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
- Letter from Arthur E Parmer to Col. Quinton C. Harvey, August 1, 1952
- Report to the Governor on activities from June 13, 1951 to December 31, 1952
- Incident Report Form
- Copy of a letter from George B. Owen to county Civil Defense directors, May 22, 1953
- Bulletin describing general situation for Operation Beware, June 20, 1953
- Letter from Grace E. Doebler to Col. Quinton C. Harvey, May 26, 1953
- Letter from L. C. Boies to George B. Owen, June 22, 1953
- Log of operations for Yavapai County Civil Defense Agency during Operation Beware, June 20, 1953
- Report on Tucson/Pima County Civil Defense Services as to willingness and preparedness to operate in June 20th ALERT
- Which earlier Arizona agency does the Civil Defense Agency resemble? How are the two similar, and how are they different?
- Who created the documents linked above? What role did they play in Operation Beware?
- 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?
Visit the websites below to learn more. Based on this new information, have your answers to the questions above changed?
- Encyclopedia Britannica Films: Atomic Alert
- Arizona Civil Defense Agency Report to the Governor
- Nebraska Historical Society: Civil Defense