Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Cold War Museum: Experience a Critical Part of American and World History

From 1946 until the breakup of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall in the late 1980s, the world was gripped by the superpower competition between the US and the USSR known as the Cold War. This face off between the two most powerful nations on the planet at the time was often fought by proxies, and it involved every corner of the globe, from Asia to Africa, and as the Cuban Missile Crisis demonstrated, even close to our shores.

While many veterans of the Cold War are still active, most Americans have little knowledge or understanding of this seminal period of world history. There is a way, though, to learn about the Cold War. Visit the Cold War Museum in Vint Hill, Virginia - itself a place that has played a key role in American history since World War II and throughout the Cold War as the US Army Security Agency Field Station. Better yet, consider becoming a member of the museum. Information on the museum's history, and how to join can be found at its Web site.

Founded in 1996 by Francis Gary Powers, Jr., son of Air Force officer Francis Gary Powers of 1960 U-2 incident fame, and John Welch, a retired military officer and history buff, the Cold War Museum houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Cold War documents and artifacts in the world. Currently open only on Saturdays and Sundays, but available for special tours by arrangement, this is a place that will astound you.

The Cuban Missile Crisis, for instance--not many people know just how close the world came to nuclear war during this crisis. The exhibit on Soviet submarine B-59 tells about a nuclear-torpedo-armed vessel that was inside the embargo line whose skipper considered launching his nuclear torpedo in a desperation move. Only the refusal of his second in command to endorse the launch saved thousands--if not millions--of lives.

Soviet B-59 submarine off the coast of Cuba during the
Cuban Missile Crisis being shadowed by a U.S. heli-
copter. This vessel came close to starting World War III.


Visit the museum website--or better yet, make it a weekend and take the family to the museum itself. It's located at 7142 Lineweaver Road, Warrenton, VA, inside the former Vint Hill Farm military base. It's open on Saturdays from 11 am to 4 pm and Sundays from 1 to 4 pm, and by special arrangement at other times by contacting Executive Director Jason Hall at Jason@coldwar.org.

The museum also publishes the online journal The Cold War Times, a journal to chronicle the history of the Cold War. A copy of the current issue can be seen here.

The Cold War Museum
P.O. Box 861526
(7142 Lineweaver Road)
Vint Hill, VA 20187
(540)-341-2008