The duck and cover concept is most famously remembered through the 1950 U.S. government-released training film Duck and Cover, which featured an animated character named Bert the Turtle. The film was designed to teach school-children about the protective procedure as well as civil defense activities in general. As part of the Federal Civil Defense Administration's education program, the technique and the training were part of a serious effort to reduce injuries during a nuclear attack; however, the concept clearly had limited value and has served as a source of many jokes. Duck and cover drills were most notably lampooned in the 1982 film The Atomic Café. Antinuclear activists and critics of civil defense often used the drill as a symbol of the futility of preparing for a nuclear conflict, especially when policymakers debated whether a nuclear war could be fought and won. Critics of the duck and cover training also expanded their argument, claiming that the drill was intended to induce fear in the population, produce compliance with government security programs, and influence American behavior.
Jerome V. Martin
Oakes, Guy. The Imaginary War: Civil Defense and American Cold War Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.; Rose, Kenneth D. One Nation Underground: The Fallout Shelter in American Culture. New York: New York University Press, 2001.