Federal Civil Defense Administration
Robert J. Enders, Inc.
According to an excerpt from a civil defense newsletter, the purpose of this film is to explain the responsibilities of the Federal Civil Defense Administration and other groups in wresting from natural disasters part of the toll it would normally take. Similar to an atomic bomb, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other peacetime disasters strike with little or no warning, leaving people and properties devastated. Utilizing these similarities, civil defense planners turned to film to show how the mundane preparations citizens make for these common occurrences could easily help save lives during an enemy attack. In this way, the hurricanes and forest fires depicted on screen in many government issued instructional films became substitutes for the havoc which an enemy air raid could deliver. Often, a film's narration, while loudly urging viewers to develop survival plans for weather catastrophes and everyday emergencies, would quietly inject reminders that a surprise attack by a foreign power may be just as likely to occur. Time of Disaster, released in December of 1954 by the Federal Civil Defense Administration, is a prime example of this tactic. The film focuses on a town anywhere in the United States, which has just fallen victim to an unspecified natural disaster, though a stern narrator reminds the viewer the extensive damage could just as easily have come from the detonation of an atomic bomb.
Time of Disaster May be Viewed in Its Entirety HERE.