Civil Defense - History

History

In most of the NATO states, such as the United States, the United Kingdom or Germany as well as the Soviet Bloc, and especially in the neutral countries, such as Switzerland and in Sweden during the 1950s and 1960s, many civil defense practices took place to prepare for the aftermath of a nuclear war, which seemed quite likely at that time. Such efforts were opposed by the Catholic Worker Movement and by peace activists such as Ralph DiGia, on the grounds that these programs gave the public false confidence that they could survive a nuclear war.

In many western countries there was never strong civil defense policies implemented because it was fundamentally at odds, and violated the West's doctrine of "mutual assured destruction" (MAD) by making provisions for survivors. It was also considered that a fully fledged total defense would have been very expensive and not worth the expense. Above all, compared to the power of destruction a defense was seen by much of the public, for whatever reason, to be fundamentally ineffective and therefore a waste of time and money. Despite evidence that detailed scientific research programmes lay behind the much-mocked government civil defence pamphlets of the 1950s and 1960s.

In the West's early MAD doctrine, a doctrine officially at odds with that of the USSRs ideology, an ideology that insisted that survival was possible and therefore spent considerably more on civil defense preparations, with therefore, defense plans that would have been far more effective. There are not supposed to be any survivors in MAD for a civil defense system to assist (thus the acronym). Governments in most Western countries, with the sole exception of Switzerland, therefore sought to mostly underfund Civil Defense but nevertheless implement effective, but commonly dismissed civil defense measures against nuclear war, in the face of popular apathy and scepticism of authority.

Civil defense has different sirens like the Federal Signal Thunderbolt siren to warn people of a coming attack.

Public service announcements including children's songs were created by government institutes and then distributed and released by radio stations to educate the public in case of nuclear attack.

During the Cold War, civil defense was seen largely as defending against and recovering from an attack involving nuclear weapons. After the end of the Cold War, the focus moved from defense against nuclear war to defense against a terrorist attack possibly involving chemical or biological weapons; in the context of the United States this eventually led to the replacement of the United States´ civil defense with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). After the September 11 attacks in 2001, in the United States the concept of civil defense has been revisited under the umbrella term of homeland security and all-hazards emergency management.

In Europe, the triangle CD logo continues to be widely used. The old US civil defense logo was used in the FEMA logo until recently and is hinted at in the United States Civil Air Patrol logo. Created in 1939 by Charles Coiner of the N. W. Ayer Advertising Agency, it was used throughout World War II and the Cold War era. In 2006, the National Emergency Management Association—a U.S. organisation made up of state emergency managers—"officially" retired the Civil Defense triangle logo, replacing it with a stylised EM (standing for Emergency management).. The name and logo, however, continue to be used by Hawaii State Civil Defense and Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense .

The term "civil protection" is currently widely used within the European Union to refer to government-approved systems and resources tasked with protecting the non-combat population, primarily in the event of natural and technological disasters. In recent years there has been emphasis on preparedness for technological disasters resulting from terrorist attack. Within EU countries the term "crisis-management" emphasises the political and security dimension rather than measures to satisfy the immediate needs of the population.

In Australia, civil defence is the responsibility of the volunteer-based State Emergency Service.

In Russia, and most former Soviet countries, civil defence is the responsibility of Governmental Ministry, Like the MChS in Russia.

The abolished Civil Defence Symbol survives in the Universal Prepper Patch UPP symbology of today.

Read more about this topic:  Civil Defense

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