In the 1960's Cold War Era, what preparations would I have to make to keep my family safe?For my assignment I have to imagine I am the head of the household and need to make preparations to keep my...

In the 1960's Cold War Era, what preparations would I have to make to keep my family safe?

For my assignment I have to imagine I am the head of the household and need to make preparations to keep my family safe. From what I am not sure. I assume a bomb or invasion from Communist forces.

Need help figuring out where to get some information. I can remember doing drills in school in case we were bombed. Hiding under the deskwith our hands over our heads.

Asked on by sully8253

8 Answers | Add Yours

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

First of all, I would make sure that the family is not overly afraid. There was such a climate of fear, that it's easy to get carried away. I don't think there was anything you could do in the case of a real, local bombing. A gas mask and shelter, such as a basement, would be about all you could do.
lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I think for your assignment you need to consider what types of things you would need to be able to survive any kind of disaster for an extended period of time. Things you could include would be non-perishable foods, bottled water, battery operated radio with extra batteries, flashlights or some sort of lantern.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

As mentioned in the previous post, fallout shelter signs abounded and people knew where these were--theatres, schools, concert halls, etc.  During the months around the Cuban Missile Crisis there was veritable fear in people's minds, enough to frighten the children, who did not yet understand all the ramifications.  They only understod that they had to go below the school frequently and they saw their mother buying canned goods and water.  Nevertheless, after the prosperous 1950s, people were so complacent that the reality of an attack upon U.S. soil seemed remote.  This attitude was prevalent even up to 2001. This is why 9/11 seemed almost surreal to older people.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

You can still find some buildings today that are marked with "Fallout Shelter" and a radioactivity sign.  While the general outlines of a plan to safely shelter the population was in place throughout the Cold War, and we held drills in the schools and practice air raid sirens, most people were not prepared at all.

Relatively few people had bomb shelters built in their backyards as movies would suggest. The drills in school would do nothing to actually protect you in a nuclear attack (duck and cover), and beyond having batteries, canned food and a secure basement, most people chose not to think about it that much.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Both of the answers above are good ones, but I note that you asked for sources of information that you might consult.  I would suggest that you Google things like "Cold War civil defense" to get sources on the internet about this since the whole idea of keeping your family safe and such was referred to in this time as civil defense.

Just looking at the first page of results, I find this link that should be good.

http://www.civildefensemuseum.com

You might also look for stuff about or put out by the Federal Civil Defense Administration, which was created in 1951 to teach people to do the stuff that you are trying to recreate.  You might be able to find things that it put out.

Good luck...

 

larrygates's profile pic

larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I was a student during this time, and remember the threat well. The biggest threat was not invasion or a direct nuclear bomb hit (our teachers reminded us that if that were to happen, we would "all be dead," cold comfort to a twelve year old.) The great danger was from radioactive fallout, the material blown into the air by a nuclear blast which fell back to the ground as radioactive material. Children were given materials to carry home with information for parents on what to do in case of such a situation. The best approach was a bomb shelter in ones back yard, basically a concrete bunker with sufficient water, canned food, and the all important transistor radio, to last up to three weeks. For those unable to construct a shelter, many buildings in large cities carried Civil Defense signs indicating they were "Fallout Shelters." You should know the location of these buildings so that you could move your family there should the need arise. Of course, you should make your children aware of the telltale signs of the air raid siren, which many cities practiced weekly.

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would actually advise to examine some of the films that take the Cold War to the personal and domestic front.  The film "Duck and Cover" was viewed as propaganda as to what had to be done in such an emergency.  This might give some basics as to what needs to be told to a family in the crisis of a nuclear attack.  At the same time, another film, "The Day After," is quite powerful in illustrating, to some extent, the effects of nuclear fallout in the wake of an attack on families and individual people.  The fallout shelter is one element that was needed, along with a bountiful stock of food because the food supply would be contaminated.  Water is needed, as well.  At the same time, I think that a supply of guns and ammunition for protection against the bands of people who are in dire condition will be needed.  I think that there might have to be a discussion with children as to what life in a nuclear fallout setting would be like.  What would happen, physically, if one were afflicted with radiation poisoning?  Becoming accustomed to losing one's hair as well as the overall physical changes would be needed.  At the same time, teaching children to not look in the sky at what is happening would be important.  I think that examining the films that arose from the Cold War might be a good starting point on determining what had to be taught to children and families in the midst of such calamitous times.

sully8253's profile pic

sully8253 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Both of the answers above are good ones, but I note that you asked for sources of information that you might consult.  I would suggest that you Google things like "Cold War civil defense" to get sources on the internet about this since the whole idea of keeping your family safe and such was referred to in this time as civil defense.

Just looking at the first page of results, I find this link that should be good.

http://www.civildefensemuseum.com

You might also look for stuff about or put out by the Federal Civil Defense Administration, which was created in 1951 to teach people to do the stuff that you are trying to recreate.  You might be able to find things that it put out.

Good luck...

 

Thanks so much for this info.

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