No protection against the H-bomb’: press and popular reactions to the Coventry civil defence controversy, 1954

Article English OPEN
Barnett, NJ
  • Publisher: Taylor and Francis
  • Subject: D1 | D839 | DA | JN | JN101

This article examines British popular and media reactions to America's Bravo test shot in April 1954 and Coventry City Council's subsequent decision to abandon civil defence. The article finds that three key motifs emerged which relate to Britain's broader sense of national identity in the 1950s. First, the controversy formed part of a cultural battle for national identity between a conservative and potentially militaristic culture, and one which was more progressive and opposed war and nuclear armaments. Second, opponents labelled the councillors as Moscow stooges and this revealed underlying anti-communism. Third, reactions engaged with a secular strain of Cold War apocalypticism.
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