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Scary History: The Other Cuban Missle Crisis

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by arglebargle, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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  2. Chocolate Lab

    Chocolate Lab Run-loving Dino

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    Posted about it before, but a few summers ago I got into researching the cold war, and in particular the incidents that actually could have triggered nuclear war. It's the only topic I've ever wished I hadn't delved into because it was and still is truly terrifying. Most people think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki when they think of nukes, and of course those would be bad enough if they were ever used. But I don't think people realize how tiny those are compared to the fusion bombs that were later developed.

    I grew up and still live in tornado country, and I always assumed all the underground shelters I saw as a kid were for storms. Later I started asking around about how many of those were actually bomb shelters, but most people say not that many. There's a big air force base close and I think most people assumed (rightly so) that if we were nuked there'd be no use.

    I also asked my parents, who were in college at that time, about it. They don't remember all that much. I don't see how they weren't terrified, but their attitude seemed to be that if it happened, it happened, and there was nothing you could do about it anyway. I don't think the knowledge of how truly catastrophic such a thing would be was that widespread back then. I'm sure being a funloving college kid had something to do with it, too.

    Anyway, yeah, truly scary stuff. The scare of 1983 was pretty bad, too. Amazing that both we and the soviets have had our early warning systems malfunction and signal that we and they had been fired on, and nothing happened. Thank God cool heads prevailed.
  3. jobberone

    jobberone Orangutans make great bass players Staff Member

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    I remember people out in their backyards digging shelters most of which were not finished. I lived near a critical target so I never thought we'd survive anything no matter what we did.
  4. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    I grew up in an area that was certainly targeted. And frankly I never heard many people talk about it or even seem all that concerned. I was old enough to remember the end of the Vietnam war and was an adult from the late 70's. And I never really saw anyone all that concerned.

    And people knew WHAT could happen. They just lived their lives. Hollywood and others have tried to claim that we were all shaking in our boots all the time but that was total complete BS.
  5. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    I also doubt some of that story. There was a reason our forces stayed at DEFCON 2 as long as they did.
  6. yimyammer

    yimyammer Well-Known Member

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    great article, thx

    I suspect there is an endless reservoir of stories that we will never hear about because of the secretive nature of the former USSR, too bad because I bet they would be fascinating and enlightening.

    A great podcast I highly recommend that talks about the War between USSR & Germany on the eastern front of Russia during WW2 can be found here:

    http://www.planbeconomics.com/2010/12/18/ghosts-of-the-ostfront-wwii-history-at-its-bestworst/

    stunning to hear what went on there and makes you realize how much of a cakewalk our lives are today
  7. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, when the info came out that the Soviets had set up an automatic fire dead man switch on their nukes, with a general who only had 30 minutes to switch it off in case of an alert, it was terrifying. That's so abysmally stupid that I thought no one would ever be that foolish. Oops.

    And when the mistaken alert did go off, thankfully, the general in charge made the executive decision to not destroy half the world.
  8. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    Of unverified origin, there was also a great little vignette I heard about how American intelligence discovered that the Soviets were not doing their own research on the dispersion and aftereffects of nuclear blasts, they were just using the available data from the USA. Problem was, that data was being massively understated, for political and propaganda reasons. The worry was that the Soviets might think that a nuclear war was far more survivable than it really was....making first strike more of a realistic possibility. US intelligence had to figure out a way to leak the real numbers, without it being obvious that it was a leak, which would have made the Soviets dismiss those numbers as false intel.
  9. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    actually the russians did their own tests in the 50's with a lot more troops then we did; they had a lot more proven data then we did. So that story is probably false.

    And in the US other groups were continually OVER estimating the damage that a nuclear war could do. So it probably evened out
  10. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    Department of Energy was notorious for covering up nuclear info with soothing platitudes.

    Not familiar with the Russian testing history, so that may indeed be the case. I know some parts of Kazakistan are still pretty nasty though.

    I was not surprised that when the US swore off Neutron bombs, they essentially kept the parts seperate, so that they could be combined for needed use in very short order. Eventually, when they became nearly useless for their original purposes, they got effectively scrapped.
  11. Questfor6

    Questfor6 Well-Known Member

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    A lady I went to church with had a shelter built right behind the church back in those days & as of a couple of years ago she still had it stocked & fully equipped.

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