1983 ... keep moving Comrade!


... more of the grim Civil Defense art from the Soviet Union during the Regan Era. It occurred to me, as I worked on the restoration of this image, that all Civil Defense art is grim!

Civil Defense was an interesting and very complex card in the poker game of the Cold War. What does a robust program to protect your citizens and infrastructure communicate to your adversary? What level and actions of Civil Defense was the equivalence of 'deterrence' or of a 'threat'?  So if Ivan appeared to take the whole Civil Defense thing very seriously, and devoted a lot of the national wealth and energy to it, was that communicating that the Soviets were ready and willing to fight a nuclear war? Did it say that they were planning on a first strike policy. They were planning and getting ready to start dropping bombs on the USA? Or did it show that they were simply more practical and disciplined? What about the fact that they had not long before endured and triumphed over the Nazis while millions were killed and huge areas of the nation were destroyed? did that make 'them' more likely, or less, to see a nuclear conflict as winnable? These were the sort of questions that kept the 'think-tank' men up at night!

It certainly was clear that certain observed events by one side or the other were to be interpreted as a very possible prelude to War. The illustration above is a prime example. If you start evacuating urban areas, which is a logistical nightmare and a severe disruption of the normal functioning of a nation, would this not be an ominous sign that your side expected inter-continental atomic war? Conversely; if even during the Cuban Missile Crisis the President stays in Washington and the normal day to day business of the nation continues, does it not show that you are hoping for Peace?

( Trying to make your people invulnerable, can be very destabilizing to the 'balance of terror'. A big part of deterrence was Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) and holding your opponents population hostage. If you have a proposal that goes "naw-na-naw ... you can't hurt us!" than your enemy would be moved to strike before you changed the rules of the game! )  ... see LINK


 


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