Give Me Shelter: The Failure of Canada's Cold War Civil Defence by Andrew BurtchGive Me Shelter: The Failure of Canada's Cold War Civil Defence by Andrew Burtch

Give Me Shelter: The Failure of Canada's Cold War Civil Defence

byAndrew Burtch

Paperback | July 1, 2012

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What do you do when a nuclear weapon detonates nearby? During the early Cold War years of 1945-63, Civil Defence Canada and the Emergency Measures Organization planned for just such a disaster and encouraged citizens to prepare their families and their cities for nuclear war. By the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the civil defence program was widely mocked, and the public was vastly unprepared for nuclear war.

Canada’s civil defence program was born in the early Cold War, when fears of conflict between the superpowers ran high. Give Me Shelter features previously unreleased documents detailing Canada’s nuclear survival plans. Andrew Burtch reveals how the organization publicly appealed to citizens to prepare for disaster themselves – from volunteering as air-raid wardens to building fallout shelters. This tactic ultimately failed, however, due to a skeptical populace, chronic underfunding, and repeated bureaucratic fumbling. Give Me Shelter exposes the challenges of educating the public in the face of the looming threat of nuclear annihilation.

Give Me Shelter explains how governments and the public prepared for the unexpected. It is essential reading for historians, policymakers, and anybody interested in Canada’s Cold War home front.

Andrew Burtch is the historian for the post-1945 period at the Canadian War Museum.
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Title:Give Me Shelter: The Failure of Canada's Cold War Civil DefenceFormat:PaperbackDimensions:300 pages, 9.03 × 5.98 × 0.75 inPublished:July 1, 2012Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774822414

ISBN - 13:9780774822411

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1 From World War to Cold War, 1945-50

2 The Korean War and the Trouble with Civil Defence, 1950-53

3 Publicizing Armageddon: Responsible Citizenship and Civil Defence, 1948-54

4 Evacuation and Celebration, 1954-56

5 Emergency Measures, 1957-59

6 The Survival Army, 1959-62

7 The Path to a Shelter Program, 1949-59

8 Irresponsible Citizens, 1959-62

9 Cuba, Confusion, and Retreat, 1962-68

Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

How could you and your family survive a nuclear war? From 1945 onwards, the Canadian government developed civil defence plans and encouraged citizens to join local survival corps. By the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the civil defence program was widely mocked, and the public was still vastly unprepared for nuclear war. An exposé of the challenges of educating the public on the threat of nuclear annihilation, Give Me Shelter provides a well-grounded explanation of why Canada’s civil defence strategy ultimately failed. It is essential reading for anyone interested in Canada’s Cold War home front.Civil defence in Cold War Canada is largely uncharted territory, and this rich, pioneering study reveals the political, psychological, and practical challenges of trying to generate popular preparedness for the unthinkable: a nuclear holocaust at home. Burtch's complex yet lively narrative not only engages existing scholarly debates, but should launch new ones as well. - P. Whitney Lackenbauer, co-author of Arctic Front: Defending Canada in the Far North