Life magazine, January 12, 1962

LIFE: January 12, 1962

This is another fascinating snapshot of American attitudes on civil defense during the early sixties preserved for the ages by Life magazine. In this 1962 issue there are photos of the average John and Jane Q. Public weighing in on the hot topic of the day: Fallout Shelters:

"If I can't survive in my own basement, the hell with it... but I favor shelters in a way."

- Cabdriver Victor Goral

"Shelters are just something they’re pushing... someone's going to end up with a lot of money."

- Barber Al Guarnieri

"Shelters delude people into the inevitability of war... and the possibility of survival. Belief in safety is a hoax."

- Rabbi Leon Kronish

"An attack wouldn't be one bomb, it would be many. We'd die in those shelters. Our best chance is to work for peace, put all our efforts toward it."

- Bank Teller Mrs. Dorothy Gannaway

"Life has to go on. For that shelters must be big enough for hundreds… They should be built under federal or state programs."

- Construction Worker Arnold Larsen

"I am dismayed at shelter morality. It is natural to protect one’s family, but my ethics dictate that my neighbors be protected too."

- Housewife Mrs. Florence Ergang

"The country should he made so strong no one would dare attack us, and we wouldn’t need shelters at all. Strength is our best chance."

- Butcher Tony Volpendesta

The issue also features a shot of seven families who live on the same street in Tewksbury, Massachusetts sitting on the foundation of an unfinished shelter that they are helping to build. Not pictured are the residents of the street who have opted out.

For good measure, the editors include a section of text that presents speculation about possible "post attack behavior." One possibility, the reader is informed, is that survivors may behave like shipwreck victims and "turn cannibal." Cool!

LIFE: January 12, 1962
Life magazine
By The Editors of Life magazine
January 12, 1962


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