Date of Award

5-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

History

Advisor

Saunders, Richard

Committee Member

Andrew , Rod

Committee Member

Grant , Roger

Abstract

The forced evacuation of Ellenton, South Carolina, beginning in November 1950 was the direct result of increasing international tension following the Soviet acquisition of an atomic weapon. Facing the loss of the American monopoly on nuclear weapons and an increasing Communist threat, the Truman administration authorized the construction of a nuclear facility near Ellenton, South Carolina, which would prove vital in the development of a hydrogen bomb. The people of Ellenton and the surrounding towns of Dunbarton, Meyers Mill, Robbins, and Leigh were required to sacrifice their homes and communities to provide land for the Savannah River Plant. The reaction of Ellentonians to this decision, and their response to the problems which accompanied it, sheds light on the ways in which the identity of the American South was changing in the years following the Second World War. Likewise, the response of their neighbors to the news of the coming nuclear facility exposes the rapidly changing economic situation in the South during the postwar era. Once fiercely resistant to federal intervention, the people of Ellenton and its surrounding communities showed a willingness to do their part in strengthening national security that suggests they recognized American problems as their own and reveals the extent to which the American South was being reintegrated into the greater United States in the early 1950s.

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