Written in Ink

U.S. Made Plans for a Real Life 'Red Dawn'

OK, no marauding teenagers launching guerrilla attacks on occupying Commie forces ("Wolverines!"). But in the Cold War 1950s, the government was truly concerned about a Soviet attack on Alaska — "an airborne invasion involving bombing and the dropping of paratroopers," one FBI memo said

So we launched operation Washtub, recruiting and training scores of fishermen, bush pilots, trappers and other private citizens across the territory (not yet a state) for a covert network to feed wartime intelligence to the military, The Associated Press reports.


J.Edgar Hoover's top secret plan was to have citizen-agents in key locations in Alaska ready to hide from the invaders. These "stay-behind agents" would find their way to survival caches of food, cold-weather gear, message-coding material and radios. In hiding they would transmit word of enemy movements.

Recruiters pitched patriotism and retainers of up to $3,000 a year (nearly $30,000 in 2014 dollars), AP reports. And — war being hell and all that — pay was to be doubled "after an invasion has commenced," one planning document said.

Read all about it here.

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