Continuing threat facing the western world by the Soviet possession of the atom

Wednesday, July 18, 1951

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Bill Leonard introduces the second of four programs produced by James Fleming "dealing with challenging aspects of the civil defense story."

Several audio clips are played:
President Truman (recorded "the other evening"): we face a long future of world tension...
Secretary of Defense George Marshall: the best we can hope for is a long period of tension
Winston Churchill (March 1949): Europe would have been communized some time ago, but for the deterrent of the atomic bomb in the hands of the US
Sep 23, 1949: announcement of evidence of an atomic explosion in the USSR
John Foster Dulles: the Russians may feel they can blackmail us, but we must not give in
Harold Urey: there never was a satisfactory defense against the atomic bomb
Harrison Brown: there is no control scheme
Secretary of State Dean Acheson (Sep 1949): a plea for regulation

Fleming and Leonard continue to discuss the news on atomic weapons.

Fleming introduces audio of citizens of the US and Japan discussing "living with the bomb": people from Nevada who listened in on an explosion (played back), Mayor of Hiroshima, children from Japan.

A teacher demonstrating air raid drill instructions in a classroom.

Lawrence Wilkerson: it's a question of saving our country

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71905
Municipal archives id: LT1836

Hosted by:

James Fleming and Bill Leonard


Dean Acheson, Harrison Brown, Winston Churchill, John Foster Dulles, George C. Marshall, Harry S. Truman, Harold Clayton Urey and Lawrence Wilkerson


More in:

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About Plan For Survival

"Maybe you, maybe me.  Death and destruction ... Panic in the streets ..." Not a program for pre-bedtime listening, these recordings examine the impossibility of sufficiently preparing for nuclear winter.

With surprisingly calm moderators, the Plan for Survival series (1950-1951) goes beyond the usual "duck and cover" advisement and into the details of an A-bomb attack, fallout shelters, the Soviet threat, first aid, radiation sickness, and food and water supplies following a nuclear attack. Guests include civilians recounting their survival experiences in wartime, like the missile blitzes in England.

The show was transcribed for the Civil Defense Network, which "linked virtually every radio station in New York State and operates entirely by air. It can function even if regular radio lines are destroyed." Bill Leonard hosts with expert panelists, and most programs consist of a balance of speculation and civil information for New York State in general and New York City in particular.  Intended to be a public service announcement for a new nuclear age, the record of these programs now serves to add perspective to 21st century fears —from suffocating due to sinus congestion to bags left in the subway. It's clear -- death comes from above.


Supported by