U.S. Declassifies Disturbing List Of Cold War Nuclear Targets

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We all know that if there was ever a nuclear war, there would be massive civilian casualties. It’s pretty much impossible to nuke a military base without inflicting collateral damage, and all of the institutions that make governance possible, are located in or near cities. Not to mention all the factories that are required to keep a war machine in tip-top shape, which are frequently located around civilians.

However, the government has always been vague about whether they would intentionally strike civilians for its own sake, during a nuclear war. We know our government deliberately targeted civilians with nukes during World War Two, but afterward they tried to distance themselves from those tactics, at least publicly. Behind the scenes however, the feds were (and probably still are) just as enthusiastic about “total war” tactics as they had ever been.

We know this with certainty now, after the U.S. declassified the Air Force’s list nuclear targets from the Cold War.

For the first time, the National Archives and Records Administration has released a detailed list of the United States’ 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 Eastern 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.”

The 800 page document titled “Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959” is little more than a spreadsheet for nuclear holocaust. It was part of the military’s “bomb as you go” strategy. At a time when ICBM’s had yet to be invented, Air Force bombers would be instructed to fly into Soviet air space, and hit whatever they could depending on the priority of the target. This spreadsheet determined that priority for the bombers, which included 1,100 air fields to prevent the Soviets from striking back, followed by countless industrial targets. Afterward, the deliberate massacre of civilians would begin.

What is particularly striking in the SAC study is the role of population targeting.  Moscow and its suburbs, like the Leningrad area, included distinct “population” targets (category 275), not further specified.  So did all the other cities recorded in the two sets of target lists. In other words, people as such, not specific industrial activities, were to be destroyed.   What the specific locations of these population targets were cannot now be determined. The SAC study includes the Bombing Encyclopedia numbers for those targets, but the BE itself remains classified (although under appeal).

The SAC study does not include any explanation for population targeting, but it was likely a legacy of earlier Air Force and Army Air Force thinking about the impact of bombing raids on civilian morale. For example, in a 1940 Air Corps Tactical School lecture, Major Muir Fairchild argued that an attack on a country’s economic structure “must be to so reduce the morale of the enemy civilian population through fear—of death or injury for themselves or loved ones, [so] that they would prefer our terms of peace to continuing the struggle, and that they would force their government to capitulate.” Thinking along those lines continued into the post-war period when social scientists studied the possible impact of nuclear bombing on civilian morale.

At the time, the US military was still operating under the same “total war” doctrine that had guided them from the end of the Civil War, until World War Two. If the destruction of the civilian population ever became necessary to win the war, then so be it. As General Curtis LeMay so aptly put it after he was asked about the firebombing of Japan “if the war is shortened by a single day, the attack will have served its purpose.”

In other words, our military always felt that it was okay to target civilians, so long as it led to the swift end of a war, and thus, fewer casualties for all parties in the long run. At least, that was their twisted moral justification for slaughtering civilians, and it’s clear that notion was the impetus behind this list of nuclear targets.

Let it never be forgotten, that this how our government views warfare. To them, the ends always justify the means, and the moment it becomes necessary to attain victory, civilians are indistinguishable from combatants. The people running our government pretend to act civilized statesman, but they have a lot more common with likes of Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun.

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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .

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  • doucyet

    “The people running our government pretend to act like civilized statesman,
    but they have a lot more common with the likes of Genghis Khan and Attila
    the Hun.”

    Added like (first line) and the (second line)……..

  • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

    Just ask the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki about the US’s method of targeting.

    • joetentpeg


      Just like the million casualties that occurred during the invasion of Japan.

      But wait!

      There weren’t any.

      • Jas

        …..because the children, women and civilian men of two cities, one of which was a non military target, were such a great threat to the US Marine Corps? I think not! Have some respect for the Corp! They were bombed to see what happens when…..

        • Ian MacLeod

          Exactly! I read a long time ago that Japan had repeatedly attempted to surrender, but were ignored. Seems the scientists and the military ALL wanted to see what such a bomb did to the civilian population of a large city or two. I don’t know about the veracity of this, but it sure sounds in character, does it not? And what is it – something like ten generations for the genetic damage to clear from the descendants of survivors? And now with Fukushima they’ve been hit yet again…

  • SP_88

    Am I supposed to be surprised? Our government is run by psychopaths who want to accomplish their goals without any regard for human life or any other consequences. It’s as if turning the whole world into a glass parking lot is no big deal.
    Nuclear weapons are so destructive that they are pretty much useless. It’s like two guys fighting in a small room and the only weapons they have are grenades. No matter who strikes first, they both will die. And winning becomes irrelevant.

    • Stuck_in_Ca

      Obama, yeah.

  • Stuck_in_Ca

    That’s how I prefer my military, objective oriented and cold blooded.

    • Fitzgerald Mistral

      That’s probably how life will deal with you. Remember that when you’re breathing your last.

      • joetentpeg

        You tell ‘im!!!

        Hussaino has got an orange jumpsuit and a butcher knife with his name on it…by Allah!

      • Stuck_in_Ca

        Right. I guess you’re counting on bobo to fly through your window and sweep you off your feet at the last moment.

  • Mr Reynard

    Just the continuation of bomber Harris policies………………

  • Another Thought Criminal

    There was a reason at the Nuremberg show trials that the FACT that the allies committed unspeakable war crimes was not allowed as a defense. Hell, we all know stalin killed like 30 million; eisenhower purposefully starved to death over a million Germans, the hospital town of Dresden was purposefully firebombed, etc.
    It’s just one of the reasons the allies made up the “gassing” of jews holocaust; to cover their own crimes.

  • rawiron1

    What? No super patriot government worshippers defending the policies?

    • joetentpeg

      If you’re reading this reply, thank a teacher (non-communist core).

      If you’re reading it in english, thank a soldier.

  • Alleged Comment

    THEY are NOT disturbing at all. This would be typical targets during war if one side started slipping.

    NOPE, not disturbing at all and is to be expected. Even today.

    • Ian MacLeod

      Wrong modifier: not “EVEN” but “ESPECIALLY” today. Weapons have only become more powerful with time. The “military mind”, however, has gone the OTHER way. The “thinking” seems to be that if you kill off the entire family of a soldier, his town, county, poison the fields and lakes, even render the whole COUNTRY toxic, then you will win. Of course there will be little or nothing left worth having, and the remaining populace will hate you and yours with a passion that won’t die down for generations…

      The brilliant, grand strategists and tacticians of pre-nuke wars are gone, relegated to international chess tournaments. They have boasted that the military holds the power of gods in their hands. This is typical military, I suppose. To have the power to annihilate all life in a area, the poison of which will likely spread and keep killing for a very long time, yet they have NO power to heal the innocent who had NO choice in any of it – this is strictly the power of Man,, only a bit expanded. It never occurs to them that maybe they should be able to UN-do at least some of what they did afterward.

      The power of a god, never mind of God, is the power to CREATE as well as destroy, to heal as well as wound and kill. Otherwise it’s just more of the same power the military has always had: the power to wound, maim, to kill the innocent, to inflict suffering on the innocent and guilty alike, mostly because they are unable to separate out the innocent before or after, so they just don’t think about it. THAT is purely Man. Better if we restricted the fighting to the militaries themselves on both sides. It seems, typically I suppose, not to have occurred to ANYONE but the usual victims that killing and burning/melting EVERYTHING is NOT “winning” ANYTHING. Nuclear weapons poison the troops who USE THEM as well as the “enemy”, along with the land, the crops, the animals… and it spreads on the wind was well.

      Better if humans went back to clubs, bows and arrows, spears and such. The side that all dies first or surrenders is clearly the losers. If, afterward, the instigators of wars and those who chose to lead the fighters were all rendered sterile (any children already born should be closely watched), we might see some real improvement over time for once, and meanwhile the Earth and the SANE part of the race could continue to grow in knowledge, in wisdom and in health. THOSE are real and valuable accomplishments to come out of war for once! And humankind would gain so MUCH over time…

      • Alleged Comment

        No, not wrong adjective. Meaning UP TO today, not “especially” the DAY.

        • Ian MacLeod

          Gotcha – sorry; it was a VERY long day… I don’t think there IS a good use for nukes. They’re TOO destructive, and the effects are too long-lasting, especially the genetic effects. Well, for that matter, I read a couple of years ago of a desert area, somewhere around the Gobi I think, where you could find things like a circle of human skeletons holding hands, non-munched, not bothered by man or animal, as though knowing they were dying they just laid down, held hands and waited for it. Supposedly the radiation levels are still pretty incredible – enough so that animals have learned NOT to go in there. A nuclear blast in ancient times? If I remember aright, dating says whatever it was it happened around 10,000 years ago. It would be heart-breaking to learn that we’ve actually done this to ourselves before, and in all these long ages we’ve learned nothing at all!

  • none

    The cheapest way to win a nuclear war? Melt down a nuclear reactor, with cooling pond!
    The fallout will circle the globe, then swirl down I in the southern hemosphire.
    Oh wait, isn’t that what Iran wants to do with it’s power plants? Help bring back Mohammed?

  • Another Thought Criminal

    Mustn’t have been much of a “death camp” if he survived to tell you his “stories.”

    • Jas

      At least he didn’t see ‘colored smoke’ telling which ‘kind’ of Jew was killed, the shit they come up with.

  • jeddai smith

    Just remember, the Russians had a similar list for their nuclear attacks on the USA.

  • Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    You write this as though
    A) the Soviet Union did not have similar USA targets in mind
    B) It is some kind of surprise.
    You could only be a bubble headed millennial.