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Defenseless Under the NightThe Roosevelt Years, Civil Defense, and the Origins of Homeland Security$
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Matthew Dallek

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199743124

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199743124.001.0001

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The Problem of Home Defense

The Problem of Home Defense

(p.69) 4 The Problem of Home Defense
Defenseless Under the Night

Matthew Dallek

Oxford University Press

President Roosevelt and Mayor La Guardia were forced to grapple more directly with the problem of home defense during 1940, an election year. Several forces came together to force the issue onto the national agenda. Hitler’s victories across much of Western Europe prompted some liberal internationalists to warn that the United States would become extremely vulnerable if Britain were to fall. FDR’s Division of State and Local Cooperation had little authority to impose home defense policies on states and cities. Numerous mayors complained that the states were bypassing their home defense needs and lobbied the Roosevelt administration to establish a federal, nationwide home defense program. As fears of attack on the United States soared in some quarters, a slow consensus began to form among many liberals that home defense of some sort was going to become an important program in the age of total war.

Keywords:   Division of State and Local Cooperation, World War II, fifth columns, sabotage, air raids, federalist tensions, home defense as political and policy problem

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