Sunday, April 30, 2017

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, South Dakota

The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site was established in 1999 to illustrate the history and significance of the Cold War, the arms race, and intercontinental ballistic missile development. This National Historic Site preserves the last remaining Minuteman II ICBM system in the United States. 

If you grew up during the Cold War (1947-1991), do you remember hiding under your desks at school during a drill? Duck-and-cover drills. Jim says he remembers but I must have blocked that time from my memory because I do not recall it. We did not go to view the actual missile site, but saw enough at the Visitor Center, but this is what a missile looks like:

Minuteman Missile
We also lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Nixon's 1972 trip to China, the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team's upset victory, and the fall of the Berlin Wall (an event widely viewed as the beginning of the end of the Cold War). 

In 1991 the Cold War was coming to an end, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was signed by President George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Both sides agreed to dramatically reduce their nuclear arms. 

The history of the Cold War is still being written, and for many millions of people memories still remain. The Minuteman I Missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was developed in the 1950's and was part of the triad of air-land, and sea-based nuclear weapons. The minuteman missiles could be deployed remotely from underground launch facilities (missile silos). The missiles could travel over the North Pole and arrive at a target in less than 30 minutes. 

Berlin was divided during this time frame and the Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961, and fell during President Reagan's term in November 1989.  This picture shows a piece of the Berlin Wall:

These pictures show the difference in forces between Russia (orange) and the United States (purple).  During some time frames the U.S. was greater, and others Russia was greater.  Now they are basically even.

1970's - 2000

2001 - 2010

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