But now for the first time, we know which Russian cities would have been destroyed, and why. The U.S. government has finally declassified the 1950s Strategic Air Command target list, which would have dispatched American bombers and missiles on nuclear strikes across the Communist world.
“SAC listed over 1200 cities in the Soviet bloc, from East Germany to China, also with priorities established,” according to the National Security Archive, the non-governmental organization which requested the declassified information. “Moscow and Leningrad were priority one and two respectively. Moscow included 179 Designated Ground Zeros (DGZs) while Leningrad had 145, including ‘population’ targets.”
But at least in theory, this would not have been wanton destruction or terror bombing. There was supposed to be method behind the nuclear madness. SAC’s priority was to destroy Soviet airpower before Soviet bombers—this was before ICBMs were developed in the 1960s—could strike American and Western European targets. Some 1,100 airfields were targeted and prioritized, with the Soviet Tu-16 Badger bomber bases in Bykhov and Orsha in Byelorussia at the top of the list. Once Soviet airwar capability had been destroyed, and assuming both sides were in any state to continue the war, then Soviet industry would have been bombed next.
And so would a lot of innocents. The SAC target list, compiled in 1956 and published as part of a 1959 nuclear weapons planning study, deliberately included civilian populations.
The SAC plan specified “the ‘systematic destruction’ of Soviet bloc urban-industrial targets that specifically and explicitly targeted ‘population’ in all cities, including Beijing, Moscow, Leningrad, East Berlin, and Warsaw,” noted National Security Archive researchers. “Purposefully targeting civilian populations as such directly conflicted with the international norms of the day, which prohibited attacks on people per se (as opposed to military installations with civilians nearby).”
Read more HERE