When the Bombs Drop!
21 x 32 in (53.34 x 81.28 cm)
This is a c. 1941 World War II era Massachusetts State Committee on Public Safety broadside broadly illustrating emergency plans against potential bombing raids. Although far from the war in Europe and Asia, Americans were horrified by the Blitz on London (1940 - 1941), and feared, somewhat irrationally, that similar attack on Boston and New York might be forthcoming. The Office of Civilian Defense (1941 - 1945) was created to psychologically and physically prepare citizenry against a potential bombing and individual cities each mobilized their own plan - this was the Massachusetts Plan.
When the Bomb's Drop!Essentially a flow chart, the broadside visualizes the communication network between the individuals reporting a bombing to the Chief Warden who would then dispatch rescue squads, fire engines, ambulances, and repair crews, as well as alert hospitals, and organizations set up to provide emergency food and housing. Pictorial vignettes illustrate the process, including, on the left side, the bombing itself. Text in the bottom left states that the national Office of Civilian Defense (1941 - 1945) estimated that there was only a five percent chance that any part of the United States would suffer bombing raids akin to those experienced in England.
A Mix of Fear and PreparednessNew York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia was named the first National Director of the Office of Civilian Defense not long after May 20, 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the agency. La Guardia served as Director until 1942. During his tenure, he emphasized preparedness through fear. His Assistant Director, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, took a different approach, arguing that the OCD be a mechanism to promote social engagement and boost morale. The office coordinated the more than 111 million civilian volunteers in efforts to shore up air raid preparedness.
Publication History and CensusThis broadside was created by the Massachusetts State Committee on Public Safety c. 1941. This is the only known cataloged example.
Good. Mounted on linen. Cracking and soiling.