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Daniel J. Pearson

Paper Submission – Spring 2010

“‘Possible Questions and Suggested Answers’: On the Beach, the Eisenhower Administration, ‘The Bomb.’”

Looking back on the Cold War era in American history, perhaps the most central and enduring legacy of that period that has survived into modern popular and political culture is that of ‘the bomb.’ The phrase itself has become a cliché representation of Cold War hysteria, emphasizing the sickening, destructive, and suicidal aspects of armed nuclear conflict. The meaning of ‘the bomb’ during the early Cold War, however, was quite different. ‘The bomb’ was initially portrayed in American popular culture as the protector of western civilization against communist influence, glorified as the crucial component of the nuclear ‘umbrella’ that protected the west from Soviet military actions. Popular perceptions regarding the atomic bomb would change during the mid and late 1950s, transforming ‘the bomb’ from the benign protector of America to the ‘destroyer of worlds.’ A new wave of ‘nuclear apocalyptic’ fiction sprung up in America, works that emphasized the destructive and ultimately suicidal nature of nuclear warfare. The new focus on the effects of radiation questioned the effectiveness of the U.S. Government’s civil defense policies at a time when the Cold War was about to reach its hottest points.

While books and films such as Fail Safe and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb would be popularly remembered as the pinnacle of nuclear apocalyptic fiction, it was actually Nevil Shute’s novel and Stanley Kramer’s subsequent film On the Beach that represented the vanguard of this shift in popular imagination. Positioned at the leading edge of fiction that brought about new concerns over the effects of fallout radiation, On the Beach was the first major Hollywood film to question U.S. Government policies with regards to civil defense, leaving Eisenhower Administration officials bewildered as to what actions they should take to minimize the damage to their own policies. The production of and governmental response to On the Beach acted as a barometer measuring the cultural, intellectual, and political forces at work during the late 1950s and early 1960s that were changing the United States. From these changes, a new American zeitgeist would coalesce; one that challenged many of the traditionally held notions about the role of the American citizen and the government. On the Beach became part of struggle over the meaning of ‘the bomb’ and the narrative of the Cold War in the United States Government, as new ways of dealing with unflattering films would have to be developed both by the department of defense and the Eisenhower administration for media that challenged the efficacy of US policy.

Shute’s On the Beach: ‘Nuclear Apocalyptic’

Kenneth D. Rose, in his work One Nation Underground, describes the cultural forces of Cold War anxiety that was expressed in literature, film, and the mass media as the "nuclear apocalyptic."[1] He goes on to write that the "flowering of the nuclear apocalyptic...was a remarkable development in the history of the Cold War.” Of all the 'nuclear apocalyptic' works created during the early Cold War era, the late 1940s through the mid 1960s, Nevil Shute's book On the Beach, published in 1957, was one of the first popular novels to deal with the threat of nuclear annihilation in a very frightening and realistic manner. While discussions over the destructiveness of ‘the bomb’ had been around since its inception, and fears over radiation had become prominent in scientific circles, On the Beach was a unique cultural and political force, one that helped bridge these issues into the popular mainstream, where questions over the usefulness over nuclear deterrence and civil defense had rarely been questioned before.

Although a work of fiction, Shute's book was grounded in enough 'real' elements to cause concern. The plot of the book involved an accidental nuclear war that destroys the northern hemisphere, leaving Australia as one of the last habitable areas left on Earth. The story revolves around a group of people aware that the radiation would soon overtake Australia, and their different struggles coping with the reality that the human race would soon be extinct. The book sold 100,000 copies in its first six weeks and was widely reproduced as a serial in over forty newspapers.[2] As the book gained notoriety, questions about the efficacy of civil defense programs and the logic of nuclear deterrence began to emerge. An article in Harper's Magazine published shortly after the book's release, entitled "The Civil Defense Fiasco," referred to Shute's novel and its critique of civil defense, acknowledging that the author was "right in ignoring the possibility of a shelter program."[3] As plans for an adaptation of Shute's novel into a motion picture moved forward, it became clear that the wider appeal of a film would only amplify these lingering questions. The pressure to reassure the American public forced the U.S. Government initially to distance itself from the film, but would eventually draw the highest levels of the Eisenhower administration into position where they thought they had to defend both civil defense and nuclear deterrence, policies that were considered vital to American national security interests during the Cold War.

Production and the Government

Stanley Kramer's On the Beach stood apart from the vast array of other ‘nuclear-apocalyptic’ films of the era. The reaction it stirred among the Eisenhower administration in Washington D.C. during and after its production was much different than earlier Government dealings with filmmakers. “On the Beach,” says Joyce A. Evens in her work Celluloid Mushroom Clouds, “stands as one of the earliest confrontations with the Pentagon over film content.”[4] The ‘confrontation’ by the U.S. Government during the production of On the Beach was a process of unsure vacillation between grudging support and disavowal.

This vacillation occurred because On the Beach existed between two distinct eras in American film-making: one that was formed during the ‘blacklist’ era of communist and ‘anti-American’ hysteria in Hollywood, where filmmakers made movies that reinforced U.S. Cold War national security policies and a largely independent post-‘blacklist’ Hollywood that questioned the U.S. Government, the military, and national security policies. The film was one of the first negative portrayals of nuclear weapons brought to bear on the popular imagination causing Americans, many for the first time, to think critically about government policies such as civil defense and nuclear deterrence. As Lawrence Suid remarks in his work Guts and Glory: the Making of the American Military Image on Film, "On the Beach, not the Vietnam War, marked the real beginning, albeit in a very limited way, of a greater scrutiny of the U.S. military establishment by the mass media and the cultural community."[5]

The film On the Beach was certainly not the only film made about nuclear war during the early Cold War. Previous films made during the height of the Cold War, from early 1950s to the mid 1960s, addressed ‘the bomb,’ but these films possessed very different views of it. As Tony Shaw has pointed out in his book Hollywood's Cold War, earlier films concerning nuclear conflict, such as Above and Beyond (1952), Strategic Air Command (1955), and Bombers B-52 (1957), portrayed nuclear weapons as "benign protectors of democracy."[6] These films were given support from the U.S. Government during production as they reinforced the usefulness, and even the necessity, of nuclear weapons to both U.S. and global movie audiences.

These earlier films were created and produced during the paranoia that gripped the U.S. during the 'Red Scare' of the late 1940s and mid 1950s. Hollywood studios had already been battered by House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) inquiries into suspected communist sympathies. With many writers, directors, actors, and other entertainers 'blacklisted,' the risk to studio executives was too great to make films that could be potentially situated within the wide spectrum of what could be considered 'Un-American'. By the late 1950s, with the grip of the old Hollywood ‘studio system’ broken and the Red Channels hysteria subsiding, filmmakers found it much easier to tackle new subject matter and find financial backing.[7] Within this new environment, Stanley Kramer, a filmmaker and producer with a reputation for making films with ‘a message,’ attained the necessary financial backing to produce and direct a movie that would implicitly challenge some of the U.S. Government's Cold War policies.

While Kramer was sure of message he wanted his film to disseminate, officials within the U.S. Government were unsure of how they should respond. Officials within the Department of Defense, who had furnished filmmakers with technical assistance previously, were indecisive about involvement with On the Beach. Kramer had initially approached the U.S. Navy for information about the layout of a U.S. Nuclear Submarine as well as the use of stock footage. The Navy initially rejected this request, responding that the film could in no way “enhance the U.S. Naval Service” and would only be giving “an official blessing to the possibility of such an impending disaster.”[8] Likewise the United States Information Agency (USIA) felt the film did “not deserve any cooperation” citing its "negative" theme and what was perceived as a "blame America" slant. [9] Unsure as to its role, the Navy relented, furnishing some interior photos and stock footage. After production commenced, the Defense Department became increasingly worried about the content of the film, asking Kramer for script alterations (such as the Russians starting the war) in return for additional help. Kramer largely ignored the Defense Department’s recommendations and filmed the original script.[10] With no sizable script alterations made, the Department of Defense asked Kramer to remove acknowledgement of their help from the final credits of the film, to which he complied.[11]

The Defense Department’s vacillation from reluctance, to hesitant cooperation, to severing all links with the film displayed how unsure officials within the Defense Department were when confronted with the changing realities of popular filmmaking. During the end of the film’s production until months before its release, the U.S. Government decided on distancing themselves as much as possible from On the Beach. This would serve them for a time, but tough questions regarding the themes of the film would force officials in Washington to adapt a new strategy upon its release.

Government Reactions to Release

On the Beach challenged the earlier cinematic representations of nuclear weapons as benign protectors of America (and the Western world) that had been helpful in bolstering national security policy, replacing them instead with a sense of dread, fatalism, and possible extinction. The depiction of ‘the bomb’ as ‘friend’ would now turn to ‘foe.’ For Eisenhower officials, this transformation caused an emotional and intellectual response within America that would become 'an obstacle' to civil defense and the policy of nuclear deterrence. The film, centered on the idea that armed nuclear deterrence was a suicidal option due to lethal resultant radiation, challenged the primary defense policy that the Eisenhower administration had pursued in safeguarding against the threat of the U.S.S.R. Criticism of these policies, from the Eisenhower Administration’s point of view, would undermine national security and U.S. power both at home and abroad. The threat On the Beach posed, while not catastrophic to the Government, was sufficient to warrant concern among the highest levels of White House and the administration, forcing their hands in confronting the issue.

While the Department of Defense had distanced itself from the film during its production after some initial dalliances, the focus within the Eisenhower administration quickly shifted from 'distancing' to 'damage control.' By early November, 1959, the Eisenhower administration was became increasingly concerned about On the Beach as the film reached the end of post-production and was readied for release. The minutes of the Cabinet meeting from November 6, make brief mention of the film in regards to its upcoming premiere. The film was brought up as part of a discussion on civil defense that ostensibly dealt with the release of the pamphlet, "The Family and the Fallout Shelter." Secretary of State Christian A. Herter brought up the impending release of On the Beach and how he construed it as a "tremendous bit of anti-nuclear propaganda."[12] Leo Hoegh, Director of the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization (OCDM), then commented that the film constituted "an obstacle to the shelter program" as he believed the movie left the viewer feeling "hopeless."[13] No definite course of action was agreed upon during the meeting, but it was clear that Kramer’s film was emerging as a problem that the Cabinet would have to confront.

Throughout November 1959, the Administration maintained its policy of distancing itself from the film, but influential people from outside the White House were beginning to ask questions. Shortly after the November 6 Cabinet meeting, Mrs. Robert Low Bacon wrote a letter seeking support for the American National Theater Association from the Cabinet and the Administration for the Washington premiere of On the beach. A letter dated November 17, 1959, from the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State, William W. Scranton, to Secretary of State Herter informs the Secretary of Mrs. Bacon's inquiry and that it had been "turned down" due to concern within the White House over "its implications for civil defense."[14] Worried about further public prying, Scranton recommended that the film, and issues regarding it, be discussed at an upcoming Cabinet meeting. He instructed Administration officials to do "everything diplomatically possible to discourage Ambassadorial support."[15]

As anticipated, more questions were addressed to the Eisenhower Administration concerning On the Beach. In a letter dated November 23, Edouard Morot-Sir from the French Consulate in New York asked the Press Secretary, James Hagarty, whether President Eisenhower had granted his approval of On the Beach. The responding letter dated four days later from Secretary Hagarty explains in diplomatic terms that "the President does not grant patronage to any commercial film," but later heavily emphasizes the point with an unequivocal "no."[16] The Administration officials’ reaction to public requests was to continue the policy of passively distance themselves from the film, but unresolved questions remained as to if, and how, the Administration would confront the themes of the film that they felt undermined their own defense policies. In the wake of these two incidents, the need for the administration to form a more cohesive and comprehensive response to the content of the film became a priority.

By late November, 1959, the upcoming release of On the Beach was exerting increased pressure on Eisenhower's Cabinet. The Administration had tried to disassociate itself from the film, but lingering concerns over civil defense and the nature of nuclear deterrence would render ‘distancing’ themselves from the film ineffective, forcing the Eisenhower Administration into a more active role. This would require an active response by the Administration to the apocalyptic themes and timely questions posed by the film.

Early on, the Administration officials knew they would have to meter their response. One of the early courses decided upon by the Operation Coordinating Board (OCB) was that the Government should not become overtly involved in any attempts to censor or openly criticize the film. An OCB memo dated November 25 warns of the possible negative effects of On the Beach, suggesting that steps might be taken in order that the "adverse effects (of the film) might be minimized."[17] Additional handwriting in the margins of the draft memo recommends that the U.S. Government "avoid becoming involved" directly, but consider a list of possible answers to questions regarding the movie.[18] Unlike the previous informational statements made during the November 6 Cabinet meeting, the OCB memo of November 25 suggested the Government take a more active role in 'spinning' the information presented in the film more favorably towards U.S. Government civil defense and nuclear deterrence policies.

During the first week of December, 1959, a private screening of On the Beach was held for the Cabinet officials.[19] A few Cabinet members, including Defense Secretary Robert Anderson, suggested different ways in which they might publicly discredit the film.[20] By December 7, the Cabinet Secretary Robert Gray had put out a preliminary information guide for On the Beach.[21] The primary directive of the 'INFOGUIDE' was not to give the film additional publicity by appearing overly interested in the film. It instructed Cabinet members and other Government officials abroad to maintain an attitude of "matter-of-fact interest, showing no special concern," acknowledging that public criticism by government officials would be counter-productive and would only serve to give the film further publicity.[22] Instead, the officials were instructed to seek out "opinion leaders" to discuss the film with and perhaps persuade them to seeing the Government's argument concerning the film; that firstly, the movie was scientifically inaccurate in terms of the lethality of fallout radiation and the inadequacy of Civil Defense; that secondly, "real" disarmament, both nuclear and conventional, was possible through "safeguarded" and gradual reductions by the U.S. and the Soviets; and lastly, that the film "grossly misconstrues the basic nature of man," asserting that the idea of mass suicide was "not only unnecessary but also wholly fatalistic."[23] A rhetorical flourish concludes the second point, that "war itself is the real evil" and since all weapons kill, "morally there is no distinction" between conventional and nuclear weapons.[24] Instead of distancing itself the film as it had done previously, the Eisenhower administration decided to aggressively counter the idea that 'the bomb' was the problem, using the various rationales presented in the ‘INFOGUIDE’ to protect the their heavy investment in the theory of deterrence. The basic arguments laid out in the ‘INFOGUIDE' would serve as a guideline for further administration actions regarding On the Beach.

As the release date of the film approached, tensions regarding the themes present in On the Beach heightened within the Eisenhower administration. In a Cabinet agenda memo to Vice President Nixon, Karl Harr, Vice Chairman of the OCB, suggested that a section of the next day's Cabinet meeting be portioned for creating a dedicated list of questions and answers to the film On the Beach that could be disseminated to Administration officials both at home and abroad. Mr. Harr was extremely concerned that the "film's message lends itself to extreme pacifist and 'Ban-the-Bomb' propaganda," worried that this mentality could be "counterproductive...for the public understanding and support which this administration is trying to generate for adequate civil defense measures."[25] Harr's concern was acknowledged and On the Beach was added to the official agenda for the next day's Cabinet meeting.[26] He repeated his concerns during the Cabinet meeting on December 11, to which Leo Hoegh, director of OCDM, repeated Harr's concern that the film was "undermining OCDM's efforts to encourage preparedness on the part of all citizens."[27] A plan of action was formulated by the Cabinet during this meeting to counter the message of the film, but these steps were eventually scrapped by Vice President Nixon, who amended the Cabinet 'Record of Action' to be "Informational Only," consequently meaning that the few instructions that were formulated for the Cabinet to follow were not put into action but kept as an information source.[28]

While Vice President Nixon had put an end to direct actions by Herter at the State Department and Karl Harr at the OCDM, lower echelon defense and informational organizations, such as the United States Information Agency (USIA) and members of the Defense Department's Defense Atomic Support Agency (DASA) pushed forward with an informational guideline that could still be used to answer the publics' questions and sway the 'opinion leaders' outside of the White House.

The basis for the file that would eventually become known as "Possible Questions and Suggested Answers on the Film On the Beach" stemmed from the 'INFOGUIDE' presented to the Cabinet on December 7. Using the three basic arguments from the document, a series of questions and answers were developed with the intention of being used by domestic and foreign officials that might have been sought out to comment on the film and its themes. A preliminary list of questions and answers was created and sent to the Assistant Secretary of Atomic Energy Herbert Loper by DASA on December 15, 1959. The memo attached to the preliminary questions and answers instructs Assistant Secretary Loper to distribute the document, instructing those who would deal with the public and 'opinion leaders' to, above all, emphasize the point that On the Beach was "a work of science fiction" that could not occur in the ‘real world.’ The majority of the questions posed in DASA’s short document dealt with the concepts at the heart of civil defense programs: fallout, radiation, decontamination, and protection. One question directly addressed if radiation sickness could "induce melancholia or suicidal tendencies." Another asks if the U.S. Government had ever considered issuing "suicide pills." In both cases, the document instructed the respondent to exclaim "no!"[29] The Defense Department's DASA created a ‘question and answer’ sheet for its officials, but it remained a rudimentary nine questions and answers. Morse Salisbury, Director of the USIA, decided that a more comprehensive question and answer document was still needed, one that could deal with the film in a more comprehensive and elaborate manner than DASA's short two pages.

Since the beginning of December, the USIA and the Division of Information Services (DIS) had been working on its own file titled "Possible Questions and Suggested Answers on the Film, On the Beach."[30] In cooperation with the OCB, the compiled "Possible Questions" file had become much larger and much more complex than the basic preliminary questions and answers complied by the Defense Department. "Possible Questions" dealt with many of the political realities as well as the civil defense issues. Unlike the DASA questions and answers, the DIS file was laced with facts (as they perceived them) from the Atomic Energy Commission's (AEC) Radiation Subcommittee's Hearings before congress earlier that year regarding radiation, fallout, and how the weather would affect both. The findings of the committee on the "Biological and Environmental Effects of Nuclear War" form the bulk of the scientific refutations found in "Possible Questions," positing the impossibility of complete human extinction by means of nuclear weapons due to a myriad of factors.

"Possible Questions" was distributed to Eisenhower Cabinet and Diplomatic officials just prior to the theatrical release date of December 17, 1959.[31] For the most part, the content of "Possible Questions" was only mentioned in response to direct questioning by individuals or the media. In a few cases, however, the strategy of influencing "opinion leaders" was utilized. Some of the answers found in "Possible Questions" made their way into negative film reviews and other newspaper articles that appeared the week of the film's release.[32] In the December 18 edition of The New York Times, an article entitled "'On the Beach' scored by Civil Defense Head" ran beside Bosley Crowther's review of the film.[33] In the article, New York Civil Defense Director Clarence R. Huebner released a statement that castigated the film for its lack of "scientific basis for some of its notions of radioactive phenomena," further commenting that the film "overlook(s) the possibility of defense against radioactive fall-out [sic] after a nuclear explosion."[34] The insistence on the usefulness of civil defense and the fact that the film lacked any real scientific basis (Huebner calls it "fantasy") read almost word for word from "Possible Questions.” While "Possible Questions" may not have been implemented on a very large scale, by reassuring the public of U.S. policy while avoiding direct criticism of the film, the Eisenhower administration achieved many of its objectives.

The speedy compilation of the findings and 'facts,' along with the rather comprehensive nature of the six page document, "Possible Questions and Suggested Answers on the Film, On the Beach" demonstrated the resolve of the Eisenhower administration to safeguard its national security policies of nuclear deterrence and civil defense by actively countering the contentious themes of the film. The threat that On the Beach posed to Cold War national security interests forced the administration, at various levels, to counter actively its bleak and sobering message.

Conclusion

While certainly not the last, Kramer's On the Beach was, arguably, the first major Hollywood film to be openly critical of Washington's national security policies during the Cold War. Kramer's On the Beach would become a rallying cry for anti-nuclear weapon activists to rally around for the next thirty years. The film would make a sizable resurgence in the late 1970s and early 1980s and a new round of questions were posed regarding U.S. national security policies of nuclear deterrence and how people could protect themselves from the effects of fallout radiation. Until the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the ‘nuclear apocalyptic’ film On the Beach served as a cautionary tale about the suicidal nature of the 'the bomb.'

The film On the Beach stood at the interface between two eras in American film-making. The previous era of films that reassured U.S. Cold War national security policies, such as Above and Beyond and Bombers B-52's, waned as a new era of films that questioned national security policies, such as Sidney Lumet's highly successful Fail-Safe (1964) and Stanley Kubrick's black comedy Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), were beginning to be made by Hollywood studios, films that would have had their directors, writers, and actors 'blacklisted' less than a decade previously.

In part due to the controversy surrounding On the Beach, a new political culture was emerging, one where U.S. Government officials were becoming increasingly sensitive to their negative portrayal in popular media. Likewise, a new intellectual consciousness was also emerging, one that embraced the debates over the usefulness of civil defense programs and the logic of nuclear deterrence. While it is true that On the Beach was not singlehandedly responsible for the emergence of these trends in American history, the film did encapsulate this historical moment when a nascent strain of a new American consciousness embedded itself within the popular imagination. The critique of the U.S. Government and its military policies that the film presented represented the vanguard of popular media that would do the same throughout the Cold War, Vietnam, and into twenty-first century. The legacy of Stanley Kramer's On the Beach is one of a film that challenged and complicated the relationship between Americans and their government; a relationship that would continue to be elaborated upon, but not created, by the filmmakers of the late 1960s and 1970s.

Works Cited

Primary Sources

Anderson, Jack. Letter to Congressman Wallhauser. March 24, 1960. Box 890. Case File GF 122-II,

General Files, White House Central Files. Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Beckley, Paul V. Film review of "On The Beach." The New York Herald Tribune, December 18, 1959.

Cabinet Meeting Minutes. November 6, 1959. Box 14. Ann Whitman File Cabinet Series. Dwight D.

Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Cabinet Paper CI 59-64. On the Beach ‘INFOGUIDE.’ December 7, 1959. Box 15. Ann Whitman

File Cabinet Series. Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Cabinet Meeting Agenda. December 10, 1959. Box 15. Ann Whitman File Cabinet Series. Dwight D.

Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Cabinet Memo for Vice President Nixon. December 10, 1959. Box 15. Ann Whitman File Cabinet

Series. Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Cabinet Meeting Minutes. December 11, 1959. Box 15. Ann Whitman File Cabinet Series. Dwight D.

Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Cabinet Memo and Record of Action (Draft). December 11, 1959. Box 15. Ann Whitman File

Cabinet Series. Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Cabinet Meeting Record of Action. December 16, 1959. Box 15. Ann Whitman File Cabinet Series.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Cabinet Memo for the Secretary of State. November 17, 1959. Box 19. Christian Herter Papers Series.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Coffey, J.I. Memo to Al Toner. November 25, 1959. Box 5. White House Office of the Special

Assistant for National Security Affairs Records, Operation Coordinating Board Series. Dwight

D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Crowther, Bosley. Film review of “On the Beach." The New York Times, December 18, 1959, 34.

Crowther, Bosley. “Top Films of 1959,” New York Times, December 27, 1959.

Grossman, Cornell. Letter to Congressman Wallhauser. March 14, 1960. Box 890. Case File GF 122-II,

General Files, White House Central Files. Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Huebner, Clarence R. "'On the Beach' Scored by Civil Defense Head." The New York Times, December

18, 1959, 34.

Primary Sources (cont)

Hagerty, James. Letter to Edouard Morot-Sir. November 27, 1959. Box 82. White House Central Files,

President's Personal File. Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Morot-Sir, Edouard. Letter to Press Secretary James Hagerty. November 23, 1959. Box 82. White

House Central Files, President's Personal File. Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Operations Coordinating Board Memo and Attachments - "Possible Questions and Suggested Answers

on the Film, On the Beach." December 16, 1959. Box 15. Ann Whitman File Cabinet Series.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Parker, Admiral Edward N. Memo to the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Loper. December 15,

1959. Box 5. Operation Coordinating Board Series. Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Wallhauser, George. Letter to Cornell Grossman. March 17, 1960. Box 890. Case File GF 122-II,

General Files, White House Central Files. Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Wallhauser, George. Letter to Jack Anderson, Administrative Assistant to the President. March 22,

1960. Box 890. Case File GF 122-II, General Files, White House Central Files. Dwight D.

Eisenhower Presidential Library.

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New York University Press, 2001.

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[1] Kenneth D. Rose, One Nation Underground: The Fallout Shelter in American Culture, (New York: New York University Press, 2001), 77.

[2] Tony Shaw, Hollywood's Cold War (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007), 153.

[3] Robert Moses, "The Civil Defense Fiasco," Harper's Magazine, No. 1290 (Nov 1957): 30.

[4] Joyce A. Evens, Celluloid Mushroom Clouds (Boulder: Westview Press, 1998), 147.

[5] Lawrence H. Suid, Guts and Glory: The Making of the American Military Image on Film, (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2002), 227.

[6] Shaw, Hollywood's Cold War, 152.

[7] Shaw, Hollywood's Cold War, 152.

[8] Suid, Guts and Glory, 224.

[9] Director, Motion Picture Service - USIA, to Don Baruch June 24, 1958. As found in Suid, Guts and Glory, 224.

[10] Suid, Guts and Glory, 225.

[11] Suid, Guts and Glory, 227.

[12] Minutes of Cabinet meeting CI 59-62, (6 Nov 1959), 4. Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

[13] Ibid.

[14] William Scranton, letter to Secretary Herter, (17 Nov 1959), Dwight D. Eisenhower Library.

[15] Ibid.

[16] James Hagerty, letter to Mr. Edouard Morot-Sir, (27 Nov 1959), Dwight D. Eisenhower Library.

[17] Col. J. I. Coffey, letter to Al Toner. (25 Nov 1959) Box 5, White House Office of the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs Records, Operation Coordinating Board Series, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Shaw, Hollywood's Cold War, 156.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Cabinet Paper CI 59-64, On the Beach Information Guide, ( 7 Dec 1959), Box 15, Ann Whitman File Cabinet Series, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Cabinet Memo for Vice President Nixon, (10 Dec 1959), Box 15, Ann Whitman File Cabinet Series, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

[26] Cabinet Meeting Agenda for 11 Dec, (10 Dec 1959), Box 15, Ann Whitman File Cabinet Series, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

[27] Cabinet Meeting Minutes, (11 Dec 1959), Box 15, Ann Whitman File Cabinet Series, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

[28] Cabinet Memo and Record of Action (Draft), (11 Dec 1959), Box 15, Ann Whitman File Cabinet Series, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library. The finalized version of the "Cabinet Record of Action" was released on December 15, showing that the recommended steps had been changed to "Information Only."

[29] Parker, Admiral Edward N., Memo to the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Loper, December 15, 1959, Box 5, Operation Coordinating Board Series, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

[30] Earliest documents date to December 8, 1959. OCB Memo and “Possible Questions and Suggested Answers on the Film, On the Beach” [attached], (16 Dec 1959), Box 15, Ann Whitman File Cabinet Series, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

[31] Shaw, Hollywood's Cold War, 157.

[32] Ibid., 156.

[33] "'On the Beach' Scored by Civil Defense Head," The New York Times, (18 Dec 1959), 34. The article ran 1 column away from Crowther's review of the film.

[34] Ibid.

Last Updated: 11/19/14