Date of Award
College of Liberal Arts
Type of Degree
Civil defense and West Virginia are not likely to be considered in tandem. What would make West Virginia significant during the Cold War? West Virginia is a state that has been synonymous with family feuds, hillbillies, moonshine, and coal mining. Few have considered West Virginia beyond these stereotypes and scant work has been done beyond that. The impact of the Cold War has been looked at through multiple angles but few have looked at the significant role West Virginia played during this time. Possibly, few have even considered that it played a role at all. Through examination of primary sources and oral histories of the period, a fuller picture can be painted about what exactly was happening in West Virginia during the early years of the Cold War. It is no secret that the state was impoverished with a significantly poorer economy than other sates but how did this impact civilians’ nuclear war fears? Civilians were presented with civil defense films that portrayed middle class families who could store food or construct their own fallout shelters; how did this impact those who could not afford to do the same? What efforts were taken to help citizens in West Virginia protect themselves and did it help at all? While atomic attacks never came, the threat was ever lingering for all citizens, with the difference between the two being how the working class and middle class responded.
Cold War -- History -- West Virginia.
Cold War -- Social aspects -- West Virginia.
Williams, Tristan Miranda, "Surviving Fallout in Appalachia: An Examination of Class Differences within Civil Defense Preparation in West Virginia During the Early Years of the Cold War" (2017). Theses, Dissertations and Capstones. 1113.