After the Bomb: Civil Defence and Nuclear War in Britain, by Matthew Grant (auth.)

By Matthew Grant (auth.)

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Other life-saving measures were thin on the ground, and time and effort had been expended and essentially wasted on debates about the dispersal of industry. Other measures would, like shelters, be reliant on government funds. In this sense, although the philosophy of atomic age civil defence had been decided, the battle for its implementation had yet to fully begin. The experience of dispersal, and Attlee’s words in October 1948, were pointers to the difficulties civil defence planners would have in securing funds for their projects in the face of competing claims.

The Act was in place, but the policy was not. This was made through the issuing of Regulations as Statutory Instruments. The first set of regulations, ‘The Civil Defence (General) Regulations, 1949’,113 and ‘The Civil Defence Corps Regulations, 1949’,114 were issued on 27 July 1949, and came into force on 10 August 1949. 116 Conclusion At the end of 1948, the British Government had a long-term civil defence plan outlined, but hardly in place. It had taken three years of slow thought, firstly to understand the implications of the atomic bomb, then to apply those implications to civil defence.

95 It was intended that civil defence plans be completed in stages – the first of which would serve as the future ‘emergency’ or interim plan, with the final stage the completion of the long-term atomic civil defence plan. This shift was designed to elide ‘emergency’ plans which would soon become redundant, with building towards the long-term plan clearly designed to give some stability to civil defence planning. It was also an implicit criticism of the previous approach – instead of being too focussed on long-term planning to meet an immediate emergency, the new way of planning would build up from preparations designed to meet both immediate and long-term needs.

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