Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nuclear Winter-What Could Have Happend

The year 2011 marks a very special occasion in the history of the world. It is the 20th
anniversary of the end of the Cold War. Americans under the age of 20 were not yet born.
So they probably have no idea what the Cold War was about, what could have been the end
of the world.

So perhaps a little history of the struggle between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and the
possibility of a nuclear attack and the consequences of such a horrendous occurrence.

During the Cold War the one thing that we all feared, and thought about constantly was the
first and retaliatory exchange of nuclear missiles.

This would have brought about the much talked about mutual annihilation and "Nuclear Winter." In fact
it was so enmeshed in the public's mind that the BBC produced a television program about an attack
on the city of Sheffield and what happened to the area surrounding the city following the nuclear
explosion and nuclear winter took the place of a normal life.

In 1985 it was estimated that the total explosive power of nuclear weapons was between 12,000 and
20,000 megatons. Although both the U.S. and the Soviet Union kept secret the total of weapons
and their power, many different studies and guesswork reached those figures.

In order to provide an idea of how much power that would be a one megaton bomb would be equal
to 18 times the explosive power of the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. That means that the
higher figure of 20,000 megatons would have equaled 1,600,000 of that single atomic blast.

Many scientists believed that just a fraction of the existing nuclear weapons being exploded would
throw enough smoke and debris into the air to block out the sunlight. The figures used said that
at ten miles above the surface 74 percent of the sun's light would be blocked.

In 1983 a conference organized by American scientists on nuclear war. It estimated that such a war
would involve the use of 5,000 megatons of nuclear weapons. It also estimated that the smoke
alone from these bombs would be 225 million tons.

The ensuing darkness could last for weeks or even months before the smoke and debris began to clear.
The lack of sunlight would mean that temperatures in the inland regions would drop to -15 to -25
degrees Celsius. Nothing could grow, animals and humans would die from the cold and radiation
poisoning.

As the winds aloft spread the radiation and smoke and dust the rest of the world would be affected.
As the sun was blocked "nuclear winter" would spread around the globe quickly.

When the dust finally settled and sunlight could again reach the surface, there would be another
danger, the ozone layer would be so weakened that much higher ultra-violet radiation would cause
extreme damage to any humans who would have survived.

The final conclusion was "In the aftermath of a  5,000 megaton exchange, survivors would face
extreme cold, water shortages, lack of food and fuel, heavy burdens of radiation and pollutants,
diseases and sever psychological stress-all in twilight or darkness. It is clear that the ecosystems'
effects alone resulting from a large -scale thermo-nuclear war would be devastating enough to
destroy civilization as we know it in at least the Norther Hemisphere. These long-term effects,
when combined with direct causalities from the blast suggest that eventually there might be no
human survivors in the Northern Hemisphere. Human beings and other animals and plants in
the Southern Hemisphere would also suffer profound consequences."

And that my friends is why we fought so hard to contain the Soviet Union, and why we stood
ready at all times to attempt to block and stop any attack on the U.S.

Our military was stationed around the world with missiles and bombs ready, from silos in the
heartland of the U.S. to ship, submarines and planes ever on guard.

Think back, remember those backyard bomb/fallout shelters, the air raid drills and the fears we
all felt. It was real, it could have happened at any time.

Now please contact your both of your Senators ask them to become cosponsors to a bill S.402
The Cold War Service Medal Act of 2011. Contact your Congressman/woman ask them to
introduce a bill in the House of Representatives with the same wording.

Contact all members of both the Senate and the House Armed Services Committees, ask them
to ensure that a provision be written into the NDAA 2012, using the same wording as SEC. 566
of the Senate version of the NDAA 2011.

And remember to thank a vet when you see one, and thank all those presently serving in our military
because of them our country is still free.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996