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Eisenhower Talks Fallout Shelters, Nuclear War

Oct. 17, 1961 - Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower (pictured in Warsaw in 1945) said today that he did “not know the right answer to give the people” on whether to build fallout shelters. He said he had been urged to build a shelter on his farm at Gettysburg and that he would do it “if I were not so deeply certain that it would alarm the people.” General Eisenhower was asked if the fact that both the Communists and the West had atomic bombs would preclude the use of nuclear weapons. No, General Eisenhower said, he did not think it would, necessarily. After World War II had ended, he recalled, the Allies learned that Adolf Hitler had 30,000 tons of poison gas stored away, “far more deadly than we had.” So, there is always the danger, he said, that an enemy, believing the issue is one of survival or death, might loose an atomic bomb. The only reliance, he said, is in “agreements mutually enforceable in which we have confidence.”


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