civil defense(redirected from Civil Defence)
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a system of nationwide defensive measures carried on in peacetime and during war in order to protect the population against possible enemy attack and ensure stable operation of the national economy.
Measures to defend the population and national economy began to be implemented as early as World War I (1914–18). They played an important part in World War II (1939–45), during which air strikes were made against the entire territory of some of the warring states, such as Great Britain. During the 1950’s and 1960’s civil defense was established in most of the major states, in connection with the appearance and development of nuclear weapons and missiles and the significant increase in the destructive capabilities of aviation and other means of armed combat. In most countries the general management of civil defense is handled by the governments, and in local areas civil defense is managed by local governmental agencies. Special administrative bodies are formed for direct management of civil defense, and the necessary forces and means are prepared, including special civil defense troops and paramilitary and civilian formations drawn from the able-bodied population.
Under present-day conditions civil defense involves organizing and ensuring the evacuation to safer regions of people from cities against which attacks with weapons of mass destruction are most probable and from regions that may be flooded as a result of the destruction of large hydro-engineering structures. In addition, civil defense involves protecting the people in shelters and other defensive structures. Great importance is attached to providing the population with individual means of protection: gas masks, respirators, and medicines that make it possible to reduce the danger of radioactive and other types of contamination. Plans are made for conducting rescue and urgent emergency-restoration work in burning areas and zones of radioactive fall-out and flooding.
Another important mission of civil defense is ensuring stable operation of the national economy during wartime. Various organizational and engineering-industrial measures are carried out for this purpose. Stocks of raw materials, equipment, and means for restorative work are established.
In order to accomplish successfully the missions of civil defense advance preparation of the population is essential, including universal education in methods of protection against weapons of mass destruction.
REFERENCESChuikov, V. I. Grazhdanskaia oborona v rakelno-iadernoi voine. Moscow, 1968.
Beliavskii, V. A. Grazhdanskaia oborona—vsenarodnoe delo. Moscow, 1968.
Tolstikov, O. V. KPSS o neobkhodimosti sovershenstvovaniia grazhdanskoi oborony. Moscow, 1967.
Champe, E. Slralegiia grazhdanskoi oborony. Moscow, 1958. (Translated from German.)
L. I. KORZUN