Defenseless under the night : the Roosevelt years and the origins of Homeland Security / Matthew Dallek
- Variant Title
- Roosevelt years and the origins of Homeland Security
- New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 
Includes bibliographical references and index
"As the bombs fell on Guernica and the Blitz terrorized Britons--even before Pearl Harbor--Americans watched and worried about attacks on their homeland. In May 1941, FDR established an Office of Civilian Defense to protect Americans from foreign and domestic threats. In this book, Matthew Dallek narrates the history of the Office of Civilian Defense. He uses the development of the precursor of "homeland security" as a way of examining constitutional questions about civil liberties; the role of government in propagandizing to its own citizens; competing visions among liberals and conservatives for establishing a plan to defend America; and federal, state, and local responsibilities for citizen protection. Much of the dramatic tension lies in the preparation of communities against attack and their fears of Japanese invasion along the Pacific Coast and Nazi invasion. So too there was a clash of visions between LaGuardia and Eleanor Roosevelt. The mayor argued that the OCD's focus had to be on preparing the country against German and Japanese attack, including conducting blackout drills, preparing evacuation plans, coordinating emergency medical teams, and protecting industrial plants and transportation centers. The First Lady believed the OCD should also promote social justice for African Americans and women and raise civilian morale. Their clashes frustrated FDR, who pressured them both to resign in 1942, and led to the appointment of James Landis, commissioner of the SEC, who created a semi-military operation that involved grassroots citizen mobilization, including planting Victory Gardens and building the Civil Air Patrol. It was the largest volunteer program in World War II America."--Provided by publisher.
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