US Planned to Obliterate Civilian Populations in 1,200 Cities — Almost All of them White
FIRST CAME Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), with more than 300 targeted sites or Designated Ground Zeros (DGZs) in those two cities alone. Then there was Warsaw and Beijing, and an astonishing 1,200 other cities.
This was the list of targets drawn up “systematic destruction” by US nuclear strikes at the height of the Cold War, and declassified more than fifty years later.
The list reveals that the priority for any operation launched by the US was airfields and installations, as they wanted to be able to destroy any chance the Soviet Union had of itself attacking America.
But included in each city are specific areas — a detail that to this day remains classified — that the US intended to target because of their dense human populations. This tactic was apparently at odds with international rules of war that prohibit specific targeting of civilians.
The 700-page document, Strategic Air Command (SAC) Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959, was produced in the summer of 1956 and made available this week by the National Security Archive, located at George Washington University in Washington DC.
Scholars who published the document said they believed it was the most comprehensive Cold War nuclear target list ever to be made public.
“One of the most interesting things is the amount of minute detail,” senior analyst William Burr told The Independent.
“The priority was installations. But there were also target areas of human population. We still don’t know precisely where…. But it is chilling.”
The document says that the nuclear bombing operations would expose nearby civilians and “friendly forces and people” to high levels of deadly radioactive fallout.
Moreover, the authors developed a plan for the “systematic destruction” of Soviet bloc urban-industrial targets that specifically and explicitly targeted “population” in all cities, including Beijing, Moscow, Leningrad, East Berlin, and Warsaw.
* * *