Oak Ridge, United States, World

1950s and 2000s Drills

Are you prepared in case of any kind of alarm is activated anywhere you are? Duck and cover drills can prepare us to be aware of our surroundings when a dangerous situation occurs.

It is unfortunate that throughout our history we have had to prepare in our schools and our cities for attacks from foreign countries as well as domestic terrorists, but although it inspires fear, being prepared can also help to inspire confidence.  

History.com staff explains what the Cold War was about and how it came after World War II: “During World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union fought together as allies against the Axis powers. However, the relationship between the two nations was a tense one. Americans had long been wary of Soviet communism and concerned about Russian leader Joseph Stalin’s tyrannical, blood-thirsty rule of his own country” (2009).

Years ago there were drills which helped people to know what they should do in case of a bomb dropped near their territory. These kinds of drills started after the Soviet Union tested an atomic bomb in 1949; people in The United States knew about the mass destruction that happened in Japan with Hiroshima and Nagasaki and were worried about what the Soviet Union might do next.

We need to be prepared in case an attack or a natural disaster happens on campus or in our community. The early 1940’s marked the beginning of the Atomic Age. The addition of atomic weapons in military defense made a new kind of preparedness necessary in the event of a nuclear attack on America. The possibility of disaster coming from nuclear power plant issues was also a reality of this time. These threats resulted in schools preparing students for these nuclear disasters through the 1980s, and cities have plans in place to protect citizens in the event of a foreign attack. When the Cold War ended, the imminent threat of nuclear war did as well.

The United States initiated a civil defence program, in case something happened during the day or at night, that helped people in the streets and guided them to the closest public shelter in the event of a warning before a bomb strike.

The cold war left a few things behind after ending, like:

  • Interstate highway system: a nationwide network of roads began in 1956 authorized by Eisenhower because he liked the autobahn, which is Germany’s road network system.

It was built so troops and supplies could move faster across the states

  • Emergency broadcast system:  created in 1963, this was a safety measurement so the president could alert the public. It was expanded in 1976 for local use in peacetime.
  • Nuclear warhead stockpile: the US has owned 70,000 nuclear warheads since 1945.

Today the US has 9,600 ready for use and Russia has 5,200. 8 of them could wipe out most life on earth.

Students at schools practiced drills in the 1950’s-60’s called “Duck and Cover” which consisted of getting under a desk and covering the back part of their heads, staying where they were. This would help them to protect themselves from broken glass going into the classroom, avoiding accidents and injured students or teachers.

At this moment we are not prepared for a nuclear disaster and have not been taught these Duck and Cover drills. Despite the neutrality of this issue, we might not be entirely prepared for a Duck and Cover drill. Practicing drills at school or at work could help us be less worried if a situation where our safety is threatened occurs. We would be able to positively respond to them.

Being prepared for something that might happen is always helpful because you will know what to do in case of a dangerous situation, that can threaten our lives. Practicing different type of drills at home, watching videos that our teacher or instructors recommend to us, reading instructions on what to do, will all give us an idea or prepare us for what we might face.

Article by Kevin Hernandez

Work Cited

History.com staff. “COLD WAR HISTORY”, History.com, 2009.


CoolOldVideos. “Duck and Cover Propaganda Film 1950’s”, YouTube (Web), Jan 3, 2012.


Dickerson, Brian. “Dickerson: Duck and cover drills to survive a nuclear attack — What were they thinking?”, Detroit Free Press (Web), 7:00 a.m. ET Sept. 30, 2017.


Ganzel, Bill. “Duck & Cover”, Farming in the 1950’s & 60’s (Web), 2007


Illing, Sean. “How the Cold War can explain our current standoff with Russia” Vox,  Mar 1, 2018, 9:10am EST.


The Cold War Museum Staff. “Soviet Atomic Bomb Test”, THE COLD WAR MUSEUM (Web).



Comments are closed.