The Civil Defenders

The Civil Defenders

Back in the 1980’s when I was first developing my interest in preparedness there were few preparedness ‘models’ available to emulate.  Remember, this was way before the internet became a common household (and cellphone) utility.  The predominant archetypes available to model at that time were the Survivalists and the Civil Defenders of the Cold War.

The Civil Defenders:

Fallout Shelter In BasementThe Cold War Civil Defenders focused on surviving a massive nuclear exchange with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) at a societal level.  The movement was a vestige from government programs in the 1950’s and 1960’s but was still very much a part of the culture in the U.S. in the 1980’s.  The Civil Defenders still permeated and influenced the culture in the 1980s due in large part due to the limited book and media choices we had at the time.  Broadcast and fledgling cable networks played and replayed the movies and television shows from the heyday of our nation’s Civil Defense Program.  My childhood was filled stories from my elders describing “Duck & Cover Drills” they endured in school and with books and movies like On The Beach, Alas BabylonDamnation Alley, Fail-Safe, Dr. StrangeloveDay the World EndedThe Day After, the film adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The Time MachinePanic in Year Zero and numerous episodes of The Twilight Zone

My first job was actually in a Civil Defense Shelter.  I was a stock boy at a business whose basement was stocked as a shelter in the 1960s.  By the 1980s those stocks were pretty degraded and even as a teenager I knew that relying on degrading stocks and shelters built for a fraction of the current population was an exercise in folly.

Check back with Prepography the Day after tomorrow when we discuss the Survivalists.

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