Friday, January 13, 2017

Guest Lecture for History 12 at Sutherland, January 16, 2017

These images were taken at the Count Ferdinand von Galen Titan Missile Museum Education and Research Center, near Tucson, Arizona, last Spring (when operational, this silo was known as complex 571-7, one of 54 Titan II silos in the US).  The image above is of a Titan II missile, in its silo.  It held a 9 megaton warhead.  The effective range was 10,000 km and the time from launch to blast was approximately 30 minutes.  The image below is a code book in the underground command center.

Thank you Mrs. Panton for inviting me back to Sutherland for this talk on the history of the Cold War Nuclear Conflict and our so-far successful attempts to prevent thermonuclear war.  Other world problems have been given much more prominence since the end of the Cold War, but the election of a new American President may change all that.  These weapons still exist in the thousands and, as they say, accidents do happen.

The lecture material can be found in my PowerPoint here.

If you are interested in learning more about the topic, I highly recommend that you see as many of the following videos as possible:

You might have a chuckle at the following Civil Defense videos.  In fact, policy makers never actually believed that populations could be protected against an all-out nuclear attack -- but they did want people to remain calm despite the possibility and certainly if a crisis took place.
Although many films are not available directly online without being part of a subscription service, movie fans might like to watch the following films that are currently available to all:
Movies not listed above, but worth watching, include:

  • Wargames (1983) - It may look hokey, but the storyline is fiction based on a real nuclear accident that took place when a training tape was mistakenly put into NORAD's mainframe computer.
  • Testament (1983) - The experience of a small-town family that "survives" a nuclear exchange.
  • Countdown to Looking Glass (1984) - Docudrama about a crisis in the Middle East.
  • The Sacrifice (1986) - A man bargains with God to try to stop the nuclear holocaust.
  • When the Wind Blows (1986) - Animated story of a retiree couple who try to survive nuclear war by using government pamphlets on how to do so.
  • The Road (2009) - A man and his son wander in the post-apocalyptic world.  Don't expect Mad Max adventure here.