Having such a cheery tune over a matter that could potentially wipe out the world as we know is extremely unsettling.
I want to jump in and explain to people who think these videos were absurd "because you would die anyway".
This simply isnt true. For any nuclear bomb the area of land (as in the actual square miles of affected area) whose primary danger is the overpressure (blast) is **MUCH** bigger than the area of land which will be instantly destroyed.
This is obvious if you think about the area of a (relatively) small circle vs the area of the much bigger ring around that core circle. In most places the main danger is falling debris from the blast. The blast itself isn't even that dangerous to humans beyond the instant-kill zone. Its more likely to pick you up and throw you, or to throw things into you, than to tear you apart like the explosion in a traditional high-explosives. Similarly the "shrapnel" tends to be moving slower and act more like debris in hurricane than bullets as in normal explosives.
So what this means is that outside the instant-kill zone the best course of action is to take cover both from the building you are in, which will be partially or completely demolished, and from debris being carried by the blast. In both cases DUCK AND COVER makes good sense.
The other dangers like gamma rays, well, theres nothing you as the target of nuclear bomb can do. Either you were in a well shielded building when it goes off, or you werent. If you know a bomb is coming then duck and cover still helps because putting even some metal and concrete between you and the bomb is useful. But contrary to popular belief the gamma rays arent that bad because, assuming an airburst, the further out in radius you go from the bomb the gamma ray concentration per unit squared falls off dramatically. This is simply due to the the inverse square law.
The third, and most terrifying direct threat of a nuclear bomb is the initial flash of light. Aside from vaporizing people in the instant-kill zone it causes terrible burns to anyone in direct line of sight at the time of the bomb (or missile today) going off. But again, if you *know* there is a bomb coming, putting anything (even clothes) between you and the bomb will help mitigate this issue. So again, duck and cover will save you.
The other two major problems with nukes are fallout and firestorms. Theres not much you can do about those before it goes off. Afterward, best to just try to walk away if you can.
And finally, Ill address the tone of these videos. Its true they can seem funny, being so light-hearted about it. But we make light of terrorism and NK everyday. Nuclear extinction is still in the cards today but we act like its not. And finally, this is a kids video. They need to get the information across, they dont need to be terrifying schoolkids with images of hiroshima.
**TLDR: Nuclear preparedness is about the people who might survive. Not those who are going to die anyway.**
**WHAT TO DO IF A NUCLEAR MISSILE STRIKES NEAR YOU**
STEP 1) die
I read somewhere that this Civil Defense and the Bomb Shelter “craze” was just psychological to make people feel they could “do” something in the face of nuclear war, as I remember Bomb shelter construction went way down after the Cuban Missile Crisis when people were faced with the reality of nuclear war.
We had these as school drills when I was kid same as a fire drill. It was the very end of the cold war but in a super small town living 15 years behind. An alarm would sound and every kid would get under their desk just like in the video. We used to call it the bend over and kiss your ass goodbye drill.
Remember kids, Radaway, take the pain away!
For anyone who is interested in learning more about the full context behind this video, I highly recommend the 24-part miniseries, "The Cold War" (1998), narrated by Kenneth Branagh. It has a treasure trove of primary video sources from the era. There are of course tons of great cold war books, but that series is the best video series I've seen on the cold war and talks specifically about Duck and Cover in one of the episodes.
If you're into propaganda videos, YouTube has a pretty good array of them if you just search terms like "cold war propaganda". [Stuff like this](https://youtu.be/saLwgBKJT7o
I'm a big fan of the music and culture of the entire cold war period, it's just so interesting to see how culture and politics influenced each other in the context of the cold war. I built [coldwarsoundtrack.com](http://coldwarsoundtrack.com
), intended as a music and video accompaniment to the board game Twilight Struggle, but the project keeps snowballing because of how many interesting details the era holds.
Ever heard of VIA bands? Anatolian rock? Iranian funk? Afrobeat? It's fascinating how much the political backdrop of the cold war influenced the tremendous changes that happened in music from the 40s-80s.
I also recommend checking out propaganda songs of the era, like ["Thank God for Victory in Korea"](https://youtu.be/mb45MMZJh3M
) (published in 1950!) or any of the amazing tracks published by [CivilDefenseSpot](https://www.youtube.com/user/CivilDefenseSpot
), they're like a time capsule.
As the people of Chelyabinsk can attest to, [this](https://youtu.be/tq02C_3FvFo
)[LOUD] is what happens when you don't duck and cover after seeing a bright flash. 1600 people needed medical attention, and 69 were hospitalized.