Civil Defense Redux

Disclosure: Never actually lawyered the civil defense program except did prepare a draft for the hill substituting “Emergency Preparedness” for “Civil Defense” which resulted in Title VI of Robert T. Stafford Act from enactment of P.L. 103-337 and repead of Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress as amended.

But the history of civil defense always interested me and in particular the individuals that did lawyer it and those who ran it. Some still meet monthly in N.VA. at Bailey’s Cross-Roads for lunch. The lawyers, all very intelligent people, who came to FEMA from the civil defense program in DOD were William Booker, William Harding, and William “George” Watson. And of course George W. Jett, GC of DCPA and first GC of the Independent FEMA.

But today’s NY Times has an interesting obit which follows:

The impact of women on civil defense was enormous even though few helped manage the program. Frances Diaz was one who ran the DCPA west coast region and ran FEMA Region IX for quite a while.

There is a monument to the civil defense effort at the NETC, National Emergency Training Center, which succeeded the Battle Creek operation in Battle Creek Michigan.

Professor DEE RICHARDSON, PhD, has written a history of the civil defense program released several years ago and she was heavily influenced as a young mother by the women’s effort to curtail the nuclear threat. Some good and bad in her version of history.

I gave a copy of her book to William Chipman, who actually wrote a wonderful thesis for a Doctorate in Juridical Science at the University of Wisconsin entitled something like “Non-Military Defense of the US” and he became head of Wisconsin civil defense as its Director before coming to FEMA.  That doctorate is as important as the 1981 civil defense history mentioned before and the 1948 study of civil defense conducted by DOD. That doc can be found on the baseline docs at the Vacation Lane Blog.

There are now many women’s studies programs in US colleges and universities and the history of women in opposing nuclear weapons is not well known but very important. Some think it led to the women’s liberation movement and the enormous outpouring of anti-Viet Nam War sentiment later in the 60’s. Well too bad such history has yet to be written.


About vlg338
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