On June 15, 1955, when the Civil Defense Administration attempted to hold a drill simulating a nuclear attack, 27 activists in New York refused to take cover. They handed out pamphlets reading:
We will not obey this order to pretend, to evacuate, to hide. In view of the certain knowledge the administration of this country has that there is no defense in atomic warfare, we know this drill to be a military act in a cold war to instill fear, to prepare the collective mind for war. We refuse to cooperate.
. . . we call this a free country and boast of our free education while dismissing those teachers who will not inform on their fellows.
The activists, including Catholic Worker Dorothy Day were arrested, and started a wave of protests against Operation Alert that culminated in the end of the drills in 1962.
Read more at “Civil Defense Drill Protests: Dorothy Day and Friends Sit In for Peace” from the Marquette University Archives.
Read the Civil Defense Protest leaflet at the Marquette University Archives.
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