Civil defence as a harbinger of war in France and Britain during the interwar period

Lindsey Dodd, Marc Wiggam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Few harbingers of war presented a more explicit vision of a future conflict than the public campaigns of the civil defence authorities in Britain and France during the later 1930s. In the wake of the Sudeten crisis, civil defence preparations in both countries assumed a level of earnestness not seen since the end of the First World War. However, popular reaction to civil
defence preparations ranged from indifference to fear. Our article examines and contrasts French and British civil defence planning, its portrayal in the public output of the civil defence authorities, and its reception by the population. It considers the quality of the threat each nation faced, and how successfully the authorities communicated the facts of civil defence
preparation, asking whether the vacuum created in the interwar years by a lack of official discourse on civil defence challenged or hindered the efforts of the authorities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-150
Number of pages12
JournalSynergies Royaume-Uni et Irlande
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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