Civil Defense Agency

Civil Defense Agency

After World War II ended, the possibility of a nuclear war seemed imminent to Americans.  Civil Defense Agencies were formed at the national, state, and local levels, and worked together to prepare for nuclear attack.  In 1953, the Western US and Canadian provinces acted out an attack scenario called Operation Beware to test civil defense agencies’ readiness for a nuclear attack.

Read About It

Use the document analysis sheet and the photograph analysis sheet to uncover clues about the people that created the documents. 

Understand It

  1. Which earlier Arizona agency does the Civil Defense Agency resemble? How are the two similar, and how are they different?
  2. Who created the documents linked above? What role did they play in Operation Beware?
  3. Do you think the civil defense agencies that participated in Operation Beware would have been ready for a real nuclear attack in 1953? Why or why not?

Explore More

Visit the websites below to learn more. Based on this new information, have your answers to the questions above changed?

For Students

For Teachers

Topic

Politics and Reform

Decade

1950s