Preparing For Nucular War



It is the most devastating weapon known to man – nuclear missiles. Could we ever see one used in war in our modern times? Actually, nuclear weapons have been used in war in the not-too-distant past. World War II ended with the United States' nuclear bombs landing on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945 and on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945. Both utterly destroyed these cities and brought about a quick surrender by the nation of Japan.

At the time of the bombing of Japan, the United States was the only nation that had the nuclear bomb. However, in 1949 the Soviet Union developed their own nuclear weapons. They were followed by the United Kingdom in 1952, by France in 1960 and by China in 1964. India and Pakistan have also developed nuclear weapons. As of the 1960s, it is believed that Israel has them. In 2006, North Korea was added to this list. There is a great deal of suspicion that Iran is developing such weapons and this has been discussed at length at the United Nations and elsewhere.

Even though there has been a proliferation of nuclear weapons, most people do not expect nuclear war. This is not because the risk has been taken away but it is because Western society, by and large, is apathetic to this concern. The average Westerner is consumed with the personal issues of his own life and family and does not show much interest in international threats. It is because he has never seen nuclear weapons used (Other than on video) and, therefore, it is too foreign a thought for him to see them realistically be used now. They believe that the Cold War is over.

The Cold War is a term given to a period of time beginning from the USSR's development of nuclear weapons in 1949 until an unidentified period of time. Some would give an end date for the Cold War as the date that the Berlin wall came down or the date that the USSR rejected communism for a more democratic form of government. But has the Cold War really ended?

United States President, Barak Obama, declared in his election debate with Mitt Romney that the Cold War was over. This opinion endorsed by such a high official has become the majority view. It is what we all want to believe. However, has the Cold War ended?

Westerners do not understand the communist mind. We imagine that they are much like us – peace-loving. However, that is an assumption not well-supported by history. Communism came into the world by the revolutionary, forceful taking of Russia by Lenin and his Bolsheviks. Communism spread throughout the world by violent military advances. While this has been forgotten by most Westerners, many are beginning to consider this reality again as Russia has taken Crimea and is involved in the conflict in the Ukraine. The conflict in the Ukraine is a shock to most people. Countries don't just move across sovereign country borders to take territory for themselves. Or do they?

Communist leader, Mao Zedong, in 1957, said:

Let us imagine how many people would die if war breaks out. There are 2.7 billion people in the world and a third could be lost. If it is a little higher it could be half ... I say that if the worst came to the worst and one-half dies, there will still be one-half left, but imperialism would be razed to the ground and the whole world would become socialist. After a few years there would be 2.7 billion people again. 1


I disagree with Mao Zedong because to him socialism is more important than over a billion innocent lives. This shows the mindset of communists such as Mao. Life is cheap under this worldview. This is better understood by the generation that lived through the early yeas of the Cold War.

What did the generation that lived in the early years of the Cold War believe and how did they prepare? They believed that nuclear war with the USSR was highly possible, if not probable. In the 1950s, preparations were made for the United States people. Civil defence programs were set up where some schools and other buildings were stocked with non-perishable food supplies and other supplies. They were also equipped with geiger counter radiation-measuring equipment. Some of these locations had signage labelling them “Fallout Shelter.” In the 1960s, the world saw the Cuban missile crisis. The USSR began setting up ballistic missiles in Cuba, only ninety miles from the United States. After intense negotiations, the Russians removed these missiles. Both the U.S. and the USSR increased their stockpile of nuclear weapons. The public took the threat that this nuclear arms race posed very seriously. It was not considered excessive to build your own bunker for you and your family.

In the early years of the Cold War the threat was intercontinental ballistic missiles. However, as of the 1980s, an even greater threat faces us. Submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) are nuclear missiles that can be launched from submarines. Both the United States and Russia have these weapons and the submarines to launch them. The Russians most modern submarine for firing these missiles is the Borei-class submarines. These are now replacing the Delta 3, Delta 4 and Typhoon class. The Borei cost 890 million U.S. dollars and can carry at least sixteen missiles. This high-technology submarine is virtually undetectable and if it was parked below the water on the North American shore, it is estimated that it would take three minutes to strike a North American target.

A lot has been said about the U.S. missile defence system. These are rockets that can be deployed to intercept in-coming ballistic missiles. While such a system may be effective in taking out intercontinental missiles, fired from another continent, it is debatable whether or not they would be of much use against submarine-launched missiles, fired at short range. Three minutes is a very small window of time to react to a nuclear attack.

The United States supply of nuclear weapons has been a deterrent to Russia launching a nuclear attack. The threat of mutual assured destruction has likely kept such an attack from occurring up until now. However, the United States' arsenal of nuclear weapons are not set up to fire automatically. They require authorization from the President of the United States. If Russian SLBMs were fired at North America from short-range, would the President of the United States make the decision to launch U.S. nuclear missiles in less that three minutes time. That is quite a decision to have to make. There just isn't enough time to react to a submarine-launched nuclear missile. That is why in a nuclear war the country that makes the first strike has an enormous advantage over responding nations. Because of the utter destruction that these weapons carry out, a first strike is of enormous advantage. Because of the decisiveness of a first strike, there is little that a responding nation can do to protect itself from SLBMs.

Even though there is little that responding nations can do to stop SLBMs, there are things that individuals can do to potentially protect themselves from the threat of nuclear war. Should individuals try to protect themselves from the threat of nuclear war? Some people believe that any nuclear war will result in the mutual destruction of both warring countries and of the world as nuclear fallout will drastically effect the environment. They believe that life cannot exist after nuclear war. Many others, however, believe that this is not necessarily true. It is possible that Russia, China and/or North Korea could wage a limited nuclear war against the West. This would be a tactical war to blow up military infrastructure and certain population centres. A limited nuclear war could be followed by a land invasion to plunder our territory and resources. In a scenario such as this, many will live through nuclear war and much can be done ahead of time to prepare for life after such an event.

How can one prepare for nuclear war? An important thing to consider is whether or not you live close to where a nuclear missile would land. A limited nuclear war is meant to take out military infrastructure and certain population centres. You may be wise to consider moving away from densely populated urban surroundings to a more rural community. You may especially consider relocation if you live close to a military base or a military target. How can one know what are the most dangerous target zones in North America? The best book that I know of that contains this information is Joel M. Skousen's “Strategic Relocation.” If you are situated away from a target area, then you do not need to prepare for the direct effect of the nuclear blast itself. Instead, you can concentrate on preparing for the collapse of infrastructure and society that would follow nuclear war. This kind of preparing would involve things like:


    • having a supply of non-perishable food (maybe even freeze-dried foods)

    • having a supply of clean water

    • having a plan in place for re-supplying yourself with water if the city water supplies are shut down (perhaps even having a water filtration system).

    • storing items like batteries, matches or candles which may be useful if there is no power 

    • storing medical supplies

    • storing fuel in a safe place

    • storing a tent and/or shelter items

The most physically catastrophic kind of war is nuclear war. Don't think it couldn't happen. We live in a fragile world and the Cold War between different idealogical worldviews and the nations that hold them is not necessarily over. You might not be able to defend yourself against a nuclear submarine but you may be able to slip below the surface and go off the radar yourself by becoming self-sufficient and living more remotely. All the best in your preparations for this kind of threat.


1. Mao Zedong, quoted in  Dikötter, Frank. Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958–62. Walker & Company, 2010. p.13. ISBN 0-8027-7768-6


 Dikötter, Frank. Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958–62. Walker & Company, 2010. p.13. ISBN 0-8027-7768-6

“Borei-class Submarine.” Wikipedia.

Nuclear Warfare.” Wikipedia.

Nuclear Weapon.” Wikipedia.