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Jennifer Rosenberg

Eisenhower Planned Government with Private Citizens

By March 21, 2004

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The Cold War was a time when both leaders and laypeople feared total annihilation. How can you prepare for the worst-case scenario when the worst case is that everything and everyone are dead? Some people responded with bomb shelters. President Eisenhower worried about leadership. In recently released Eisenhower papers, we now know that Eisenhower worried how the government would function if much of its leadership had been killed in a nuclear attack. Right after the Soviet Union launched their Sputnik satellite in 1957, Eisenhower asked a number of private citizens to take over sections of the government in the event the governmental leadership didn't make it through an attack. The people asked were not just random people off the street; each person was already a leader in the industry that correlated with the government assignment.

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