Voices of the people regarding Civil Defense

Wednesday, August 15, 1951

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

"Civil defense is your business, and the time for civil defense is now."

Al Morgan introduces the program, a repeat of the fourth in a series of programs produced by James Fleming.

Fleming plays tape of New York citizens talking about civil defense. The current state of mind among citizens is passive towards the subject of civil defense and volunteering.

"The noblest instinct of man" is civil defense.

Most people don't think "they" are doing enough. Fleming disagrees and lists the things "they" are doing to plan for a nuclear attack.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71576
Municipal archives id: LT1838

Hosted by:

James Fleming


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About Plan For Survival

"Maybe you, maybe me.  Death and destruction ... Panic in the streets ..." Not a program for pre-bedtime listening, these recordings examine the impossibility of sufficiently preparing for nuclear winter.

With surprisingly calm moderators, the Plan for Survival series (1950-1951) goes beyond the usual "duck and cover" advisement and into the details of an A-bomb attack, fallout shelters, the Soviet threat, first aid, radiation sickness, and food and water supplies following a nuclear attack. Guests include civilians recounting their survival experiences in wartime, like the missile blitzes in England.

The show was transcribed for the Civil Defense Network, which "linked virtually every radio station in New York State and operates entirely by air. It can function even if regular radio lines are destroyed." Bill Leonard hosts with expert panelists, and most programs consist of a balance of speculation and civil information for New York State in general and New York City in particular.  Intended to be a public service announcement for a new nuclear age, the record of these programs now serves to add perspective to 21st century fears —from suffocating due to sinus congestion to bags left in the subway. It's clear -- death comes from above.


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