Time magazine's August 10, 1992, issue, Ted Gup reported on newly disclosed plans that the federal government had developed for salvaging the state in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States by the Soviet Union.
"Though the Soviet Union is gone," the story went, "Washington was once convinced that World War III could break out without warning . . . and in case of nuclear attack the U.S. government hoped to save the President and keep the country running by relying on THE DOOMSDAY BLUEPRINTS."
If "doomsday" had arrived, a president running the country from the top down would have added mass starvation and social extinction to the mass devastation of nuclear war.
The doomsday planners of the '50s envisioned a post-apocalyptic urban America largely in ruins and darkened under the breakdown of private-sector and governmental services and the imposition of martial law, food rationing, price controls, censorship, and the curtailment of individual liberties. They also envisioned outright federal dictatorship, too.
In a 1955 top-secret memo to advisers, then-President Eisenhower wrote: "We would have to run this country as one big camp-severely regimented." Later on, he asked, "Who is going to bury the dead? Where would one find the tools? The organization to do it? We must not assume that we are going to handle these problems with calmness. . . . We will be running soup kitchens-we are going to be taking care of a completely bewildered population."
It was estimated that tens of millions of people would be dead, with the major cities of the United States in ruins or in ashes. But in addition to the millions of civilian casualties, there would be another, more prominent casualty: the pretense of constitutional government.
The Doomsday Blueprints were developed during the Eisenhower administration with a single-minded mission: to save the federal government, preserve and restore law and order, and prime the pump of the devastated economy. To achieve these ends, the doomsday planners labored to create a vast and secret doomsday bureaucracy.