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Specialists Cast Doubt on National Shelter Program

Feb. 18, 1962 - A pamphlet contending that any national shelter program would be almost useless has been issued by eight specialists who teach at Columbia University, Hofstra College and Amherst College. “A National Shelter Program: Its Feasibility and Its Cost” is a challenge to Federal plans for meeting the dangers of a nuclear attack. It speaks of “the near-impossibility of survival.” Professor Otto Klineberg, one of the pamphlet’s authors, holds that shelters are actually dangerous “because they reduce our will to find a peaceful solution to international problems, and because they may convince our adversaries that we are expecting, and therefore preparing, for war.” Another author, Professor Victor Paschkis, notes that firestorms, or conflagrations started by nuclear explosions, have been predicted to last six hours to several weeks. During that time, he says, air vents would have to be shut tightly to prevent the firestorm from drawing air out of the shelters or driving air at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit into them, “which would burn the lungs of occupants immediately.”

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