Office of Civilian Defense
Agency overview
FormedMay 20, 1941; 82 years ago (1941-05-20)
DissolvedJune 4, 1945; 78 years ago (1945-06-04)
Superseding agencies
JurisdictionFederal government of the United States
Headquarters2000 Massachusetts Ave, Washington, D.C.
Key documents
Allies for a big job,
Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information, 1941–1945

Office of Civilian Defense was a United States federal emergency war agency set up May 20, 1941, by Executive Order 8757 to co-ordinate state and federal measures for protection of civilians in case of war emergency.[1] Its two branches supervised protective functions such as blackouts and special fire protection and "war service" functions such as child care, health, housing, and transportation. It also created the Civil Air Patrol. The agency was terminated by Executive Order 9562 of June 4, 1945.[2] The Office of Civil Defense with similar duties was established later.

Fiorello La Guardia was the first head of the office, succeeded in 1942 by James M. Landis, followed in 1944 by General William N. Haskell. While the agency only had a paid staff of 75, it supervised and coordinated the efforts of civilian volunteers estimated to have topped 11 million.[citation needed] Volunteer tasks included firefighting and air-raid preparedness. Children, under adult supervision, could volunteer in the Junior Citizens Service Corps, and were especially helpful in wartime scrap drives.

See also


  1. ^ Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T (May 20, 1941). "Franklin D. Roosevelt: 'Executive Order 8757 Establishing the Office of Civilian Defense'". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara.
  2. ^ Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T (June 4, 1945). "Harry S. Truman: Executive Order 9562—Termination of the Office of Civilian Defense". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara.
  3. ^ Ellis, Charles H. Jr. (January 15, 1942). "LaGuardia to Quit One of Two Jobs". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, PA. pp. 1, 4 – via