During the 1961 Berlin Crisis—one of the various moments in the cold war in which we came frighteningly close to engaging in actual war with the Soviets—President John F. Kennedy vowed to identify spaces in “existing structures both public and … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent invisible I'm roman Mars, recognise the body the days of nuclear war in the middle age, without our citizens, knowing what they should do and where they should go it bombs begin to fall, would be a failure. Responsibility, of course, is President John F Kennedy speaking onto lie: twenty fifth nineteen sixty one during the Berlin crisis, one of the various moments in the cold war, where we came very, very close to engaging in actual war with this opens the morrow. I am requesting the Congress to funds for the following media objecting to identify and marked bacon existing structure of that can pride that could be used for all our jelly stock, though shouted with blue water,
they give another minimum without Rob device. Basically, what Kennedy is saying here is it's a real, the possibility the bombs are gonna start falling and we need to figure out where you can all go to take shelter. If they do that's produce, Katy mingle. In Their Kennedy made this horrifying speech. As you can imagine, the phones started ringing a meal, it leaves the Kennedy administration was besieged by people, one more information on follow, shelters. I'm after you rose, I wrote one nation underground the fallout shelter in american culture. Businesses that had previously been making swimming pools, now declared themselves to be experts at building shelters. There were doubts. The door bomb, shelter, salesman, shelter displays malls and county Ferris, but
the time Kennedy made that nineteen sixty one speech there was one place that had already broken ground on a unique shelter. I t New Mexico population. Eleven thousand is about forty miles south of Roswell in the southern part of the State nor Texas and a name in sixty two. They opened a brand new elementary school, completely underground, equipped with a more Decontamination towers and a stockpile of food and water, because the school it was built to double does the towns nuclear follow. This was a pilot programme with the eye the of protecting school children, and also members of the local community and case was a nuclear attack during attacked a school, was supposedly would shelter its own students and, from other schools, or cars. Twenty one hundred people to show up
Those who arrived late at a school would find their entry blocked by eighteen, teen Steel doors inventory online, take branch, dot com and it is eight twenty one and joining us in the studio this morning is Katy Mingle, she's from open, California and Martin. How are you can't think things having me? Well, ok, first But what is worried? What is going on look? Let me explain. I went to our teacher and because small towns are amazing They invited me to come on their local radio station K S VP and put a call out for people who had gone novel elementary school as kids. Exaggerate Yes, anybody is, has information or stores and want to share about Absalom Entry, be it a student there or administrator,
maybe worked or whatever give kitty tall once get her front over, is so that people actually call you yeah. They did and will meet one of them later. But first, let's go look at the school whose tucked away in a quiet, little neighbourhood, not too far away from the centre of town if easily message driving licence, it's mostly underground. There is a sign out front and you have to squint to make it out, but it says, oh boy, elementary school and fallout shelter in that's course original on their that's Scott, Simon many myths, Scots, and I am currently the director minutes for the public schools for tissue public schools. I met Scott and that fits the current assist. Superintendent of our teacher schools on the roof of above the school. Close now, but kids don't school there until ninety ninety five, the roof. Ninety,
Oh school is a concrete blacktop at ground level, with basketball, hoops and three covered stairways that go down underground and into the school. Like a few first grade, you the that adores, if you're in second and third You come over here and then fourth and fifth garage line up at this one, and you can one mother described the scene of kids entering the building as looking like ants lining up to go in there and Hill Scott and that actually both went to school at IVO in the late seven, these early eighties and they said even though the sign out France's fallout shelter and even though their school was entirely underground, they never really knew what that met. I never knew drawn up that it was a built as a bomb. Shelter was just a school to me as a kid. You know and then You get older, you hear stories in to have a more down here.
How bout element tree was designed by an architect and civil defence. Enthusiast named Frank stand hired after he built about school, he went on to design and underground shopping, mall, slash bomb shelter that was never actually built here this gives me, ten minutes after you before you come into the rest of the people on the ground. Decontamination showers at each entrance, where easy to mess, as were the boy
asters, which were swung up against the wall and not used during normal, schooldays smaller still door. You can close it down. It has three more different latches to latch, so nobody can get in her out and never knew that this door existed to start work in here. So we go down a couple flights of stairs into the main hallway of the school and basically just looks like a school. I mean it's windowless and kind of drab, since it hasn't been used in almost twenty years, but otherwise it looks a bit like other schools. I've been in the kitchen area. Whenever you came to launch from the classes yours came to this door. Back there. They had a big stage back there were put on our productions, for I was in a few plays during their great school. So that's that's where it all happened:
the kids, it Abu actually got the vote on what the schoolmaster would be an appropriately and adorable e nature. Was to be the Abu gophers part of them, yeah, we were underground dislike to gophers, are, and so right through. Here is our general Europe. To keep it up and running for the people that are coming in inhabitants or whatever townspeople that are come here for the fall out and also has one oh here in the corner, its own water, well underground, and, as you can tell her, I hear you ve got doors you gotta, move them or survival. Openness, in course of time and you shouldn't ventilation, shaft and open ventilation, shouts and trying to keep the matter out. I hear he's got in. Bad weren't sure which room doubled as the morgue, and I think back by the elevator, there's a little room, but I didn't never see where it can fit. You know a tremendous bodies, but this is a typical classroom,
there are not any windows or not any sunlight, but we went upstairs to three times a day for recreation Teachers reported that they generally liked her school, because the students warrant distracted by starting out the windows and I think to students. Also generally proud other school but once again, this creates a huge debate with many People say that the needs schools and a need to shelter. People during a nuclear attack were not compatible. That's Kenneth rise again author, one nation underground, and he says in fact there was a lot of debate going on at the time about followed shelters. The subject was virtually inescapable. Early nineteenth searched every newspaper was running articles on shelters and the potential for survival
I magazine published an article called gun thy neighbour in which they interviewed a guy who said TAT if any of its neighbours try to get into its fallout, shelter, DORA nuclear attack. He would kill them across Amerika people prepare going to staggering led to protect their fans from their greatest today you can watch, shows like doomsday properties on cable tv and think about what it would be like to prepare for the apocalypse. But in the nineteen fifties and Sixtys it was a brand new idea also, fifties and Sixtys. It was a brand new idea, also back then it was enough range idea. I mean the President of the United States was telling people to build these things and the whole country was involved in the, on one side of the debate. You had people again shelters.
Those against shelter said that your people, who bert world until a ground to save your own scans were no better than malls or gophers shelters would. To America and turned the United States into a garrison state and after The nuclear warhead ended, shelters would sort of America's pyramids. There remained of wasted the Fox civilization and on the other side, people for shelter said wait a minute. This is just a precaution like any other. Compared follow, shelters to lifeboats. Here's a sorrow. A stick letter that a proponent of shelters wrote to the Harvard Crimson nineteen sixty one there's been brought more attention that certain elements among passengers and crew favour the installation of lifeboats on the ship Although we share their concern, we remain unalterably opposed to any consideration. Other course of action
for the following reasons. The letter gets increasingly sarcastic. It demonstrates a lack of faith in our cap The apparent security which lifeboats offer will make our navigators reckless. These proposals on this accurate tension attention from more important things. I building unsinkable ships, you only be so for a worse fate, inevitable, death on the open you so far. From of the like what kind of world will you emerge too? If you survive a nuclear war and whether this What kind of world will you emerge too? If you survive a nuclear war and whether the shelters, could somehow make our leaders more likely to engage in war is a very complicated calculus oddness. This whole issue of whether to build a shelter or not to build a shelter for the town of our teacher in the early nineties succeeds the calking. Patient seemed easy enough.
They needed a new school anyway, and the office of Civil defence agreed to pay the difference between building a regular school, an affair. Shelter. School artesian was near Walker. Air force base is closed now, but at the time it was the largest strategic AIR command base of the. U S airforce. It was also closer. White Sands missile range these Their factors made artesian feel technically vulnerable to attack New Mexico. Always had nuclear programmes goin on that? John Williams. Her friends mom is one of the people that heard me on the radio and got in touch genuine to eyeball elementary in the nineteen. Sixteen, when cold war tensions were still really high I do remember, I'm going through whites as MRS Arrange so the while you see a missile goin up new thinking. What happened to you three minutes delivering what it's gonna creepy feeling
like fat and Scott. That gave me the tour of Abu John. I didn't know at first why her school was underground the teachers never engineers and her parents and tell her either Laden Dillon anything and don't ask real questions will lie to you, but you know how much kids have that one friend in elementary school that knows about sex, while Jana had fidelity and she knew about nuclear war. Familiar Brannan I'll, never forget she's the one who opened my eyes to that kind of this reality or unreality. She was very intelligent course thing: the fallout shelter in their backyard, so I'm sure they had already gone through the whole survivalist thing growing up in you know knowing the kids and her family, it seems like they were taught things like how you could survive nuclear Holocaust him I know I had kind of a freak ease feeling
out there after them. By go my guys, we're all gonna die out. There you go as John and I are talking in alarm- starts going on. It's an emergent, It has to alarm that the oil refinery place every Monday at six. Thirty p m the teachers, large oil refinery with another thing that made them feel vulnerable to attack in the sixties, refinery there are often targets during wars is worse than the one to make that you're, like the one in our teacher. Did it's almost like Nuclear rained down, isn't it it's either the ILO Lucy was coming on as a kid when Abu is built. Got a fair amount of media attention Dan Rather did a story on the CBS evening, news and nineteen sixty two and more than sixty thousand people toward the school in its first few years was a not about it and were critical. One Moscow newspaper criticized Cartesians for in doctrine
lean pupils to the inevitability of war, but actually all the rest of the country's students were doing duck and cover drills, which was probably strange and scary for some kids John, doesn't every remember having to do one other. We never did any. You know, nuclear raid tests were yet a drop taken role in and all that kind of stuff. We already down there were safe, so We should remember what Burke the turtle just advance, because every one of us must remember to do the same thing. That's what this is all about that and cover. This is an official civil defence. Produced officials and the Soviet Union were putting down the? U S further preoccupation with this whole a shelter issue, but in fact the Soviets built a very alone. Secret shelter underneath Moscow and, of course,
Our fearless leaders had their own hiding places, the most elaborate one being the bunker hill below the Green Briar resort in West Virginia build the house all five hundred and thirty five members of Congress and their staff, but not their families. It was the commission that ninety ninety five and is now open for doors, remember the speech that we at the beginning of this story, in which Kennedy vowed to allocate millions of dollars to find places where Americans could take shelter from nuclear bombs. Well, it took in July of nineteen sixty one instruct you could be you. Fallout, shelters in case of attack in the fall of nineteen. Sixty two during the cuban missile Crisis Kennedy for a status report and found that his filter program was far behind schedule, The government had been able fine, all that many places where people could take shelter and the ones they had found were fully sought with supplies by nineteen. Sixty two, the private shelter business, was also
failing, but it wasn't in decline because American stopped being afraid of nuclear war. The cuban missile crisis was arguably the most frightening moment. Ethical Kenneth rose thinks Americans, rejected, shelters for a lot of reasons for one they couldn't afford them cost of a decent shelter was about twenty five hundred dollars, and that was about half of the median family income in the nineteen sixties and doktor is also believes. Americans simply did not like the image of them selves cowering underground. I think it dog at american pride. We think roughly something like two hundred thousand shelters were built from the beginning of the Cold WAR Ii, about one thousand nine hundred and sixty five you could say that while two hundred thousand that's a lot of shelters about one for every nine hundred people, but
in an era when a majority of Americans actually believe that there was going to Nuclear war between the? U S and the Soviet Union I was set at two hundred thousand is Us- is actually a small number, I will not go under the ground? Something tells me that nets coming round I will not carry myself down to die. When I go ahead, will be Let me in my footsteps, rumours of war.
As far as a bow elementary and thankfully never had to serve as a fallout shelter and they got rid of their supplies back and nineteen, eighty nine period of all the bedding and the food, the medicine, even if body bags, but the school state Open bill, one thousand, ninety five: when they stop using it as a school? It wasn't because they were tired of being underground. Here's assistance, superintendent that Phipps sat after growth up in the school to see you to see it not being used or to see it in this type of shape. But we understand as a as a district. It cost to renovate this type of building was was more than than what the community was willing to put into an so. We built a brand new school right on almost on top of it just slightly to the west. The news who is called yea so elementary ye so and about our both named after geological layers of earth. Ye so in the letter just above Abu, clever, yea, so is above ground
oh and one other thing to being used as a now about elementary is used for district storage. Oh and one other thing to being used as a active shooter training facility for the federal law enforcement, training centre. They go through all of their scenarios in and use it to practice for for situations that none of us want to think happen, school shootings. Do you know been around the nation this has been a really good facility to use, because it's all downstairs no windows and making you everything that they need to do and nobody nobody sees so twice The federal law enforcement training centre goes into Babo and practices for school shootings, running drill, firing at fig targets never happens, you're her altogether It's been prepared and protecting it.
From whatever dangers they might confined. Ninety nine percent, invisible was produced this week by tv mingle with indian span every truffles any roman Mars. We are.
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.