It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


No. 275 on US nuclear target list for 1959 was `population' !

page: 1

log in


posted on Dec, 23 2015 @ 11:26 PM
Now this is serious. Was obliterating centers of civilian population with nukes a military necessity? 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. But targeting cities is frankly appalling.

Dec 24 2015

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 US's 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 Europe and China.

It lists many targets for “systematic destruction“ in major cities, including 179 in Moscow (like “ Agricultural Equipment“ and “Transformers, Heavy“), 145 in Leningrad and 91 in East Berlin. 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 centres 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.

Burr, who specialises in nuclear history , said he believed it was the most detailed target list the US air force had ever made public. The targets are identified only generically , with codes that correspond to specific locations. The exact addresses and names of facilities from that period are in a stillclassified “Bombing Encyclopedia,“ which Burr said he was trying to get declassified.

The 800-page document, marked “Top Secret“ and in a fuzzy gray typescript, comes to light as the issue of air power and the possible targeting of civilians is again in the news.The US has avoided bombing the IS headquarters in Raqqa for instance, because of the presence of civilian prisoners in the same complex.

The newly declassified target list is titled “Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959“. It is essentially a huge spreadsheet, produced by the strategic air command in 1956 and projecting what could and should be hit in a potential war three years later.

The Civilian population be damned! Counter city strategy targeting civilian centers was part of the US agenda to bring the USSR down to its knees whatever the cost in civilian casualties, like they did in Japan. But did they take into consideration a counter strike by the Soviets that would then have obliterated many American cities too in spite of the fact that the United States then had a huge advantage over the Soviet Union, with a nuclear arsenal about 10 times as big?

I wonder what the present strategy is today? Counter force or counter city?

Here are the targets in Target category No.

posted on Dec, 24 2015 @ 12:38 AM
Gen Curtis Le May would have been pleased

posted on Dec, 24 2015 @ 01:19 AM
Where exactly do you use a nuke that don't kill civilians?

posted on Dec, 24 2015 @ 01:26 AM
Targeting civilian population "Cities" is the correct military strategy as opposed to evacuating the target. Destroying an empty city is not particularly effective. Displacing the enemy, they scatter like rats and infiltrate outside of the war zone. Why would these people be friendly towards a country that destroyed their homes/city? The best war strategy is to target the population while leaving the infrastructure in tact. It is the impact of the body count that matters. Targeting the most populated area is the more effective way to wage war even if there is a huge loss of civilians. This type of warfare seems too extreme for many of us, and it is of course a two-way street and our own cities become targets.

The war on terror is like chasing scattered rats, makes the hunting far more diffcult and no way to ID friend or foe. Profiling the enemy becomes impossible when the enemy dresses in civilian clothes and hides behind civilian shields.

posted on Dec, 24 2015 @ 01:27 AM
Back then the accuracy of delivery systems meant that targeting a whole city was pretty much as good as you could manage.

The terror of knowing that all your big cities were targeted also enforced the MAD doctrine that kept either side from initiating a strike.

Watering down the deterrent effect would have reduced the effectiveness of that deterrence perhaps to a level that one side or other may have thought they could win.

posted on Dec, 24 2015 @ 09:33 AM
No matter where a Nuke falls, civilians are going to be vaporized or die of Radiation exposure. The late 50's and 1960's were tense, and thinking about civilian casualties was the last thing either side was thinking at the time. And honestly it still hasnt changed, the target list has just gotten bigger, and more countries know have Nuclear capability. Their was one General that wanted an insane amount of Nuclear weapons in the order of Tens of thousands. And he wanted to use them on Russia

posted on Dec, 24 2015 @ 09:57 AM
Is this the fist time you have heard of nuclear war and why it would be so bad? Of course population centers are a target in a global world ending war. Manpower is key to any military.

posted on Dec, 25 2015 @ 07:28 PM
a reply to: OrionHunterX Why is this such a shock? General population is #275 on the list and comes well after the militarily important targets that can shoot back. Remember that the other side would be doing the same thing and may not wait until #275 to clip general population.

posted on Dec, 25 2015 @ 07:53 PM
a reply to: OrionHunterX

I think you are misunderstanding what type of war this list was created to address?

Had this occurred it would have been them or us. We either destroy the enemy or die, period end of subject. No political correctness, no regard for right or wrong; we either destroy them or we die.

Looks like the author of that did not understand either. History is not everyone's cup of tea, but it must be taken into account before judging the meaning of something like this, if a person is to be honest in their assessment of this list.

National Security Archive Link

NYT Article.

We do need to take a lesson from this and understand what a nuclear conflict between nuclear powers would entail. Once the missiles fly it's not about daily body counts on the news. It's about massive death and destruction. These weapons must be kept out of the hands of the wrong countries, for whom massive death and destruction of their perceived enemy is their actual goal. One renegade fanatic in a theocracy or dictatorship and life becomes a horror story.

posted on Dec, 25 2015 @ 07:59 PM
a reply to: Brotherman fleets at sea? like targeting a naval group?

posted on Dec, 25 2015 @ 08:01 PM
I'm just surprised it wasn't until 275. That's awfully far down the list in a buckear war.

posted on Dec, 25 2015 @ 08:04 PM
Nuclear war is not the kind of war we are currently engaged in which is hardly worthy of the description. There is no "winning hearts and minds" with it. The minute you push that button, it is an attempt to completely destroy your opponent in every way because you are possibly taking yourself down too through secondary damage.

Israel calls theirs the Samson option for that reason. Samson was the big guy who pulled down a whole temple on top of his tormentors ... and himself. It achieved his goals, but he was also destroyed in the process.

That's nuclear war. We don't call it MAD for nothing.

And that's why we try to keep it out of the hands of unstable countries or countries run by those who want to bring about the end of the world.

posted on Dec, 25 2015 @ 08:05 PM
i would be more interested in seeing what were targeting now in the various nuclear armed enemies we have around the globe and how many of them would amount to war crimes (rules have changed since we developed them)

or better yet an updated target map of where were gonna get hit hardest (other then the obvious DC is toast etc)

i mean id assume all rules go out in nuclear war ,but even with that id imagine some targets would arouse more anger then others,like if some one was at war with china and nuked the crap out of three gorges dam and their anti flooding facilities,or how in pretty much any modern nuclear war against us the panama canal would be hit just to reduce our(USA) mobility or how nuking the great lakes could irradiate alot of stuff for usa etc

top topics


log in