Conclusion

While the actual construction of fallout shelters was not as widespread as we may imagine it to be, the nuclear anxieties that pushed families and government officials alike to pursue new civil defense strategies had a profound impact on the life of everyday Americans. The fallout shelter as the primary form of civil defense was deeply characteristic of the cultural climate of the late 50s and early 60s that stressed the value of the family unit as the last stand against communist and nuclear threats. Post 1964, civil defense turned to more spectacular visions such as the Safeguard ABM and, much later, Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (Rose 214), reflecting new advances in technology and scientific thinking. However, the fallout shelter has endured in the public imagination due to its percieved absurdity, but also largely because of its optimistic vision of ingenuity and survival.