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November 3, 1956


JAMA. 1956;162(10):985-988. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.72970270004016

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The need for medical and health services disaster planning for the care of civilian populations became apparent during World War II when reports of the devastation wrought by explosive missiles in Britain and Germany were received. The magnitude of destruction of life and property was something never before envisioned. As was expected, civil disaster planning and services were developed to a high degree of efficiency in the countries affected by such destructive weapons. With the closing of World War II on the ominous note of the total destruction wrought by nuclear weapons, together with the growing conviction that geographical location was no longer a protection against nuclear warfare, the need for civil disaster planning, whether for "survival" in an all-out nuclear war or for the adequate medical care of casualties in a large-scale local disaster, was recognized by most state and county civil defense administrators.

Noting the meager personnel that

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