Civil Defense and Disaster Preparedness

In 1951, President Harry S. Truman created the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA). This was the Homeland Security Department of its day and it churned out films, brochures, and other propaganda materials purporting to protect Americans from nuclear bombs (as well as other fallout from the Cold War) in the name of national security.

From the 1950s through the 1970s, Americans turned away from the more practical civilian endeavors of the WWII era such as scrap collecting and bond drives to build fallout shelters and stockpile supplies or engage in atomic air raid and other civil defense drills. They even staged mock disasters.

In retrospect, some of this emergency preparedness seems a bit silly, but at least it gave Americans something to do in a time of international uncertainty - and Ann Arbor was no exception. Here is the Ann Arbor News“Civil Defense” photo negative collection for your viewing pleasure.


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