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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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The Real Mineshaft Gap

The Real Mineshaft Gap

(p.138) 4 The Real Mineshaft Gap
Armageddon Insurance

Edward M. Geist

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter tracks the development of U.S. and Soviet civil defense from the beginning of the 1960s until the mid-1970s. The 1961 Berlin Crisis compelled both superpowers to reinvigorate their civil defense programs. Soviet civil defense was transferred into the Ministry of Defense and renamed “Grazhdanskaia oborona” (civil defense). Similarly, President Kennedy transferred civil defense to the Department of Defense and endorsed a program based on developing community fallout shelters in existing buildings. But from the mid-1960s, the superpowers’ civil defense programs increasingly diverged. Congressional opposition and the assassination of President Kennedy deprived the community shelter program of funding. The ascent of Leonid Brezhnev to the apex of the Soviet leadership, by contrast, empowered military interests who secured substantial resources for Soviet civil defense by the mid-1970s.

Keywords:   civil defense, bomb shelters, fallout shelters, strategic evacuation, Office of Civil Defense (OCD)

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