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Armageddon InsuranceCivil Defense in the United States and Soviet Union, 1945-1991$
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Edward M. Geist

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469645254

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469645254.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Inauspicious Beginnings

Inauspicious Beginnings

(p.17) 1 Inauspicious Beginnings
Armageddon Insurance

Edward M. Geist

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the development of civil defense in the United States and Soviet Union up until the early 1950s. The predecessors of civil defense first appeared during the 19th century, but it only fully blossomed with the introduction of strategic bombing. Both the United States and Soviet Union possessed large civil defense organizations during the Second World War, but these proved ill-adapted to the requirements of the nuclear age in the postwar period. This chapter argues that the failure of the United States and the Soviet Union to pursue civil defense against nuclear weapons during the late 1940s can be attributed to domestic political factors as opposed to technical obstacles or strategic considerations. This tardy start left both superpowers ill-prepared when they decided to develop passive defenses to protect their populations form nuclear attack in the following decade.

Keywords:   civil defense, World War II, Mestnaia protivovozdushnaia oborona (MPVO), National Security Resources Board, Federal Civil Defense Administration, U.S. history, Soviet history

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