Krankheit saidWe had air raid drills in school because somebody thought that hiding under our desks would save our lives if the Russians attacked with nuclear weapons.
I remember that......
I remember the coast-to-coast national air raids drills in the 1950s. Everyone had to get off the streets and seek shelter, leave your car at the curb and get indoors when the sirens sounded. Sci-fi films from that era used shots of US cities with scenes of empty streets and abandoned vehicles, that suited their plots of alien invaders and atomically-mutated monsters destroying all life.
As for hiding under school desks, the idea was to avoid radiation burns, and falling ceiling debris. It was understood that if you were close to the blast you'd be vaporized, no desk would save you. The hope was that you would be far enough away that building damage would be survivable, much like the response to an earthquake, and you'd be shielded from direct radiation entering through windows, which even a desk could block.
This was what us kids were taught in the early 1950s, and it was indeed scary for many. I remember being herded into basement school rooms during these air raid drills, and hearing mostly girls screaming in terror. And being annoyed at them, since we all knew it was a drill, like our monthly fire drills. They'd be yelling that bombs were gonna kill us, and I'd be like, shut up girl, this is just an exercise. But I do wonder if a whole generation was traumatized by these things.