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Operation Tat-Type

Photo: Hole in the Clouds

The paranoia during the early years of the Cold War was so great that many American school children were made to wear dog tags, like soldiers wear around their necks, to enable identification of bodies in the aftermath of an atomic attack. Later, another bizarre initiative was promoted—tattoo children and young people with their blood-type. Blood-type tattoos was anticipated to save thousands of lives following an atomic bomb attack because this information could enable rapid blood transfusions. But the proposal to brand people with their blood-type had a more disturbing purpose. The idea was not that people could receive blood when they needed, but rather become donors who could be identified from their branding and be plucked off the streets to save another. This program was known as Operation Tat-Type.


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