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Grant number: FT-51323-03

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David Krugler
University of Wisconsin, Platteville (Platteville, WI 53818-3001)

The D-Minus Scenario: How Washington, D.C. Prepared for Nuclear War

I examine Washington's three interlocking identities--capital, city, symbol--through the prism of nuclear security, spanning 1940-62. Protective measures resulted in a widening gap between capital and city as security planners advocated the dispersal of government offices from the city center to suburban sites. Dispersal encouraged white flight, while local civil defense perpetuated racial segregation. The District was expected to be a national model of civil defense, but lacking self-rule, it depended on an indifferent Congress for support. Analysis of responses to an imaginary war shows how national security measures reshaped the capital and how a racially divided urban population responded to doomsday fears.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2003 – 7/31/2003