Faculty, David Krugler, awarded fellowships

April 30, 2003

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PLATTEVILLE - Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and now the war in Iraq, issues of national security weigh heavily on the minds of many Americans. As the U.S. hopes for the best, but prepares for the worst, University of Wisconsin-Platteville associate professor David Krugler looks at how our nation's capital prepared for a nuclear attack during the Cold War.

Awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for Humanities and the White House Historical Association, Krugler will continue his research entitled "The D Minus Scenario: How Washington, D.C. was Prepared for Nuclear War." Funded in part by a Scholarly Activity Improvement Fund (SAIF) grant, Krugler began his research in 2000.

"I've been conducting research and working on a book for three years about how Washington, D.C., prepared for a nuclear attack between World War II and the Cuban Missile Crisis," Krugler said. "I began with the question - How did the Cold War affect our nation's capital? - which led me to focus on nuclear weapons. The existence of those weapons resulted in a home front threat with our seat of government, Washington, D.C., being the obvious target. I then became equally interested in Washington, D.C.'s conflicted identities as a city and a symbol."

The fellowships will provide Krugler with $9,000 to continue his research in Washington, D.C., this summer. Funds will cover travel and living expenses, a temporary residence and Krugler's research time. Through his research, he hopes to gain a sense of how the U.S. responded to changes following World War II and where priorities of national security laid within the federal government.

"Measures to protect the seat of government resulted in a widening gap between capital and city, as national security planners advocated the dispersal of vital government offices from the city center to suburban sites," Krugler said in a synopsis of his project. "Dispersal also encouraged white flight, while the district's local civil defense office perpetuated Washington's racial segregation ... Analysis of these varied responses to the imaginary war shows how postwar national security measures reshaped the national capital and how a racially divided urban population responded to doomsday fears."

A native of Wauwatosa, Krugler joined the faculty at UWP in 1997. He has taught courses in modern American history, the Vietnam War, European history and imperialism. He will be offering a course this fall on U.S. foreign relations. Prior to coming to UWP, Krugler earned his bachelor's degree at Creighton University in Nebraska and his master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

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