Protecting the Home Front

Women in Civil Defense in the Early Cold War


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About the Book

Formed in 1951, the Federal Civil Defense Administration said that “the importance of women in civil defense can scarcely be overstated.” Comprising 70 percent or more of civil defense workers at the height of the Cold War, American women served as FCDA wardens, auxiliary police, nurses, home preparedness advisors, coordinators of mass feeding drills, rescue and emergency management personnel, and in various local, state, regional and national organizations. The author examines the diverse roles they filled to promote homeland protection and preparedness at a time when atomic war was an imminent threat.

About the Author(s)

Editor and writer Michael Scheibach received his doctorate in American studies and taught history, humanities, and writing as an adjunct professor for several years. He lives in Miami, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Michael Scheibach

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 258
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7212-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3063-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Women’s Civil Defense Prayer ix
Preface: “We Are Going to Win” 1

Part I: Call to Duty
1. Women’s Challenge 10
2. “Georgia Women in Civil Defense” 20
3. “Challenge for Security and Survival: Manual for Women in Civil Defense” 28

Part II: Beyond Containment
4. Gender and the FCDA 32
5. “President Truman’s Message to Congress on the Federal Civil Defense Administration” 46
6. “Katherine Howard’s Speech on Security at Home” 48

Part III: Organized Support
7. Members in Good Standing 58
8. “Pledge for Home Defense” 72
9. “Texans on the Alert for Civil Defense and Disaster Relief” 76

Part IV: On Guard
10. Serving the Community 84
11. “This Is Civil Defense” 100
12. “The Warden’s Handbook” 108

Part V: Aid and Comfort
13. Joining the Ranks 114
14. “Police Services” 126
15. “The Nurse in Civil Defense” 135

Part VI: Be Prepared
16. Home Protection and Preparedness 144
17. “Women in Civil Defense” 156
18. “Get Acquainted with the Home Defense Corps” 161
19. “Individual and Family Preparedness” 164

Part VII: Out of the Kitchen
20. Feeding Family and the Masses 170
21. “Emergency Mass Feeding Instructor Course” 184
22. “Basic Course in Emergency Mass Feeding Handbook” 192

Conclusion: The “Home” in Home Front 197
Appendix: Selected Chapters from “Civil Defense in Outline” 205
Chapter Notes 227
Bibliography 237
Index 245

Book Reviews & Awards

“Each themed section of the book includes several relevant primary sources, usually excerpts from training documents or speeches…recommended”—Choice