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Cold War: Reporting live from the Diefenbunker...

With superpowers in the east and west testing powerful new weapons, the Canadian race for self-preservation took off in the early 1950s. The rising of the Iron Curtain intensified the threat of mass destruction, as communication between the Americans and Soviets came to a screeching halt. In this volatile new world, Canadians fretted about fallout shelters and the government prepared to go underground.

They would have been known as the voices of Canada. CBC News reporters Norman DePoe, Larry McDonald and Tom Earle were given a very special assignment in the early 1960s -- in the event of a nuclear war, they agreed to broadcast survival instructions to the rest of Canada from the top secret Diefenbunker. Entry inside the Diefenbunker, located outside Ottawa, was exclusive to approximately 500 government officials. CBC Radio talks to former employees about their unique jobs inside the government bunker.
• The Diefenbunker measures 100,000 square feet and was designed to withstand the explosion of a five megaton nuclear weapon detonated 1.8 kilometres away.
• The bunker, nicknamed after Prime Minister Diefenbaker, was outfitted with supplies to last for thirty days.
• The bunker was made with 32,000 cubic yards of concrete and 5,000 tonnes of steel.
Medium: Radio
Program: Morningside
Broadcast Date: Jan. 21, 1994
Guest(s): Barry Loma, Larry MacDonald
Host: Peter Gzowski
Duration: 14:26

Last updated: January 18, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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