The outbreak of World War II in Europe and Asia sent shock waves throughout the United States. Germany and Japan proved to be highly aggressive nations and their threat to the security of the United States, both real and imagined, spurred a national mobilization to protect itself from enemy attack. In New Jersey the shoreline was in direct danger from German U-boats lurking off of Sandy Hook and Cape May, the naval shipyards in Camden and Bayonne were susceptible to sabotage, plagues could be unleashed upon the civilian population, and even German bombing raids were considered possible.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared America in "a state of unlimited emergency," and each city was responsible for recruiting and organizing its own Civil Defense organization to assure that it would be able to handle any emergency which arose.
The Rutgers University Library Special Collections and University Archives include many documents from the efforts of the surrounding communities (New Brunswick, Highland Park, Piscataway) including forms, posters, brochures, and leaflets. Although cooperation with Rutgers University was sought and maintained, each community prepared on its own.