This conclusion describes some general findings about the historical evolution of civil defense in the two superpowers over the course of the Cold War. Neither U.S. nor Soviet officials regarded their civil defense efforts as successful, but the shortcomings of the programs appear to have resulted from domestic political obstacles rather than technical, strategic, and budgetary considerations. In the United States, Congressional opponents blocked large-scale funding for civil defense before its unpopularity with the general public became a crippling obstacle. In the Soviet Union, ideological strictures simultaneously impelled the development of civil defense yet undermined its plausibility. This chapter also makes some observations about post-Cold War developments in U.S. and Russian civil defense and their possible policy implications.
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