Two Worlds of Civil Defense: State, Society, and Nuclear Survival in the USA and USSR, 1945-1991


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Using the Soviet and American civil defense programs as a means of exploring the ways in which the two superpowers adjusted to the realities of the nuclear age, this dissertation seeks to understand why Soviet and American citizens envisioned nuclear war in radically different ways, and how these alternative visions affected both official policy and the popular imagination. By examining the ways in which civil defense impacted life during the Cold War, it seeks to understand how popular and institutional culture shaped the conception of nuclear attack and vice versa. In time, the Soviet Union and the United States developed radically contrasting civil defense programs reflecting the fundamental differences between the two societies.