For the grand majority of the Cold War, the United States’ mainland was rarely in direct danger. There was the looming anxiety that nuclear weapons created, but an invasion of the US mainland was never to be something to fear. The problem of nuclear weapons became a very real and present fear at one single moment during the Cold War. For one month and four days during the fall of 1962, the US mainland was in the direct sights of nuclear warheads.
Americans pride themselves on their support for their armed service members. We have an entire holiday dedicated to honoring our veterans along with countless documentaries, films, and even tv shows about soldier’s bravery during conflict. But for all of this honor for our armed services there is one conflict in recent memory that is overlooked: The Korean War.
Following their surrender in World War II, world leaders divided Germany into four pieces to be occupied until the nation could re-enter the world stage. The US, UK, France and USSR all received a segment of the nation to occupy. However, with the nation’s capital, Berlin, firmly in the Soviet section the city was further split four ways to restrict the Soviet influence over the city. Here, in Berlin was where one of the most physical representations of the Cold War would stand. That representation, the Berlin Wall. For many of us, the Berlin Wall’s history is presented as the day it fell on the 9th of November 1989. The wall, however, stood as the constant reminder for German citizens that they were separate. This history of the wall is more than its fall.
The Attack on Pearl Harbor forced Americans to face a new reality. They were no longer safe from war. Rather than stand defenseless, many enlisted in the U.S. military. Others at home participated in Civil Defense.
Civil Defense measures had existed prior to Pearl Harbor, the bombings made it a priority. At that time the Civil Defense Corps were non-military personnel trained to fight fires, decontaminate areas after chemical weapon attacks, and to provide first aid. The advent of the Cold War, however, made these individuals much more important.
The Cold War was a decades long struggle (roughly 1945-1991) between the United States and the Soviet Union. Countless proxy-wars were fought in an effort to spread or contain communism and capitalism, costing hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives. But what caused the Cold War?
“Universal” means “of, affecting, or done by all people or things in the world or in a particular group; applicable to all cases.”
If you’ve ever been a part of an organization, a council, board of directors, or a team, you probably know how difficult it is to get everyone on the same page. People have different ideas and strategies of how to approach a problem. There is rarely a “universal” solution.
“The soldier does not fight for hate of the enemy or what is in front of him, but for love of his brothers and what's behind him.”
William Cuthbertson, just 28 years old in the Summer of 1942, had a lot behind him to fight for. He had recently married his fiancé, Dorothy Nuechterlein, in April. Little did he know, but Dorothy would have a child 9 months later. He had friends and family in Michigan, not to mention the brothers serving in close proximity on the submarine, the Grunion.
History is often painted with blurred lines, but it's not always presented that way. Textbooks attempt to correct our vision of the past, but sometimes, their prescription isn’t always correct.
I remember visiting Arlington National Cemetery when I was in middle school. My parents thought that it was important to see the sacrifice that countless men and women have made for our country.
I remember walking out to the hallowed grounds. I looked out over JFK’s gravesite at the countless bright white tombstones, as if in formation, along the hillsides. I was astonished at the sheer number of tombstones I saw. I walked along Arlington’s gravel paths, reading names that marked each site. And I walked. And walked. And walked. And walked. Everywhere I turned, more tombstones, as far as the eye could see. I didn’t see much of the 640 acres at Arlington. What I saw was simply a fraction of those buried under the 640 acres at Arlington. And now I think… Arlington holds less than one-quarter of those lost in combat alone…
Preparing to install a new exhibit is a lot of work, and prepping for our newest exhibit, The Great Lakes State Goes to War, was particularly draining for me. Not because of the amount of hours that went into the research and exhibit, but because of the words I read about soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“Left behind his mother.”
“Left behind his two sisters.”
“Left behind his fiance.”
“Left behind his wife and daughter.”
We are proud to present History at Home! History at Home is a virtual learning program that includes fun educational content, including a blog and our podcast. Even if you cannot visit us in person, there is still so much to do!