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/n an effort to provide a more concrete understanding of the situation
which survivors of a nuclear war would face, OTA commissioned the following
work of fiction. It presents one among many possibilities, and in particular it
does not consider the situation if martial law were imposed or if the social fabric
disintegrated into anarchy. It does provide detail which adds a dimension to the
more abstract ana/ysis presented in the body of the report.

At first, it seemed Iike a miracle. No fireball on Route 29. The governing bodies of Char-
had seared the city, no blast wave had crum- lottesville and surrounding Albemarle County
bled buildings and buried the inhabitants, no were rumored to be concerned about the drain
dark mushroom cloud had spread over the sky. on the area resources, without really having
Much of the country had been devastated by any way of turning back newcomers. “If this
massive nuclear attack, but the small, gracious keeps up, ” remarked a member of the Al be-
city of Charlottesville, Va., had escaped marle Board of Supervisors, “we’re going to be
unharmed. overrun without any war. ”

* * * A few of the students at the University of
Virginia left Charlottesville to join their
families. But the majority of the students
The nuclear attack on the Nation did not
stayed, believing that they could go home easi-
come as a complete surprise. For some weeks,
ly if it were necessary.
there had been a mounting anxiety as the
media reported deteriorating relations be- Refugees came from Washington, 130 miles
tween the superpowers. The threat of possible to the north, and they came from Richmond,
nuclear war hung heavy in the world’s con- 70 miles to the east. A few of the hardier types
sciousness. As evidence reached the U.S. Presi- continued on into the mountains and caverns
dent’s desk that a sizable number of Amer- near Skyline Drive; the majority sought the
icans were deserting the major cities for what reassurances of civilization that the small city
they perceived to be safety in the rural areas, could provide.
he considered ordering a general evacuation.
But, with the concurrence of his advisors, he The population of Charlottesville normally
decided that an evacuation call from the stood a little above 40,000, while Albemarle
Federal Government would be premature, and County which surrounds the city like a donut
possibly provocative. There was no hard boasted an additional 40,000 to 50,000. With
evidence that the Soviets were evacuating and the arrival of the city evacuees, the combined
there was a good chance that the crisis would population was well over 120,000.
In the week before the nuclear attack, much
Spontaneous evacuation, without official of the population familiarized itself with the
sanction or direction, grew and spread. A week location of fallout shelters. Little hoarding
before the attack, Charlottesville had no free took place as retailers limited sales of food
hotel or motel rooms. A few evacuees found and other necessities. Transistor radios accom-
lodgings with private families, at great ex- panied both adults and children when they
pense, but most were forced to camp by their were away from home. However, most of the
cars in their traiIers next to the fast-food chains residents of CharlottesviIIe continued to Iive as

Appendix C—Charlottesville: A Fictional Account by Nan Randall ● 125

they always had, although they were particu- its selected fate of death or salvation alone.
larly alert for sirens or bulletin broadcasts on (Some time later it was learned that more than
the radio. Many children stayed out of school. 4,000 megatons (Mt) had destroyed military
* * * and industrial targets, killing close to 100
million people in the United States. The U.S.
At the sound of the sirens and the emergen- counterattack on the Soviet Union had had a
cy radio alerts, most of Charlottesville and Al- similar, devastating effect. Destruction ranged
bemarle County hurried to shelter. Fortunate from the large industrial centers on the coasts
Iy, Charlottesville had a surplus of shelter and Great Lakes to small farming communities
space for its own population, though the refu- that had the misfortune to be close to the great
gees easily took up the slack. Many headed for missile silos and military bases. )
the University grounds and the basements of
the old neoclassical buildings designed by Areas of the country such as the northeast
Thomas Jefferson; others headed downtown corridor were reduced to a swath of burning
for the office building parking garages. Carry- rubble from north of Boston to south of Nor-
ing a few personal effects, blankets, cans and folk. Still, there were some sections of the Na-
bottles of food, and transistor radios, they con- tion that were spared the direct effects of blast
verged in a quiet if unordered mass, For most and fire. Inland in Virginia, only the town of
people, the obvious emotional crises —grief at Radford, west of Roanoke, received a direct
leaving behind a pet, anxiety at being unable hit. The farming and orchard land of the rural
to locate a family member or relative—were counties were not targets.
suppressed by the overwhelming fear of the Charlottesville, the small but elegant center
impending attack. of learning, culture, and trade in central Vir-
Some residents chose not to join the group ginia, was not hit either. This monument to the
shelters. Many suburbanites had ample, sturdy mind and manner of Jefferson retained its
basements and food stocks. They preferred not status as a kind of genteel sanctuary, momen-
to crowd themselves. In the event, those who tarily immune to the disaster that had leveled
had taken the precaution of piling dirt against the cities of the Nation.
the windows and doors of their basements * * *
found that they provided adequate shelter.
Among the rural poor, there was a reluctance An hour after nothing fell on Charlottesville,
to desert the small farms that represented the rescue squads and police were dispatched to
sum of their Iife’s work. They wondered wheth- scour the countryside for stragglers to get
er, if they left, they would return to find their them to shelters. Because, even if the popula-
means of livelihood gone. Further, many lived tion was safe from the direct effects of the
far from an adequate public shelter. So they nuclear warheads, another danger was immi-
stayed. nent. Fallout, the deadly cloud of radioactive
particles sucked up by the nuclear fireballs,
* * * could easily blanket the town of Charlottes-
Most did not see the attacks on Richmond ville in a matter of hours. And no one could
and on Washington as they huddled in their predict how much, and where it would go. Fall-
shelters. But the sky to the east and north of out could poison many of those idyllic rural
Charlottesville glowed brilliant in the noonday towns and villages that seemed light-years
sun. At first no one knew how extensive the away from the problems of international
damage was. power and politics. While a few places, such as
Roseberg, Ore., would receive no fallout at all,
Communication nationwide was interrupted the rest of the Nation would have to constantly
as the Earth’s atmosphere shivered with the monitor to know the level of radiation and
assault of the explosions. Each town, city, where it was located. Fortunately for Char-
village, or farm was an island, forced to suffer lottesville, the University and the hospitals had
126 Ž The Effects of Nuclear War

sophisticated radiological monitoring equip- though it kept running because of its gravity
ment, and the training to use it. Many other system, was contaminated with lodine 131. Po-
towns were not so lucky. tassium iodide pills, which were available in
some shelters, provided protection; elsewhere
Two and one-half hours after the warnings
people drank bottled water, or as little water
had sounded, the nuclear engineering staff
as possible.
from the University picked up the first fallout.
Starting at a moderate level of about 40 reins Not all of the shelters had enough food and
an hour — a cumulative dose of 450 reins re- other necessities. Most shelters had no toilets.
ceived in a l-week period would be fatal to The use of trash cans for human waste was an
one-half of those exposed —the intensity rose imperfect system, and several days into the
to 50 reins before starting the decline to a level shelter period, the atmosphere was often op-
of about four-tenths of a rem an hour after 2 pressive. As many suffered from diarrhea –the
weeks. (The total dose in the first 4 days was result either of anxiety, flu, or radiation sick-
2,000 reins, which killed those who refused to ness — the lack of toilet facilities was especial-
believe shelter was necessary, and increased ly cliff i cult.
the risk of eventually dying of cancer for those
who were properly sheltered. ) For the immedi- Shelter life was bearable in the beginning.
ate period, it was essential to stay as protected Communications by CB radio allowed some
as possible. shelters to communicate with one another, to
locate missing family members and friends. A
For several days, Charlottesville remained genuine altruism or community spirit of coop-
immobile, suspended in time. It was unclear eration was present in almost all the shelters —
just what had happened or would happen. The though some of them were fairly primitive.
President had been able to deliver a message Even those refugees who were crowded into
of encouragement, which was carried by those halls and basements with the local residents
emergency radio stations that could broad- were welcomed. Parents watched out for one
cast. As the atmosphere had cleared, radio sta- another’s children or shared scarce baby food.
tion WCHV was able to transmit sporadically Most people willingly accepted direction from
on its backup transmitter and emergency gen- whomever took charge. Among the majority of
erator in the basement. However, the message the shelter residents, the out-of-town refugees
from the President posed more questions than being an exception, there was a sense of relief,
it answered — the damage assessment was in-
a sense that they had been among the lucky
complete. Nevertheless, he said that there was ones of this world. They had survived.
a tentative cease-fire.
Within a few days, the emergency radio was
In the first days of sheltering, only those
able to broadcast quite regularly. (As the
with some particular expertise had much to do.
ionosphere does not clear all at once, occa-
Nuclear engineers and technicians from the
sional interruptions were expected. ) The sta-
University were able to monitor radiation in
tion had had no protection from the electro-
the shelters they occupied, and CB radios
magnetic pulse that can travel down the anten-
broadcast results to other shelters. The doctors
na and shatter the inner workings of electronic
were busy attempting to treat physical and
equipment during a nuclear explosion. How-
psychological ailments — the symptoms of
ever, by detaching the back-up transmitter at
radiation sickness, flu, and acute anxiety being
the sound of the warning, the station engineer
unnervingly similar — while the police and gov-
had protected equipment. Intermittent com-
ernment officials attempted to keep order. The
munications from Emergency Operations Cen-
rest waited.
ters got through to Charlottesville officials,
For the time being, the food stocks brought though the main communications center at
to the shelter were adequate if not appetizing. Olney, Md., was silent. Telephone switching fa-
The only problem was the water supply which, cilities were almost entirely out, although the
Appendix C—Charlottesville: A Fictional Account by Nan Randall ● 127

small, independent phone company could ex- cases in intensive care were released to
pect to be operational fairly quickly. The com- nature’s devices while any elective medical
plex, coast-to-coast trunk lines of Ma Bell procedures were eliminated, Still, hospitals
might take a year or more to reconnect. were able to cope, even with the increasing
number of common ailments caused by the
Lifeline of the sheltered community was the
shelter crowding.
CB radio. Rural Virginians had been CB fans
long before it became a national craze, and Suddenly, this changed. Fallout levels were
they put their equipment to imaginative use. too high for anyone to be out in the open for
Prodded by anxious refugees, as well as by any length of time, but the people came any-
local residents who had relatives and friends in way. The carefully laid plans of the University
other parts of the world, CBers tried to set up a of Virginia Emergency Room, devised for the
relay system on the lines of an electronic pony possibility of peacetime accidents, were hur-
express. Though less than perfect, the CB relay riedly modified. No longer was the careful
was able to bring Iimited news from outside, showering and decontaminating of victims
most of that news being acutely distressing. possible with the single shower and uncertain
From the limited reports, it was clear that there water pressure. Instead, patients were stripped
was Iittle left in the coastal cities; those who of their clothes and issued hospital gowns.
had abandoned family or friends to come to With no time for studied decision, doctors seg-
Charlottesville understood that probably they regated the very sick from the moderately
wouId never see them again. sick — the latter to be treated, the former given
medication and allowed to die.
The first surge of grief swept over the refu-
gees and those Charlottesville residents who Nevertheless, the day came when the hospi-
were affected. In time, the sorrow of loss tals were full. The University Hospital, Martha
would affect almost everyone. Although they Jefferson Hospital, the Blue Ridge Sanatorium,
had survived themselves, still they had lost. and the others were forced to lock their doors
* * * to protect those patients they had already ac-
Three days after the attacks, the next large
influx of refugees poured into Charlottesville, After being turned away, the sick had no
many of them suffering with the early symp- specific destination. Many still clustered
toms of radiation sickness. They had been around the middle of town near the two major
caught poorly sheltered or too close to the hospitals, taking up residence in the houses
nuclear targets themselves. A few showed the abandoned by local residents several days
effects of blast and fire, bringing home to before. With minimal protection from fallout
Charlottesville the tangible evidence of the and no medical treatment for other trauma,
war’s destruction. Some refugees had driven, many died, their bodies left unburied for sever-
while others had hitchhiked or even walked to al weeks.
reach what they hoped was safety and medical
The combined populations of Charlottes-
help. On the way, many were forced to aban-
ville and Albemarle County rose to 150,000 in
don those who were too weak to continue.
the 7 days after the nuclear attack. Slowly,
The hospitals were completely over- hostility and resentment wedged a gap be-
whelmed. Up to now, the hospitals had man- tween residents and refugees who attempted
aged to treat the ill with some modicum of to join the group shelters, The refugees, still in
order. The hospitals themselves were fallout a daze from their experience, believed that
shelters of a kind; patients’ beds had been they had priority rights after all they had suf-
moved to interior corridors for fallout protec- fered. The local residents viewed the outsiders
tion; emergency surgery was feasible with the as a threat to their own survival, particuIarly as
emergency generators, hospital staff slept in the extent of the war damage was becoming
the most protected areas. Some borderline evident.
128 ● The Effects of Nuclear War

In fact, the supply of food was not a prob- For the first week or so after the nuclear at-
lem in the short run. Like most other towns and tacks, authorities had few options. Simple sur-
cities, Charlottesville and Albemarle had some vival was the priority, the elements of which in-
3 weeks worth of food on hand, on home cluded food and water distribution, fallout
shelves, in supermarkets and wholesale out- protection, and retention of some civil order.
lets. The Morton Frozen Food plant could be Government was ad hoc, with the leadership of
expected to supply a rich diet of convenience the city and county naturally cooperating,
foods for a short time, even after the refriger- along with the different police forces. As the
ation was off. The problem was, after the local population left the shelters, however, officials
supplies were exhausted, where could they get felt that some more formalized system was de-
more? sirable. After several long meetings — in the
basement of the courthouse where the govern-
Nerves, already frayed by the stresses of the ment officials had stayed to avoid fallout— an
past days, threatened to snap. Older people emergency government, led by the city man-
were irritated by the noise and commotion of ager of Charlottesville, was agreed on. The
children; children resented the lack of free combined city council and the Albemarle
dom. The friction between differing groups County Board of Supervisors also elected the
became increasingly evident, and vocal. An ex- chairman of the board of supervisors as depu-
periment in communal living was clearly not to ty, and the sheriff of the county as chief of
the taste of many, and the discomforts, both public safety to oversee the combined police
physical and psychological, had the effect of forces and provide liaison with those military
pushing local residents out of the shelters. units which were still in the area.
(There was some effort to stop them as the
radiation levels still posed some hazards; they The powers given to the city manager were
were urged at least to stay inside most of the sweeping in scope, certainly far beyond any
time.) Left in the shelters, now, were mostly powers he had held before, and ran “for the
those out-of-town refugees who had no homes duration of the emergency. ” While some con-
to go to. sidered the new form of local government
close to martial law, great care was exercised
Not all the residents of Charlottesville and to be sure that the offensive term was not
Albemarle found their homes intact. In some used. In effect, however, Charlottesville and
cases they returned to find the house looted or Albemarle were under a highly centralized,
occupied by refugees who were unwilling to almost totalitarian rule.
give up squatters’ rights. Sometimes claims
were backed with guns; in a few cases, squatter Whatever it might be called, under the new
and owner worked out a modus vivendi of system, the city manager was able to take over
sharing the property. all resources and their allocation. Following to
some extent the paper plan that the area had
Some animals had survived, in varying states developed, the new government attempted to
of health. Unprotected farm animals were set out priorities. It was greatly aided by the ex-
dead, while those which had been confined to perts from the University, who volunteered
fairly solid barns with uncontaminated feed time and expertise to analyzing the needs of
had a fair chance of surviving. Many of these the area. (In this respect, Charlottesville was
farm animals, however, were missing, ap- particularly fortunate in having an extensive
parently eaten by hungry refugees and resi- pool of talent on which to draw.)
dents. Some pets had remained indoors in
good de facto shelters so that, if they had However, if Charlottesville was lucky to
found water, they needed only to be fed to have reasonably functioning government and
regain health. Worried about the amount of a number of experienced planners and man-
food pets could consume, many families sim- agers, and to have suffered comparatively
ply put them out to fend for themselves. modest disruption from refugees and fallout,
Appendix C—Charlottesville: A Fictional Account by Nan Randall Ž 129

the city and county authorities were becoming No one was exactly certain how much fuel
painfully aware that they were not set up to ‘go there was in the area. Both jurisdictions had
it alone’ without any outside help. Even were once surveyed, for emergency planning pur-
the weather suitable for planting, Charlottes- poses, the fuel storage capacity, and they
ville was no longer an agricultural center. hoped they could count on having about half
There wasn’t enough energy to process any of that on hand. Armed guards were assigned
food that might be grown. Where would peo- to those larger facilities that had not already
ple get clothes and building materials and been raided by the desperate. All private use
medicines and spare parts for the cars and of cars or tractors was outlawed, and the
buses? The very complexity of American soci- government threatened to confiscate any mov-
ety— its technological marvels and high stand- ing vehicles.
ard of Iiving — could well prove to be a barrier
to the reconstruction of any one part. Electricity was restored, partially, some two
weeks after the attack. Workers from the smalI
* * * Bremo Bluff generating plant, about 15 miles
away from Charlottesville, succeeded in start-
ing the p I ant with the coaI reserves that were
During the third week after the attacks, the
on hand. From then on, limited electricity use
new rationing system come into force. indi- was permitted for a few hours hours a day. This
vidual identification cards were issued to was particularly pleasant for those families
every man, woman and child. Food was distrib-
whose water came from electrically powered
uted at centralized points. Those without I.D.
well pumps. Well water was issued to children
cards were unable to get their ration of flour,
for drinking, as it had escaped the Iodine 131
powdered milk, and lard–and the processing
contamination which was still elevated in the
of cards could take 3 or more days. Some des-
perate refugees resorted to stealing I.D. cards
in order to get food, while an enterprising The radioactivity level continued to drop
printer started turning out forgeries within 2 (after two weeks it was 0.4 rem per hour) and it
days after the government had first issued was “safe” to go outdoors. However, the re
cards. Rumors of hoarding and black mar- suiting doses, though too low to cause immedi-
keteering abounded. Some of the missing ate illness or deaths, posed a long-term health
supermarket food turned up in black market hazard. The authorities, while recognizing that
centers, accompanied by exorbitant prices. everybody would receive many times the pre-
war “safe dose, ” tried to reduce the hazards by
Fuel supplies were dropping more rapidly urging people to stay inside as much as possi-
than the government had hoped. Most families ble when not picking up food rations at the
were heating their homes with wood, either in distribution centers. Life for the residents of
fireplaces or in recycled oil drums for stoves. Charlottesville revolved around those trips and
As the winter was waning, the most desperate figuring out ways to make do without the nor-
need was for fuel for driving motors and gen- mal supplies and services. Some chanced
erators. Even the drinking water was depend- outings to forage for a greater variety of food,
ent on the emergency generator that ran a but most were resigned to waiting. There
single purifying system for the Rivanna Water wasn’t much else they could do.
and Sewer Authority. (Water for other uses
could simply be drawn from the gravity-pow- * * *
ered reservoir system, bypassing the filtration
system entirely. ) The hospital and radio sta- Three weeks after the nuclear attack, almost
tions all ran on small generators. The Universi- all the Charlottesville and Albemarle County
ty could luxuriate in its coal-powered steam residents had returned to their homes. Those
heat, but there was no way, save generators or few whose homes had either been occupied by
candles and lanterns, to get lights. squatters, or been destroyed by fire, easily
130 Ž The Effects of Nuclear War
—.— ——. .— — .-—.- ——— — — — . — . ——. — . — . —

found some alternate housing with the govern- valuable commodities, with shoes and coats
ment’s help. high on the list as well.
This left the refugees. Though the drop in Since shortly after the attack, the city
fallout intensity allowed the refugees to move manager had been in contact both with the
out of basements and interior halls, they still Federal Government and with the relocated
were forced to I ive a version of camp Iife. They State government in Roanoke. He had repeat-
spent their endless, empty hours waiting in edly asked for emergency rations, only to be
lines for food, for a chance to use the bath- met with vague promises and explanations
rooms — which at least functioned now — for a about the problems of transportation. He was
chance to talk to authorities. Information from generally urged to cut rations further and hang
the outside was still sketchy, and for the on. Help would arrive when it could.
refugees, this uncertainty added to their For some time, the relatively few surviving
already high level of anxiety.
farm animals had been gradually and myster-
The city manager and the emergency iously disappearing. The farmers concluded
government attempted to solve the refugee that “those damned city folks” were stealing
housing problem by billeting refugees in them for food, although some of the local
private homes. At first they asked for residents were also making midnight forays on
volunteers, but got few, The authorities then the livestock. Farmers themselves slaughtered
announced that any house with fewer than two animals they had planned to fatten-up for the
people per room would be assigned a refugee future. They couldn’t spare the feed grain, and
family. Resistance to this order was strong, they needed food now.
and, particularly in the outlying areas where it
Finally the emergency authorities announc-
was hard to check, outright defiance was com-
ed that they would take a percentage of every
mon. Families would pretend to comply and
farmer’s livestock to help feed residents and
then simply force the refugees out as soon as
refugees, Farmers were outraged, considering
the authorities had left. The refugees would
the action simple theft. There were rumors that
struggle back to town, or take up residence in
angry farmers had shot several agents who had
barns or garages.
tried to confiscate the animals. Though they
And still the refugees came to Charlottes- were offered promissory notes from the city
vilIe, bringing with them stories of the horrors authorities, the farmers thought such payment
they had experienced. They camped in worthless.
schools, in banks, in warehouses. By night the
(The radiological experts at the University
neoclassical architecture of the University was
had been questioned on the advisability of
packed with the residents of Arlington and
eating the meat of animals with radiation
Alexandria. By day, the new downtown mall
sickness. Many of those beasts which had re-
was awash with a floating mass of men,
mained outside during the high fallout period
women, and children, who, with nothing to do,
were showing clear signs of illness. The experts
milled around the unopened stores. A retired
decided that the meat would be edible if
ambassador was overheard comparing the
cooked sufficiently to kill any bacterial
scene to that of downtown Calcutta.
invasion — the result of the deterioration of the
By now, the emergency government recog- animal’s digestive tract. Strontium 90 wouId be
nized that the need for food was going to be concentrated in the bones or the milk, not the
acute. Without power for refrigeration, much muscle tissue. )
food had spoiled; stocks of nonperishable
foods were mostly exhausted. As the shortages
became clear, the price of food skyrocketed. Although the city government had relatively
Many people refused money for food, prefer- frequent contact, mostly by radio, with the
ring to barter. Food and fuel were the most Federal and State governments, the citizens
Appendix C—Charlottesville: A Fictional Account by Nan Randall ● 131

had to rely on the occasional Presidential However, the officials who had calculated the
message that was broadcast on WCHV. Three allotment had overlooked the refugees. Char-
weeks after the attacks, the President made a lottesville’s population was some three times
major address to reassure the people. He an- the normal. (No one was absolutely sure be-
nounced that the cease-fire was still holding cause the refugees moved around a good deal,
and he saw no reason why that would change. from camp to camp )
He described the damage that the U.S. retal-
iatory strike had done to the Soviet Union. He The first of the deaths from radiation had
also noted that the United States still retained occured 10 days after the attacks, and the
enough nuclear weapons, most of them at sea number grew steadily. By now, it was not un-
on submarines, to inflict considerable damage common to see mass funerals several times a
on any nation that attempted to take advan- day. The terminally ill were not cared for by
tage of the recent past. He did not mention the hospitals — there were too many, and there
that he suspected that the Soviets also held was nothing that could be done for them any-
reserve weapons. way— so it was up to their families to do what
they could. Fortunately there were still ample
Describing the damage that the country had
supplies of morphia, and it was rumored that
suffered, the President noted that, even with
college students had donated marijuana. The
the loss of over 100 million lives, “We stilI have
reserves, both material and spiritual, unlike city set aside several locations on the outskirts
any nation on earth. ” He asked for patience of town for mass graves.
and for prayers.
In addition to those with terminal radiation
There had been broadcasts earlier by the sickness, there were those with nonfatal cases
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia —the Gover- and those who showed some symptoms. Often
nor was killed in Richmond — from his shelter it was impossible for doctors to quickly iden-
in Roanoke. However, as fallout in the tify those with flu or psychosomatic radiation
Roanoke area was quite high (Radford just to symptoms. The number of patients crowding
the west had been struck), he was effectively the emergency rooms did not slacken off. The
immobiIized for some time. The State govern- refugees, crowded together, passed a variety
ment appeared less organized than the Feder- of common disorders, from colds to diarrhea,
al. back and forth, Several public health experts
CharlottesvilIe was still on its own. Residents worried that an outbreak of measles or even
hunted game as the last of the food stocks dis- polio could come in the late spring. “So far, we
appeared, but the fallout had killed most ani- have been lucky not to have a major epidemic
mals that were in the open. Refugees were re- of typhus or cholera, ” a doctor observed to his
duced to stealing. A number of people man- cotleagues.
aged to fill their gas tanks with contraband
gasoline and set out to forage in the mountains The supply of drugs on hand at the hospitals
to the west. was dwindling fast. Although penicillin could
be manufactured fairly easily in the labora-
Three and one-half weeks after the attack,
tories at the university, many other drugs were
an old propeller-driven cargo plane landed at
not so simple, even with talent and ingenuity.
the Charlottesville Airport with a supply of (The penicillin had to be administered with
flour, powdered milk, and vegetable oil. The
large veterinary hypodermics as the home-
pilot assured the few policemen who guarded
made mix was too coarse for the small dispos-
the airstrip that more would be on the way by
able hypes that most doctors stocked. There
truck as soon as temporary bridges could be was a considerable shortage of needles.) Other
built over the major rivers.
medications were in such short supply that
The emergency airlift was supposed to sup- many patients with chronic illnesses such as
ply CharlottesviIle with food for a week or two. heart disease, kidney failure, respiratory prob-
132 Ž The Effects of Nuclear War

Iems, hypertension, and diabetes died within a breeding ground for discontent and even rebel-
few weeks. lion.
* * * * * *
The presence of the Federal Government
Food riots broke out 4½ weeks after the
was not entirely confined to the occasional
attacks — precipitated by the first large ship-
delivery of food or radio broadcast. Some time
ment of grain. Three large tractor-trailers had
before, the National Guard and the Reserve
pulled into the parking lot of the Citizens Com-
Unit were moved to North Carolina, partly to
monwealth Building quite unexpectedly, the
give the impression of military readiness, and
word of their arrival somehow misplaced be-
perhaps to be assigned to dig out cities and
tween the Agriculture Department dispatchers
start reconstruction. The Government had put
and the local authorities. The trucks were
out calls for volunteers to help in the recon-
greeted with cheers until the residents of
struction, but found that most workers, young
Charlottesville discovered that they had been
and old, wanted to stay with their families. A
shipped raw grain rather than flour. The drivers
system of national conscription for young men
were taken unawares when empty cans and
and women with no children was in the plan-
bottles showered them and one driver jumped
ning stage.
in his cab and departed. (The official explana-
tion, delivered some time later, was that proc- The Federal Government attempted to urge
essed food was going to those areas where the refugees back to where they had come from,
bulk of the population was sick or injured. It first to assist in the rebuilding of the damaged
was also assumed that Charlottesville had cities which were rich in resources, and ulti-
some livestock reserves. ) mately to redistribute the population to a
more normal pattern. Some refugees were hap-
With only a fraction of the population know- py to attempt to return, particularly those
ing what to do with raw grain, a number of whose houses were more or less intact. How-
angry citizens broke open the sacks and scat- ever, those who found their homes destroyed
tered wheat through the parking lot. They in preferred to return to the refugee camps in-
turn were set upon by those who wanted to land. There was nothing to hold them to their
conserve as much as possible. The local public former lives. Fearful memories of the past
safety forces waded into the melee with night made any time spent in the cities painful.
sticks and tear gas.
One day, quite without warning, the city
Everyone blamed everyone else for the inci- manager was informed that one-half of his fuel
dent, but the fragile glue that had held public stores were to be confiscated by the Federal
order together began to unstick. Government, for the military and for the re-
construction effort. (Earth-moving equipment
From this time on, it was almost impossible was gathering on the outskirts of the devas-
for the local authorities, not to mention the tated cities and needed fuel. ) After it was clear
State and Federal governments, to convince that there was no way to stop the Government
everyone they were getting a fair share. People from taking the fuel, the city manager sug-
in one section of town would watch suspicious- gested that unmarked tank trucks, well
ly as delivery trucks passed them by and guarded, pick up the stocks at night. He was
headed somewhere else. Blacks distrusted aware of the effect this action would have on
whites, the poor distrusted the rich and every- the morale of the population.
one distrusted the refugees as “outsiders. ”
Already transportation was difficult for the
The refugees were convinced that the local elderly and those who lived in the rural areas.
authorities were favoring the residents and A sporadic bus service ran from one end of
tried repeatedly to get State intervention, with town to the other once a day and an occasion-
little success. Still billeted in dormitories, al school bus made a sortie out into the
schools, and motels, the refugee camps were a suburbs. Bicycles were prized, and sometimes
Appendix C—Charlottesville: A Fictional Account by Nan Randall ● 133

fought over. Those gentlemen farmers whose The effect on the Charlottesville and Albe-
thoroughbred horses had been protected from marle residents was less pronounced. They
fallout could use these animals for transporta- were disoriented. For each lucky one who had
tion, but it was risky to let the animals stand a specific job to do, there were many more
unprotected. Horse thievery had made an who were in effect unemployed. They turned
anachronistic reappearance. inward to their families or else friends and rela-
tives. Their worries about the future–would
With even less fuel, the bus service would be there be another attack, would they go back to
cut in half. their old jobs, etc. — made most days rather
* * * anxious, unproductive ones. Children particu-
larly reflected a continuous nervousness,
By now, barter was clearly established as the picked up from their elders, and had difficulty
preferred means of trade. For a time, the gov-
sleeping at night. Though many parents hoped
ernment had paid for commandeered food- for a return to normalcy once the schools re-
stuff and resources with checks and prom is- opened, others quietly decided not to send
sory notes, but no one wanted them any more. their children for fear of a second outbreak of
The local banks had opened for a few days, war.
only to find all their savers lined up to with-
draw everything. They closed down. Stores * * *
either never opened, or shut down quickly
when they were overrun. (Many stores had Spring changed a lot of things. A new opti-
been looted in the second week after the at- mism surfaced as everyone looked forward to
tack, when the fallout intensity had dropped.) planting, to good weather and warmth. The
A few people hoarded money, but most residents of Charlottesville had survived the
thought money worthless. first hurdle; they felt confident they could sur-
vive the next.
Workers in the small industries in the Char-
lottesville area saw no point in turning up for At the University, agronomists studied the
work if all they could get was paper money. best crops to plant in the Charlottesville area.
They preferred to spend the time hunting for No one was certain what effect the nuclear ex-
food and fuel. If barter was a highly inefficient plosions had had on the ozone layer. If indeed
way to do business — it’s hard to make change the ozone was severely damaged, more ultra-
for a side of beef–still, it was preferable to violet rays could reach the crops and perhaps
using worthless currency. burn them. This effect would be more pro-
nounced on delicate crops such as peas and
Psychologically, the population seemed to
beans. Instead it was suggested that potatoes
be in a quiet holding pattern. The refugees,
and soybeans be encouraged and whatever
many of them, had survived experiences that
limited fertilizer became available go to farm-
would mark them for years. The memories of
ers who followed the government guidelines.
fire, collapsing buildings, and screaming,
trapped people were still vivid, and some The emergency government announced that
would tremble at loud noises. However, the two-thirds of the former pasture land was to be
profound grief over what they had lost–fam- cultivated. Feed grains were to be used for
ily members, possessions, or friends — underlay humans, not Iivestock. Dairy cattle and
emotions and made many apathetic and pas- chickens were the only exceptions.
sive Victims of the nuclear attacks, they ap-
peared willing to be victims afterwards too. The next few months in Charlottesville and
Still shunned as outsiders by the resident popu- Albemarle County had a slow, almost dream-
lation, most refugees appeared to accept the like quality. Fears of new attacks had abated.
exclusion just as the surviving population of It was a time of settling into a new lifestyle, a
Hiroshima and Nagasaki had 30 odd years severely simplified way of being, of making do.
before. Children ate meat, cheese, or eggs rarely,
134 ● The Effects of Nuclear War

adults practically never. A good pair of shoes community resorted to the hallowed art of rid-
was guarded — and worn only on special occa- ing the rods.
sions. (With warmer weather, most children
and adults went barefoot, bringing concern to Government officials, many of whom had
doctors that there would be an increase in visited CharlottesvilIe and the University fre-
parasitic diseases such as hookworm. ) quently in the past, kept in closer contact with
the city than with many other locales. Doubt-
Many people were unable to return to their less the area residents benefited with more
former jobs. In some cases, their employers Federal assistance, As a result, Charlottesville
never reopened for business, their goods and became the unofficial “capital” of the area,
services being irrelevant in the postattack economicalIy and politicalIy.
society. College teachers, for example, had no
But as autumn approached, a universal de-
students to teach; computer programmers had
pression settled on the residents and refugees.
no computers to program.
Starvation had been heId at bay by the plant-
For some, it was relatively easy to adapt. ing — but crop yields were smalIer than ex-
Electronics experts set up CB and short wave pected. No one was cold, but the weather was
radio repair shops. Cottage industries — sandal still fine. There seemed to be no appreciable
and clothing manufacturing from recycled progress towards preattack conditions. Those
materials, soap and candle making — sprang up young men and women who had been con-
in many homes. Some workers were able to ac- scripted to build housing for the Nation’s
quire new, relevant skills quickly. refugees returned with gloomy reports of the
devastation to the Nation’s commerce. The
Others had to make do with menial jobs– east coast was effectively leveled. Where fac-
burying the dead, cleaning the streets, assisting tories were rebuildable, the shortage of materi-
carpenters and bricklayers — that took little als precluded their operation.
Recognizing that many families would have
And then there were those who could not fit to make do without heating oil or gas, the
in anywhere. Many found it difficult to adapt AgricuIture Extension Service issued pam-
to the idleness. Disruption of the 9 to 5 work phlets on how to make your own wood-burning
ethic was a disruption of basic psychological stove. Fortunately for Charlottesville and the
props, of a sense of identity. In the immediate surrounding area, trees were plentiful. How-
period after the attacks, parents concentrated ever, the momentum that had started with the
on protection of their families. Once their spring planting slowed,
families were no longer directly affected,
adults were robbed of their traditional roles. * * *

By now, a few of the refugees had melted Winter was harder than anyone had ex-
into the general popuIation. But the vast ma- pected. There were few additional deaths that
jority were no further along than in the late could be directly attributed to the nuclear
winter. The drag on the area resources was sig- blast effects or the radiation; however, a large
nificant, and many in the leadership wanted to percentage of the surviving population was
force them out. weakened. Lack of medicines, lack of ade-
quate food and reasonable shelter, plus the
Charlottesville was fortunate in many re- lingering physical and psychological effects,
spects, however. Being located on two easily meant that many were unable to work effec-
repairable rail Iines — with a major storage tively, even if there were work available. An
yard for cars only two counties away—there epidemic of flu raged through the cities of the
was some access to the outside world. Travel east where refugees were huddled in camps.
was only permitted with a special pass, Many died, especially children and old people.
naturally, and so the younger members of the Although vaccine for this particular, common
Appendix C—Charlottesville: A Fictional Account by Nan Randall ● 135

strain of fIu had been developed, the stocks ning. The University had not returned to nor-
had been destroyed in the attacks mal — there were no undergraduate classes as
the students had been conscripted for recon-
I n the northern sections of the country, food
struction work in the cities — but it was a natu-
supplies were inadequate and poorly distrib-
ral meeting place since so many centers of
uted. The average diet — day in, day out — con-
learning had been destroyed.
sisted of unleavened bread and potatoes,
where there was enough of those. As animal The questions before the group centered on
herds, both domestic and wild, had been deci- setting priorities: what were the goals and how
mated by faIlout and indiscriminate hunting, couId the country reach them?
the only available meat came from dogs, cats,
The U.S. Government still existed, if in a
and rats — those animaIs whose Iiving habits
SIightly reordered form. The President, now
protected them from fallout. Dietary deficien-
permanently located in the Midwest along
cy diseases appeared.
with the surviving Members of Congress and
Growing children were the first to notice the the Cabinet, retained the emergency powers he
lack of replacement clothes–particularly had taken just after the attacks. (Congress had
leather shoes. Coats and blankets were highly had no choice but to ratify his assumption of
prized in the cold climates. these extraordinary powers at the time. How-
ever, there was growing resentment that he
Next to food, the most severe shortage was
showed few signs of relinquishing them. Con-
housing. Even with the temporary barracks
gress was reduced to a kind of advisory body,
that had been erected in a cluster around the
its Members spending most of their time on
damaged cities, refugees were crowded two or
helping constituents relocate or obtain a id.)
three to a room, Kitchens were shared by four
and five families; bathrooms by as many as 12 The State governments had, by and large, re-
people. established themselves, often in new locations.
Virginia’s government was located in Roanoke,
Although there was relatively little work to
for example, under the Lieutenant Governor.
occupy time, and schooling was strictly cur-
State governments were not as well respected
tailed, if indeed it existed, there was also very
as before; citizens tended to blame them for
little available recreation. The entertainment
the mixups in aid distribution. Only the refu-
industry located in California and New York
gees looked to the States for assistance against
had been particularly hard hit. Local TV sta-
the local governments, which they distrusted.
tions could broadcast and rebroadcast those
The residents of an area such as Charlottesville
old films and cartoons they had in stock, but
were most loyal to their local government, par-
little was fed nationwide, In the small towns,
ticularly when that government had a reputa-
public libraries were overwhelmed. In the large
tion of basic evenhandedness.
cities, the Iibraries had been destroyed. There
were no movie houses to speak of; there were Everyone, however, was growing hostile to
no professional sports. The lack of recreation, the imposition of strict governmental controls
perhaps a minor problem, still served to under- over their lives —what they could or could not
score the bleakness of the winter. buy, or eat, where they could travel, etc. I n cer-
tain rural sections, such as Nelson County,
In Charlottesville alone, several thousand
south of Charlottesville, farmers had barri-
people died in the first winter after the nuclear
caded themselves off, ignored government
orders, and occasionally, it was rumored, took
* * * potshots at the government agents.
A year almost to the day after the nuclear Attempts to conscript the able-bodied to re-
war between the United States and the Soviet build the damaged areas often failed miser-
Union, Charlottesville was host to a blue rib- ably. Many simply walked off the job and re-
bon panel of experts on reconstruction plan- turned to their families. Since there were no
136 ● The Effects of Nuclear war

adequate records remaining of the prewar The Nation’s economy was in shambles. The
population, and no records at all of war bulk of the oil refining capacity had been
deaths, the Government found it an impossible knocked out, and only a few facilities were
task to track down offenders. (Criminals in functioning again. The small oil wells around
medium- and light-security detention facilities the country that were situated away from
had simply evaporated into the population.) target areas produced more oil than the
refineries could handle— and it was only a
Charlottesville, like the rest of the undam-
fraction of the need. Coal mining, mostly by
aged parts of the country, still had a huge
the time-honored pick and shovel method as
refugee population that was unwilling or
strip mining took heavy equipment, was the
unable to return to former homes. The majori-
only industry that could be called booming.
ty were in camps such as the large facility in
(There was a major migration to the mining
the old Lane School, and children were in day
areas by the unemployed. ) Agriculture, of
care or orphanages, depending on the status of
course, was a major undertaking for much of
their surviving families. If anything, the
the population. However, yields from the
refugees were both more apathetic and more
farms were considerably below what had been
rebellious when faced with simple assign-
hoped for. The lack of pesticides and fertilizer
ments. Lawless bands of teenaged refugees
cut heavily into the crops and there was con-
roamed the countryside, hijacking supply
cern about a major insect invasion next sum-
trucks and raiding farms and villages. Partly it
mer. Food processing —wheat and corn milling
was simple bravado, partly a way to feed
particularly– showed encouraging signs of
themselves. Most refugees simply sat and
waited for the next meal.
Most major industries, however, were in dis-
Yet even now, the flow of refugees con-
array as a result of lack of energy, lack of raw
tinued. The winter had driven out those who
materials, and lack of managerial expertise.
could not find enough to eat or enough shelter.
The world economy was staggering from the
Stories of Vermont families subsisting on
effect of losing both the United States and the
maple syrup and wild rabbits might have
Soviet Union as suppliers and markets. (If the
proven entertaining in the retelling, but those
Latin Americans were able to make small for-
who had survived did not want to repeat the
tunes on selling the U.S. refined petroleum,
political pressures were building in those coun-
The medical problems were still acute. Drug tries to raise the prices to double the current
supplies were almost exhausted, but the weak- rates. )
ened population remained more susceptible to
An efficient system of money still had not
disease. The birth rate had fallen drastically 9
been reestablished. The Federal Government
months after the attacks, partly because of the
paid the military and other Federal employees
radiation, which produced temporary steriliza-
with dollars and tried to preserve purchasing
tion – but there had also been a rise in miscar-
power through a series of price controls. How-
riages, stillbirths, and abnormalities. Infant
ever, most people were reluctant to accept
mortality soared. Experts worried that an un-
dollars in exchange for essentials such as food
precedented increase in cancer, particularly in
or clothing. As a result, a barter system con-
children, could be expected in several years.
tinued to flourish and the black market, with
And there was still the possibility of some
its highly inflated prices, continued to en-
devastating epidemic as cholera running un-
courage defiance of the law.
checked through the population. The Blue
Ridge Sanatorium in Charlottesville, which had Most experts believed that the experience of
seen few tuberculosis patients in the last years post-World War II in Europe and Japan could
before the attacks, was making plans to con- provide the model for currency reform, includ-
vert back to specializing in the disease. TB was ing replacement of the dolIar, that was neces-
making a comeback. sary to restore an economy based on the divi-
Appendix C—Charlottesville: A Fictional Account by Nan Randall Ž 137

sion of labor. However, the resolution of two ployed and unemployable for the time being.
policy issues stood in the way. First, should the Their skills were not suited to the priority
market, on one hand, or Government control, tasks. Several participants had prepared a
on the other, determine the distribution of statement on what should be done with these
scarce resources? Second, should the new nonproductive members of society. “We can-
money go to those with legitimate claims, pen- not let this mass of people drain our resources
sions, promissory notes for goods confiscated while they do nothing to contribute, ” it was
during the postattack period etc., or to those rumored to say. “If we cannot let them starve
who held productive jobs, or even to the entire outright, we suggest that they be issued only
population even if many were more drag than that amount of food which is minimally
help to the recovery? Politically, the Govern- necessary to sustain life. They should be
ment was unable to deny any one of the moved to camps away from the center of ac-
groups; practically, it was obvious the Govern- tivity for reason of public morale. ” The report
ment couId not satisfy al I three. was suppressed but several copies were leaked
to the press anyway.
It was clear that if the economy did not get
moving again soon, it might never. Already The most basic disagreement among the par-
there were indications that manufacturing was ticipants in the conference was over the level
not reestablishing itself with anywhere near of reconstruction that might actually be feasi-
the speed the planners had hoped. The amount ble. Optimists cited the phenomenal recovery
of shipping, by rail and by truck, was actually of Japan and West Germany after World War
down from the mid-summmer high. I I and insisted that these be the models for the
United States in the next 5 to 10 years
“We are in the classic race, ” remarked one
of the participants who had written a major Pessimists, noting the major differences be-
study of postattack recovery some years tween the post-World War 11 era and the situa-
before. “We have to be able to produce new tion of Japan and Germany, felt these ex-
goods and materials before we exhaust our amples were irrelevant, or worse, misleading.
stored supplies. We can continue to eat the “Everyone forgets the amount of aid that came
wheat that is in the grain elevators of the in from outside in the late ‘4o’s and early ‘50’s.
Midwest for another year, perhaps. But after We don’t have the United States, wealth to
that, we have to have the capacity to grow new turn to. Such a goal is unrealistic and un-
wheat, When our winter coats wear through, reachable, even with absolute controls on the
we have to have the capacity to weave the economy. ”
cloth for new ones. When our railroad cars
break down, we have to be able to make new The pessimists were divided. Some saw the
ones, or replacement parts. Right now we are a Nation building itself along the line of some of
long way from that capacity. ” Privately, he the Asian nations, which boasted a small tech-
and a group of conferees agreed that heavy nologically advanced segment in the midst of
controls on the economy, and ultimately on a large agrarian or unskilled worker popula-
the population, would be the only way to get tion, on the model of India or Indonesia. Some
things going. Resources, both material and thought technology itself would eventually
human, were severely limited, disappear from American society. “If you
don’t have computers to run, you don’t train
One of the major problems, it was obvious computer programmers, ” one expert was over-
to everyone, was the drag the huge refugee heard to say. “After a while, in a few genera-
population had on the recovery effort. While tions, no one remembers how the machines
numbers of workers were actively engaged in worked at all. They remember the important
the rebuildin g of the cities as well as the fac- things: how to plant crops, how to train draft
tories and services that powered the economy, horses and oxen, how to make a simple pump.
there were as many more who were unem- We will have survived biologically, but our
138 ● The Effects of Nuclear War

way of Iife is going to be unrecognizable. In get there, the conference report straddled all
several generations, the United States is going fences and concluded nothing. Follow-up task
to resemble a late medieval society.” forces were appointed and the conferees
agreed to meet again in the summer. Perhaps
Because the conferees could not agree on by then they would have a better idea of
what was a reasonable goal, much less how to whether or not they were winnin g the race.