COLLIER'S: Preview of the War We Do Not Want
Collier's magazine devoted its entire 130 page October 27, 1951 issue to an imagined World War III and subsequent United Nations occupation of Russia. It is fascinating to read how the editors and guest writers (Edward R. Murrow, Philip Wylie and Walter Winchell among many) thought WW III might unfold. It is also more than a little unsettling to flip through the peppy ads for Nash automobiles and Frigidaire refrigerators and countless other products to land on full-color renderings of Moscow and Washington in atomic flames. One illustration caption reads "Note Pentagon blazing (at upper left)." Another illustration caption reads "In an effort to terrorize people, Soviet agents planted bombs in New York's Grand Central Terminal, killed 22. Americans were outraged."
The magazine's literary war game presentation is so comprehensive that it even includes illustrations by the famous World War II editorial cartoonist Bill Maudlin who created the characters Willie and Joe."
It is interesting to note the treatment of civil defense in this speculative story and how it mirrors the conservative attitude of 1951. At first, civil defense is deemed to be inadaquate but later, after the first round of Soviet atomic attacks has taught the complacent U.S. a lesson, civil defense procedures are described as having been improved. The proof? Far fewer casualties in the second Soviet A-bomb raids than the first.
For the benefit of CONELRAD readers who will never be able to track down a copy of this masterpiece of Cold War publishing, the following is a summary of the events of the fictional war from the issue. Spoiler alert: America wins!:
PRINCIPAL EVENTS OF WORLD WAR III
Assassination attempt on Marshal Tito's life, May 10th, precipitates Cominform-planned uprising in Yugoslavia. Troops from satellite nationsof Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, backed by the Red Army, cross borders. Truman terms agression "Kremlin inspired."; Reds call it "an internal matter."
Third World War begins when Moscow, still insisting that uprising is "the will of the Yugoslav people," refuses to withdraw Red Army units. Stalin miscalculates risk: had believed U.S. would neither back Tito nor fight alone. U.S. is joined by principal UN nations in declaration of war.
Neutrals include Sweden, Ireland, Switzerland, Eqypt, India and Pakistan.
Saturation A-bombing of U.S.S.R. begins. Avoiding completely population centers, West concentrates on legitimate targets only. Principal objectives: industrial installations; oil, steel and A-bomb plants.
Communists throughout West begin sabotage campaign. Trained saboteurs open attacks in U.S.
General Vassily Stalin, aviator son of Red dictator, becomes a UN prisoner of war.
Red Army, under vast air umbrella which outnumbers UN planes five to three, attacks across north Germany plane, in Baltic countries and through Middle East.
UN Troops, fighting for time, retreat on all fronts, suffering many losses.
North American continent invaded when Red Army, in combined air-sea operation, lands in Alaska, occupying Nome and Little Diomede Island.
Reds A-bomb London and UN bases overseas.
Far East "Dunkerque" takes place when, under unremitting air and submarine attacks, U.S. occupation forces evacuate from Korea and Japan.
U.S. A-bombed for first time when Red air force hits Detroit, New York and A-bomb plant at Hanford (Washington). Civil defense proves inadequate.
Turning point in war's first phase reached with atomic artillery smashes enemy on Christmas Day in Europe.
U.S. A-bombed for second time. Bombers hit Chicago, New York, Washington and Philadelphia. Red submarines fire atomic-headed missiles into Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Norfolk (Virginia) and Bremerton (Washington). Casualties greatly lessened by improved civil defense procedures.
UN air forces finally achieve air superiority over battle fronts.
Psychological warfare begins to play an imporant role; propaganda emphasizes that UN is fighting war of liberation for Russian people; leaflet raids and broadcasts warn Russian people to evacuate area scheduled for attack.
Moscow A-bombed midnight, July 22nd, by flying B-36s in retaliation for Red A-bomb terror raid on Washington. Planes flying from U.S. bases destroy center of Moscow. Area of damage: 20 square miles.
Suicide task force lands behind U.S.S.R. borders, destroys Soviets' last remaining A-bomb stockpile in underground chambers of Ural Mountains. Of 10,000 paratroopers and airborne units, 10 percent survive.
UN General Assembly issues momentous war-aims statement known as "Denver Declaration."
Underground forces in satellite countries receive arms and materials in UN plane-drops; highly trained guerrilla fighters parachute into U.S.S.R. to aid resistance movements and destroy specific targets.
Severest rationing since beginning of war introduced in U.S.
Yugoslav guerrilla fighters begin to tie down large numbers of Red troops.
A captured Soviet general reports disappearance of Stalin, reveals that MVD (secret police) Chief Beria is new Red dictator.
Uprisings take place in U.S.S.R. and satellite nations. UN parachutes Russian emigres into Soviet Union to aid dissident groups.
UN offensive begins on all fronts as West at last gains initiative.
Red Army gradually retreats, then disintegrates under onslaught of UN air and ground forces.
Three Red generals desert to UN forces.
UN armored spearhead captures Warsaw, reaches Pripet Marshes in Poland. Another armored column crosses U.S.S.R. border into Ukraine.
UN forces clear Asiatic Turkey and cross border into Crimea.
Marines, in combined air-sea operation, capture and occupy Vladivostok.
Hostilites cease as U.S.S.R. degenerates into a state of chaos and internal revolt.
UN forces begin occupation duties in satellite nations and Ukraine.
UNITOC - United Nations Temporary Occupation Command - set up in Moscow.
COLLIER'S: Preview of the War We Do Not Want
Preview of the War We Do Not Want
By Various authors including Edward R. Murrow; Philip Wylie and Walter Winchell
October 27, 1951
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RELATED TITLES: AMERICA: National Catholic Weekly Review
AMERICAN LEGION MAGAZINE – JUNE 1950
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