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View Diary: The Irrational Fear of Nukes - A German Perspective (262 comments)

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  •  I like your diary but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citisven, mahakali overdrive

    have a question.  Chernobyl occurred when there was an East and West Germany.  Were you in the East?  The 'cloud' from Chernobyl reached West Germany but only the southeastern part.  You state that Pershing 22's (sic) were aimed at you.  If you mean Pershing IIs, then no they were not aimed at you unless you were a conscript in the East German army at about the Corps army level.

    But, even so, you admit your fears may be irrational in what appears, except for those minor quibbles, to be a very rational diary.

    •  I grew up in Stuttgart, Southwest Germany (15+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure if you can say with 100% certainty that no levels of radioactivity reached my town. As always with nuclear, nobody seems to know for sure. Whether my fear was justified or not, the point of it is that at the time it was very hard to believe anything anyone was saying, considering that nobody even knew about it until I think the Swedes measured radioactivity in the air. As far as the Pershings, yes that's a typo on my end, I'll fix that. While Stuttgart wasn't ground zero for the initial impact, I think it's fair to say that a confrontation between the Soviets and the U.S. would have gravely affected all of Germany. At least that was the perceived atmosphere in which my generation grew up.

      •  radioactivity did reach your town (9+ / 0-)

        None escaped. The levels differed. I was living in Goettingen, further up north, and our rainwater was rattling quite lively on the Geiger counters. You got quite a bit more than we did.

        But at the time no one knew. I was freshly in love then and spent wonderful last april days with my love out in the greens and we wondered whether we should flee to the Bretagne. We put that aside as we realized that that was not safety if the wind wouldnt have it. What we de facto got, was less than would have justified the level of worry, but how could we have known that? Only after the fact - quite a bit, months, a half year - after the fact became the actual pattern of fallout roughly clear, to the average people.

        Those in the south, your way citisven, they got it quite a bit worse and going then further east, towards Austria, thats actually where the second major continental contamination spot was centered. You can look it up on maps now. But then, you couldnt.

        Now they can not either, in Japan. They have quite a bit more live tracking - state organized tracking then we had at the time but still, they´ll not know until long aftterward what really came down. And how long will they have to wait? Those evacuees, they had to flee their area from one day to then next and how long will it be before, or will they ever be able to return? Partly? Those outside that zone, are thea still there because its a manageable risk, or are they still there simply because their removal would be an impossible burden on Japan, in dire straits as it is already? When exactly will they know that for sure?

        And who will call the fears of nuclear power irrational in their face? Or in ours, even though we were far far further off, and had far less contamination?

        Ici s´arrète la loi.

        by marsanges on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:08:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for chiming in, marsanges (4+ / 0-)

          Do you have any links to those maps?

          It's so true, we just didn't know what the hell was going on, and that was a big reason why it was so scary. Especially in those formative years where you're just finding out what's going on in the world, you're just wondering what on earth is going on, who let this happen? Perhaps it was less shocking for the adult world, especially the folks who had lived through WWII and were perhaps a bit more "disaster-hardened." But for our generation it was a really defining event, and whether it ultimately measures up to other horrors of the past, it was our "what the hell are we doing?" moment."

      •  I stand corrected on the cloud (3+ / 0-)

        I was living in Pirmasens at the time and my faulty memory of the cloud, as shown on CNN and local TV at the time, superimposed on a map, is hazy at best.  Please see interactive map and click on dates.  The 'cloud' moved over the entirety of West Germany and, after it reached much of France, rotated back over W. Germany.  (Source:  Der Spiegel)

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