During the Cold War, many feared a nuclear strike from the Soviet Union in the event of war.
In an attempt to protect civilians in such a scenario, a civil defense campaign emphasizing the
use of fallout shelters commenced.
In response to the Soviet's first atomic explosion and the Korean War, the Federal Civil Defense Administration was started on January 12, 1951. Experts, however, doubted that physical protection from a nuclear explosion would be effective. With this in mind, the Federal Civil Defense Administration received a small budget, and was involved in only limited construction of shelters and the publishing of publicity materials. But in 1958, a report indicated that the Soviet Union was nearing the nuclear arsenal held by the U.S., and civil defense was made a priority. Spending increased. The Federal Civil Defense Administration became the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization under John F. Kennedy, who advocated civil defense. The Cuban Missile Crisis resulted in a rapid, three-month program to improve civil defense.
A Defense Department report on October 25, 1962 stated that over 112,000 fallout shelters provided possible protection for about 60 million civilians in the U.S. After the administration of John F. Kennedy, civil defense was subsequently regarded as unimportant or wasteful.