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Appears in Collections:History and Politics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Covering the 'Scottish position adequately': Post-war Scotland, 1948–59
Author(s): Douthwaite, Jessica
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Keywords: Civil defence
Cold War
local administration
evacuation policy
Scottish government
nuclear war
Date Deposited: 6-Jun-2024
Abstract: This article brings together the histories of postwar Scottish policy-making, local civil defence governance and the British security state in the first decade of the Cold War, 1948-1959. The article addresses three themes: organisational responsibility, evacuation and shelter, and nuclear radiation to show that Scottish cultural, social and political contexts were distinct from the English precedents set by Whitehall. In the context of developing Cold War security measures, and regional differences, the article argues that Scottish policy-makers negotiated independence over early civil defence planning, while exercising a conciliatory relationship with central government. Issues raised around regionality posed important questions in Whitehall about the implementation of nuclear era civil defence nationwide. In assessing how this occurred the article augments the debate around Scottish autonomy and administrative distinction in the postwar era and makes a wider contribution to understandings of civil defence cultures in Britain's Cold War. While studies of civil defence have provided important context to the history of the British Cold War state, local responses to such policy have not been adequately interrogated. This study shows that civil defence is not only an invaluable window onto local government perceptions of Cold War policy but is also a lens onto regional expressions of Second World War memory, postwar recovery, political power, and social organisation.
DOI Link: 10.1093/tcbh/hwae039
Rights: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact
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