Give Me Shelter earns Canadian War Museum historian Andrew Burtch the C.P. Stacey Award

May 5, 2014

Ottawa, Ontario, May 5, 2014 – Canadian War Museum historian and author Andrew Burtch has won the C.P. Stacey Award for his 2012 book Give Me Shelter: The Failure of Canada’s Cold War Civil Defence. The prize, presented by the Canadian Committee for the History of the Second World War and the Canadian Commission for Military History, recognizes the year’s most distinguished publication on the 20th-century military experience.

“We are very proud of Dr. Andrew Burtch for winning the C.P. Stacey Award, and for advancing our understanding of Canada’s Cold War history,” said James Whitham, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “Give Me Shelter expertly combines groundbreaking scholarly research with narrative skill to uncover the reasons why our national civil defence policies left Canadians woefully unprepared for a nuclear attack.”

Give Me Shelter, is a volume of the UBC Press Studies in Canadian Military History Series, published in association with the Canadian War Museum. It casts a harsh light on Canada’s plans to protect the public in the event of a nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union between 1945 and 1963.

Dr. Burtch, the Museum’s historian for the post-1945 period, drew on previously unreleased documents detailing the nuclear survival strategy developed by Civil Defence Canada and the Emergency Measures Organization. The plan, which met with widespread skepticism and mockery, relied on citizens to prepare for the looming threat of nuclear annihilation by volunteering as air-raid wardens and by building their own fallout shelters. The civil defence program struggled with chronic underfunding and bureaucratic mismanagement before being abandoned in the mid-1960s.

The C.P. Stacey Award jury, comprised of respected Canadian military historians Norman Hillmer, Serge Bernier, Paul Dickson and Doug Delaney, was unanimous in concluding that Give Me Shelter represented the best contribution to the fields of Canadian military, political and social history in 2012.

The annual C.P. Stacey Prize was created in honour of the Department of National Defence’s long-serving Official Historian, Charles P. Stacey, whose commitment to furthering the field of military history continues to influence scholars to this day. Andrew Burtch is the third Museum historian to receive the award. Past recipients include Tim Cook and Dean Oliver (with Jack Granatstein).

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions.


Media contacts:

Yasmine Mingay
Manager,   Public Affairs
Canadian   War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8608
Avra   Gibbs Lamey
Communications and Media Relations Officer
Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8607

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