Original U.S. WWII Office of Civilian Defense Air Raid Warden Helmet

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This U.S. Civil Defense helmet was manufactured and issued at the outbreak of WWII for use in the Civil Defense program specifically the United States Citizens Defense Corps Auxiliary Police. These were used by air raid wardens during drills. Overall condition is good but definitely worn, with stamp on the rear inside rim:

O. C. D.

The abbreviation at the end stands for "Office of Civilian Defense", which was the agency responsible for all of the civil defense initiatives in the United States. The helmet is the correct white color, with the Civil Defense emblem on the front. There is also some nice personalization on the inside of the helmet, though unfortunately part of the paint is missing, so only the left half can be read.

The helmet is intact and has all of the original parts, however the condition has definitely suffered. It looks to have been exposed to the elements for some time, which has resulted in a lot of surface rusting under the paint, especially on the interior of the helmet. The original liner and chin strap are present, however they are deteriorated, especially the chin strap, which has torn through at one end. There are even some old mud wasp nests (completely inactive/dead) on the interior, so it was definitely outside for quite some time.

Offered as is with a lovely patina of age. Ready to display!

World War II, which the United States entered after the Attack on Pearl Harbor, was characterized by a significantly greater use of civil defense. Even before the attack, the Council of National Defense was reactivated by President Roosevelt and created the Division of State and Local Cooperation to further assist the Council's efforts. Thus, the civil defense of World War II began very much as a continuation of that of World War I. Very soon, however, the idea of local and state councils bearing a significant burden became viewed as untenable and more responsibility was vested at the federal level with the creation of the Office of Civilian Defense (OCD) within the Office of Emergency Planning (OEP) in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) on May 20, 1941. The OCD was originally headed by New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and was charged with promoting protective measures and elevating national morale.

These organizations and others worked together to mobilize the civilian population in response to the threat. The Civil Air Patrol (CAP), which was created just days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, commissioned civilian pilots to patrol the coast and borders and engage in search and rescue missions as needed. The Civil Defense Corps, run by the OCD, organized approximately 10 million volunteers who trained to fight fires, decontaminate after chemical weapon attacks, provide first aid, and other duties. These efforts did not replace the kinds of civil defense that took place during World War I. Indeed, World War II saw an even greater use of rationing, recycling, and anti-saboteur vigilance than was seen in World War I. As the threat of air raids or invasions in the United States seemed less likely during the war, the focus on the Civil Defense Corps, air raid drills, and patrols of the border declined but the other efforts continued. Unlike the end of World War I, the US did not dismiss all its civil defense efforts as soon as World War II ended. Instead, they continued after the end of the war and served as the foundation of civil defense in the Cold War.

The M1917 was the US Army's first modern combat helmet, used from 1917 and during the 1920s, before being replaced by the M1917A1. The M1917A1 helmet was an updated version of the M1917 and initially used refurbished WW1 shells.

The M1917 is a near identical version of the British Mk.I steel helmet, and it is important to note that when the US joined the Great War in 1917 they were initially issued with a supply of around 400,000 British made Mk.Is, before production began state side. The M1917 differed slightly in its lining detail, and exhibited US manufacture markings.

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