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Archives treasure #3: Nuclear attack proclamation

by Brian Zylstra | April 17th, 2012

This is one proclamation that everyone should be glad wasn’t issued.

In 1956, during the peak of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, there was an unsigned and undated proclamation that was to be used by Gov. Arthur B. Langlie in case of a nuclear attack. Washington included several key potential targets for nuclear bombings – Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base (now Joint Base Lewis-McChord), the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, the nuclear submarine base at Bangor and Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane.

Gov. Langlie’s prepared proclamation of emergency (below), which includes calling up the Washington National Guard, is the third candidate for the April edition of Archives treasures. The first two contenders are the cross-sound bridge plans and the first territorial law.

Look for the online poll to soon appear, allowing you to vote on your favorite Archives treasure for this month.

(Courtesy of Washington State Archives)

One Response to “Archives treasure #3: Nuclear attack proclamation”

  1. Tyler Kaye says:

    Fascinating document — I’m sure that we will look back on post-9/11 records in a similar way years from now. If you’re interested in Cold War civil defense memorabilia and documents like this, a great site to check out is http://www.conelrad.com/.

    For the record, Bangor was just a conventional ammunition depot in 1956. The first Polaris nuclear missiles wouldn’t come until 1964 and it wasn’t designated a submarine base until the Trident program started in the late ’70s.

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