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Could You Survive a Nuclear Attack or War?


Could You Survive?

I'm guessing the real freaking question is who the hell would want to? A nuclear attack would undoubtedly be the most horrific attack the United States or any nation could ever face. But most of us feel as though the nuclear cards are off the table as far as warfare is concerned. Beyond the crazy terrorist with a suitcase nuke or that of a crazy military dictatorship like North Korea has, that there is no more threat to our world from nuclear annihilation. Well, you would be almost right in thinking this way.

India and Pakistan have a long standing feud and they have both joined in the small ranks of nuclear armed nation-states. Both sides are now in the middle of a nuclear cold war. So the threat of a localized nuclear war is still on the table in Asia. Both the United States and Russia have lowered their ICBM stockpiles dramatically with talks and treaties of disarmament but both countries still maintain vast tactical nuclear arsenals they claim are for civil defense and recent tensions between the countries with the Russian invasion of Georgia and the United States anti-missile defense plan in Poland (now defunct thanks to Obama!) there is still some bad blood there between the two powers.

The countries that have declared nuclear arms are France, England, Russia, China, the United States, India, and Pakistan... there is talk that Israel is armed with nuclear weapons but there is no clear evidence as to a yes or no on the subject. Also after the break-up of the former Soviet Union over two hundred nuclear weapons just up and vanished on their way from the Ukraine back to Russia. There are also small hand deliverable systems from Russia that are still missing. With North Korea developing nuclear weapons, and Iran rushing to catch up and join the club the world is far from not being threatened by a nuclear attack.

So the threat is real, we are far from a free nuclear weapons world and most of us today have no idea what a nuclear war would even be like. Well there are actually four separate scenarios when it comes to a nuclear war... in this first section we will explore the first three... then in the second section we will talk about the fourth one. So let us explore Nuclear War.

M.A.D. Mutually Assured Destruction!:

MAD was the western and eastern philosophy on nuclear war in the 1970s and early 80's. It was that if the United States and the Soviet Union went to war and it escalated into a nuclear exchange that all the super powers nuclear weapons would be launched to annihilate the other country in a scorched earth policy. Nothing would survive. This kept the concept of an all out exchange from ever happening because it would mean the end of life on Earth. Both sides knew that a nuclear exchange of this magnitude was global suicide.

Limited Nuclear Exchange or Tactical Strike:

A limited nuclear exchange or tactical strike is considered a small scale exchange but not a global life ending event. You can think of the attacks on Japan during World War Two... (messed up and I don't agree with what we the U.S. did there) as a tactical strike. In order to cripple the enemies power structure or military power a nuclear power may use it's nuclear arsenal in either a conventional or non conventional way to gain the upper hand. This could be on the battlefield, at sea, or even within the nations borders. Armies can carry nuclear tipped rounds that can be fired from a cannon, and also small delivery systems can be delivered from warships able to fire inland for several miles be it a round or a missile. So a small nuclear strike on Washington would be considered tactical strike or a strike against Tehran in Iran would be tactical. If both sides use nuclear weapons then it is a limited nuclear exchange.

Terrorist Threat:

There is always the threat of a terrorist attack using a nuclear weapon. Be that threat from overseas or domestic the threat still lingers. With Russia having lost some of it's nuclear weapons and with nations that back terrorist groups developing these weapons there is a very real threat of a nuclear attack on a major western power.

What to Do?

It is amazing but the United States and it's allies actually believed during the 50's and 60's that a nuclear war was a winnable affair, especially if the war was tactical or surgical. Even an all out nuclear exchange was entertained as winnable if the victor still had their basic infrastructure intact. Nuclear Fall-Out was seen as the most devastating and long lasting problem (YA THINK?) but nothing that could not be avoided if handled correctly. We can see this in test videos and nuclear training videos made in the 50's. Citizens hear the sirens and drop and cover and cover their eyes from the flash of the nuclear explosion. Fallout shelters became big business in the 50's and 60's after the Bay of Pigs with Russian and Cuba (the closest the U.S. ever came to an all out nuclear war). People stored food, saved water, built structures inside their homes and below them and stocked them with batteries, radios, lanterns, flashlights, and board games and even Geiger-counters with plans to survive the coming nuclear war. Those days are gone now.

The fact is that even in a limited nuclear exchange fall out will travel over large surface areas of the planet and rain down in the environments of the world. The long term effects of an exchange like this either limited or all out would be calamitous to humanity and to mother nature. Though a limited nuclear tactical strike might not destroy all humanity the sum of these weapons is best left in the minds of our imaginations and they should never be used in war or in hate again.


An EMP Attack

Nuclear Explosion in the Sky

Electromagnetic Pulse Shut Down Range

Any electronic device will be shut down to the line of sight horizon.

Any electronic device will be shut down to the line of sight horizon.

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Electro-Magnetic Pulse Attack

The EMP or electromagnetic pulse is a process in which an electromagnetic pulse is used to create X-Rays that strip the electrically charged ions in the atmosphere and cause them to rain down from the upper atmosphere. These weapons are line of sight weapons and their disbursement and effectiveness as shown in the map to the right depends on their telemetry as it relates to the horizon. Once they reach the ground they overcharge all electrical circuits from long length electrical lines and electrical hub systems, to the technology that runs our infrastructure from banks, to gas stations. An attack like this could cripple our modern world and throw us back to the postindustrial age.

A nuclear weapon or up to three nuclear weapons detonated in the upper atmosphere above the United States would knock out almost all the power in North America from Canada to Mexico and cripple all commerce, travel, economical, and agricultural activity. In a sense this attack is one of the worst case scenarios, with no power operational and all communications down people would be stuck to fend for themselves and in a world where we are all so used to just hopping in the car and heading down to Wall Mart for our wants and needs, society would quickly turn on it's head. Hospitals would become death camps for those that are starving, elderly, diseased, weak, sick, and mentally ill; overrun with these problems people would be turned away at the doors or left to find help elsewhere. Prisons would be nonoperational and inmates would most likely be set free to fend for themselves. The ensuing nightmare is almost unimaginable. The enemy would just sit back and watch our society rip itself to shreds. In a matter of months with people unable to receive life saving medications or medical supplies and fresh food and water the death tolls would reach into the millions.


The Flash

Flash burn occurs immediately following a nuclear blast. Most injuries in the blast zone are caused by flash burns.

Flash burn occurs immediately following a nuclear blast. Most injuries in the blast zone are caused by flash burns.

Safe Zones

Find safe zones away from eastern blowing fall out winds, target areas, and urban areas.

Find safe zones away from eastern blowing fall out winds, target areas, and urban areas.

Fall Out

A fall out chart of the United States.

A fall out chart of the United States.

Radiation Safe Distance

Radiation kill zone around target

Radiation kill zone around target

Survive a Nuclear Terrorist Attack Video

You will have no time to say goodbye to those you love.

You will have no time to say goodbye to those you love.

So Really; What Can I Do to Stay Alive?

Okay, well in either case the best case scenario is to find a fallout chart like the one to the right of this article and to see where you live as to where there will be fallout. There are strike maps of known nuclear strike targets in an all out war with Russia. Look at these target sites... are you living in one? If you have family in a safe zone then perhaps you can come up with a plan to travel to their location once it is safe to do so. I really doubt it will ever be safe to travel after a nuclear attack but hey what the heck right? I mean if grandma Betty lives in Taft California then you and your family are gravy if you can get there, and she has food storage, medical supplies, guns and ammo, and clean purified drinking water.

After the initial attack it will be chaos and hell near ground zero with fires storms, bizarre electrical phenomena, burn and blind flash victims wondering the ruins in a daze, disaster relief and military clean up units trying to find survivors and save infrastructure. So how can you survive this crazy event... well be prepared. Watch your news, if there is going to be an attack then well it will probably be by some skirmish. A terror attack can't be tracked so just know it can happen and like any disaster plan have a plan to get out and be safe. If you are one of the unlucky survivors living near ground zero your chances of survivability are next to none. Those further away are still very much at risk with radiation poisoning and sickness...


Zone A 1000 R Will kill absolutely everyone exposed or unsheltered

Zone B 500 R Will Kill more than half the people unsheltered

Zone C 300 R Will Cause everyone to be sick and vomit and have diarrhea, many will die from these symptoms, called radiation poisoning.

Radiation may not kill you right away. Your cells may operate fine for a few hours or days that is until the missing chromosomes go on to reproduce and that is where the problems occur. After the second or third reproductive cells break down then the body is no longer able to sustain life. The body tissues break down and the person dies. Only eat stored food and drink stored water, the best way to tell if it safe to eat is to use a Geiger counter and see if it is under 200 RADS.

The best thing is to never use these weapons. Nuclear power should be used for just that, the generation of electricity and nothing more. Just because you have a weapon doesn't mean you have to use it, and the best thing to do is to get rid of it. Please visit my hub The End Times Survival Network for information for long term survival plans and information.

The Ideas To Survival:

Caught in the Blast Zone:

  • If caught outside in the zone of the blast find shelter away from the blast-zone. A tunnel, a ditch, or a culvert and cover your face and eyes facing away from the blast.
  • If in your home or at work find an area that is reinforced and brace yourself in a huddled position with your head tucked low while covering your head and neck protecting your eyes.
  • Flash blindness; You may experience blindness from the flash. If you are blinded by the flash then stay put until help arrives, unless you have others with you still able to see.
  • If you survive the initial blast and the resulting fire-storm it will be best to stay in doors for a period of time unless your dwelling or shelter has been destroyed or is causing you danger. In the case of the later move towards the outer zone of the blast. The best way to do this is to move towards the horizon.
  • Zone shock; You may experience zone shock, zone shock results in surviving the blast but being injured or emotionally disabled from the experience. If someone you are with is experiencing zone shock they may wonder off, not move at all, or become catatonic. Help this person by talking to them and keeping them warm. Hydrate them as much as possible. Talk them about being alive and that you are going to get them help.
  • Strange Effects; electrical phenomena happen in the area associated with the blast and the interaction with the environment. You may see glowing orbs, ball lightening, and electrified ash.. stay clear of these anomalies.
  • Touch nothing, your goal is to exit the blast zone and get as far away from the resulting fires and radiation.

In The Radiation Zone:

  • In the radiation zone you may have a few days before you are able to start your move away from the area. Make sure you have disaster supplies on hand. Food storage and clean drinking water will be key.
  • Stay in the most sheltered part of your home for the time being. The rest of your home may be radiated. Basements and reinforced concrete rooms are the best places to hide unless you have a fallout shelter.
  • If your family or friends succumb to radiation sickness remove them from the shelter if they pass and place their remains outside. Signs of radiation sickness: unquenchable thirst, loss of appetite, bloating, high fever, fingernails, teeth, and hair falling out, unconsciousness followed soon by death.
  • After two or three days have passed exit your home and head west away from the resulting winds. Stay clear of populated areas, they may have been hit by a nuclear attack as well. Make sure you have iodide pills and if possible keep extra clothing in your shelter and clean water for washing yourself. After travel remove your clothing and burn it. Clean yourself off with soap and water. Repeat this process as you travel to reduce radiation exposure.
  • Look for military or disaster relief specialists, if you have a working radio then scout for information on help and head to the nearest emergency disaster center.

Good luck and I hope you never need this information.

Other Hubs on Nuclear Weapons:


em_saenz on February 17, 2012:

It is not a question of when. It has already arrived but we don't know it. You mentioned Pulsed Electronic attack and I have done some work on this. We are already living in a post electronic attack era and nobody is or will do anything to stop it.It is an undeclared war that is waged on ordinary civilians every day. Therefore we have to take measures to heal, cure and alleviate radiation sickness. We cannot just follow the Wikipedia line that there is not much that can be done.

Sean Jankowski (author) from Southern Oregon on March 22, 2010:

Sorry guys I just finished this hub, I was unable to get it done last night but published it anyways. That is right, the short answer to the over all question is NO! You wouldn't want to if you could.

breakfastpop on March 22, 2010:

The short answer is no.

sheila b. on March 22, 2010:

When Iran is able to, they will launch an attack on Tel Aviv.

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