Made in 1957-58 by the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization and the University of Michigan, “The Invisible Enemy” attempts to discuss the dangers of radioactive fallout and the need for fallout shelters. The film features a professor making a scientific lecture about radiation, its unseen powers, and lethal effects.

The film features images of geiger counters, atomic bomb blasts (3:56), research nuclear reactors (6:35), medical use of nuclear radiation (8:15) and more.

At 10:00, a simulated nuclear attack on Chicago is shown, and a radioactive cloud of fallout moves over the countryside. “This radioactive cloud begins to be carried by winds for hundreds of miles, it is literally a cloud bearing possible death for hundreds of thousands of people living below it!” Within three hours, residents of Battle Creek, Michigan will take sick with radiation poisoning without proper shelter. (Incidentally, the National Civil Defense Headquarters was located in Battle Creek and major population centers like Detroit were vital to American industry. )

At 15:00, the film begins discussing the use of personal fallout shelters for survival. The film suggests that the cost is estimated at $2500, and a series of civil defense brochures are available to assist the public in installing one. Techniques of building a shelter are seen with a happy father installing a shelter at the 18:40 mark in his home’s basement.

The scientist concludes on this note: “For on your willingness and ability to protect yourself and the lives of those who depend on you, depends in turn, the future of the free world. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why we in the United States must from here on learn how to protect ourselves from fallout, the invisible enemy!”

You can read more about this film at this amazing atomic website:


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