From the Stacks: Nuking Baltimore

From page 3 of The Diamondback, Sept. 30, 1955:

H-Bomb Would Devastate City,
Cause Million Casualties

The mushroom cloud from a 1954 nuclear test at Bikini Atoll . Not part of original article. (courtesy U.S. Dept. of Energy)

Detonation of a single modern hydrogen bomb over the City of Baltimore would cause one million deaths or casualties, as well as virtually complete destruction of the city and port, according to the results of a research project published last Monday by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research of the University.

Titled “Baltimore and the H-Bomb,” the study attempts to provide objective information on the full dimensions of the atomic threat, in the hope that full information will lead to adequate preparation and prevention.

Destruction Zones

A map showing zones of destruction indicates that while losses of producive [sic] capacity would run close to 100 percent of the state total in such vital industries as petroleum products, nonferrous metals, and automotive products, certain other activities, such as agriculture, steel production, aircraft, and textiles would survive in relatively good condition.

However, designating Baltimore as the twelfth most important H-Bomb target in the United States, the study suggests that multi-bomb or repeat attacks might easily destroy steel and aircraft plants on the outskirts of the city.

Analysis of the location and interdependence of industry in Baltimore and the remainder of the state reveals that destruction of Baltimore industrial capacity would find the undamaged plants incapable of supplying the survivors of the attack except at a very primitive standard of life.

Fallout Pattern

A second map, tracing the probably fallout pattern, reveals that on the basis of present knowledge, and assuming simultaneous attack upon other major cities, only western and southern Maryland would escape dangerous contamination by radioactive fallout.

In view of the devastation which wold be caused by nuclear warfare, the study makes a number of recommendations including more attention to research and development in civil and air defense, a more imaginative foreign policy aimed at strengthening our European alliances and regaining our leadership in Asia.

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