31 thoughts on “Political Geography Blog Assignment #3

  1. Scientific breakthroughs in the 1930s took nuclear warfare to a new level by making the production of the atomic bomb possible. The United States first began to develop nuclear weapons in 1939 and as people across the globe began to fear the power of Adolf Hitler, top physicists from around the world came together and joined the Manhattan Project to try and develop nuclear weapons first. When Germany surrendered in May 1945, the Manhattan Project, an American, Canadian, and British venture, had not yet developed a working weapon. Because of this fear, President Harry Truman saw the advantage of possessing the bomb ahead of anyone else, especially the Soviet Union. He prompted the US to create a nuclear weapon quickly and ordered the first test in July, which resulted in the vastest explosion that humanity had ever witnessed: the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombings of the two Japanese cities killed approximately 100,000 people and used the amount of energy equivalent to 35 kilotons of TNT.

    During the cold war, the idea of nuclear warfare became more popular and more than 70,000 total warheads were developed. The top right photo is a drawing of a Do-It-Yourself Shelter that was promoted at the height of the Cold War. From the 1950s to the early 1960s, the United States government began a series of civil defense initiatives that were centered on the idea of a home fallout shelter. The advocates of the home shelter sought an accessible and pleasurable way to help citizens prepare for nuclear war by transforming the home fallout shelter into an ideologically charged national do-it-yourself project. The government requested that citizens furnish their own security, and fallout shelters presented homeowners with a do-it-yourself activity that combined home improvement with family safety. But most of these designs had one fatal flaw: a totally inadequate ventilation system, or no ventilation at all. The high end quality shelters had a manual blower to draw in outside air through an ordinary furnace filter on the inside of the shelter which brought in and concentrated the radioactive dust from outside. However, fallout shelters permeated America’s post-war consciousness more than its physical landscape; few Americans actually built shelters. Nevertheless, the do-it-yourself ideology and shelter helped to promote the idea of security, while revealing larger cold war insecurities of daily life.

    The bottom left photo shows the underground launch system of the Titan II. The United States Air Force approved the development of the Titan II in October 1959 and by March; the missile team included twelve squadrons. Each Titan II silo had an effective range of about 5,500 nautical miles and was directly connected to an underground launch control capsule (shown above). To deflect the gases from the missiles, each launch capsule was fitted with a flame deflector and exhaust ducts to vent the surface. On top of the launch center was a large steel and concrete door that could be opened in just twenty seconds and the capsule was connected to mission control by a series of underground tunnels. These tunnels were equipped with blast locks and made it nearly impossible for those in mission control to feel any affects of a mis-launch.

    After the end of the Cold War, the production and fascination with nuclear warfare came to a halt in the United States. In the mid 1990’s, president Bill Clinton reduced the production, testing, and stockpile of nuclear weapons by half. Although the United States still owns thousands of nuclear warheads, and countries throughout the world own them too, nuclear weapons have been used sparingly. Because of the mass destruction that nuclear warfare can commit, I think that countries are hesitant to use them without being 100% sure of their intentions.


    Lichtman, Sarah. “Do-It-Yourself Security.” University of West Florida. Journal of Design History. Web. 10 Oct. 2015.

    “Nuclear Weapons: A history.” New Internationalist All Posts RSS. 1 June 2008. Web. 10 Oct. 2015.

  2. During the Cold War fear of nuclear war was prominent amongst the populations of the world. Even here in America kids would have “nuke” drills, very similar to what we do now for tornado and fire drills. Kids would get underneath their desks in order to protect them from the nuclear blast. Granted, this wasn’t a very effective means of protecting them from a nuclear bomb, but it was the best they had at the point.
    Capitalism, the core of our American democracy, also showed its hand during this situation. Companies began to market nuclear shelters and many people bought them. They would be underground, usually near the house, and would be stocked with supplies in case a bomb was imminent. These became a bit of a fad and would come in all sizes. Some were simple, in basement shelters. Others could become quite expansive.
    These images help reinforce what was on people’s minds during this time. Especially the picture of the bomb going off, in what looks like, a city. But this was the state of the world at the time. People were genuinely afraid of what might happen. The Cuban Missile crisis was the threshold point in the cold war. It would’ve taken just one person to decide to attack and World War III would’ve started.
    During all this, the arms race was a huge deal. For the most part, people did not have a way of shooting nukes from a long distance. They were either fired from the type of tank, as seen in the pictures, or dropped from airplanes. Submarines were also an effective means of launching nuclear weapons, as seen in the picture. This is one of the main reason why the Cuban Missile Crisis was so nerve wracking. Both are not super effective. However, technology got better due to the space race and the means in which to shoot these weapons also increased.
    The United States would create silos in order to house their nuclear capabilities. These were built underground just in the case of an attack on home soil. The also added benefit of these types of missiles, if I’m correct, is that they were, at this point, capable of being launched at a much longer distance. These facilities, however, built underground did help to protect the missiles. They also protected the staff and such from an attacks.
    During the cold war, these missile ranges became a big strategic interest. America and the USSR sought allies around the world in order to build missile systems in their country. America essentially had the USSR surrounded by these missiles. The USSR didn’t quite have the closeness to our country as they would’ve liked. They attempted this with Cuba, but as mentioned before, it did not go very well. This arms race and strategic interests helped to build some of the modern countries today, due to funneling of money from both the USSR and America.
    Overall, it was an arms race between two countries that caused this massive cold war. Luckily it never ended it straight out war.

  3. The Cold War was defined by the development of nuclear weaponry and the emergence of a bipolar world driven by tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. Hiroshima and Nagasaki proved the unprecedented amount of human damage possible with these technologies. In the context of a postwar world that was to become ideologically divided, the bombings in Japan functioned as a statement for U.S. technological superiority, eventually spurring an arms race once the Soviets developed their own bomb in 1949.

    Fear of a perceived missile gap fueled the development of advanced nuclear technologies. The power and capabilities of each successive weapon became incomprehensible. For example, in 1952, the U.S. tested the H-bomb, which was 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped in Japan. Distributing weapons worldwide, a tenuous balance of power was established. The U.S. planted nuclear missiles throughout Europe and in Turkey. The Soviets responded by sending its own missiles to Cuba, an event that nearly escalated the Cold War into a hot one. These nuclear postures may seem irrational in that they pose the possibility of civilizational destruction, but as long as each side possessed the ability to strike back, notions of mutually assured destruction (MAD) guided the rationality behind policies of nuclear buildup.

    Moreover, concerns of nuclear fallout were widespread in the initial decades of the Cold War. Fear came to justify a foreign policy that promoted massive defense budgets and active military and intelligence engagements in the Third World – geographic regions where the Cold War was much more hot. President Eisenhower warned of the unchecked powers of the military-industrial complex, an entity whose influence became increasingly unchecked in the name of maintaining national security. In a presidential campaign commercial in 1964, Lyndon Johnson’s “Daisy” ad portrayed a young girl’s innocence contrasted with a nuclear explosion, suggesting that “the stakes are too high” to vote for Johnson’s opponent (see video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Id_r6pNsus). “Duck and cover” videos produced by the Federal Civil Defense Administration helped convince the public of the realities of an attack (ex: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_1jkLxhh20). The construction of nuclear fallout shelters further instilled these fears.

    The Cold War was “truly the first global conflict” (Walker, 1993). With Europe as the initial ideological battleground for Soviet communism and Western capitalism, such tensions expanded worldwide. The paradigm of the Cold War set forth a foreign policy where the support for one side dictated the opposition of the other – a mentality of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The Suez Crisis, the Greek Civil War, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Angola, Nicaragua were all conflicts that contained Cold War elements where the Americans and Soviets funded troops and/or money and arms in order to shape a desired outcome. Both superpowers came to view each other as aggressors, a notion cooled down to a level of mistrust during the détente period in the 1970s. With nuclear capability and advanced technology and communications, the world seemed smaller for both sides. Fused with a worldview that was perceived as incompatible with one another, the latter half of the 20th century was consumed by an uneasy balance of power relationship that literally had the potential to end human civilization.


    Walker, Martin. “The Cold War: A History.” Henry Holt and Company: New York, 1993.

  4. Though I was born only three years before the end of the cold war, I think I have a good idea of how anxiety provoking it must have been for everyone in the world. Indeed the situation of mutually assured destruction (MAD), which arose as a result of the cold war, is a precarious situation from which we have not removed ourselves.

    To me this collage says it all about the nuclear arms race component of the cold war. Three of these pictures have to do with missile delivery systems. The picture on the top right exemplifies a whole host of strategies, sometimes encouraged by the government, people used in order to feel more secure. That is, there were all kinds of protocols enacted which were not effective in protecting yourself from a single nearby nuclear weapon explosion, much less the hordes more and resultant fall out which would invariably follow.

    The picture in the bottom right elicits two discussions. First of all, submarines offer, arguably, the best delivery platform for enemies far away, even after the development of an accurate intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Secondly, this brings to mind the Cuban Missile Crisis, possibly the closest the world has ever come to full nuclear war. The Cubans and Soviets saw this as retaliation for The Bay of Pigs invasion and US nuclear facilities close to Moscow respectively. But the Cuban missile crisis is not the only close call we had during the Cold War.

    In fact, as Dr. Geoffrey Forden points out, there are at least 4 more close calls which are not as widely known. They were all incidents which were caused by false alarms in the nuclear-attack-early-warning systems of both the US and USSR. And these led to the realization, on both sides, of the importance of reduction or, ideally, elimination of similar scenarios. But, despite the action of each side to solve each problem that arose, time would show that there was no way to completely prevent a false alarm.

    Forden, D. (2001, November 6). False Alarms in the Nuclear Age. Retrieved October 11, 2015.

  5. I was born in 1985. Although I wasn’t around during the beginning of the cold war, I can remember how the news and the adults in my life portrayed the other countries involved. My grandpa, who I was closest with when I was growing up, always had the news playing in the background and read the newspapers religiously. Since I was always around, (we lived down the street from him.) he always discussed current events with me. He did this from the prospective of a man who had been done two tours in Korea and raised five daughters. He was and still is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Although most people felt that we were on the verge of nuclear war, he believed that no one would be willing to pull the trigger. He said that if anyone did, it would be us because we had done so in the past. He compared the ideology of that time to “keeping up with the Joneses”., and believed a lot of what was going on to be petty in comparison to what he said the “real” problems were with the world. It seems that he ended up being fairly correct.
    To me, the images above represent the things that made the other adults in my life fearful and hateful towards our assumed opposition. Although I believe we have to “keep up with the Joneses” to a large extent so that we can compete if it ever does come down to it, I think that we are entirely capable of dealing with any real opposition that comes our way with our current capabilities. I’ve never understood how ideological differences, especially those that involve preferences regarding what political system is preferred by a country, could send us into such an expensive, angry situation. I am not downplaying the fears that many had regarding a potential attack on our soil or that of our allies, especially since the generation involved in the cold war had to be more vigilant than we do now, but I do believe that keeping communism and socialism at bay are not a good enough reason to try to make everyone fear other people. I personally don’t favor either of those systems, but who are we to tell others that they have to be like us? I know that elections and democracy were used as a basis to demonize those systems, but I have a hard time believing that those supposedly altruistic goals are really why we were involved in stopping those forms of government from spreading. After being in the military and overseas, all I see are dollar signs. If you think about it, who makes money from billions of dollars being spent on weapons and new technology? The companies who manufacture those things and the politicians who are in bed with them. The bomb shelter parts are also manufactured products. Even the Do-it-yourself bomb shelter requires that people spend money to build it. No one has all of that laying around for free. Not that I don’t think a shelter is necessary. My family has an underground safe room which is stocked with supplies, and we would use it if we ever felt the need, but it came with our home. The man who built our house was an ex CIA agent and was very afraid of an invasion. I simply do not believe that anyone has the capability to launch a large scale attack against us and be successful. In class, the professor mentioned that we have better missile capabilities than any other country. I think that others in our country during the cold war times would have thought the same way if there hadn’t been such a large scale campaign to make them fear Cuba and Russia. The government has a lot of power over what we believe because they have both the money and resources to use media to their advantage. That is why our country is so polarized in regard to political beliefs now. Both major parties want people to hate those who belong to other parties, which is why they spend so much time taking things out of context and using hateful rhetoric to demonize their opposition. They perfected it years ago when using it against other countries, now they are using it to turn us against each other. I guess that since we’ve run out of suitable enemies abroad, they need to fabricate enemies amongst us. It’s all about money and political power. Without the ability to make us fear who they want us to fear, they wouldn’t have jobs for them or those who pad their pockets. This is why I don’t allow my children to watch the news or for others to talk politics with them, regardless of whether their beliefs line up with mine or not. I want my kids to use common sense, not to biased against others for the benefit of the powers that be.

  6. The images which form the basis for this blog assignment are all images from my childhood. I remember neighbors who had bought fallout shelters, but they were extremely expensive. Anyway, there was such a prevalent sense of fatalism that most people I knew figured that it was better to be vaporized and not live, than to have to live in a world which would follow any significant exchange of nuclear weapons. We would see displays of Soviet missile launchers in parades on television and there was a real fear that the world was going to blow up tomorrow, to exaggerate just a little bit. But there was also a mental numbing, because sooner or later you have to normalize it all and get back to providing for your family. So we didn’t think much about it most of the time. I do wonder now, though, if it’s possible that the imagery and so much of the fear may have been consistent with the notions Levion puts forward in his 2005 book, “America, Right or Wrong? An anatomy of American Nationalism.”

    Levion posited the thesis that American Nationalism has been accelerated by pressures from ‘radical capitalism,’ and draws a parallel between the United States and the disastrous nationalisms of Europe just prior to 1914. These regimes were characterized by severe othering and of course, that sort of political culture eventually resulted in the Holocaust. He also draws parallels between the Dutch in the East Indies and the United States, stating that since 1945 and the beginning of the Cold War, the nationalization fever in the United States related to the Cold War climate has been similar to an indirect empire of the countries in its sphere of influence in the world.

    Reflecting the past forward in time, he identified the current political climate of the hatred of Muslims (the term Islamophobia wasn’t invented yet) as being a continuation of such nationalistic thought. He portrays the reactions on a foreign policy level after 9/11 as righteous victimhood for the US, which is at first justifiable against the terrorist organizations responsible, but which morphs into justification for an already existing imperial nationalism and sense of national hegemonic destiny worldwide. He views the notion by many Americans that “our way of life needs to be protected against foreign influence” as evidence of a feedback cycle between political leaders and religious communities in the US. He suggests that the propensity of those primarily Protestant Christian religious communities beginning with colonial times is to react against other religious groups with paranoia when competing for a place in society, and that that paranoid attitude has been perpetuated against various other groups over time and used by the political leadership to further nationalist goals, culminating with the current prejudices and injustices experienced by Muslims in this country.

    So is it possible that all those years during the Cold War, the risks of annihilation were lower than we thought? If the Soviets were simply the enemy of the day and they have been replaced by new enemies, new myths to attempt to rally the population in order to motivate us to send our daughters and sons to war, will there ever be peace in the world? What can we do to bring peace (or relative peace) to the world? The assumption has always been that there is a greater degree of peace in constellations of democratic countries, and that as soon as there are no more dictatorships in the world, conflict will effectively end, but is that just dogma?

    McCarthyism was an interesting aspect of this issue. If you recall, McCarthy was a senator during the Cold War who composed a list of people he thought were un-American, accused them of being communists, and misused his power to investigate those people. It was a very shameful period of time in our national history. Levion’s ideas regarding the vilification of various rotating ethnic groups throughout history was played out rather dramatically in the McCarthy hearings.

    Continuing his characterization of American Nationalism, he said, “Other nations are declared to be irrationally, incorrigibly, and unchangingly hostile.” He was of course speaking about American attitudes toward the USSR during the Cold War. When Professor Davidson mentioned to us, however, that the Germans had a hydrogen bomb, but that they didn’t use it, even at the end of the war when they were pinned down, this struck me as a possible example of the shortcomings of game theory. Game theory was all the rage during the Cold War, and Soviet experts used game theory to predict the actions of the USSR. Even though the theory is irrelevant for any system involving more than two entities, a bipolarity of two hegemons, its elements continue today in popular discourse. But if even leaders with their back against the wall, about to lose the war, didn’t resort to using the Hydrogen bomb at their disposal, what would have been a fairly suicidal and therefore irrational move, then perhaps the propensity for leaders to make irrational moves isn’t as high as we thought. Perhaps the constraints of such a position preclude it in all but the most extreme cases. Just a thought.

    Perhaps we have seen Iran characterized in the same terms (‘irrational, incorrigible, unchangingly hostile’) as a result of the same processes Dr. Levion is talking about, even though there is a huge split politically between the Iranian leadership and the populace. Is it possible that this is based largely on Cold War myths applied to Iran, related to its attempt to obtain nuclear power and nuclear weapons as Pakistan and others had?

    It is said of old that revolutionaries don’t survive being in power. After a few years governing, they control the power relationships in the country, and therefore are no longer the outsider. Revolution depends upon being the outsider, bringing disruption to the system in status quo. It’s therefore literally impossible for the leadership of Iran to continue to be in the same fervent revolutionary fever they were in, in 1979. And if they were somehow irrational, a coup would probably soon follow if they were genuinely mentally ill and capable of irrationality and erratic behavior. Both of the above, irrationality and revolutionary fervor, would be incompatible with governing on a long term basis.

    All this would seem to support Dr. Levion’s assertions. Thinking in terms of enemies and friends was so much a part of our life in the 60s and 70s, the ‘you’re either with us or against us’ type of paradigm, that we really didn’t question it. Maybe that didn’t end when the Berlin Wall came down.

    As you ponder the above, please also consider the following. Most of us think of ourselves as patriotic, dedicated citizens of our various countries, but is a passive citizen really doing their job as citizen? Is it not our duty, if we care about our country, to actually point out what could undermine our beloved nation from continuing to be a place of opportunity and wealth, where human rights are highly valued, where we enjoy such a high standard of living? Thanks for listening.

  7. In 1939, the United States started developing its first atomic bomb after German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann discovered nuclear fission in 1938. We started development of a nuclear weapon because we were afraid the Germans and the Soviet Union would develop nuclear weapon capability before the United States (and its allies) significantly changing the balance of world power. The development of the Unites States’ first atomic bomb was code named the Manhattan Project. After development of The Bomb was completed, the United States decided to use its’ new nuclear weapons in July of 1945 on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Our uses of nuclear bombs on Japan lead to the end of the Second World War. These were (thankfully) the only times that nuclear weapons have ever been used in war to attack another country.

    In 1949, the Soviet Union demonstrated that it also had developed the capability to build and use its own nuclear weapons. Once the Soviet Union had demonstrated their capability to create nuclear weapons, a nuclear arms race began signaling the start of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. The Cold War lasted more than 40 years.

    Once the arms race started, more than 70,000 nuclear weapons were created. This huge number of nuclear weapons meant that if a war started directly between the US and Soviet Union, it would be the end of the world (mutually assured destruction). The general public was genuinely concerned that this may happen, so they started building shelters (as seen in the collage above) and doing nuclear weapons attack drills in schools (Duck and cover!…Like that would actually do anything against a nuclear weapon.) This mutually assured destruction meant that the US and Soviet Union did all of their wars at that time through proxy countries/wars.

    After the first nuclear weapons were created, and the nuclear arms race started, we needed ways of delivering our nuclear weapons to their targets, and making sure they couldn’t be stopped in the process of getting to their targets. So, we created 3 main ways of delivering the weapons to their targets. First, was the use of aircraft to deliver the weapons on target. This is how we bombed Japan (Boeing B-29 Stratofortress bomber), and is the most conventional way to deliver a nuclear weapon. Today, we would most likely use either B-52, B1B, or B2 bombers to complete this role. Our second way of delivering nuclear weapons currently is the use of nuclear submarines (as seen in the bottom right image of the collage). These are highly effective because they have long range missiles, are hard to find, and are highly mobile. The third, and potentially scariest way we developed to deliver nuclear weapons, was the development of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM as it’s commonly known). These ICBMs (bottom left picture in the collage) have ranges of over 5,000 miles, and can strike anywhere in the world in just a couple of hours thanks to their supersonic speeds.

    As the cold war drew to an end at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s (thanks to the United States military spending the Soviet Union into the ground), the United States and Russia began to disarm their nuclear weapons. We’re now down to a combined 10,000 nuclear weapons from our peak of around 70,000 nuclear weapons (still enough to end the world, but whatever). Hopefully another Cold War doesn’t start, but you never know with what Russia and Putin have been doing recently.

  8. The Cold War was a period of tensions between the US and the Soviet Union, both had the ability to destroy large populations and areas of each other and start World War III, though neither would fire destructive nuclear weapons on the other. Though each would remain on high alert with the other, in fear that they could fire at any moment and through these fears competition breaks out between the two in the form weapons advancement and a Space Race. Each believe to avoid war or win a war that they have to be ahead of the other, so they prepare the state and the people for the possibilities of what could happen.
    Missile delivery systems were a main investment for each government, the ability to launch a missile from further distances would be an advantage. The top left photo shows a mobile launching vehicle that fires from close distances, while the bottom right photo shows a long distance missile being launched from a submarine. Each method was an advancement and a step closer to true long range launching systems. The US had the ability and allies to place itself in states around the Soviet Union, Turkey being a main one, so short range missiles could be of use to them, while the Soviet Union lack the ability to close in on the US, with the exception of Cuba. As technology continued to advance the ability to launch missiles from around the world came about. The bottom left photo depicts an underground complex, one of many that the US had, to harbor and control these devastating missiles. And with long range missile the Soviet Union was able to gain a more stable foothold in the Cold War. Though with advancement in technology and delivery systems came stronger tensions and fears for each state and its people.
    With tensions and fears running wild, the US government needed to provide the idea of safety and security and with that came drills and promotion of fallout shelters. Drills became common occurrences in every school, though hiding under a desk wasn’t going to save anyone, it still gave them hope. The promotion of shelters gave the general public the idea that they could have a safe place at home, so the construction of shelter came about. The top right pictures depicts how a built-it-yourself shelter is supposed to be and how its construction will protect you. This was a simple construction that the government promote as a family activity, though many would convert basements or didn’t build a shelter, the knowledge that they could and their government was making these constructions easy gave them the sense of safety.
    The Cold War was a time of unrest in each state, knowing that if one fired the other could to and each would experience immense devastation. The middle left photo shows that destruction and devastation that could come from the launch of one of these nuclear missiles, the destruction would have been vast and causalities would have been great. This destruction was a main reason that all-out war never broke out, for neither would win a war that was equally divided. Though each tried to advance further than the other in weapons technology, neither ever gained sufficient ground.

  9. Bryson Hall
    With the pictures given, it makes me think about nuclear warfare and the history of when we might have used them. The first test of a nuclear bomb was in 1945 in New Mexico, when the United States decided to test out how the bomb would work. After the test, we ended up dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. This single bomb played a huge part on ending World War II with Japan surrendering. After we showed we had this technical advancement with nuclear power, the arms race started which was leading to the cold war. The accumulation of arms was between the United States and the Soviet Union. The arms race was when the soviets and the United States, along with their allies, was competing for power and control in nuclear warfare. The United States developed an H-bomb in 1952 right before the Russians did in 1952. Both of us having nuclear power may have actually stopped a nuclear war.
    With the pictures posted in the blog, the pictures with the nuclear weapons and the explosion of the nuclear bomb, these are showing how countries were developing and showing off their nuclear weapons. They would test them to see the effects of their bombs. When they did so, it would let other countries know that they have nuclear bombs, which they thought of as power.
    With the pictures of the shelter, this was during the cold war I would say. Countries were testing their nuclear weapons that made a lot of people scared I would expect. They would never know if there could one day be a nuclear bomb pointed in their direction and be launched. Luckily, their was never a nuclear bomb launched at a country and didn’t cause a domino effect where every country started to launch their nuclear weapons at one another. The shelters that are shown were shown so that people can “build their own shelter” that would be “safe,” from a nuclear explosion. The fact is though, unless underground and a very good shelter, there would be no way to survive a nuclear blast I feel like. It would also damage the economy wiping out all crops and factories in its blast range.
    The picture on the bottom left, of the Titan II, was a ballistic missile and was used as a ICBM. The Titan II carried the largest single warhead of any American ICBM. The picture shows how the missile could be launched from underground in a missile silo. There was a whole laboratory below the surface of the Earth.
    All in all, the pictures that were provided for us, I feel were all about the Cold War and the arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States to distinguish power between the countries. This all came to an end since Clinton took over the presidency and reduced the testing and development of nuclear weapons. Still, the United States has the most powerful army in the world and still continues to spend more money on our army than the top five countries that are behind us. But with other countries have nuclear weapons along with the United States, it almost makes it balanced so that no launches are really happening besides North Korea.

  10. The collage portrays the technological capabilities for worldwide destruction during one of the most suspenseful “wars” ever to occur on our planet. The amount of money through research and development, as well as maintaining a ready military for the cold war was astronomical, much to the characterization of the once global industrial superpower that is America. Two great superpowers with a constant fear and aggression to constantly monitor the others status and strike with global destruction at a moment’s notice. The cold war was perhaps the greatest display of human asininity as well as resourcefulness.

    With the capabilities to launch nuclear warheads across the planet, and bombs that can raze a large radius it was safe to say that the technology employed for warfare at this time had reached an all time high, and we as countries didn’t quite know how things would turn out or how to regulate this for future incidents. A few great things did occur out of the matter, as the Truman Doctrine helped start organizations and committees that oversaw and managed nuclear production/handling sites as well as North Atlantic Treaty Organization itself. To the public it was concerning, and given the capitalistic society we live in, it was only a matter of time that some company took it upon themselves to create and sell security bunkers and other devices such as masks to protect from biological warfare (which all ironically increased the social stresses and morale tension altogether). The picture on the top right displays a fallout shelter being sold to the public for their personal safety. The cost of trying to prevent the spread of communism in the world, came at a financial price for both of the major superpowers at the time, with billions invested in production of arms, and countless dollars flowed into espionage agencies. There was a definite sense of a race to come out on top at the end, even in mutually assured destruction was to ensue. Much was done to the American public at the time to keep many operations under wraps and out of the eyes and ears of the public, yet it was only a matter of time until events such as the Bay of Pigs became public knowledge and put our country in the limelight of unacceptable behavior. For the amount of clandestine operations actually successful during the Cold War, we may never know.

    As an overlying result, the culmination of all our money being spent in the defense department we naturally have benefited in that realm exactly today. Thus leaving America the global leader on all things defense, resulting in private superpowers such as Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. We were creating jets that travel mach 3 at 80,000ft for 33 million dollars a unit, it was safe to say America as a country was leading the forefront on all things within the Military industrial complex. Taking a glance at our current state today, it only makes sense to see such companies heralded with success and a size to be able to still corporately run most of our defense industry. The cold ultimately set up our country for the direction it has headed in contemporary times, and it shows through the places we’ve gone and involved ourselves with over the years.

  11. In looking at these images, I can’t help but reflect on the truly horrifying nature of the Cold War. The idea that any of this technology had to even be invented in the first place is actually quite jarring. But the arms race between the U.S. and Russia spawned an interesting race for technology, and, just as we discussed, led to the development of long range rocket technology and the further development of space technology. It seems evident to me that these images have real resonation with our current global climate and the possibility of a future where these concepts become a very real part of humanity’s dreaded past. Although they currently stand as this, I can’t help but drawn on the idea that this technology exists, and even greater so now than before… and more developed. Within post-cold war theories, the United States as a possible hegemon still possesses the power of global nuclear control. As one of the most outspoken nations on WMDs in the world, we possess most of the WMD power. I love when Ignatieff, is his article “The American Empire: The Burden”, recalls how within the decline of an empire due to overextension, the imperial care of the empire’s own citizens and maintenance of infrastructure begins to deteriorate. So what I am trying to explore by bringing this up is the concept of, for example, living in one of these fallout shelters post-nuclear war. Imagine being pinned up in one of these shelters, not being educated on the way nuclear fallout and radiation work, and having to stay in this “shelter” as a form of safety until you and your family run out of supplies and begin to starve. Relatively, these shelters are, in all practicalities, a tomb. Based on how long it would take for the effects of a nuclear war to deteriorate, there’s just no real way to even survive an event like this for humanity. With this said, I suppose what a grand final investment a concrete shelter would be for a family of six. I suppose it promotes the idea “consume until the end!”.

    But additionally, what does it say about our world of politics? We actually considered destroying humanity due to uncompromisable issues? And the infrastructure that our world invested, and the lives that were lost in proxy wars? What could those populations that lost their lives be doing today? How could those trillions of dollars that were spent on weapons technology have been used to rebuild infrastructure, feed the starving, or end global poverty? It seems that the Cold War represented a certain aspect of uncompromisable greed that exists in our world and manifested in politics in a way that placed the destruction of our existence as a consequence of the destruction of greed and/or control. What better way to dominate the world than to threaten it with extinction? And who was the United States and Russian governments to decide the fate of humanity? A system seemed to have been set up to make executive decisions on the entire fate of humankind simply based on some serious aftereffects of that strange parental notion of “I am superior as the parent, and therefore, I know better than you in every way.”. There was no consideration for discussion with the people. And we already decided the fate of thousands of lives based on our involvement in proxy wars. Who are we to say that? And how does that affect the well-being of children who grow up constantly in fear?

    In sum, I just want to pose these questions as reasonable responses to political domination of the world. Sometimes it feels that the true body snatchers are our own government, not extraterrestrials.

  12. These images are representative of the principal concern during the Cold War: the power of nuclear weapons and the very real possibility that they could be used if the United States and the USSR made the war hot. Citizens in the United States and around the world feared total destruction because of the Cold War arms race and the superpowers’ ability to virtually destroy the planet. The photos here are a stark reminder of just how serious the threat of nuclear war was during that time.

    The top left and bottom right pictures show that the United States and the Soviet Union had the ability to launch their nuclear weapons from multiple places. This was an important fact that made the threat of nuclear war even scarier. Being able to launch nuclear weapons from mobile platforms or from submarines makes it much harder for your enemies to locate and neutralize your nuclear weapons while allowing you to launch them from more strategic locations than if you were confined to your own land borders. However, even though the ability to launch nuclear weapons from more varied locations is a great advantage to have, both the United States and the Soviet Union had that capability. This perhaps helped to further the theory of “mutually assured destruction” (the idea that the US and USSR had so many nuclear weapons that one strike against the enemy would result in counterattack after counterattack with nuclear weapons to the point that both countries would be annihilated), the thought of which probably kept the US and USSR from actually attacking one another on multiple occasions.

    The bottom left image is a good example of the lengths the US and USSR went to so as to keep the locations of their nuclear weapons secret. The Cold War is often considered the golden age of espionage, spawning countless spy thriller books and movies. Since the threat of spying was so serious, it would make sense that the superpowers would take great care to keep their secrets secret, but image demonstrates the amount of effort and money put into building these covert large missile launch complexes. It is obvious from this sort of dedication that each country took the threat posed by the other to heart and would spare no expense to ensure their safety.

    The top right drawing illustrates a “do-it-yourself” fall out shelter, showing that the general population was genuinely worried about having to survive a nuclear war. Growing up in the United States, you hear many stories of people who had their own fallout shelters in place and of schools conducting bombing raid drills in case of attack. The true effectiveness of these measures in saving lives during a nuclear attack is questionable due to the sheer power these weapons unleash, but none the less, it is important to note just how serious the situation was during the Cold War.
    Ultimately, the nuclear arms race between the US and USSR changed people’s everyday lives and created such intense fear that drove the government and the public to take every step they could to prepare for what they believed was an imminent nuclear war.

  13. The second World War ended quickly after the atomic bombs were dropped by U.S. forces on two population centers on the island of Honshu in Japan. With the Axis surrender, the victorious parties were the United States and the Soviet Union (as well as a weakened England, France, and China.) It was now time for these two countries to get to work on carving out their own imperial spheres of influence. Two former allies, without the common enemy of the Axis Powers of World War II, once again began to jockey for ideological and economic domination of the globe; the Capitalist United States and the Communist Soviet Union had entered the Cold War.
    In the United States, the second World War had calmed somewhat the financial disaster of the 1930s. The war gave American Capitalism new life. While the biggest gains were made in corporate profit, the workers and farmers also felt enough of this rejuvenation to regain their faith in the system. What U.S. leaders felt they needed then was more of this rejuvenation, if they could maintain the war economy they could continue to increase corporate profits while also appeasing the masses. The American public, however, was weary from the war and favored a position of disarmament and demobilization of troops. What the U.S. needed then was an enemy which could be vilified in the court of public opinion, enough to restart the War Economy and continue their goals of global domination; enter Communism. The Soviet Union, while technically victorious as one of the Allies, experienced devastating economic and human losses in second World War. Some 20 million casualties were suffered by the Soviets in their efforts to hold their western front and there economy was wrecked. In the face of these losses the Soviet Union had to redouble its own efforts as Empire. It is in this atmosphere of competing superpowers that the Cold War evolved into a campaign of proxy-wars and propaganda, of fear mongering and war-profiteering.
    The main thrust of the growing tensions and conflict between American Capitalism and Soviet-led Communism, at least to the public, was the threat of a full-on nuclear war. A war which many believed would cause a nuclear winter (a hypothesized climatic event that would result from nuclear war which would cause devastation on a worldwide scale.) Not to be outdone in horrifyingly apocalyptic outcomes, the answer to the question of nuclear deterrence was the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction. MAD is the principle strategic check that hopefully keeps the threat of large scale nuclear war from breaking out by ensuring that any nuclear attack carried out by either side would result in both the attacker and the attacked being completely destroyed, followed of course by a nuclear winter event.
    It was in this time that, inundated with whispered tales, news stories and propaganda publications about the red menace and its war on the Capitalist way of life, the American public was ensnarled in paranoia and fear. As larger and more destructive nukes were being tested on small, but inhabited, island chains in the pacific, families in America turned one another in for harboring communist sympathies. As proxy wars in parts of Africa, Europe, the Middle East and all across South America and Southeast Asia raged on, the very freedoms that embody the American ideal where stripped and laid bare in the face of the fear mongering of McCarthyism. And as Russia’s people suffered for the benefit of her nuclear capability, American citizens dug up their gardens to be replaced with comically inadequate bomb shelters. It was in this time that nuclear war was indeed nearly met less than a hundred miles off the U.S. coast. It was indeed a dark time in our history and one that has reverberations still felt to this day across the globe.

    Zinn, Howard. A People’s History Of The United States. New York: Harper & Row, 1980. Print.

    Jfklibrary.org,. ‘The Cold War – John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum’. N.p., 2015. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.

  14. Even though I was not alive during the height of the cold war, looking at the pictures above give me a good sense of what life was like during the war. After seeing the effects of what an atomic bomb did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the potential for an all-out nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States was frightening because of mutually assured destruction. Once the Soviets or Americans sent a missile at the other, a flurry of missiles would go back and forth until everything was decimated. At the height of this mutually assured destruction was the Cuban Missile Crisis, a 13 day stand-off between the Soviets and Americans regarding the placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba. Luckily, the disaster of a nuclear war was avoided, but this event still struck fear in many Americans.
    When I ask my parents about the cold war they can still remember having to do the “Duck and Cover” drills in elementary school in case that there was a chance of an atomic bomb being detonated on American soil. Looking back on the precautions that preceded the missile crisis, they can sometimes be viewed as silly, but what else were American people, or Soviets supposed to do? It was around this time that a person who had a bomb shelter was viewed as someone being precautious to the inevitable nuclear war, not like in the 21st century where a person owning a bomb shelter is viewed as a crazy nut-case waiting for the end of the world. The picture on the top right depicts the very easy way to build your own bomb shelter for a modest price and looking at the bottom corner of the picture, you can see that it was published in TIME magazine, arguably one of the most influential and esteemed magazines in American society. Having this picture in that magazine was a very easy way to get Americans to build bomb shelters and help protect themselves from the Soviet Union.
    While there was a large amount of Americans building bomb shelters during the cold war, the American government was focusing on building and testing nuclear devices that if the time came, they would use against the Soviet Union, and the Soviets were doing the same thing. Before the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Americans and Soviets were engaged in a massive arms race to create, test, and produce nuclear weapons for the impending war. After the Cuban Missile Crisis this race became the great space race between the same two nations.
    The cold war was a very frightening time for not only the United States and the Soviet Union, but for the rest of the world as well because of the theory mutually assured destruction. Once the United States and Soviets had bombed each other to dust, the rest of the world would have to live with the effects of radiation and other harmful effects from nuclear warfare. The only reason that the cold war did not escalate into a full-blown nuclear war was because of the theory of mutually assured destruction.

  15. After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were in a constant state of nuclear tension and competition. The two states were in a contest to become the hegemonic power both economically and militarily. At the end of WWII, the United States dropped the atom bombs on Japan not only to end the war, but to show the Soviets what kind of technology we had developed; as the end of the war meant the end of friendly relations between the two states. The Truman Doctrine only furthered tension when the United States said that we would resist any kind of Soviet expansion. The United States made it their priority to contain communism and consequently destroyed the Soviet Union from the outside.
    Although the Soviets had been the first boots on the ground in Berlin, the other allies did not want a communist regime in control of the capital of Germany. Unhappy with how the territory within Berlin was divided amongst the allies, the Soviets militarized their zone; meaning that any interference in their zone would be classified as an act of aggression. The innovative Berlin Airlift avoided making any one country an “aggressor”, but was just the beginning of a series of passive aggressive events that spiraled into decades of international tension.
    Central to this conflict was the distinct difference between communism and capitalism. After WWII, many struggling states looked to communism to help them come back from the destruction of war. Communist parties in many places such as Italy were essential to defeating the Nazis, giving them even more of a foothold. The United States aimed to stop the spread of communism from the Soviet Union. In order to enforce such an agenda, the United States needed a military advantage over the Soviets. The driving force of the United States’ foreign policy was still the Monroe Doctrine, forcing democracy onto developing and recovering states as a one-size-fits-all government.
    One of the largest aspects in the Cold War was the space race. Once the Soviets harnessed nuclear energy, mutually assured destruction kept either side from taking radical steps forward. From then on, it was about the advancement of the technology used to launch and defend against nuclear weapons. The United States had made allies surrounding the Soviet Union and therefore had missiles pointed at them in every direction. This gave us the advantage because we didn’t need long-range missiles in order to order to stage an attack. The Soviets poured money into space and military projects to compete with the U.S. Eventually the Soviets allied themselves with Cuba, giving them a prime location to store missiles in order to attack the United States, eventually leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
    Both the United States and the Soviet Union lived in the ever-present fear of a nuclear attack. People fashioned bomb shelters and children practiced hiding under their desks, a practice that would have indeed proved futile in the case of an actual nuclear attack. This constant fear is a distinguishing characteristic of the Cold War Era; comparable only to the fear of terrorism we have today.

    • Good discussion, although remember the US only pushed democracy when it resulted in t pro-US outcome, otherwise we used dictators to maintain our sphere of influence during the Cold War.

  16. The arms race has frequently been imagined as a two-party contest between the USSR and the USA, with annihilation via nuclear WMDs being a possible end to this competition. In response to such a threat, fallout shelters became much more prevalent among civilians who were deeply concerned about the increasing tensions between the only two superpowers after the conclusion of the war. But what other reasons may be behind the building of such protections, and how can that be similar to personal protections today?
    In August of 1945, the US demonstrated just how advanced its weaponry had become by unleashing atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not only did the bombs contribute to the ending of the Second World War, they also served to send a message to the USSR of possible repercussions they may face one day if they were ever to attack the United States. During WWII, the USSR and America were wartime allies. However, conflicting ideologies and competition for global resources turned the tables and they became enemies not long after.
    In response to the atomic bombings, the USSR begins developing its own nuclear program and catches up to the US by the mid-1950s. This in turn becomes the famed arms race, with both countries investing millions of dollars to try and outdo the other. At the same time, both countries began informing and preparing their civilian populations for possible nuclear attacks, including the construction of fallout shelters.
    During a nuclear explosion, there is the initial firestorm, which is closely followed by fallout. A nuclear firestorm is a very intense and destructive fire in which strong currents of air are drawn into the blaze form the surrounding area making it burn even more fiercely. Nuclear fallout is the “residual radioactive material propelled into the upper atmosphere following a nuclear blast or nuclear reaction conducted in an unshielded facility.” Techniques to defend one’s self from devastating radiation poisoning that results from nuclear fallout had the only real possibility of success and one of these techniques was the building of a fallout shelter.
    The shelters were usually around three to eight feet underground, consisted of shields that reduce gamma ray exposure and blast doors, had moderate air flow, and were typically stocked with provisions to allow the persons inside to survive until the outside world was relatively safe to go back out in (an estimated two weeks). Both private homes and public buildings could be found with fallout shelters, though the percentage of the population who actually had fallout shelters was minimal. Most public buildings and schools focused more on protection through school desks or a kitchen table for example.
    When researching for this post, I came upon a very interesting article by F. Kenneth Barrien from 1963. Of the 1474 participants from New Jersey he interviewed, only .4% of them had actually taken specific measures to protect themselves from fallout if an event were to happen. Compared with non-shelter homeowners, shelter owners expected greater destruction in their own area than elsewhere, endorsed strong military deterrence, felt the military as growing stronger, believed shelters will reduce the chance of war, and were more certain war would occur, though at a later time. But as Barrien points out, “if shelter owners endorse military means to preserve the peace and also believe our military strength is increasing, why build a shelter, and why be more certain the war will come-at some delayed point in time?” Barrien argues that the individual who has taken an action that is unrewarded or unconfirmed by subsequent events (i.e. a nuclear attack) will more determinedly hold the belief that prompted the action and will attempt to convince others of that belief.
    I feel that, even several years later, this makes sense. If the owner is in support of military action, and perceives shelters to be a part of military strength, he will in turn believe he is assisting in making the nation stronger by building his own method of defense. Just as many in this country purchase high-powered armaments, such actions are often in the name of protecting not only themselves, but others as well, which in turn will protect the nation. However, the necessity of such preparations can be called into question for both situations. What is the likelihood you might be involved in a nuclear disaster in your lifetime? How high is your chance of needing to use super-powered assault rifles against a perceived enemy? For the greater population, it is most likely minimal in both cases. Nonetheless, an individual will still take precautions, whether it be through fallout shelters or personal weapons.





    “Shelter owners, Dissonance, and the Arms Race” F. Kenneth Berrien. Social Problems. Vol. 11, No. 1, Special Issue: The Threat of War: Policy and Public Opinion (Summer, 1963) , pp. 87-91. Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for the Study of Social Problems

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