels? Again, there is the matter of cost. Sneak raiders, whether they strike by air or sea, won’t have much chance of getting back. If the Russian first wave struck hy sea, the total bill for the operation might run to millions, and perhaps billions, of dollars. It might not be a wise investment; many harbor installations would still be serviceable and the vast productive interior of the continent would still be unscathed. Again, weighing costs against the probable results of the operation, we feel it unlikely that the Russians would try to land troops in force, by sea or air, on Canadian soil. An air strike against Canada would be cheap and relatively effective.
There’s No Sure Safeguard
A logical jumping-off spot for Russian sneak raiders would be North Cape in Siberia, about one hundred and fifty miles beyond the range of American radar stations at Nome, Point Barrow and Point Hope. It has often been suggested that a western starting point might be used—such as Murmansk. But Murmansk is much farther away, and many of the targets in the central and western parts of North America would be difficult to reach from there. Furthermore, the Russian planes would be traveling over the Norwegian Sea, which is patrolled by radar-equipped vessels of the North Atlantic powers. Why would they choose a route where there is danger of early detection?
Russians probably would use TU-4 bombers, which are improved versions of the American wartime B-29. Propeller driven, they have a circuit range of 4,500 miles and can carry a five-ton
bomb load. It is possible that by 1954 the Russians will have their own version of the B-36, an American machine with a circuit range of 8,000 miles or more.
The raiders could take off in darkness from North Cape, achieve their 30,000-foot altitude by the time they arrived over Russia’s air base at Wrangel Island, about two hundred miles northeastward. Here they could rendezvous with refueling planes. Then they could fly southeast over the Beaufort Sea toward their targets, carefully picking their way between our radar stations and population areas to avoid early detection.
At this point readers may ask: “But won’t our air defenses radar, anti-aircraft guns and interceptor planes -stop raiders long before they reach our cities?”
The sober (ruth is that even if we built a barbed wire fence five miles high and 3,500 miles long across the whole breadth of our northland it would still be no absolute guarantee of our safety against air attack. Throughout the last war the highly efficient Royal Air Force destroyed only l>etween nine and ten percent of attacking German craft; the Germans downed only four percent of ours.
As for radar, it has been often suggested that we sprinkle our north with radar stations create an electronic Maginot Line as it were. But considering the limitations of radar, would it be worth it? Radar range is ordinarily only a hundred and fifty miles; radar beams don’t normally follow the curvat ure of the earth. They leave uncovered areas. Radar performance is only partly effective in mountainous country, while in certain types of weather it is not wholly dependable. To blanket the Canadian hinterland with radar teams would require thousands of skilled technicians and perhaps billions of dollars. Considering that men and money are urgently needed for less static components of our war machine, could we afford this extravagance?
The anti-aircraft gun during World War II, gave poor results, even against German bombers that ambled along at two hundred miles per hour at 12,000 feet. It was effective only when a large number of guns were massed to fill a whole section of sky with exploding shells. How much less effective would such weapons be in the vast skies of this continent against planes flying at 40,000 feet at speeds close to four hundred miles per hour! It is doubtful if even the most modern anti-aircraft gun can aim accurately beyond 35,000 feet. Furthermore, it takes a high velocity shell a full twenty seconds to climb 40,000 feet, by which time a bomber going three hundred and fifty miles an hour will have traveled two miles. Again, a highflying plane has to veer only two degrees—up or down, right or left—to miss the most carefully aimed shell at four hundred yards.
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If the Russians Attack Canada
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that even the radar-controlled antiaircraft gun is as obsolete in modern aerial warfare as the bow-and-arrow. Guided missiles — jet-powered with built-in receivers and radar controlled from the ground, flying three or more times the speed of sound—are the only up-to-date anti-aircraft weaponsknown. There is reason to believe that within three years these guided missiles will have largely replaced anti-aircraft guns. But even this sensitive and elaborate weapon won’t find its target every time. Again thinking in terms of men and money, the number of guidedmissile installations we can afford to establish in our outer perimeter is strictly limited.
The interceptor plane is another weapon that quickly becomes obsolete. The only truly effective Canadian interceptor plane is the new jetpropelled CF-100. It is reported unofficially that this aircraft can fly at sonic speed, at 45,000 feet, with a combat range of seven hundred and fifty miles (circuit range: 1,500 miles). By the end of this year some RCAF squadrons will have been equipped with these planes. But in the cockpit of the CF-100 a fighter pilot at 40,000 feet finds the stratosphere a deep unfamiliar purple where it is difficult to judge distance. And, because of weight limitations, the pilot has only enough ammunition to take three or four cracks at the enemy. After that he has to land, refuel, reload—by which time the attacker may have vanished.
Vancouver a Prize Target
What thinking would lie behind the Russian selection of targets? This initial sneak raid would probably be the enemy’s “Sunday punch.” It would be directed at both people and production. Its aim would be to terrorize us, shatter our morale and cripple our industry so we wouldn’t be able to fight back effectively. The U. S. would offer the most attractive targets to an enemy working on this blueprint. Probably the primary American targets would include all the more densely populated urban centres, plus such strategic places as the atomic installations at Hanford, Wash., and Oak Ridge, Tenn.
In Canada, Greater Vancouver, with its 500,000 people and port facilities, would constitute a target which no aggressor against North America would be likely to ignore. It is not likely that Edmonton would be overlooked by an enemy because of its importance in keeping supply routes to the north open—via the Alcan Highway and by air. Winnipeg is a strategic centre of all trans-Canada rail lines. Sault Ste. Marie probably has a top-priority rating as a target because of the vast quantity of iron ore and coal that passes through the locks there; if the locks were to be destroyed eighty-five percent of North American steel production would be in jeopardy. Indeed, an enemy committed to attack might well choose April for his first blows because at the beginning of navigation the steel mills’ supply of iron ore is depleted.
Toronto and Windsor rate as probable primary targets, because they are important centres of population and industry. Windsor would also feel any blow at its American neighbor, Detroit. Knocking out Canada’s capital city Ottawa would be a means of decapitating our governmental setup. Halifax is a vital spot in any global war
when you consider that in both world wars it was one of the world’s foremost ports.
This list of nine centres by no means exhausts all the strategic targets in Canada. There is the aluminum plant at Arvida, the nickel mines at Sudbury, the copper mines at Copper Cliff, the atomic installation at Chalk River, the smelters at Trail, the heavy industries in Hamilton, and many others. However in our opinion, in the first big sneak raid, the enemy would give his attention only to what he regards as the juiciest targets— those combining production and people. Let’s keep in mind that for security reasons the enemy would want to keep the number of participating planes at a minimum. Smallness would also be regarded as a virtue, since all the raiding planes would have to be considered expendable.
Lacking fuel for the return trip home, crews who performed western North American missions would probably rendezvous with Russian schnorkel-type submarines in the Pacific and ditch their planes. A similar rendezvous could be arranged on the Atlantic. As for the mid-western group, the most it could, hope for would be a landing in Mexico and internment.
It’s our belief the Russians would start to overrun Western Europe with strong land forces at the precise moment their planes were pounding North America from the air. A-bombs would probably not be used on the European continent, since the Soviet Union would like to capture Europe’s industries in good condition and put them to work on her own behalf. But it is reasonable to suppose that an attempt would be made to A-bomb Britain into submission. Isolated from the Continent, Britain cannot easily be assaulted by a large number of troops. Furthermore, taking a lesson from World War II, the Kremlin would probably realize that Britain would be no push-over: the most destructive weapons would have to be used.
What could we expect in Canada after the initial surprise attacks? Since the Russians would have to apportion their limited supply of bombs to targets all over the world, Canada might not receive a second A-bombing. Because it would be costly and perilous, the enemy might not attempt to land large numbers of troops by sea, land or air. The Russians might, however, consider it sound military economy to use long-range penetration groups—a successful tactic in North African fighting during the last war.
Some fifty of these groups, each consisting of about fifteen trained commandos and saboteurs, might be dropped across the country to roam independently, blowing up strategic bridges, rail lines, radar stations, mines, electronic and chemical factories, tunnels and power stations. Sooner or later most of them would be imprisoned or put to death. But in the meantime, at the expense of a few men, they might have done incalculable damage.
Would bacteriological and gas warfare be waged against us? The authors think it unlikely. Epidemics are more difficult to start than most people imagine, especially in a country such as ours with a relatively high standard of public hygiene and sanitation. Furthermore, elaborate weapons are needed to transport and land live bacteria. As for poisonous gases, the Russians would probably refrain from using them because of the limited gains possible in a country such as ours and because they know we can reply in kind—or better.
An A-bomb attack would leave our cities stunned and disrupted during
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Continued from page 66 the first twenty-four hours. There would be some confusion, panic and a feeling of defeatism. But recovery would be astonishingly quick. In the face of odds and disasters as great as any which are likely to confront Canada, the Britain of 1940 somehow patched up its essential services, buried its dead, treated the injured and got on with the job of winning a war. Hitler’s mass bombings merely toughened the will of the people to resist.
What damage to human life can we expect? In making an estimate there are three imponderables that have to be considered: the number of targets hit, the construction and topography of the targets and the preparedness of our civil defenses.
It is highly unlikely that all the raiders would succeed in planting their bombs; we have taken fifty percent as a probable proportion. With regard to the construction and topography of the individual target, a flat city with many wooden structures such as Winnipeg, for instance could expect more casualties than a divided target like Montreal, or Vancouver with its mountains, hills and bays. Again, comparing a city with total civil defense with one completely unprepared, deaths could be reduced approximately to one third, casualties to one fifth. Here is our guess of the damage to human life, based on a nine-bomb sneak raid:
HALIFAX .... 40,000 MONTREAL . . . 60,000 OTTAWA .... 50,000 TORONTO . . . 60,000 WINDSOR ... 10,000 Sault Ste. Marie 5,000 WINNIPEG . . 50,000 EDMONTON . . 50,000 VANCOUVER . 40,000
All targets:... 325,000 Total Casualties 750,
50% Hit: .... 375
Defense Civil Defense
Injured Dead Injured
20.000 13,000 4,000
80.000 20,000 16,000
40.000 17,000 8,000
90.000 20,000 18,000
20.000 3,000 4,000
5,000 1,600 800
90.000 17,000 18,000
30.000 17,000 6,000
50.000 14,000 ¡0,000
425,000 122,600 34,800
The life-and-death importance of civil defense will emerge from a brief study of these figures. Assuming that fifty percent of enemy bombs find their targets, our casualties would total 375,000 if we were completely unprepared. Sensible and thorough preparations could cut this figure down a possible 103,700. If we were halfprepared our casualties would be around 240,000 including 127,000 dead and 113,000 injured. This means that less than one percent of our population would be killed. As tragic as that is, Canada could withstand that blow. In Hamburg alone during the last war, between 60,000 and 100,000 people were killed by aerial bombardment. A nation of fourteen million people, spread out over 3,850,000 square miles, is not easily knocked out.
Before discussing how we can best protect ourselves and our communities, we need some understanding of how an A-bomb explodes and how it destroys.
Death Rays Are Overrated
The bomb is a triple-edged weapon, destroying by blast, heat, and radiation. Set to explode at about 2,500 feet, the air-burst bomb sends out pressure waves of hurricane force in all directions. This blast is so powerful that it topples buildings. But the human body is tough and resilient and only a relatively few casualties result directly from blast. The great killer is falling and flying debris bricks, stone, wood beams. If you lie flat, therefore, there’s less chance of being tossed about, or being struck by debris. Outdoors, the safest place is in a deep gully or at the base of a substantial building; indoors, against a cellar wall out of the way of flying glass from shatter«! windows.
Flash burns from the A-bomb are a
real source of danger. At Hiroshima and Nagasaki heat flash (including the “fire storm” which followed) was responsible for almost one third of all injuries. It’s as though a chunk of the sun touched the earth for a few seconds. The heat’s so intense that it can seriously burn at more than a mile. At a mile and a half it can ignite a piece of paper, at four or five miles you can feel it on your face and hands. To prevent flash burns the essential thing is to get something between you and the explosion—a wall, a bank of earth or any solid material. Farther out, even clothing will offer protection.
In nearly every story about atomic weapons the most graphic sections are devoted to the lethal effects of radiation. This is a gross distortion of known fact, since there is far less to fear from rays than there is from blast and heat. At Hiroshima and Nagasaki, about fifty-two percent of the total casualties were caused by blast, thirty-three percent by heat and only fifteen by radiation.
Not that the dangers of radiation are to be disregarded. When an airburst explodes it shoots out radioactive rays and particles in all directions. These are deadly and if you are caught unprotected within a mile of the burst then the gamma rays and neutrons could penetrate your body and cause death within twenty-eight days. Beyond a mile, you would probably be quite safe; you might not even know that you had been struck by radiation unless a doctor made a microscopic examination of your blood. However and this is important—the radiation emitted from an airburst bomb is only lethal for a minute or so. After that it dies away.
Screening against these rays is an essential defense measure. At Ground Zero it has been estimated that five feet of concrete or packed earth is necessary for complete protection. For every thousand feet farther away a foot less protection is needed.
An airburst at 2,500 feet does not leave lingering rays to contaminate metal objects. Nor does it spoil medicine, food, or water, provided these are stored in sealed containers.
Places like Vancouver or Halifax may have a special problem, because radioactivity becomes more serious when an A-bomb is burst under water. In under-water explosions, radio-active wastes would be “trapped” by the water and sprayed over a wide area. In this case, evacuation of the area may he necessary and contamination may persist for several hours, or even months.
This is what it all adds up to: If an A-bomb were to explode in your home town in the early predawn hours tomorrow, your calculated chance of surviving would be something like this:
Beyond two miles there would be practically no deaths. From a mile and a half to two miles there may be two or three deaths per hundred population. If you were a half mile to a mile away you would have a 50-50 chance. If you were unlucky enough to be right under the bomb, then you wouldn’t live through it. Again, it must be emphasized that your chances of survival can be greatly improved with an adequate system of civil defense.
What civil - defense preparations should we be making? Should we dig deep shelters, protected by five feet of cement, for everyone, and crawl into them for the duration of the war? Comforting though it may be to many people, such a plan is neither possible to carry out nor is it desirable.
In the first place, a program of mass shelter-building would rob our war effort of millions of tons of valuable
materials and millions of hours of labor. It is quite possible to visualize a shelter - construction program which would cost as much as our total national income. Again, if people sit in their shelters who’s going to provide the goods to carry on a modern war? As Paul Martin observed, “You can’t win a war by being defense-minded.” During the early part of World War II Winston Churchill was so disturbed by the propensity of British people for shelters that he privately threatened to have many of them dug up.
Part of the answer lies in a sensible shelter program, one well within our means. As distasteful as it may be politically, we must face the fact that not everyone can be protected by shelters. We can only protect a limited number of communities in target areas, and within those communities we can only supply a limited degree of protection. We must proceed on the principle of a calculated risk.
It’s a Matter of Money
Let’s deal with the communities first. We have listed nine Canadian cities which, according to the best military thinking, are primary-target areas and should have a program of sheltering. Other communities may be highly incensed by the mere suggestion that Stalin and his military advisers don’t consider their towns important enough to rate a bomb. No one can be dead certain that bombs will not fall on these places, but the odds are against it. To be fully effective our efforts must be centred on the densely populated and strategic centres, at the risk of the smaller or less strategic centres. That’s the chance we must take.
Does that mean that we must provide elaborate and expensive shelter for the three million or so Canadians
in target areas? The answer is “No— we can’t afford it.” Again the principle of the calculated risk must be our guide. Even within the target area we can’t bear the cost of deep shelters underground—guaranteed to give full protection within the half-mile radius of Ground Zero. But it is within our means to provide a satisfactory degree of protection to all beyond that distance.
The secrets of economical sheltering are to be found in a publication issued by the Civil Defense Co-ordinator in Ottawa, entitled “Technical Guidance on the Provision of Air Raid Shelter.” This book describes how a great deal of protection can be obtained by taking advantage of existing brick, stone, cement and steel structures. Some judicious reinforcing can provide shelter in an area as close as 2,000 feet to the explosion.
The average American or Canadian city, with its numerous stone and concrete buildings, will stand up to an explosion much better than the weak, cellarless houses of Hiroshima or Nagasaki. In both these places, studies show that the people who happened to be in the few substantial buildings fared rather well. There were seventyfive people in the concrete Nippon Bank Building in Hiroshima which was about a thousand feet away from Ground Zero. Almost fifty percent of them survived. In the substantial telephone building 1,400 feet away ninety percent survived. In the post office building 4,000 feet away only about four percent of the 750 people working there were killed. These reinforced concrete structures provided a shield against blast, heat and radiation.
In any program of sheltering a reasonable place to start would be with on-the-job essential industrial
workers in target areas. A worker in a Ford factory at Windsor, let us say, shouldn’t be expected to stay at his machine without some provision being made for his safety when danger of bombing becomes imminent. By making maximum use of existing facilities, the cost of sheltering essential workers on the job should not be excessive. Payment would have to be worked out by the industry involved and federal, provincial and municipal governments. People who work downtown in our large cities should be assigned to safe areas in basements of buildings where they are employed. Here again, some of the cost may have to be borne by the public.
The problem of protecting residential areas is slightly different. Many Canadian homes have good cement basements and at slight cost these can be converted into reasonably safe shelters. Across-the-board government expenditures probably can’t be justified here, but some assistance may have to he given to householders in crowded downtown areas where there are no solid basements. Hither the residents I would have to be assigned to a safe place in nearby buildings, or a number of maas shelters would have to be erected.
Women and Children First
Many Canadians will ask: “Why bother with shelters at all? Why don’t we just evacuate if our cities are going to be hazardous?” They see themselves at the first sign of danger jumping into the family car with a change of clothes and a hamper of food, and heading for the country. Such a plan is both naïve and impossible.
In the first place, we don’t know for certain when or where A-bombs will I be dropped, or if they will be dropped at all. Would any Canadian concerned about our survival as a nation seriously suggest that three million of us should leave vital production centres at the first hint of danger? To do so would be an open admission of defeat, j Secondly, any motorist who has fought the five-o’clock traffic jam in ! our larger cities will realize that a rapid mass evacuation is impossible. To attempt it would clog highways with fleeing civilians and block emergency workers and supplies from outside.
Evacuation does have a place in civil-defense planning, but it’s a matter that must be worked out with utmost care. When to evacuate, and how many people to evacuate, will be primarily a military decision. For example, if reliable news indicates that we are to be showered with A-bombs in the foreseeable future, it may be desirable to remove wives, children, the aged, the infirm from some areas, as well as certain non-essential workers. The men and women who keep thé war machine going, however, would be expected to stay on until bomb damage to their homes and factories became so extreme that they could no longer contribute to the defense effort.
The whole problem of separating men from their wives and children also requires careful study. In times of danger families prefer to be together. The separated husband may turn out to be an ineffective worker; the discontented wife and children in a reception area may constitute a serious morale problem. It’s interesting to note from a study made in 1940 in England of 1,500,000 people who had been evacuated a few months earlier that most of the women (along with their children) had returned to their husbands.
What constitutes adequate civili defense preparations for Canada?
One of the first needs is a group of trained volunteers ready to do first jobs first—fight fires, rescue people trapped in debris, administer first aid, keep services running—communications, water supply, sanitation and so on. Another first requirement is a central information bureau where people can enquire about relatives and find out where urgent personal needs can be met. They may need food, clothing, or advice on how to handle a personal or family problem. In wartime Britain more cases of neurosis were attributed to worry about relatives and loss of property than to fear of bombing.
The villages and towns surrounding target areas will have a double role to play. It will be their job to rush trained civil-defense workers to aid a bombed city. It will be another part of their job to receive casualties and evacuees. In cases of extreme disaster it may be necessary to go as far as a neighboring province to get help.
Obviously such an elaborate pattern of services can’t be improvised on the spur of the moment. The key to good civil defense, therefore, calls for a careful blueprint long in advance of any emergency, followed by a step-bystep implementation of these plans. The whole operation is complicated by uncertainty—you don’t know the time, the place, or the scale of an enemy attack, or if he will attack at all. There are two errors to be avoided: we mustn’t be too complacent and go too slow; and as Paul Martin points out, “We can’t afford to create a fully recruited civil-defense organization prematurely, and then have it rust away in idleness and finally disintegrate.”
In briefest outline, here are the highlights of what we’ve done in civil defense to date:
In November 1948 Major-General F. F. Worthington was appointed federal civil-defense co-ordinator. He organized a committee of representatives of governmental, scientific, and other bodies national in scope. Similarly, each of the provinces has organized a civil-defense committee whose responsibility it was to see that a civil-defense co-ordinator was appointed for each community. Two Canadian cities of more than 50,000 have yet to appoint their directors of civil defense.
The federal government has repeatedly emphasized that, basically, each community is responsible for its own defense. At the same time, Ottawa has assumed certain definite responsibilities such as: 1. Developing an over-all policy of civil defense.
2. Establishing an advance-warning system. 3. Operating a school for civil-defense instructors. (In the next three or four months it is expected that this school, located near Ottawa, will have sent out some three or four hundred instructors to all parts of Canada). 4. Providing equipment such as respirators and Geiger counters to endangered municipalities, as well as supplying training materials. 5. Stockpiling medical and food supplies. 6. Supplying sirens to communities of more than 20,000 in target areas. 7. Giving financial help to municipalities to encourage standardization of fire equipment.
The results of a brief survey made of some of the probable target areas reveal that most of their civil-defense preparations are still on paper. Ottawa City hasn’t yet got a full-time coordinator; apart from some instruction in fire-fighting, the city is doing little. It was learned from a high official that an emergency cabinet committee has met to ensure the continuation of government in the event the capital is attacked. Presumably plans are being worked out to prepare shelters and offices, to protect key personnel and documents—possibly in the woody Gatineau Hills nearby. One of the reasons for Ottawa’s hesitancy in appointing a civil-defense co-ordinator is money: city fathers believe that since Ottawa is the seat of government his salary should be paid out of federal funds. The Government insists civil defense is a municipal responsibility.
In Windsor a civil-defense organization exists on paper but, to the knowledge of Ontario authorities, nothing has been done to further a shelter program -either by private citizens or industry. In strategic Sault Ste. Marie a civil-defense committee has regular meetings, although a local correspondent describes public attitude as “apathetic” and the state of defenses as “woefully weak.” When some citizens complained of getting no help from Ottawa, “not even a single Continued on page 72
Answers to Quiz
(See Page 43)
1—1850; 2—1790; 3—1928;
4—1920; 5—1910; 6—1810;
7—1933; 8—1890; 9—1830;
10—1950; 11 — 1940; 12—1870.
Continued from page 70 band-aid,” General Worthington promised to send manuals, respirators, stretchers and other equipment.
No Ontario centre has a warning siren.
At Halifax the great fear is exploding munitions dumps rather than A-bomb attack from an enemy. The local coordinator has difficulty getting citizens to attend meetings. In Vancouver no physical preparations have been made, hut the local co-ordinator reports, ‘‘We have well-matured paper plans. We know where we’re going.” The Fraser Valley and Okanagan Valley have been surveyed as areas for evacuation. In Montreal a groat deal of organizing is going on, spurred by radio speeches and newspaper stories. A huge shelter, deep in the steel-and-concrete vaults under the CPU’s Windsor Station, has been opened to accommodate 3,000 CPU employees and 3,000 other citizens.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of our present position? On the plus side there is the official recognition of the importance of civil defense. Under the leadership of the Depart ment of National Health and Welfare a good deal of planning has gone forward at the federal, provincial and municipal level. Each community has been charged with the responsibility for its own protection.
On the minus side our progress at times has been slow and irregular. Paper plans alone will never protect us; we need a steady program of implementation. Our governments have not wholly succeeded in establishing a working partnership with the Canadian people. To overcome apathy and hysteria, our leaders must frankly discuss the dangers that face us, what we must do and why more attention should be given to the selection of civil-defense leaders at all levels.
What can the average citizen do to further civil-defense preparation at this point?
If you’re in a target area you can prepare an inexpensive shelter of your own.
Acquire official booklets on how to take care of yourself and your family in the event of a disaster.
If you are interested in special training, contact your local civildefense committee. You may be interested in becoming part of the nucleus organization. The larger civil-defense organization is not yet being trained in most communities. The job now is to train people to train others.
If you are outside a target area you can help organize to take care of casualties and evacuees from other centres.
See that civil-defense funds are spent wisely. Wherever possible, money should be spent on equipment and services that have a peacetime, as well as a wartime, value. For example, it may be a good idea to start strengthening local social-service agencies, since great demands would be made on them in the event of a disaster.
Civil-defense preparations can be costly and inconvenient. We are a peaceful country and most of us would prefer to spend our time, our efforts and our money in more constructive ! ways. Yet the hard facts are that we I have little choice in the matter. It may be that not a single bomb will fall on ! Canada. But there’s abundant evidence that this is a gamble we can’t afford to take. For if we take it—and lose— we may be throwing away for all time I our future as a free and independent I nation. ^