Civil Defense

January 18, 1950

Report Outline
American Civil Defense in Total War
Fundamental Issues in Defense Planning
Preventive Measures for Civil Defense
Tasks of Civil Defense in Emergencies
Organization for Civil Defense

American Civil Defense in Total War

Hearings before the congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy during the month of February will focus public attention on problems of civil defense and the readiness, or lack of readiness, of the United States to meet possible enemy attack upon its civilian population. The hearings result in part from demands evoked by President Truman's announcement, Sept. 23, 1949, that an atomic explosion had occurred “within recent weeks” in the Soviet Union.

The President's announcement produced calls for renewed United Nations efforts to achieve international control of atomic energy and for specific planning in this country to deal with any emergency that might arise from breaking of the American monopoly on the atomic bomb. On Oct. 3 Bernard Baruch urged “immediate enactment of a standby mobilization plan, including a thoroughgoing civilian defense.” Ferdinand Eberstadt later declared that real national security would require unification of civilian defense agencies as well as the unification of the nation's armed services. State and local authorities and private citizens called for guidance from the federal government.

Federal Civil Defense Surveys and Planning

Since the end of World War II, considerable study has been devoted to the question of civil defense in another war. The War Department Civil Defense Board, set up late in 1946 under Maj. Gen. Bull, surveyed the work of the wartime Office of Civilian Defense. The Bull board concluded that civil defense as organized and directed by O. C. D. would be inadequate in any future war, and that a separate civilian agency for planning and operating civil defense matters at all levels of government should be set up within the Department of Defense.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Defense Spending
Nov. 03, 2017  Military Readiness
Sep. 07, 2001  Bush's Defense Policy
Jul. 30, 1999  Defense Priorities
Sep. 29, 1989  Can Defense Contractors Survive Peace?
May 17, 1985  The Defense Economy
Apr. 16, 1982  Defense Spending Debate
Oct. 10, 1980  Defense Debate
Apr. 12, 1974  Peacetime Defense Spending
Sep. 24, 1969  Future of U.S. Defense Economy
Oct. 26, 1966  Defense Spending Management
Feb. 19, 1964  Arms Cutbacks and Economic Dislocation
Jun. 10, 1953  Defense Spending and Reorganization
Jan. 18, 1950  Civil Defense
Nov. 03, 1948  Atlantic Security and American Defense
Emergency Preparedness