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Grim Blueprints
Snapshots from the U.S. Playbook for Nuclear Attack

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Map of the 300 population targets in NATO member states that, if attacked, would result in deaths of 189 million people, or 25 percent of population of those nations.

At times during the Cold War, nuclear war planners have defined deterrence as America's ability to destroy at least one-quarter of an enemy's citizens in any nuclear-war scenario. This is 1960s-era secretary of defense Robert McNamara's infamous doctrine of "mutually assured destruction" (MAD), in which the nuclear powers maintain stability by holding each other's citizens hostage.

NRDC used its nuclear-war simulation tools to show how the populations of the United States, Russian and other nations can be threatened with just a small number of weapons. The map above shows where, given today's high-yield nuclear weapons, an opponent would have to explode a mere 300 warheads to kill 25 percent of the population of all NATO member countries -- nearly 189 million people.

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