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Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security

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How Much Time Do We Have (Keep Working): Unknown Announcer [1953]

Some early Cold War civil defense public service announcements (PSAs) are reminiscent of the World War II-era entreaties for public support for the military. The overly urgent announcer on this particular spot claims that we can "beat the A-bomb" in part if we support civil defense and "keep working" because it is the enemy's aim to make us "quit our jobs." Echoes of this bizarre logic can be heard in the post-9/11 proclamations that the terrorists would "win" if the public didn't continue fueling the economy with impulse buying at the local shopping mall. The ticking stopwatch sound effect and the announcer's admitted ignorance of "how much time" we have (before the inevitable A-bombing) is not very reassuring.
LYRICS/TRANSCRIPTION:
How Much Time Do We Have (Keep Working): Unknown Announcer [1953]

How much time do we have, minutes, days, months, years? We don't know. But this we do know Civil Defense is everybody's business! Just what is Civil Defense? It's your answer to beat the A-bomb. Civil Defense is the way of saving lives and property. It's the way to protect you and your family in the case of enemy attack on the United States. It's the way of helping you to keep going in spite of attacks with atomic or biological warfare, or chemicals or conventional weapons. The aim of the enemy would be to make you and me and others quit our jobs, so that our defense plants would have to shut down. Our aim, then, is to keep working because we must give to our armed forces the things they need to win. We must prepare now! How much time do we have to prepare? We don't know. But this we do know! Civil Defense is everybody's business! It's your business!


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