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Civil Defense was extremely important for the Americans in the United States. This defense was essentially a way for the country and the people living there to have some form of safety in the event of a possible nuclear attack. There were four basic tasks to follow: mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery. If anything was to happen, the American's would be prepared. Nuclear bombing was a very important threat now that the atomic bomb had been dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Preparation would have to be in effect for every second of everyday. In public, there would be all sorts of shelters to run to if any sort of commotion was to happen. Sirens with speakers would essentially "sound the alarm" letting people outside know, they were under attack and tell people to locate themselves to the nearest shelter. In homes, safety and food kits would be necessary to be packed especially in basement cellars. Basements cellars were and still are one of the safest places to be in a home. Families if at home would be encouraged to go to there basement cellars and await till protection and safety was clear. Therefore, cellars would be pre-filled with food and supplies in case families had to wait for extended periods of time. The photo above is an example of a family basement cellar used for nuclear protection.

Duck and cover was one of the methods that people used in order to protect themselves from any unexpected nuclear attacks. In 1950, the movie Duck and Cover was produced (by the Federal Civil Defense Administration) for school showings in 1951. It was specifically a way for children in the early 1950s into the 1980s to understand how unexpected this event could be and for children to understand to always be prepared. In an event such as unexpected flashes or ground rumbling the idea to duck and cover would come straight to mind. Sometimes sirens would play a very high pitched sound in order to catch the students attention to find the nearest wall or desk, roll up in a ball, and lay face-down, covering their heads with their hands. This method was believed to protect many people, although for people who would look out the window instead of protecting themselves would be excluded from any sort of safety.

Duck-and-cover became such a popular exercise that it wasn't only children in schools were told to do. The exercises soon became a part of Civil Defense practiced to protect in the event of nuclear attacks. People believed that because of the massive atomic bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the same would be expected for the Americans. Therefore, it was not overdone for protection purposes because it could have been even bigger than expected.

"Drop, Cover and Hold On" was also campaigned method that was used for schools in areas that were likely to have earthquakes. The method was very similar to that of Duck and covers with the children forced to squat and cover the backs of their heads.

external image Bert2.pngA Duck & Cover movie poster


Two of the shelters you can create are the Blast shelter and the Fallout shelter. The blast shelter is a place where people can go to protect themselves from bomb blasts. Its different from a fallout shelter, in that its main purpose is to protect from shock waves and overpressure, instead of from radioactive precipitation, as a fallout shelter does. It is also possible for a shelter to protect from both blast and fallout. A fallout shelter is an enclosed space specially designed to protect occupants from radioactive debris or fallout from from a nuclear explosion.

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A sign pointing to an old fallout shelter in New York City.

A lot of families decided to have their own personal home made bomb shelter to protect their family from warned atomic attacks.

Living During The Cold War
The Cold War was reflected in culture through music, movies, books, and other media. Many works use the Cold War as a backdrop, or directly take part in fictional conflict between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. The period 1953-1962 saw Cold War themes first enter mainstream culture as a public preoccupation.
The Cold War was also reflected in the attitudes of people in their every day lives. In the United States, the Hollywood blacklist determined who would create, work on, and star in motion pictures; in politics the House Un-American Activities Committee questioned those thought to be communist sympathizers.
The Arts were also affected by the conflicts between the USSR and the United States as were Movies and Theater.
The United States and the Soviet Union engaged competed in the arts as well, mainly in ballet. The Americans and the Soviets would send previews of their country's ballets to prove their superiority. In America, this caused a large increase in government funding. In both countries, ballet was turned into powerful political propaganda, and they used dance to show life style in the "battle for the hearts and minds of men." Jazz was also a useful tool for the US State Department to show off the United States democracy, as jazz was a democratic music form, free flowing and improvised. Jazz tours of the Soviet Union were organized in 1956 to the1970's. Along with ballet, the two countries also competed in theatre, chess, and even who could reach the moon first. As well when it came to sports the two countries both competed in the Olympics during the Cold War period which also created a lot of conflict.