2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010  2009  2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 archivio

ANNO 2017

Nukes on the Moon: The A119 Cold War Project
Da warhistoryonline.com del 7 dicembre 2017

The crater-scarred landscape of the Nevada Test Site

In the late 1950s, in the midst of the Cold War, the United States developed a super-secret plan referred to as Project A119, involving the Air Force Special Weapons Center. The project’s aim was to set off a nuclear bomb – on the moon. The purpose was two- old. Firstly, to discover unknown information about the moon and outer space. Secondly, to show off the prowess the US had to the Soviet Union, with whom they were in the Space Race. However, there were several flaws in their plan. As the blast might have been visible to people on Earth, the Air Force decided the public might respond negatively to the militarism of the moon. Also, it was feared that if the bomb did not make it to the moon, it could fall back to Earth and cause a catastrophe. Instead of an atomic bomb, it was decided to put a man on the moon – a plan much more readily acceptable by the public and more impressive in many ways.  In 2000 the existence of the project was revealed by two of the men who were involved in it. The United States has never officially admitted it was involved in Project A119, and most of the records and papers on the project have been destroyed.

How Project A119 Came to Be

The US was not happy when the Soviet Union launched their Sputnik satellite successfully. The Americans had previously made unsuccessful attempts at satellite launches. Officials decided it was time to step up their game. Their previously effective show of power – the nuclear bomb – had worked well so why not put it somewhere everyone could see it. In 1942, the Armour Research Foundation had begun studying nuclear explosions in space. Initially, it was believed an explosion on the moon would boost American morale although officials eventually determined it would have the opposite effect. Newspapers reported on rumors circulating that the Soviet Union was trying to put a hydrogen bomb on the moon. Supposedly, the Soviets were going to celebrate the anniversary of the October Revolution with an explosion during a lunar eclipse. In response, the US expanded its efforts and increased its manpower. Leonard Reiffel, a NASA executive, began by leading a 10-man team in Chicago to figure out what exactly would happen if the US went ahead with its plan. How would it appear on Earth? Would it be clear what it was? Would there be dangerous repercussions in space and also back on Earth? Would it help scientists in any way? There was even a special team to figure out how big the dust cloud would be that the bomb would create.  At first, a hydrogen bomb was considered, as that was what the Soviets were apparently using. However, the Air Force turned that idea down, as they believed a hydrogen bomb would be far too heavy to launch into space. It was decided a small nuclear bomb would be used. The bomb that was configured in the plan was 1.7 kilotons whereas the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima was up to 18 kilotons. A rocket would carry the bomb to the dark side of the moon, and then as soon as it landed, it would explode. It was very carefully planned so that the bomb would explode in just the right place to be lit up by the sun on impact, causing the most visibility and drawing the most attention from earth.

The Death of Project A119

In 1959, the military changed its mind. Realizing public reaction to the explosion, particularly if anything went wrong such as the bomb falling back to Earth, it canceled the project. Also, researchers pointed out the nuclear fallout could have implications if the US ever wanted to colonize the moon. After the project had been canceled, it was discovered the Soviets did have a similar plan that also failed. The Soviets in their Project E-1 would have progressed in four stages, including sending probes to the dark side of the moon to take photos. They also halted their project for much the same reasons as the US. In 1963 and 1967 two treaties were signed which prevented any further attempts at sending nuclear bombs to the moon. However, it did not stop some researchers from proposing the US send what they called a “smallish” nuclear device to the moon. It was not to be as a show of power but to obtain information about the moon’s geological makeup. The proposal was dismissed. The project was eventually revealed to the public in the late 1990s by a biographer writing about one of the researchers on the project, Carl Sagan. The revelation going public prompted Leonard Reiffel to confirm it did take place. by Lincoln Riddle


Boeing’s Nuclear Deterrent ICBM Program Completes First Key Review
Da defenseworld.net del 1 dicembre 2017

Boeing's Ground Based Strategic Deterrence Program

Boeing’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program to replace the nuclear-armed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) completed its first key review with the U S Air Force. The review validated program technical requirements prior to the design and development phase of America’s next intercontinental ballistic missile system, a Boeing release said. The November review established the baseline for the GBSD, which will replace the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and continue the nuclear deterrence mission for generations to come.

Boeing completed the System Requirements Review about two months after being awarded $349 million to mature the GBSD system design under a Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction contract. Frank McCall, Boeing director of Strategic Deterrence Systems and GBSD program manager said, “We concentrated on modularity and affordability to enable efficient government ownership of the system through 2075 and beyond.”

Boeing’s design addresses the replacement of the entire ICBM system, including new flight systems, weapon system command and control (WSC2), and launch systems within existing Minuteman silos. Now that the requirements baseline has been set, Boeing will move through a series of cost-capability studies, weighing affordability against configuration options to come up with a GBSD solution that is capable, flexible and affordable. Boeing will present its Preliminary Design Review to the Air Force in 2020.


China to Deploy Multi-warhead DF-41 Intercontinental Missile in Early 2018
Da defenseworld.net del 28 novembre 2017

China's DF-41 Ballistic Missile Illustration

The Chinese military will deploy its most power missile yet, the multiple-warhead DF-41 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) in early 2018, CCTV reported Sunday. Military expert Yang Chengjun was quoted as saying on CCTV, “DF-41 is 4th-generation and China’s latest strategic missile.”

The missile is quick, mobile, and precise, he added. No failure has occurred during the test launches of DF-41 which is a rival of the American LGM-30 Minuteman and the Russian RT-2PM2. The Chinese missile even has an edge with regard to some technologies, Yang claimed. The DF-41 has a range of 12,000 kilometers and a deviation of some one hundred meters. It can carry six to 10 multiple maneuverable warheads, which makes it difficult to be intercepted. The missile is 16.5 meters in length with a diameter of 2.78 meters. It can be launched from roadand rail-mobile launcher platforms, as well as silo-based launchers. “The missile can hit every corner of the earth, allowing China to counter a nuclear strike on the country,” Yang was quoted as saying.


Kom med under jorden i hemmelig atombunker
Da tv2east.dk del 28 novembre 2017

Under jorden på Danmarks sydspids ligger en stor bunker fra Den Kolde Krig. En lokal forening drømmer om at gøre den til museum.


Da Sovjetunionen og USA spillede med musklerne i en af de mest højspændte perioder i nyere historie, nemlig Den Kolde Krig, arbejdede overkonstabel Glenn Sidor fra Idestrup under jorden på Gedser Odde. Her havde Forsvaret en 700 kvadratmeter stor atomsikret bunker, hvor soldater holdt øje med skibe, der kom ind i dansk farvand. - Vi noterede skibene og fulgte dem, så længe de sejlede i vores farvand. Vi markerede dem fra Warszawapagten røde, de venlige var blå, og de neutrale var sorte, siger Glenn Sidor. Han arbejdede på Gedser Marinestation i bunkerens radiorum fra 1978 til 1984. - Selvfølgelig kørte Den Kolde Krig, men den var jo ikke så tilspidset som i 1960'erne, så jeg synes ikke, at vi havde den store frygt for, at der skulle udbryde en krisesituation. Men vi oplevede selvfølgelig, at Østblokken spillede med musklerne i den Botniske Bugt, siger Glenn Sidor. Ganske få levn tilbage Forsvaret har ikke brugt bunkeren, siden Den Kolde Krig sluttede ved Sovjetunionens fald i 1991. Den er ikke åben for offentligheden, men i dag er Glenn Sidor alligevel tilbage på sin gamle arbejdsplads.
- Det er ret surrealistisk at være her. Man har jo brugt rigtig mange timer her, både gode og spændende. Jeg kan huske, at jeg sad her og kommunikerede med tyskerne, og når der ikke var noget at tale om, så snakkede vi om fodbold. Så fik man lige pudset sine tyskkundskaber af, siger han. Der er kun ganske få levn fra Den Kolde Krig tilbage i bunkeren. En enkelt lampe hænger ensomt tilbage i det rum, som officererne brugte.
- Det er i hvert fald den originale lampe. Det var de samme, som vi havde på værelserne, siger Glenn Sidor.

Vil gerne lave et museum

De elektriske installationer er i tvivlsom stand, og væggene trænger i dén grad til maling, men det er alt sammen udfordringer, som foreningen Bevar Gedser Odde er klar til at tage op. Foreningen drømmer om at lave et museum i bunkeren.
- Det kunne vise folk noget om, hvordan forholdene egentlig var under Den Kolde Krig. Det er jo en utrolig vigtig periode i Danmarkshistorien, ja faktisk i verdenshistorien, siger Tonny Pedersen, som er formand i Bevar Gedser Odde. I dag lejer Guldborgsund Kommune det stykke jord, som bunkeren ligger på af Gedsergård, men kontrakten udløber i 2023.
- Det betyder jo, at man ikke har ret lang tid til at tage en beslutning om, hvad der skal ske med Marinestationen, og jeg synes, at det ville være rigtig ærgeligt, hvis det hele blev revet ned, siger Tonny Pedersen.

Må ikke glemme historien

Glenn Sidor vil gerne bidrage med sine oplevelser og erfaringer til et museum.
- Jeg synes, at det er en god idé. Det er jo ikke mange, der vidste, hvad der egentlig skete hernede dengang, siger han. Tonny Pedersen håber, at der kan findes en løsning, så bunkeren ikke bare ender med at ligge ubrugt hen. Det er nemlig vigtigt, at den ikke bliver glemt.

- Man må ikke glemme den slags ting, for verden er ikke så fredelig, som man gerne vil have den til at være. Så man skal huske sin historie.


The Victoria Lines revisited
Da timesofmalta.com del 12 novembre 2017

The Victoria Lines are a set of fortifications built between 1870 and 1899. They consist of four principal forts, a number of other gun batteries and a continuous infantry line that connects them together to form a 12-kilometre-long defensive line which cuts across Malta from coast to coast, from Kunċizzjoni/Fomm ir-Riħ in the west to Madliena/Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq in the east.

The Victoria Lines have lain abandoned ever since their military significance faded a hundred years ago. Nevertheless, they still provide a very interesting insight into the development of fortifications in the 19th century and, as such, form an intrinsic part of Malta’s historical heritage. They also offer some of the best vantage points from where to enjoy the beauty of the countryside spread out beneath them.

Walking along the Victoria Lines can only confirm their potential to become Malta’s foremost countryside/heritage trail. The views are generally spectacular, albeit with one glaring exception, which is the large hard stone quarry between Mosta and Naxxar. Otherwise, the Victoria Lines offers breathtaking scenery, including some very interesting valleys of ecological interest. And all the various vantage points and valley beds are linked together in a tangible manner through the unifying historical nexus provided by the Victoria Lines, built at a particular period in Malta’s history and representing an intriguing example of military engineering technology from the last quarter of the 19th century.

Properly delineated countryside trails have an inherent value in facilitating access to the countryside for locals wishing to discover and enjoy the Maltese rural landscape. Furthermore, they should also be seen as an additional product in the global Malta tourism product offer.

A proper national heritage trail along the Victoria Lines would be an additional activity to propose to tourists visiting Malta. This would be something else for tourists to enjoy, especially in the shoulder and winter months, in line with Malta’s stated tourism strategy not to be perceived only as a sea and sun destination but as an all-year destination with a diversified and, in a number of respects, unique product offer.

Before 1995, the Victoria Lines had been practically unknown to most people in Malta. In that year, Mosta local council launched an initiative, in the context of an EU-funded programme called Med-Urbs, which served to raise the public profile of the Victoria Lines. This culminated in a series of events in 1997 to mark the 100th anniversary since the dedication of the fortifications to Queen Victoria in 1897 on the occasion of her diamond jubilee.

In terms of recognition, the Victoria Lines will always suffer from being compared to the much more imposing fortifications around the Grand Harbour. However, the Victoria Lines and the other fortifications erected during British rule are now accepted as a deserving element in Malta’s historical heritage and, often enough, are featured in local and foreign publications.

The 1995 Med-Urbs programme provided the opportunity to reflect upon the experience of Hexham and other counties in the UK in their promotion of Hadrian’s Wall as one  continuous trail linking together various scenic and archaeological sites, where the historical legacy of the wall provides the principal and unifying attraction.

The programme also provided the impulse for a number of tangible interventions along the Victoria Lines. Between 1995 and 1997, various sections of the Lines were cleared of accumulated debris and vegetation. In the following years, actual restoration works were also undertaken by the Restoration Directorate, most notably the intervention in 2002 at Binġemma Gap. This was possible after the Lines had been extensively surveyed and a detailed photographic record compiled, in conjunction with research carried out in the UK at the Public Records Office in Kew.

Since then, the Planning Authority has scheduled the whole length of the Victoria Lines and the pros­pected trail now features in the relevant local plans such that it may be said that a national countryside/heri­tage trail along the Lines has al­ready been established as a concept.

Unfortunately, however, what has been established as a concept is still a long way from also being achieved in practice. Parts of the Victoria Lines have remained largely inaccessible, and even in those areas where the original patrol path had been cleared, vegetation has grown again, making it quite difficult to walk even along those particular stretches.

Continued encroachment of sections of the fortifications at Dwejra by certain individuals remains a serious concern. And little progress has been achieved in securing the allocation of Fort Binġemma and of ex-military buildings at Dwejra and along other parts of the Victoria Lines for uses that would support an eventual countryside/heritage trail. As far as I know, the only exception is the allocation of Tarġa Battery to Mosta local council, which plans to restore it and open it to the public.

Anyone approaching certain parts of the Victoria Lines today is still likely to remark upon the problem of litter, but for those who remember the same areas 20 years ago it is fair to say that wholesale dumping has been contained. Similarly, wanton damage to the fortifications has been curtailed although they remain subject to ongoing deterioration.

One important consideration that has not changed concerns the ownership of the land on which the Victoria Lines are built and of the space alongside them which originally formed a patrol path. This is all government-owned except for a small part at its eastern-most extremity at Madliena, but this segment would not be essential for an eventual trail since this could start from Fort Madliena and continue down to San Giovanni Battery. There are two places where the path is obstructed by farming-related encroachments but the land is leased from the government and, undoubtedly, a solution could be found to open up the path. 

It has to be kept in mind that the Victoria Lines extend over 12 kilometres, for the most part in open countryside. It is not a site that could be enclosed within a perimeter fence. There are also real and practical difficulties in undertaking restoration and even simple cleansing interventions in locations that are distant from access roads.

Therefore, one must not underestimate the daunting challenge in implementing effective measures to protect, conserve and rehabilitate this most interesting vestige of Malta’s more recent history. In particular, the required initiative must not be perceived as being primarily a restoration project but rather as the development of a new ‘product’, specifically a managed heritage trail.

The essential aim must be to secure unimpeded and safe access along the whole length of the Victoria Lines, with the ultimate goal of establishing a properly managed National Heritage Trail. And, once inaugurated, the eventual trail will need to be maintained and sustained on an ongoing basis. This will involve promoting the trail to induce people to visit, while providing safeguards against any damage to the historical heritage and to the surrounding natural habitat.

The Victoria Lines cannot be segregated from their surroundings. The fortifications exist in synthesis with the natural environment and any intervention made must not disturb this important relationship.

By definition, the concept of a heritage trail implies an open invitation to the public to visit. This will necessitate giving due consideration to issues of safety and liability. This will involve providing interpretation, channelling access and managing visitor flows.

The objective to be set must be twofold: (i) a cultural one – seeking to protect/rehabilitate this element of Malta’s historical heritage while making it accessible to the public, and (ii) an economic one – develop an additional attraction/activity for tourists in off-peak months.

The project would need to address issues concerning access, restoration, reutilisation of heritage sites, links with local communities, public education, heritage interpretation, marketing and ongoing management of the eventual trail. This last aspect is likely to be the most challenging as it requires the establishment of new structures and the acquisition of new skills, plus a broad collaborative ef­fort between the government, local councils, NGOs and the private sector.

There is no ready template from past experience that can be directly applied but it is possible to identify some of the essential elements that will need to be incorporated into the required comprehensive strategy. These are outlined in the accompanying box.

In conclusion, the Victoria Lines may be said to be Malta’s most extensive, military-architecture undertaking. Its defining characteristic is the combination of natural features and man-made structures to create a defensive barrier that cuts across the whole width of the island.

The individual components of the Victoria Lines, such as the forts, are interesting in themselves, but it is their linkage together into one integrated defence system which provides the unique character. This is something that can only be fully appreciated if one walks along the Victoria Lines. Hopefully, sometime in the future, it will be possible to do so from one end to the other.


Proposed strategy

Stage A

• An officially sanctioned and government-appointed Victoria Lines heritage trail steering committee. A small project man­agement team with the active participation of those government entities that will need to play a key role (principally the Parks Directorate and the Res­toration Directorate and possibly also the newly announced agency – Ambjent Malta);

• An open link with the relevant local councils (to secure their involvement);

• The participation of NGOs with relevant expertise (such as Wirt Artna and the Malta Ramblers Association);

• The involvement of the private sector.

Stage B

• A detailed action plan to secure access along the whole length of the Victoria Lines from Fort Madliena to il-Kunċizzjoni;

• Consideration on how best to use the various existing buildings along the Victoria Lines (at Għargħur, Dwejra, Binġemma and Kunċizzjoni) in support of the envisaged trail;

• The necessary action through the government property department to secure access through those few points along the Victoria Lines where the original patrol path is obstructed by encroachments;

• An assessment of the potential to tap EU funding (for rural development, tour­ism product diversification, heritage conservation).

Stage C

• Interventions to trim vegetation and facilitate access along the whole length of the path;

• Targeted restoration interventions, in particular where there is the danger of damage to the remaining parts of the wall.

Stage D

• A management plan to develop the path as a national countryside/heritage trail based on a collaborative arrangement involving government agencies, NGOs and the private sector.

Ray Cachia Zammit was editor of a publication on the Victoria Lines in 1996 that served to raise public awareness about the fortifications. This article was prompt­ed by a talk on the Lines given earlier this year by Judge Joseph Galea De­bono and Prof. Anthony Bonanno.


The Fortifications of Gibraltar and their military legacy
Da abandonedspaces.com del 25 ottobre 2017

Abandoned Bomb-proof Barracks. Author: Prioryman CC BY-SA 3.0, A 5.25-inch gun battery. Author: Okehills CC BY 2.0, The remains of a World War II searchlight. Author: Harry Mitchell CC-BY 3.0

Gibraltar, tucked away far to the south of the Iberian Peninsula, holds a great strategic position. This is where the waters of the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. Holding such an important location has made this place heavily fortified and armed. Many have fought for it over the years. As a matter of fact, this place has been through a number of sieges–fourteen in total. Over the years, the occupants of this peninsula left their mark on the grounds, such as a great number of gun batteries, bastions, tunnels, and casemates. Hundreds of guns mounted on hundreds of gun batteries took care of all those who dared approach this place. The beginning of this place can be found in the period in of the Moors. These Muslim inhabitants came from North Africa and laid the foundations of the first fort, the Mount of Tarik. By a chain of events, this name would later become the one we know today, Gibraltar.

It was 1068 when the Moors first arrived. The fortification of the island occurred in 1160 following the orders of the Sultan Abd al-Mu’min. The reason for this was that the Kingdom of Aragon had joined their forces with the Kingdom of Castile and went on to take on Abd al-Mu’min and his soldiers. As time progressed, this rock changed its name several times from the Mount of Victory to the City of Victory, though little archaeological evidence remains from that period. For instance, only one part of one of the original fortification walls still remains today. In 1309, Gibraltar was conquered by the Castilians. Once the rock was secure, Ferdinand IV of Castile gave an order for the remaining fortifications to be renovated and for a keep to be built further up the slope. The Kingdom of Castile remained in Gibraltar for 24 years until 1333.

Charles V Wall and a monkey resting. Author: Larry Wentzel CC BY 2.0

Once the Moorish period was over then came the Spanish. Álvaro de Bazán the Elder, a naval commander of Spanish origin, advised King Charles I that the defenses of Gibraltar would be easy to exploit. His suggestion was to further strengthen the southern wall and extend the rest of them all the way to Europa Point. King Charles I decided not to follow this proposal. They had the destruction of Constantinople as an example of how vulnerable those old medieval walls are, but would not listen. The price they had to pay for this ignorance was huge. Barbary pirates coming from North Africa charged upon this old walls and took hundreds of citizens of Gibraltar as slaves. What followed after this attack was an immediate strengthening of the old walls.This period in Gibraltar’s history was rather turbulent. The following era is known as the British period. It began in 1704 and remains to this very day. Some initial repairs were made though, according to General James Stanhope, voracious and venal officers largely embezzled the money meant to be spent on repairs. Nowadays Gibraltar is filled with all sorts of military leftovers from times past. One such instance is the so-called 5.25-inch guns upper batteries which remain perfectly preserved, making them the world’s only remaining batteries of this kind. Also, a portion of the 18th-century tunnels is open to the general public. For the example, the Great Siege Tunnels located on the north side of this rock are a favorite among tourists, together with the tunnels from WWII. The lower part of Gibraltar, named the lower galleries, are not open to tourists. For vandals have heavily destroyed them but nonetheless there are a quite a few relics that date back to the days of military presence. Among other projects, the most significant is the preservation of all of Gibraltar’s historical relics. This plan, however, was first proposed in the 1980s. A £500,000 budget was to be appointed for the restoration of Gibraltar’s fortifications but sadly this idea was never set in motion, and much of this war monuments were left abandoned. by Niikolla Pettrrovskii


22 Most Impressive Walled Cities in the World
Da touropia.com del 24 ottobre 2017

Throughout history city walls were made as protection from the enemy. They were usually massive structures, punctuated with guard towers. Some were built on hills, making invasions more difficult, while others fronted seas and oceans to protect the towns from invaders in ships or, in some cases, pirates. Today well preserved walls bring tourist from the whole world to wonder around these medieval walled cities.

22. Monteriggioni

Located on a small natural hillock, this completely walled medieval town was built in the 13th century by the overlords of Siena to command the Cassia Road running through the Val d’Elsa and Val Staggia just to the west of Monteriggioni. Very little work has been done to Monteriggioni’s walls or buildings since they were first erected. Subsequently, Monteriggioni’s walls and the buildings that make up the town are the best preserved example of their kind in all of Italy, so it is not surprising that this little town attracts buses full of tourists.

21. Znojmo

Znojmo is one of the most historic cities in the Czech Republic, with the city wall one of the key elements to see. This medieval wall is actually several walls with ditches or moats in between. Once known as a fortified royal city, Znojmo’s wall served as part of the line of defense on the border with Austria. Znojmo visitors recommend walking around the wall, using a map obtained from the city tourist office. 

20. Diyarbakir

The first city wall surrounding Diyarbakir, Turkey, was constructed by the Romans in the late third century, though the present wall dates back to the Byzantines. The black basalt walls are second only to the Great Wall of China in length and how well it’s been preserved. The four-mile-long wall has five gates, 16 keeps and 82 watchtowers. The fortifications, which are up to 11 meters (36 feet) high and 3 to 5 meters (9 to 15 feet) wide, are considered a good example of Middle Ages military architecture.

19. Briancon

Briançon is a small town in the Hautes-Alpes that is the highest altitude city in France. The old town is heavily fortified with a wall built in the 17th century to protect the region from Austrian invaders and to guard the road to Italy, less than 16 km (10 miles) away. Located on the Durance River, Briançon is built on a peak, with the wall surrounding it. The Fort des Tetes is the most important part of the wall.

18. Budva

Budva, on the Adriatic coast in Montenegro, dates back to 500BC. Its city wall, however, is only a few hundred years old, built by the Venetians in the Middle Ages to protect the city from Ottoman invaders. Only one side of the wall faces the sea today; the other sides have been incorporated into the old and new towns. Within the walls, travelers can find narrow cobblestone streets and stone buildings. Great sea and Old Town views can be seen from atop the wall.

17. Cartagena Walled City

When the Spanish conquered parts of South America in the 16th century, they sent the riches back to Spain from Cartagena. The Caribbean Sea port became a favorite target for pirates, who attacked it one after another. The Spanish fought back by erecting a sea wall that is up to 18 meters (60 feet) wide in some places. Fortifications began in the late 16th century, with the initial walls enclosing what is now San Diego and El Centro.

16. Lugo City Walls

The wall at Lugo, Spain, stands out from other walls, which are rectangular; Lugo’s wall is shaped like a quadrangle. Much of the original wall, built in the late 3rd century by the Romans, is still intact, though the moat is missing. The 2.5-km (1.5-mile) long wall still has two towers and 82 of its original 85 turrets. The wall originally had five gates; today it has 10 to accommodate the increased need to get from the old town to the new.

15. Mdina

Mdina, Malta, stands out among ancient walled cities because, just like when it was built, the entire city remains inside the walls. In Mdina’s case, this is easy since it has only about 250 residents left. Sitting in the center of the island, Mdina’s thick, stone fortifications were first built by the Phoenicians, with the Normans adding the bulk of the wall and a moat. After the Knights Hospitaller arrived in the mid 1500’s the importance of Mdina as the seat of power faded steadily. Today Mdina is known as the “silent city” since few motor vehicles are allowed inside the walls.

14. Visby

Residents of the Baltic coast town of Visby, Sweden, began building their city wall in the 12th century, a time when walled cities were being built throughout Europe. The original city wall was about 6 meters (18 feet) high and did not have towers. The oldest part is a citadel where gun powder was kept. A 13th century war provided the impetus for Visby citizens to continue working on the wall, when extra height and towers were added; 27 of the 29 towers remain today.

13. Tallinn

The original wall surrounding Tallinn in Estonia was called Margaret Wall because Margaret Sambiria ordered it built in 1265. Only 5 feet wide then, the wall was widened and enlarged over the years. In the 14th century, Tallinn residents were required to do guard duty on the wall, most of which, along with its gates, is still intact today. Key parts of the wall to visit include the Long Leg Gate Tower, and the Nun’s Gate and Tower, and Fat Margaret Tower.

12. York 

York is an ancient city in the north of England. The city was founded by the Romans, taken over by the Angles, captured by the Vikings and finally incorporated in the Kingdom of England in 954. It boasts the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe. Since Roman times, the city has been defended by walls of one form or another. The majority of the remaining walls, which encircle the whole of the medieval city, date from the 12th – 14th century.

11. Harar

Harar is an ancient walled city in eastern Ethiopia. For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial center, linked by the trade routes with Africa and Arabia. With 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines it is one of the most important cities of Islam. Harar was part of the Adal Sultanate, a medieval muslim state located in the Horn of Africa. In the 16th century the city was encircled with a wall including five gates. This wall, called Jugol, is still intact, and has become the symbol of the city.

10. Taroudant

Taroudant is a fascinating and authentic Berber town in the heart of the Souss Valley, with the best preserved city walls in Morocco. It is often called the “Grandmother of Marrakech” because it is a scaled down, slowed down town that resembles Marrakech with its surrounding city walls. The walls were constructed in the 16th century under the Saadi Dynasty. Today the town is a market town andhas a souk near each of its two main squares.

9. Toledo

An often overlooked gem, Toledo is one of the former capitals of the Spanish Empire. The history of Toledo dates back to Roman times. Roman occupation was followed by Visigothic rule, Muslim rule and finally the Reconquista of Toledo in 1085 AD. It was the capital of the Spanish empire until the mid 1500’s when the royal court moved to Madrid. The city is surrounded by the River Tajo on three sides and two medieval walls on the fourth side.

8. Pingyao

Pingyao is a small Chinese city renowned for its well-preserved ancient city wall. The majestic wall, which includes six major gates and 72 watchtowers, encircles an old city which has little changed architecturally over the past 300 years. In 2004, part of the southern walls collapsed but were reconstructed. However, the rest of the city walls are still largely intact and Pingyao is considered to be one of best-preserved walled cities in the world.

7. Obidos

The town of Óbidos is located on a hill and is encircled by a fortified wall. In the 8th century the Moors established a fortification on top of the hill. It was taken from the Moors by the first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, in 1148. The castle of Óbidos and the walls of the village were remodeled in the 14th century. The walls are made out of local limestone and marble. The village was also enlarged around this time, with settlements created outside the city walls. The well-preserved mediaeval look of its streets, squares, walls and its massive castle have turned the picturesque village into a popular tourist attraction in Portugal.

6. Xi'an

Xi’an one of the oldest cities in China, with a history of more than 3,100 years. For 1,000 years, the city was the capital for 13 dynasties, and a total of 73 emperors ruled here. Xi’an is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army. A well-preserved city wall, which was reconstructed in the 14th century during the early Ming Dynasty, surrounds the city. One of the world’s largest city walls, it is wide enough to easily ride 5 bikes across.

5. Itchan Kala 

Itchan Kala is the walled inner town of the city of Khiva in Uzbekistan. The old town retains many historic monuments and old houses, dating primarily from the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. The most spectacular features of Itchan Kala are its sun-dried brick walls and four gates at each side of the rectangular fortress. The city walls were destroyed several times, but they were always rebuilt.

4. Avila

Located in western Spain, the medieval city of Ávila is built on the flat summit of a rocky hill, which rises abruptly in the midst of a veritable wilderness. Ávila has a magnificently well-preserved city wall which encircles the entire old town. The ramparts have nine gates and 88 towers many topped with stork nests. The city walls were primarily constructed in the 11th and 12th centuries.

3. Carcassonne

The French city of Carcassonne is one of the most perfectly preserved walled cities of the world and the largest walled city in Europe. The fortification consists of two outer walls, towers and barbicans built over a long period of time. One section is Roman and is notably different from the medieval walls with the red brick layers and the terracotta tile roofs. One of these towers housed the Catholic Inquisition in the 13th Century and is still known as ‘The Inquisition Tower’. Portions of the 1991 film ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ were shot in and around Carcassonne.

2. Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a holy city to three religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, whilst being the modern capital of the State of Israel and the country’s largest city. It is a fascinatingly unique place where the first century rubs shoulders with the twenty-first century, and where picturesque old neighborhoods nestle against glistening office towers and high-rise apartments. The walled city of Jerusalem, which until the late nineteenth century formed the entire city, is now called the Old City. It is divided into four quarters: The Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters. Jerusalem has been surrounded by walls for its defense since ancient times. In the 16th century, during the reign of the Ottoman empire in the region, it was decided to fully rebuild the city walls on the remains of the ancient walls. The construction lasted from 1535-1538 and these walls are the walls that exist today.

1. Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is a walled city on the Adriatic Sea coast in the extreme south of Croatia. Nicknamed “Pearl of the Adriatic”, it is one of the most prominent tourist destinations of the Mediterranean. The walled city was built on maritime trade. In the Middle Ages it became the only city-state in the Adriatic to rival Venice and achieved a remarkable level of development during the 15th and 16th centuries. The world famous walls surround the old city. Constructed mainly during the 12th–17th centuries, they have been well preserved to the present day.


Russia Tests Inter-continental Ballistic Missile, Topol RS-12M
Da defenseworld.net del 27 settembre 2017

Illustration of Russian ICBM Topol RS-12M

A Topol RS-12M intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has been test launched from the Kapustin Yar range in Russia’s southern Astrakhan region, the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday. "A combat group of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces test launched an intercontinental ballistic missile Topol RS-12M from the Kapustin Yar state central range in the Astrakhan region," Tass said quoting a ministry spokesman.

The goal of the launch was to test advanced ballistic missile warheads. The missile’s exercise warhead hit a target at the Sary-Shagan range in Kazakhstan, the ministry said. According to the ministry, data on the Topol launch will be used to develop advanced anti-missile defense penetration aids. The RS-12M Topol (SS-25 Sickle) is a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile, which entered service in 1985.It has a maximum range of 10,000 km (6,125 miles) and can carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of up to 550 kilotons.

Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for New American Security told USNI News yesterday that while the fundamental strategic balance between the two countries remains in place, there have been changes over the years in how each views the others and what either will do to protect itself. Moscow’s placement of cruise missiles close to its western borders does violate the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Fontaine said. The Russians claim that the placement of Aegis Ashore in Poland and Romania to deter missile attacks from Iran on NATO countries likewise broke the 1987 agreement.


The collapse of Tito's secret weapon of $ 4 billion
Da balkanwarhistory.com del 27 settembre 2017

Located deep in the Inland of the Plješevica Mountain near Bihać, once the most advanced Yugoslavian military airport Zeljava was famous for one of the three leading airports of this type in Europe.






With the aim of securing the airspace, Tito invested at the airport Zeljava about 4 billion US dollars to secure possible attacks against Yugoslavia.





According to the expert engineer for the radar system, Air Force lieutenant colonel in the air force service Ivan Prsa says that this military building looked impressive in 1968 when it was officially opened.

Zeljava once was the strongest airport

- It was the strongest military airport infrastructure in the whole of Yugoslavia. Inside, there was an aviation brigade with 60 airplanes and more than 3,000 people, of which there were only about 500 officers, about 900 non-commissioned officers, and about 2,000 soldiers. The air base had the capacity to operate from three Avio brigades in case of need, and was the ideal shield against sudden strikes - Prsa's story adds that it was the strictest guarded military facility in the former state.


On May 17, 1992, the army of Yugoslavia mined the airport with 56 tons of explosives and completely disabled it, and the tooth of time made its interior completely collapse.

The USK Prime Minister Hamdi Lipovac announced the possibility in 2011 for the creation of a modern cargo airport.

However, the height and cost-effectiveness of the investment dictate the flow of project realization, so the instructors say that it is such a nonprofitable, while for some kind of museum tourism the interior of the airport is not safe.



Leading polluters

The tunnel has a very dangerous toxic compound produced in a fire after blasting. Therefore, until they are decontaminated, they are unusable for any activity.

The border zone, in which the airport is located, is a large reservoir of drinking water sources of Klokot, Privilice and Zegar as a water supply system in the city of Bihac, as well as Smiljanovac that supplies Ripač.

 The former airport was one of the major polluters of the underground waters that dotted from Lika so that it is better for Bihac and Una Sana Canton to never work, says the inspector at the border crossing Izacic Hazim Alagic, in the JNA he had the title of a parachute.

Sources: www.avaz.ba jugoslavenska-narodna-armija.blogspot.ba


Russia Tests Nuclear-capable Intercontinental Ballistic Missile ‘RS-24 Yars’
Da defenseworld.net del 13 settembre 2017

Russia Tests Nuclear-capable Intercontinental Ballistic Missile ‘RS-24 Yars’

Russia successfully tested a Yars silo-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Tuesday at Plesetsk space center. "The test launch of a RS-24 Yars silo-based solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile, equipped with a multiple independently targeted reentry vehicle [MIRV] was carried out by a unit of Russia's Strategic Missile Forces," Russian ministry said in a statement.

The missile has a range of up to 6,800 miles and is one of the most advanced in Russia’s colossal nuclear arsenal. The ministry launched the weapon in a test to confirm its “reliability” amid tensions worldwide. "The experimental warheads arrived at the designated area at the Kura training ground on the Kamchatka peninsula. The goals have been achieved, all tasks have been fulfilled," the statement said.

The RS-24 Yars, which is equipped with three to six warheads, is capable of hitting different targets up to 12,000km away. The solid-fuel rocket is an upgraded version of the Topol-M missile, and can be launched both from the ground and from a vehicle. It was first tested a decade ago, and has been in use by Russia’s strategic forces for the past seven years. According to Sputnik, Russia is switching to Yars ICBMs with its share set to stand at 72 percent by the end of 2017.


Oshkosh Wins $177.5M For Production of Additional JLTVs
Da defenseworld.net del 1 settembre 2017

Oshkosh was awarded a $177.5 million modification contract for additional production quantities of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles and kits.

Work is expected to be completed by Aug. 25, 2024, US Department of Defense said in a statement Thursday.

Oshkosh Defense had won a contract worth $243 million from the US Army for 657 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles and logistics support in March last year.

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) is a United States military program to part-replace the Humvee that is currently in service.


Boeing, Northrop Pip Lockheed Martin in Race To Build Minuteman Nuclear Missile Replacement
Da defenseworld.net del 22 agosto 2017

Minuteman Missile Comparison: USAF National Museum image

Boeing has been awarded a $349.1 million contract and Northrop Grumman a $328.6 million contract for the Ground-based Strategic Deterrent program. “This contract is to conduct technology maturation and risk reduction to deliver a low technical risk, affordable total system replacement of Minuteman III to meet intercontinental ballistic missiles operational requirements,” a Pentagon contract announcement said.

The decision means rejection of a bid by Lockheed Martin, which also had competed for the work and had put together a high profile team of sub-contractors to execute the project. Boeing and Northrop now have three years to develop the next ground-based strategic deterrent missile, after which a single company is to be selected to run the program. The final winning company will be the recipient of a windfall of defense spending. Costs of the program have been estimated to be at least $85 billion, the Washington Post reported.

“The Minuteman III is the enduring ground-based leg of our nuclear triad. However, it is an aging platform and requires major investments to maintain its reliability and effectiveness,” Air Force Gen. Robin Rand, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, said in a statement. Inter-continental ballistic missiles produced and maintained by Boeing under the Minuteman program make up one leg of the United States’ so-called nuclear triad, which includes the capability to launch nuclear missiles on a moment’s notice from air, ground and submarine. “As the Air Force prepares to replace the Minuteman III, we will once again answer the call by drawing on the best of Boeing to deliver the capability, flexibility and affordability the mission requires,” Frank McCall, Boeing’s program manager for the effort, said in a statement.   Northrop Grumman chief executive Wes Bush emphasized his own company’s past experience with missile programs, a company statement posted Monday said. The Pentagon’s decision is the second big project loss to Lockheed Martin, which earlier lost out in a race to build the B-21 stealth bomber.


Russia unveils new transporter-loader vehicles for intercontinental ballistic missile
Da defence-blog.com del 18 agosto 2017
KB Motor in cooperation with Special Vehicles Company (ZSA) facility part of JSC «Remdizel» (a subsidiary of the Rostec state corporation) displayed publicly for the first time a new series of the special transporter-loader vehicles for the intercontinental ballistic missile.

The KB Motor is specialized in transport equipment for the space industry and Russian Strategic Rocket Forces and Special Vehicles Company is a wheeled special platform maker were developed new special transporter-loader vehicles for the intercontinental ballistic missile.

The KB Motor has developed a new generation of the transporter-loader system towed by the ubiquitous K-78504 tractor and 15T528 transporter-loader vehicle based on the K-78501 wheeled platform. These systems are a part of the ground infrastructure serving the ballistic missile system, it is designed to quickly transport the missiles along roads of any quality from storage facilities for subsequent installations in an underground missile silo.

According to armyrecognition.com, the new vehicles are a part of Platforma-O family includes four heavy wheeled vehicles. Platforma-O comprises K-7850 16×16 special wheeled platform with a lifting capacity of 85 t, K-78509 12×12 special wheeled platform with a lifting capacity of 60 t, K-78504 8×8 wheeled arctic intended for towing of a 90 t semi-trailer, and K-78508 8×8 wheeled ballast prime mover with a lifting capacity of 75 t intended for the transportation of aircraft on the airfield.

It should be noted that K-7850 and K-78509 are supposed to be used as the mobile ICBM systems` new chassis. There is a plan to integrate them with RS-24 Yars (SS-27 Mod 2) mobile ICBM launchers,” the source pointed out.


The ghostly radio station that no one claims to run
Da bbc.com del 2 agosto 2017
“MDZhB” has been broadcasting since 1982. No one knows why.

• This story is featured in BBC Future’s “Best of 2017” collection. Discover more of our picks.

In the middle of a Russian swampland, not far from the city of St Petersburg, is a rectangular iron gate. Beyond its rusted bars is a collection of radio towers, abandoned buildings and power lines bordered by a dry-stone wall. This sinister location is the focus of a mystery which stretches back to the height of the Cold War.
It is thought to be the headquarters of a radio station, “MDZhB”, that no-one has ever claimed to run. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the last three-and-a-half decades, it’s been broadcasting a dull, monotonous tone. Every few seconds it’s joined by a second sound, like some ghostly ship sounding its foghorn. Then the drone continues.
Once or twice a week, a man or woman will read out some words in Russian, such as “dinghy” or “farming specialist”. And that’s it. Anyone, anywhere in the world can listen in, simply by tuning a radio to the frequency 4625 kHz. It’s so enigmatic, it’s as if it was designed with conspiracy theorists in mind. Today the station has an online following numbering in the tens of thousands, who know it affectionately as “the Buzzer”. It joins two similar mystery stations, “the Pip” and the “Squeaky Wheel”. As their fans readily admit themselves, they have absolutely no idea what they are listening to.

In fact, no-one does. “There’s absolutely no information in the signal,” says
David Stupples, an expert in signals intelligence from City University, London. What’s going on?
The frequency is thought to belong to the Russian military, though they’ve never actually admitted this. It first began broadcasting at the close of the Cold War, when communism was in decline. Today it’s transmitted from two locations – the St Petersburg site and a location near Moscow. Bizarrely, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, rather than shutting down, the station’s activity sharply increased.
There’s no shortage of theories to explain what the Buzzer might be for – ranging from keeping in touch with submarines to communing with aliens. One such idea is that it’s acting as a “Dead Hand” signal; in the event Russia is hit by a nuclear attack, the drone will stop and automatically trigger a retaliation. No questions asked, just total nuclear obliteration on both sides.

There are clues in the signal itself

This may not be as wacky as it sounds. The system was originally pioneered in the Soviet era, where it took the form of a computer system which scanned the airwaves for signs of life or nuclear fallout. Alarmingly, many experts believe it may still be in use. As Russian president Vladimir Putin pointed out himself earlier this year, “nobody would survive” a nuclear war between Russia and the United States. Could the Buzzer be warding one off?
As it happens, there are clues in the signal itself. Like all international radio, the Buzzer operates at a relatively low frequency known as “shortwave”. This means that – compared to local radio, mobile phone and television signals – fewer waves pass through a single point every second. It also means they can travel a lot further.
While you’d be hard pressed to listen to a local station such as BBC Radio London in a neighbouring county, shortwave stations like the BBC World Service are aimed at audiences from Senegal to Singapore. Both stations are broadcast from the same building. It’s all thanks to “skywaves”. Higher frequency radio signals can only travel in a straight line, eventually becoming lost as they bump into obstacles or reach the horizon. But shortwave frequencies have an extra trick – they can bounce off charged particles in the upper atmosphere, allowing them to zig-zag between the earth and the sky and travel thousands, rather than tens, of miles.
Which brings us back to the Dead Hand theory. As you might expect, shortwave signals have proved extremely popular. Today they’re used by ships, aircraft and the military to send messages across continents, oceans and mountain ranges. But there’s a  catch.
The lofty layer isn’t so much a flat mirror, but a wave, which undulates like the surface of the ocean. During the day it moves steadily higher, while at night, it creeps down towards the Earth. If you want to absolutely guarantee that your station can be heard on the other side of the planet – and if you’re using it as a cue for nuclear war, you probably do – it’s important to change the frequency depending on the time of day, to catch up. The BBC World Service already does this. The Buzzer doesn’t.
Another idea is that the radio station exists to “sound” out how far away the layer of charged particles is. “To get good results from the radar systems the Russians use to spot missiles, you need to know this,” says Stupples. The longer the signal takes to get up into the sky and down again, the higher it must be.

Anyone can listen to the Buzzer, simply by tuning a radio to the frequency 4625 kHz (Credit: iStock)

There is a station with some striking similarities

Alas, that can’t be it either. To analyse the layer’s altitude the signal would usually have a certain sound, like a car alarm going off – the result of varying the waves to get them just right. “They sound nothing like the Buzzer,” says Stupples.
Intriguingly, there is a station with some striking similarities. The “Lincolnshire Poacher” ran from the mid-1970s to 2008. Just like the Buzzer, it could be heard on the other side of the planet. Just like the Buzzer, it emanated from an undisclosed location, thought to be somewhere in Cyprus. And just like the Buzzer, its transmissions were just plain creepy. At the beginning of every hour, the station would play the first two bars of an English folk tune, the Lincolnshire Poacher.

“Oh ‘tis my delight on a shining night

In the season of the year

When I was bound apprentice in famous Lincolnshire
‘Twas well I served my master for nigh on seven years…”
After repeating this12 times, it would move on to messages read by the disembodied voice of a woman reading groups of five numbers – “1-2-0-3-6” – in a clipped, upper-class English accent.
To get to grips with what was going on, it helps to go back to the 1920s. The All-Russian Co-operative Society (Arcos) was an important trade body, responsible for overseeing transactions between the UK and the early Soviet Union. Or at least, that’s what they said they did.

In May 1927, years after a British secret agent caught an employee sneaking into a communist news office in London, police officers stormed the Arcos building. The basement had been rigged with anti-intruder devices and they discovered a secret room with no door handle, in which workers were hurriedly burning documents.
It may have been dramatic, but the British didn’t discover anything that they didn’t already know. Instead the raid was a wake-up call to the Soviets, who discovered that MI5 had been listening in on them for years.
“This was a blunder of the very first order,” says Anthony Glees, who directs the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham. To justify the raid, the prime minister had even read out some of the deciphered telegrams in the House of Commons.
The upshot was that the Russians completely reinvented the way messages are encrypted. Almost overnight, they switched to “one-time pads”. In this system, a random key is generated by the person sending the message and shared only with the person receiving it. As long as the key really is perfectly random, the code cannot be cracked. There was no longer any need to worry about who could hear their messages.
Enter the “numbers stations” – radio stations that broadcast coded messages to spies all over the world. Soon even the British were doing it: if you can’t beat them, join ‘em, as they say. It’s quite difficult to generate a completely random number because a system for doing so will, by its very nature, be predictable –exactly what you’re trying to avoid. Instead officers in London found an ingenious solution.
They’d hang a microphone out of the window on Oxford Street and record the traffic. “There might be a bus beeping at the same time as a policeman shouting.

The sound is unique, it will never happen again,” says Stupples. Then they’d convert this into a random code.
Of course, that didn’t stop people trying to break them. During World War Two, the British realised that they could, in fact, decipher the messages – but they’d have to get their hands on the one-time pad that was used to encrypt them. “We discovered that the Russians used the out-of-date sheets of one-time pads as substitute toilet paper in Russian army hospitals in East Germany,” says Glees. Needless to say, British intelligence officers soon found themselves rifling through the contents of Soviet latrines.

Now North Korea are getting in on the act, too

The new channel of communication was so useful, it didn’t take long before the numbers stations had popped up all over the world. There was the colourfully named “Nancy Adam Susan”, “Russian Counting Man” and “Cherry Ripe” – the Lincolnshire Poacher’s sister station, which also contained bars of an English folk song. In name at least, the Buzzer fits right in. It also fits with a series of arrests across the United States back in 2010. The FBI announced that it had broken up a “long term, deep cover” network of Russian agents, who were said to have received their instructions via coded messages on shortwave radio – specifically 7887 kHz.

Now North Korea are getting in on the act, too. On 14 April 2017, the broadcaster at Radio Pyongyang began: “I’m giving review works in elementary information technology lessons of the remote education university for No 27 expedition agents.” This ill- oncealed military message was followed by a series of page numbers – No 69 on page 823, page 957 – which look a lot like code.
It may come as a surprise that numbers stations are still in use – but they hold one major advantage. Though it’s possible to guess who is broadcasting, anyone can listen to the messages – so you don’t know who they are being sent to. Mobile phones and the internet may be quicker, but open a text or email from a known intelligence agency and you could be rumbled.

It only becomes a numbers station in moments of crisis, such as if Russia were invaded

It’s a compelling idea: the Buzzer has been hiding in plain sight, instructing a network of illicit Russian spies all over the world. There’s just one problem. The Buzzer never broadcasts any numbered messages.
This doesn’t strictly matter, since one-time pads can be used to translate  anything – from code words to garbled speech. “If this phone call was encrypted you’d hear “…enejekdhejenw…’ but then it would come out the other side sounding like normal speech,” says Stupples. But this would leave traces in the signal.
To send information over the radio, essentially all you’re doing is varying the height or spacing of the waves being transmitted. For example, two low waves in a row means x, or three waves closer together means y. When a signal is carrying information, instead of neat, evenly spaced waves like ripples on the ocean, you’re left with a wave like the jagged silhouette of an ECG.

This isn’t the Buzzer. Instead, many believe that the station is a hybrid of two things. The constant drone is just a marker, saying “this frequency is mine, this frequency is mine…” to stop people from using it.
It only becomes a numbers station in moments of crisis, such as if Russia were invaded. Then it would function as a way to instruct their worldwide spy network and military forces on standby in remote areas. After all, this is a country around 70 times the size of the UK.
It seems they’re already been practicing. “In 2013 they issued a special message, ‘COMMAND 135 ISSUED’ that was said to be test message for full combat readiness,” says Māris Goldmanis, a radio enthusiast who listens to the station from his home in the Baltic states.
The mystery of the Russian radio may have been solved. But if its fans are right, let’s just hope that drone never stops.


South Korea, US Fire Missiles In Response To Pyongyang's ICBM Launch
Da defenseworld.net  del 5 luglio 2017

South Korean Hyunmoo-2A ballistic missile

South Korea and the US fired a barrage of missiles, including South’s Hyunmoo-2A and US ATACMS sending a warning message to North Korea. 

North Korea had claimed a successful long-range missile test Monday. South Korea, US fired the ballistic missiles into the East Sea, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Hyunmoo-2A is a ballistic missile with a range of 300 kilometers, and the ATACMS, or the Army Tactical Missile System, is a surface-to-surface missile.

The live-fire training was held on the orders of President Moon Jae-in who cited the need for demonstrating the allies' missile defense posture with action, not just a statement, Moon's office Cheong Wa Dae was quoted as saying by Yonhap Wednesday.

The US troops said they mobilized the assets to counter "North Korea's destabilizing and unlawful actions" a day earlier, referencing its firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile. "The deep strike precision capability enables the ROK (South Korea)-US Alliance to engage the full array of time critical targets under all weather conditions," the Eighth Army said. The North Korean Central News Agency said the North has mastered the atmospheric re-entry technology and other skills for an ICBM via the test inspected by leader Kim Jong-un. "The test-launch was aimed at confirming the tactical and technological specifications and technological features of the newly developed inter-continental ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-sized heavy nuclear warhead," the KCNA said in an English-language report. The test was also to "finally verify all technical features of the payload of the rocket during its atmospheric re-entry, including the heat-resisting features and structural safety of the warhead tip of ICBM made of newly developed domestic carbon compound material, in particular," it added.

The inner temperature of the warhead tip stayed within the range of 25-45 degrees Celsius at the time of the re-entry, with all other core devices normally operating before the missile struck a mock target accurately, it argued. "All technological characteristics" necessary to fire an ICBM from a mobile launcher were verified as well, it said. Kim Jong-un described the Hwasong-14 ICBM as an Independence Day "gift" for Americans.


Nike-Raketenstellung Reetz (Blankenheim)
Da rottenplaces.de del 15 giugno 2017

Vom Die belgischen Streitkräfte betrieben ab 1963 in der Gemarkung Reetz „Auf dem Kump“ eine Raketenstellung, auf der als Teil der NATO-Luftabwehr bis Anfang der 1990er Jahre 23 Nike-Raketen des Typs „Nike-Hercules“ (Langstrecken-Flugabwehrrakete aus USamerikanischer Produktion; Anm. d. Red.) stationiert waren. Die Stellung, die Teil eines Raketensperrgürtels war, befand sich auf einem stark gesicherten Gelände, auf dem 400 Soldaten ihren Dienst taten. Stationiert waren hier ab 1982 auch atomare Gefechtsköpfe unter direkter Kontrolle der USA, die 1988/89 abtransportiert wurden. Die Radar- und Steuerzentrale dieser Raketenstellung befand sich westlich des Nachbarortes Mülheim auf dem „Kalkbüsch“ am Finkenberg.

Die hier installierten Radarantennen dienten dem Zweck, Höhe, Geschwindigkeit und den Kurs eines anfliegenden Flugzeuges erkennen und dieses auch als „Feindflugzeug“ identifizieren. Parallel dazu mussten Kurs und Flugbahn der stellungseigenen Abwehrraketen zum feindlichen Flugobjekt errechnet werden. Dafür waren leistungsstarke Computer zuständig, die in atombomebnsicheren Bunkern untergebracht waren. Schon während des Zweiten Weltkriegs diente das Areal als Flugabwehr, später als Flugwacht. Von hier aus wurden Bomberverbände, die in Richtung deutscher Großstädte flogen, gesichtet, identifiziert und weitergemeldet. Das Gelände der Stellung war eine Zeit lang verpachtet und der Öffentlichkeit nicht zugängig.

Über die Jahre „schlachteten“ Kupferdiebe und Vandalen das Gelände mit seinen Gebäuden förmlich aus. Die Schäden sind enorm. Noch Ende 1990, also mit dem Abzug der Belgier, wollte der Verein „Art Eifel“ hier Filmvorführungen und Ausstellungen durchführen. Nike Nike war ein US-amerikanisches Flugabwehrraketenprogramm (SAM-N-25 – Bezeichnung bis 1962; MIM-14/14A/14B – Bezeichnung ab 1962), das in der ursprünglichen Variante MIM-3 Nike Ajax und später in der verbesserten Variante Nike Hercules über viele Jahre das Rückgrat der US- merikanischen Luftverteidigung darstellte. Es war für den Einsatz gegen hochfliegende, überschallschnelle und auch multiple Ziele (etwa gegen Bomberpulks) konzipiert. In der Variante Nike Zeus wurde sie auch im ersten US-amerikanischen Raketenabwehrsystem verwendet.Quellen: wisoveg.de, Wikipedia, cold-war.de, rundschau-online.de di Andrè Winternitz



The History Of The Medieval Seat Fortress Of Suceava, Bukovina, Romania
Da thedockyards.com del 22 maggio 2017

Seat Fortress of Suceava – night view. CC BY-SA 4.0 license via Wikimedia Commons. Image source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

Suceava (Old High German: Sedschopff; Standard Modern German: Sutschawa/Sotschen) was the third capital of the medieval Principality of Moldavia between the late 14th to late 16th century (namely between the years 1388 and 1564), after the proximal town of Baia (most likely founded by Transylvanian Saxon potters; also known in German as ‘Moldenmarkt’) lost its trading importance in the region.

During the reign of Prince Peter II of Moldavia (Petru II Mușat), who is noted for maintaining good diplomatic relationships with then neighbouring Kingdom of Poland, the medieval citadel of the city was built.


View over the eastern side of Suceava castle (Polish: Suczawa twierdza). Image source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

Subsequently, in the times of Alexander I of Moldavia and Stephen III (specifically in the 15th century), the citadel got expanded and further fortified.

As part of a defensive system of strongholds built in late medieval Moldavia in order to stand up against the Ottoman expansionist threat, the seat fortress in Suceava managed to hold off incursions from both Ottoman and Polish invaders.

One of the most notable failed sieges involving the stronghold was the one in 1436, when Mehmed II (previously the conqueror of Constantinople) was defeated.


Aerial view of the Suceava seat fortress. Image source: www.boredpanda.com

During its time as the capital of medieval Moldavia, Suceava’s citadel fulfilled the role of royal residence for the native princes. However, during Prince Alexander IV Lăpușneanu’s reign, the Moldavian capital was moved from Suceava to Iași, thus the former losing wealth and status as its fortress was set afire on purpose by the aforementioned prince (in order to be in good graces with the Ottoman Empire of which Moldavia was a vassal autonomous state at the time).

In 1675, in the time of Dumitrașcu Cantacuzino, the citadel was nearly obliterated at his orders.

Later on, the northeastern region of the Principality of Moldavia was awarded to the Habsburg monarchy in the wake of the Russo-Turkish wars (late 18th century), and consequently came to be known as ‘Bukovina’ or ‘Buchenland’ in German (literally meaning ‘the land of beech trees’). Integration within the Austrian Empire brought interest in restoring the imposing local fortification. So it is that under the guidance of Austrian architect Karl Adolf Romstorfer the citadel was partly rebuilt and archaeological research on its former site was carried out during the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Panoramic view of the citadel during a rainy day, with the city in the background. Image source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

In late 20th century other works aimed at rehabilitating the old fortress were made. Ultimately though, starting in 2013 a restoration project thoroughly reconsolidated the citadel. Nowadays, the local fortresses represents a major touristic destination in Bukovina, northeastern Romania, along with the UNESCO medieval painted monasteries from the Suceava county. The citadel is annually home to a medieval-themed festival/market as well as a local rock music festival entitled ‘Bukovina Rock Castle’. Below you can watch an aerial footage of the city of Suceava, also focusing on the fortress:

Documentation sources and external links:
Princely Fortress of Suceava on www.muzeulbucovinei.ro
Stephen the Great, prince of Moldavia on www.britannica.com
Principality of Moldavia on www.britannica.com
Bukovina, region in Central Europe on www.britannica.com
Churches of Moldavia on www.whc.unesco.org
Baia on www.wikipedia.org (in English)
Suceava on www.wikipedia.org (in English)
The Fortress of Suceava on www.cimec.ro (in English)
Suceava Fortress on www.blogspot.com


Abandoned nuclear bunkers from around the world
Da cnet.com del 16 maggio 2017

They're eerie. They're underground. They're Cold War time capsules.

By Joal Ryan

Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Northern Ireland blast doors

Cold War-era bunkers, like the threat of nuclear doomsday, are forever. Fallout shelters from the 1940s to the 1990s remain embedded in the Earth, many still stocked with the essentials of living.

Some sit in ruin. Some have become tourist attractions. But all are trapped in time.

Pictured first: The main blast door at a nuclear bunker site at Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

Jake Barlow/CBS News

North Dakota bunker

In this North Dakota bunker, the kitchen's been tidied, but not much else has changed since the former Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility was deactivated in 1997 after a run of over 20 years.

It's also called the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site.


Sean Gallup/Getty Images

East German bunker

The portrait of East German leader Erich Honecker looms over a spartan office setup that probably dates back to the mid-to-late 1980s.

That Robotron K 8915 was a computer was produced in 1986.

Closed after the fall of the Berlin Wall and reborn as Bunkermuseum, this shelter now offers guided and immersive tours.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

East German rations

The East German fallout shelter was built in the 1970s by the feared state secret police.

It housed enough supplies, including canned soup and biscuits, to tide over as many as 130 people for three weeks, before being reborn as the Bunkermuseum.


Prague Communism and Nuclear Bunker Tour/Facebook

Czech Republic bunker

The exhibits at the Prague Nuclear Bunker Exposition are as eerie as the history of this plus-size facility that lies about "four floors deep" under the city.

The shelter was said to be capable of housing up to 5,000 people during the chilliest days of the Cold War.


Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

York bunker

Up to 60 people could call this bomb-proof civil-defense bunker home in the British city of York.

Opened in 1961 in and in use until 1991, the facility is now a tourist destination.


Jake Barlow/CBS News

Guns still at the ready

At Oscar-Zero in North Dakota, a six-member security team was armed with M-16s.

This is a weapons locker in one of the bedrooms.





Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Another view of the York Cold War Bunker

This workspace was intended for use by telephone and communication operators.

On the whole, the York facility was designed to monitor nuclear fallout.


Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Northern Ireland bunker

"There's quite a lot of tinned food," said a real-estate agent handling the sale of Northern Ireland's only known Cold War-era bunker at Ballymena.

"I don't know how old it is and I wouldn't like to try any of it -- I don't even know if it's still edible!"


Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Bunk beds at Ballymena

Opened in 1990 in the waning days of the Cold War, the "heavily fortified" bunker could house up to 235 people and serve its residents with dorm rooms, meeting rooms, a TV studio, and, just in case...



Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Clean up

...decontamination chambers.



Jake Barlow/CBS News

Oscar-Zero launch station

At the bunker in North Dakota, this is the station where missiles would've been launched.



Jake Barlow/CBS News

Nuclear codes in here

The nuclear-code and key lockbox at Oscar-Zero.

If a president were to order a strike, the "Missileers" on duty would open the box and get the keys and code.



Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker

This bunker, designed to serve up to 600 British military and civilian personnel, thought of everything, including an operating room.

Decommissioned in 1992, it's now a museum and for-hire filming location owned and run by the family on whose farmland it was built.


Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker/Facebook

Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker

The communications room at this 35,000-square-foot shelter in the British county of Cheshire boasts the latest technology -- of a bygone era.

Deactivated in the early 1990s, the Hack Green facility is now a museum and "home to the largest public display of nuclear weapons in Europe."


Jake Barlow/CBS News

Sleeping tight at Oscar-Zero

Now part of a state-run historic site named after the 40th US president, Oscar-Zero once housed a crew of 10, including two "Missileers" who worked 24-hour shifts.



Ferenc Isza/AFP/Getty Images

Budapest bunker

You could say the bathroom in this bunker, once known as F4, has seen better days.

Then again, the facility, located about 131 feet underground, was built in the 1950s by rule of Hungary's then-Stalinist strongman, so... maybe it hasn't.


Tatiana Dyuvbanova/Shutterstock

Moscow bunker

Meanwhile, in Moscow: Claustrophobic, dim tunnels are the connective tissue of Bunker-42, a 75,000-square-foot facility built in the 1950s and located nearly 215 feet beneath the Russian capital.

Now a museum, 2,500 people holed up in the space during the tense days of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.



Canadian bunker

This workspace could be from the set of "Mad Men" -- that is, if Don Draper's crew was housed in a four-story, 100,000-squarefoot bunker located 75 feet beneath Ottawa.

This mammoth Diefenbunker facility is now a museum.






Diefenbunker's war room

Completed in 1961, and used by the Canadian government until 1994, the bunker was built to house up to 535 military and government officials.




Swiss bunker

K7 was the code name for this bunker built into a mountainside, and intended as the chief command-and-control center for the Swiss military.

In 2012, the facility became a cloud data center for Radix Technologies. The map room was one of the few remaining vestiges of the complex's former life.



Vladivostok bunker

Booklets litter a Soviet-era nuclear shelter in Vladivostok, a Russian port city with a vast network of underground vaults, warehouses and passageways.



Amherst College/Screenshot by CNET

Massachusetts bunker

This control-room door made plain the serious matters contemplated at the concrete-encased Bare Mountain US government bunker, burrowed into the side of a Massachusetts mountain in 1957.

Roughly 20 years after the feds moved out, Amherst College bought the three-story bunker in 1992, and converted it into a book depository now used by a total of five colleges.


Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Vintage anti-aircraft station

A visitor, dressed as an East German NVA army soldier, plays with switches in a former Russian mobile anti-aircraft radar station during an overnight stay in the Bunkermuseum in the former East Germany.



Say YES to the Drakelow Tunnels Museum Development/Facebook

Drakelow Tunnels

Originally built for secure aircraft-part manufacture during the bomb-ridden days of World War II, this underground British complex was reimagined during the Cold War as a nuclear bunker.

It included a BBC studio that was capable of broadcasting public- ervice announcements.

Sold in 1993, the facility is now open for tours and filming.


The Greenbrier/Facebook

The Greenbrier bunker

Only the best for our members of Congress. This was apparently the guiding principle when the US government built a "five-star fallout shelter" into a mountain under the historic Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.

Maintained in secrecy for roughly 30 years until it was outed in 1992, the facility, designed to fit all 535 senators and representatives, plus about 565 others, is now a tourist destination.


Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

A lot more welcoming now

The main entrance and blast door at the nuclear bunker site in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.


USAF Awards $48M Contract To BAE Systems To Operate 5 Phased Array Radar Systems Stations
Da defenseworld.net del 11 maggio 2017

BAE Systems has been awarded a $48 million contract by the US Air Force to operate Solid State Phased Array Radar Systems (SSPARS) at five major strategic radar stations.

BAE Systems will manage, operate, maintain and logistically support five SSPARS sites: Beale Air Force Base, California; Cape Cod Air Force Station, Massachusetts; Clear Air Force Station, Alaska; Thule Air Base, Greenland; and Royal Air Force Fylingdales, United Kingdom. “BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services, Rockville, Maryland, has been awarded a $48,487,511 modification (P00562) to exercise an option on previously awarded contract FA2517-06-C-8001. Contractor will manage, operate, maintain and logistically support the Solid State Phased Array Radar Systems,” the US Department of Defense said in a press release Wednesday.

Work is expected to be completed by Aug. 31, 2018.  The SSPARS is a ground-based radar system that provides U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Neb., with warning and attack-assessment information on all intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) launched throughout the world that might be headed for U.S. territory. The system also helps warn USSTRATCOM and NATO authorities of submarine- and sea-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) attacks and provides data to help evaluate the severity of ballistic missile attacks.



Chinese expert say that China should take military action against THAAD deployment
Da defence-blog.com del 4 maggio 2017

China should take military countermeasures against THAAD deployment, a Chinese military expert said after the defense ministries of South Korea and the U.S. confirmed onMay 2 that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system is now operational in South Korea. The system reportedly has the initial capability to intercept North Korean missiles.

The deployment of THAAD poses a substantial threat to China. The system enables SouthKorea and its allies to monitor military projects in northern, northeastern and easternChina, Yang Chengjun, a senior military strategist of missile studies, told the GlobalTimes.

Diplomatic channels have so far proven unable to stop the deployment of THAAD, Yang said, suggesting that China take military action to safeguard its national security. For instance, China could send more troops armed with advanced weapons to its north-east region, enhance air and naval forces and conduct regular anti-THAAD drills in the region. The country could also disclose more information about the deployment of its own advanced weapons, such as the DF-41 strategic missile, according to Yang.



A Rare Journey Into the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, a Super-Bunker That Can Survive Anything
Da wired.com del 3 maggio 2017

With escalating fears about North Korean nuclear capabilities, Cheyenne Mountain’s ability to predict and survive a nuclear attack resonates more than ever.

IN THE BACKGROUND of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak dominates the sky. But just to that mountain’s southeast looms another geological ripple. Cheyenne Mountain---a rounded, rocky thing that rises 9,565 feet above sea level---looks wild and quiet. But deep inside the mountain, a crew of humans toils in one of the nation’s most secure military installations. Shielded by 2,500 feet of granite, these people gather and analyze data from a global surveillance system, in an attempt to (among other, undisclosed things) warn the government’s highest officials of launches and missile threats to North America.

Their military mole-city, completed in the mid-1960s amid Cold War worries, is---when fully buttoned-up---highly resistant to nuclear bombs, electromagnetic bombs, electromagnetically destructive behavior from the sun, and biological weapons. It’s designed to do its job, and let those inside do theirs, in the worst of worst-case scenarios.And with escalating fears about North Korean aggression and nuclear capabilities, Cheyenne Mountain’s ability to predict and survive a nuclear attack resonates more than it did just af ew months ago.
As I drive up the hairpinned road toward the entrance to the mountain, made famous in fictional form by War Games and Stargate, signs warn me off with increasing aggression. But I'm allowed: I'm here for a rare tour of the mountain’s innards.
When I arrive at the visitor check-in, Fox News plays on the overhead TV. A sign beneath says not to change the channel, and a uniformed officer reads me a document that says I can't have explosives and that the employees can use deadly force to protect the site. Fair enough.
Soon, badge on blazer, fully briefed, I walk with four escorts---two men who are civilians and two women who are military officers---toward this constructed cave. It is, perhaps, the place on this planet most able to cut itself off from the rest of Earth. And the hardest part for those who work there is not spending all their time subterranean but knowing that in those worst cases---of which "North Korean nukes" is the example most used during my visit---everyone they care about will be outside the thing that’s keeping them safe.

A Skyless Safety Net

Much of that safety comes from the complex’s very underground-ness. And given that miners had to excavate 693,000 tons of granite to make the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, you might expect its entryway to wow. But the mountain itself is so tall, so sheer, that the 22-foot, two-lane arch leading to the north tunnel looks especially puny by comparison.Rusty Mullins---deputy director of the Air Force’s 721st Communications Squadron---is  leading this tour. He walks down the edge of the tunnel’s asphalt road as he talks about the site, concrete barriers forcing him at intervals to step back onto the sidewalk. The granite makes a half-cylinder around us, bolts knocked into the rock like some kind of sadistic climbing gym.
People get used to these depths, the disconnection. “You learn to live without any sky,”  he says, “without any outside but what’s on TV.” There's a lot of TV, though---sets in the work rooms that show the world beyond that arch.
The tunnel curves ahead of us, a skew that will route nuclear (or whatever) material and send it out through the south entrance. The blast doors that lead to the complex's buildings branch off from the tunnel at around 90 degrees, so any material will glance off rather than slam into them.


A nuclear peril, and its silences
Da printfriendly.com del 28 aprile 2017

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon during a visit to Vanguard-class submarine HMS Vigilant, one of the UK's four nuclear warhead-carrying submarines. Danny Lawson/PA Images.

Donald Trump has said that there is a risk of a “major, major conflict” with North Korea and using such terminology implies a potential nuclear dimension. Britain's foreign secretary Boris Johnson has said that the United Kingdom would support the United States in further military action against the Assad regime in Syria. This raises some worrying questions early in the UK's general-election campaign, especially if it is put in the context of the country's long-term commitment to the use of nuclear weapons.

When Britain's new prime minister Theresa May announced the next stage of the Trident replacement programme in July 2016 she was asked directly whether she would ever “press the button” and fire these, the nuclear missiles in the United Kingdom's arsenal. She said yes, unreservedly, ensuring that the UK would remain a fully functioning member of the nuclear club: that tiny group of nine states compared with the 186 states that do not possess nuclear weapons (see "A nuclear world: eight-and-a half rogue states", 13 January 2017).

The opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was asked the same question during the current general-election campaign, and repeated his oft-expressed refusal to do so. For this he was roundly condemned by leading Conservatives and their supporters in the press. The defence secretary Michael Fallon termed Corbyn an out-and-out security threat, while confirming that Britain’s retains a nuclear "first-use" strategy. To put it bluntly, Theresa May is prepared to start a nuclear war whereas Jeremy Corbyn won’t (see "Britain's nuclear plans: the Corbyn factor", 17 September 2015).

The implications of this very bald statement are startling in two quite different ways. The first is that starting a nuclear war would most probably be the war crime to end all war crimes; the second is that the prospect of this raised scarcely a flicker of interest in the media or the country at large, apart from the opportunity for the Conservatives to label Corbyn unpatriotic and a threat to British security.

True, any self-respecting analyst of British nuclear policy knows full well that successive political leaders may have been reluctant to talk about firing nuclear weapons. A previous column on the topic in this series remarked on the manner in which Theresa May was at least open about it (see also "Britain's nuclear-weapons future: no done deal", 21 July 2016).

Such an analyst will also know that the British government has never signed up to the idea of “no first use”, but that this is almost never stated in public. Indeed, the willingness to "go first" is typically consigned to a few weasel words hidden in the depths of a lengthy defence statement, and then only rarely.

The big boys' club

It is not easy to understand why one of the smaller nuclear powers is willing to undertake the ultimate and entirely self-defeating effort to “punch above its weight” in nuclear weapons (and other geostrategic) terms. But it helps to put this in a historical perspective. In the 1950s, Britain had not yet shed its imperial past; but it had become the world’s third nuclear power after the United States and the Soviet Union, and was seen by the British establishment as still in status a co-equal among three superpowers.

This was a radical change from the multipolar world of the 1930s. Then, six states – Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, Japan, Germany and France – were all in military competition. The second world war then saw Germany and Japan defeated, and France humbled, leaving the newly nuclear-armed Britain to see itself very much as part of the "big boys’ club".

In those days, before the advent of CND and the era of anti-nuclear campaigning, a legacy of wartime endured: namely, the military continued to see nuclear weapons as not so dissimilar from conventional weapons except in the level of power they unleashed. After all, the argument went, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs had not been hugely more devastating than the conventional massed bomber raids on Hamburg and Dresden, or indeed the terrifying destruction of Tokyo by firebombing.

The notion that nuclear weapons represented just another item in the arsenal had a particular significance for Britain, which could no longer even begin to match the conventional forces of the Soviets or Americans. A fact now lost in the depths of nuclear history is that when Britain’s interests in Asia seemed threatened by the rise of Chinese communism in the 1950s, defence analysts actually theorised about the need to prevail in a war by using nuclear weapons.

One of the most influential such thinkers, John Slessor, believed that: “in most of the possible theatres of limited war… it must be accepted that it is at least improbable that we would be able to meet a major communist offensive in one of those areas without resorting to tactical nuclear weapons” (see Milan Rai, Tactical Trident, the Rifkind Doctrine and the Third World, Drava Papers, 1995).

In the late 1950s and early 1960s the UK developed the capability to drop nuclear bombs from the V-bomber force based in the Middle East and southeast Asia, and by Scimitar and Buccaneer aircraft on carriers. The ideas behind this were illustrated by the then defence minister, Duncan Sandys, in a 1957 debate:

“One must distinguish major global war, involving a head-on clash between the great powers, and minor conflicts which can be localised and which do not bring the great powers into direct collision. Limited and localised acts of aggression, for example by a satellite Communist state could, no doubt, be resisted with conventional arms, or, at worst, with tactical atomic weapons, the use of which could be confined to the battle area” (see Hansard, Volume 568, column 1765, 16 April 1957).

The idea of limited nuclear war persists to this day. It was and is a central part of Nato’s strategy of flexible response. This was originally codified in document MC 14/3 of 16 January 1968, and has long been a part of Britain’s nuclear thinking, however hidden from public view (see Lewis Betts, Duncan Sandys and British Nuclear Policy-Making, Palgrave 2016).

When Argentina overran the Falkland/Malvinas Islands in 1982, prime minister Margaret Thatcher ordered the despatch of a naval taskforce, with the defence secretary John Nott telling the House of Commons that it would carry its full range of weapons. At the time this included helicopter-borne nuclear depth-bombs for anti-submarine warfare and free-fall bombs for delivery by Sea Harriers. There followed a row within Whitehall over the wisdom of putting such weapons at risk in a warzone. Some, at least, were reportedly transferred to an auxiliary, RFA Regent, which was deployed to the south Atlantic but, unlike its sister ship RFA Resource, was kept clear of the warzone (see "Nuclear weapons: the oxygen of debate", 29 December 2006).

In recent years there has been an assumption that Britain has given up the idea of limited nuclear war, having withdrawn all its tactical nuclear weapons in the 1990s. But this is not correct, since a low-yield variant of the otherwise very powerful Trident thermonuclear warhead is available ("low yield" in this case meaning merely the size of the Hiroshima or Nagasaki bomb).

A new danger

All this, and much more, has long been in the public domain (see Paul Rogers, Sub-Strategic Trident: A Slow Burning Fuse, London Defence Papers No 34, Brassey’s for the Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College, London, 1996). Yet it almost never figures in the public debate about defence. Indeed, on rare occasions when people like Jeremy Corbyn raise the issue, they are labelled security risks.

In part such attitudes are still explained by the British establishment’s fundamental need to see the UK as a major world player, especially at a time of relative decline. But there is also the matter of generational change. These issues were debated In the 1980s, at least to an extent. But the cold war ended in 1990, and few people under the age of 40 have much awareness of just how dangerous that period was.

Today, with Trump, Putin, Kim Jong-un and even Theresa May around, the world has entered a new period of uncertainty and potential nuclear danger. Yet there are few signs of any kind of rational debate emerging in the weeks of campaigning until Britain's general election on 8 June. Instead, there is the appalling prospect of serious discussion about UK nuclear weapons being submerged by accusations of unpatriotic behaviour and threats to national security.

This could of course, change, if the Labour leadership were to persist in the following questions to Theresa May, questions which are entirely reasonable in the context of the last few days:

If a potentially violent crisis develops over North Korea and President Trump requests British support would she:

* provide political support?

* provide military assistance as a symbol of the special relationship?

* ensure that the UK nuclear force was maintained on a high state of alert in case of an untoward escalation of a crisis?

About the author

Paul Rogers is professor in the department of peace studies at Bradford University, northern England. He is openDemocracy's international security adviser, and has been writing a weekly column on global security since 28 September 2001; he also writes a monthly briefing for the Oxford Research Group. His latest book is Irregular War: ISIS and the New Threat from the Margins (IB Tauris, 2016), which follows Why We’re Losing the War on Terror (Polity, 2007), and Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century (Pluto Press, 3rd edition, 2010). He is on Twitter at: @ProfPRogers


Byriġ: The Early Medieval Anglo-Saxon Fortified Settlements
Da thedockyards.com del 24 aprile 2017

Artist’s impression of an early medieval Anglo-Saxon fortress known as ‘burh’. Image source: www.pinterest.com

The Byrig (singular form in Old English: Burh/Burg; pronunciation: [‘burx]) were a series of Anglo-Saxon fortified settlements of the 9th century built as defensive strongholds against the incursions of the Norsemen (mainly Danish Vikings) who had been recurrently raiding and plundering the Anglian kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia. The vast majority of these early medieval forts were built during King Alfred the Great’s reign, according to the Anglo-Saxon chronicle and another Anglo-Saxon document known as the Burghal Hidage. Some of these were constructed from scratch, others were erected on the site of former Iron Age circular hill forts or Roman era castra. Many of them were strategically placed on the course of some rivers. The aim of these fortresses was to prevent further inward invasions on behalf of various Norse war bands embarked on longships. It is also important to mention the fact that aside from their military scope, the byrig were also used as regional trade centres, with some of them even minting coins. Their walls were either made of timber or stone (partly based on previous Roman walls in several cases). Several riverside fortifications of this sort eventually achieved urban status during the High Middle Ages.

Below are listed several noteworthy byrig:

Oxford, Oxfordshire (built entirely by Anglo-Saxons)
Wallingford, Oxfordshire (built entirely by Anglo-Saxons)
Crikdale, Wiltshire (built entirely by Anglo-Saxons)
Wareham, Dorset (built entirely by Anglo-Saxons)

Winchester, Hampshire (based on a previous Roman fort)
Exeter, Devon (based on a previous Roman fort)
York, North Yorkshire (based on a previous Roman fort)
Burgh Castle, Norfolk (based on a previous Roman fort)
Portchester, Portsmouth, Hampshire (based on a previous Roman fort)
Dover, Kent (based on a previous Roman fort)

Engraving dating to the 19th century depicting the walls of Burgh Castle, Norfolk, England. Image source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

Subsequently, the term ‘burh’ evolved as part of such toponyms ending in ‘-bourough’, ‘-berry’/’-bury’, or ‘-burg’. Furthermore, in Old English the term ‘burh’ was cognate with the German ‘burg’ and the North Germanic ‘borg’. The following brief video presentation below explains why the byrig were built in England throughout the Viking Age.

Documentation sources and external links:
Byrig on www.wiktionary.org (in English)
Byrig on ww.glosbe.com
Anglo-Saxon Burhs on www.britainexpress.com
Alfred the Great and the Burhs on www.ancientfortresses.org
Burh on www.wikipedia.org (in English)
Anglo-Saxon England on www.britannica.com
Anglo-Saxon | people on www.britannica.com
The Burghal Hidage on www.ucl.ac.uk
Borough definition on www.dictionary.com


North Korea Showcase New Ballistic Missile At Military Parade
Da defenseworld.net del 15 aprile 2017

’Pukguksong-2’ intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) showcased during military parade (Yonhap photo)

North Korea showcased its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time at a public event during a large-scale military parade in Pyongyang today.

A huge truck carrying the missile-shaped objective appeared to be a new type ICBM rolled through the main square of the capital in front of leader Kim Jong-un, Yonhap reports Saturday.

"It's presumed to be a new ICBM. It seems longer than the existing KN-08 or KN-14 ICBMs, a South Korean military official told Yonhap.

The North also showed off various other ballistic missiles including what it claims to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and new intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) ’Pukguksong-2’.


Kompleksy Zeppelin oraz Maybach - Zossen
Da bunkrowo.pl del 9 aprile 2017

di Tomasz Hołownia


-2’.Wϋnsdorf to niewielka miejscowość położona na południe od Berlina. Graniczy z nieco mniejszym miasteczkiem – Zossen.

Obu nazw używa się niemal zamiennie na określenie jednego miejsca w Brandenburgii. Nazwa Zossen pochodzi od słowa sosna, a wizerunek tego drzewa znajduje się w herbie miasta.

Ale nie realia gospodarcze przyciągnęły nas w to miejsce.

W 1877 roku powstał w okolicznych lasach poligon artyleryjski.

W 1910 w Wϋnsdorf, armia cesarstwa niemieckiego założyła garnizon. Utworzono tu tym samym główną kwaterę armii niemieckiej. W latach 30stych nowi włodarze – naziści, rozpoczęli budowę nowych obiektów.

Wybudowano schrony przeciwlotnicze o charakterystycznej, szpiczastej konstrukcji, zakończonej iglicą.

Powstało ich kilkanaście a każdy pomieścić mógł około 300 osób! Miały one zapewnić ochronę cywilnym pracownikom oraz mieszkańcom Zossen. Zbudowano tu również dwa kompleksy bunkrów o nazwach Zeppelin oraz Maybach (Maybach I zbudowany w 1939 roku oraz Maybach II wybudowany rok później). Kompleksy Maybach I i II składały się z ponad dwudziestubudynków.

Budowla końcowa północ – maskowana na domek dwurodzinny

Z pozoru niewinne domki, większość parterowych, kilka z piętrem, ze spadzistymi strzechami, kominami, popularnymi kolorami oraz wieloma szczegółami, usytuowane na planie owalu przypominały zwykłe, nie wyróżniające się osiedle. Jednak pod tą powłoką i skrzętnym kamuflażem kryły się masywne szkielety z żelbetu, zbrojone tonami metalu.

Każdy z tych obiektów był połączony z kolejnym podziemnymi poternami. Każdy miał dwa poziomy piwnic. Wszystkie drzwi w obiektach były gazoszczelne. W obiektach tych mieszkali oraz pracowali głównodowodzący niemieckiego wojska oraz służby im podporządkowane. W bunkrach Maybach I miało siedzibę dowództwo Armii Lądowej, w Maybach II Naczelne Dowództwo Sił Zbrojnych. Do tych budynków dochodziły wiadomości ze wszystkich frontów II Wojny Światowej, stąd dowodzono niemiecką armią, przez właśnie to miejsce przeszedł rozkaz ataku na Polskę!

W Sali lacznosci telefonicznej - 1941 rok

Nieopodal znajduje się Zeppelin. Nazwa pochodzi od centrali telefonicznej, która pracowała w systemie kodowym Zeppelin. Niepozorny z zewnątrz obiekt, maskowany zasadzonym nań drzewostanem w rzeczywistości był największym i najważniejszym punktem strategicznych oraz operacyjnych połączeń. 24h na dobę pracowało tu 35 dalekopisów, stacje przesyłowe dużej mocy, linie telegraficzne oraz telefoniczne.

Obiekt Zeppelin schodzi pod ziemię na 18 metrów. Korytarze są przestronne, a niektóre hale mają wielkość sali gimnastycznej. Nowoczesne wyposażenie pozwalało na efektywną pracę- używano na przykład poczty pneumatycznej do szybkiego przekazywania wiadomości. Obiekt wyposażono także w awaryjne źródła prądu oraz w baterie, które umożliwiłyby korzystanie z najważniejszych urządzeń pracując przez 14 dni!

Rzut Maybach 1 oraz Zeppe

Obiekty przetrwały bombardowania wojsk amerykańskich oraz angielskich a do tego celu wysłano aż 580 bombowców. Ale gdy do Zossen zbliżały się wojska radzieckie, generał Krebs poprosiłHitlera o pozwolenie na opuszczenie i zniszczenie bunkrów. To pierwsze Niemcom się udało, jednak armia czerwona 20 kwietnia 1945 roku wkroczyła do skrzętnie zamaskowanego i ukrytego w lesie kompleksu, przejmując urządzenia telekomunikacyjne w pełni gotowe do użytku. W roku 1946 czerwonoarmiści wysadzili kompleksy Maybach I oraz Maybach II, zachowując przy tym Zeppelin.

W okresie zimnej wojny w Zossen i Wünsdorf znajdowała się kwatera główna Zachodniej Grupy Wojsk Armii Czerwonej. Podobna kwatera Północnej Grupy Wojsk Armii Czerwonej znajdowała się w okolicach Wilkocina a tutaj możecie zobaczyć nasz materiał z tego właśnie miejsca. Tu zapadały decyzje dotyczące nie tylko żołnierzy, ale wszystkich mieszkańców NRD. Bunkry zostały zdemilitaryzowane dopiero w 1994 roku, kiedy żołnierze radzieccy opuścili ziemie niemieckie.


Ein „Pulverfass“ über dem Kopf
Da tt.com del 29 marzo 2017

Platzangst? Dann sind Sie hier falsch. Ein Besuch im Bunker ist beklemmend – nicht nur wegen der dicken Wände. Während der private Bunkerkauf in Deutschland boomt, besteht in Österreich Einsturzgefahr. Modrige Luft, enge Gänge, acht Meter dicke Betonwände. Ein klaustrophobischer Albtraum. „Willkommen im Bunker“, grüßt Florian Eller unbeeindruckt. Der Geschichtelehrer muss sich anstrengen, um die schwere Stahlbetontüre des „Bunker 20“, wenige Gehminuten über der kleinen Gemeinde Reschen in Südtirol, hinter sich ins Schloss zu ziehen. Seine Stirn glänzt – nicht, weil er schwitzt, sondern weil Wasser von der Decke in sein Gesicht tropft. Im kühlen Schein der Glühbirnen erkennt man dürre Stalaktiten, die von der niedrigen Decke wachsen. Das Wasser, das herabperlt, erfüllt den Raum mit einem leisen Stakkato. Denn kaum ist die Tür ins Schloss gezogen, dringt kein Geräusch mehr von draußen herein. Ein beklemmendes Gefühl. „Dabei ist so ein Bunkerbesuch heutzutage fast wie Urlaub. Stellen Sie sich vor, wie es den Männern im Zweiten Weltkrieg ging. Die mussten hier Tag und Nacht Dienst schieben – umgeben von Gewehren, Unmengen an explosiver Munition und dieser nagenden Kälte.“ Der 55-Jährige ist die bedrückende Atmosphäre offensichtlich gewöhnt. Einmal wöchentlich führt er Besucher durch die unterirdischen Gänge des „Bunker 20“ – dem einzig zugänglichen von insgesamt neun Bunkern, die 1939 rund um Reschen in den Fels gesprengt wurden.

Als Adolf Hitler 1938 in Österreich einmarschierte, ließ Benito Mussolini 46 Militäranlagen als Schutz an der Grenze errichten – Bunker, Gefechtsstände, Panzersperren und Nachschubstraßen. Nach dem Krieg ging alles in den Besitz der Nato über: „Darum war die Anlage bis 1989 geheim. Wie gut, dass die Reschener nicht gewusst haben, welches ,Pulverfass‘ sich knapp über ihren Köpfen befindet.“ Während Eller erzählt, passiert er die erste Schießscharte, wenige Meter hinter dem Bunkereingang. Dahinter war früher ein Maschinengewehr platziert, mit 20.000 Schuss Munition pro Soldat: „Keine Maus wäre unbeobachtet eingedrungen.“ In dem 250 Meter langen Gänge-gewirr eines Bunkers fanden 50 Männer Platz: „Zu jeder Essensration bekamen sie einen hochprozentigen Schnaps. Der sollte Mut machen, sich blindlings ins Gefecht zu stürzen.“ Eine Portion Blindheit gehörte durchaus dazu, wenn man hier arbeitete: „Zum Glück wurde in all den Jahren nicht ein einziger Schuss im Bunker abgegeben. Die Soldaten hätten sich bei einem Gefecht nämlich selbst vergiftet.“ Die Räume waren hermetisch abgeriegelt, darum hätte Giftgas, das beim Schießen frei wird, nicht abziehen können. Zwar gab es ein System, um Sauerstoff hereinzupumpen, doch dafür hätte man eine schwer gängige Kurbel drehen müssen – mit 60 Umdrehungen pro Minute. „Das geht fünf Minuten gut, dann verlässt auch den Stärksten die Kraft“, kritisiert Eller, der auch Präsident des geschichtlichen Vereins Oculus ist. Damit nicht genug der Gefahren: Obwohl inmitten des Bunkers die Etsch, der zweitlängste Fluss Italiens, entspringt, durften die Soldaten kein Wasser aus der Quelle trinken. „Im Krieg war es nämlich üblich, Ammoniakbomben abzuwerfen, die ganze Gebiete verseuchten.“ Darum mussten die Soldaten ihre Wasserration aus Regen beziehen oder aus dem Tal herauftragen. Abgesehen davon war der Bunker jedoch erstaunlich fortschrittlich: „Dank Diesel-Aggregaten gab es hier Strom – schon Jahre, bevor Reschen über diesen Luxus verfügte. Eine Entfeuchtungsanlage hielt die Bunker-Luft trocken.“ Nur eine Heizung sucht man vergebens. Leider. Darum will man den Bunker in Reschen möglichst rasch wieder verlassen. Anders bei Bunkern, die derzeit in Deutschland zum Verkauf stehen. Dabei handelt es sich allerdings um überirdische Gebäude, so genannte Hochbunker, von denen laut Thorsten Grützner von der Deutschen Bundesanstalt für Immobilien bis 1945 mehr als 8000 errichtet wurden: „Kaufinteressenten sind Architekten, Privatleute, Künstler und Vereine.“ Sie nutzen die Räume als Museen, Büros, Hotels und sogar als private Wohnungen. So konnten pro verkauftem Bunker im Schnitt 250.000 Euro zugunsten des Bundeshaushalts eingenommen werden. Von einem derart gut erhaltenen Zustand der Gebäude kann in Tirol keine Rede sein. „Zwar gibt es in den Innsbrucker Gasthäusern Bierstindl und Heimgartl noch Kellerräume, die ursprünglich Bunker-Eingänge waren. Die Stollen in Haiming und Kundl sind ebenfalls noch genutzt. Aber im Großen und Ganzen sind Tirols Stollen und Bunker weder zugänglich noch verkäuflich“, weiß Lukas Morscher, Leiter des Innsbrucker Stadtarchivs. Die Einsturzgefahr sei zu groß: „Der Großteil dieser Anlagen wurde zum Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges errichtet. Damals nahm die Zahl der Zwangsarbeiter ab, Stahl und Beton wurden rar – darunter litt die Bauqualität. In der Innsbrucker Frau-Hitt-Straße kam es sogar zu einem Loch im Asphalt, weil einige Meter darunter Erde in einen Bunker rieselte und der Boden dadurch instabil wurde.“ Spätestens, nachdem der Innsbrucker Jurist Konrad Arnold der Frage nachging, wem Bunker gehören, wurde der Großteil davon zugeschüttet.

„Sein Gutachten ergab nämlich, dass die Republik Österreich der Besitzer ist, was enorme Sanierungskosten für den Staat mit sich gebracht hätte“, schildert Morscher. Die Entwicklung, Bunker unzugänglich zu machen, kommt jedoch nicht jedem Tiroler gelegen.

Georg Zobl etwa verbindet den „Luftschutzort Landeck“ – einen Tunnel, der ursprünglich für die Reschenbahn gebaut und im Krieg zu einem Bunker umfunktioniert wurde – mit Kindheitserinnerungen. „Als ich 1942 eingeschult wurde, war dieser Bunker wenige Meter von der Schule entfernt. Ich hätte ihn so gerne betreten – rein aus Neugier. Aber die Kinder wurden unterteilt in eine Gruppe, die nah genug wohnte, um bei Alarm heimzurennen, und die Gruppe, die in den Bunker flüchten musste. Ich gehörte zur ersten. Leider“, erinnert sich der 81-Jährige. Nach dem Krieg schummelte sich der Landecker allerdings ein paar Mal hinein: „Man hätte Bilder darin aufhängen können, um Schülern die beklemmende Atmosphäre von damals zu vermitteln. Stattdessen wird dieses Stück Tiroler Geschichte jetzt abgerissen.“

Um sich einen authentischen Eindruck von der Zeit damals zu holen, muss man also nach Südtirol reisen. Kein Wunder, dass Eller im „Bunker 20“ jährlich 4000 Besucher empfängt. Nach der Führung wirkt aber sogar der Routinier so, als wäre er froh, bald wieder in die Sonne und deren Wärme zu kommen. Kaum hat man die engen Gänge verlassen, erkennt man die Bunkertür erst auf den zweiten Blick, so unscheinbar ist sie als Teil eines Felsens getarnt. „Einen Vorteil am Leben im Bunker könnte ich mir vorstellen. Man kann den Schlüssel kaum verlieren“, schmunzelt Eller, während er mit einem langen Eisenkeil, den man wohl genau so im Baumarkt kaufen könnte, die Tür absperrt. Kaum zu glauben, dass der Schlüssel zu einem streng geheimen Militärgebäude so simpel gestaltet ist.


Fort Służew - reaktywacja! Turret wybuduje bloki i przywróci świetność zabytkowi
Da haloursynow.pl del 7 febbraio 2017

U zbiegu Nowoursynowskiej i Doliny Służwieckiej, u bram Ursynowa, powstaje kompleks mieszkaniowy z wyjątkową częścią historyczną. Po raz pierwszy w Warszawie deweloper zrekonstruuje jeden z zabytkowych fortów dawnej Twierdzy Warszawa. Dziś odbyło się wmurowanie kamienia węgielnego pod inwestycję.

Przez lata teren był zaniedbany, podobnie jak ukrywający się w głębi, powstały w latach 1883-1890 VIII Fort Twierdzy Warszawa. Gdy wydawało się, że kolejny zabytek warszawski jest już spisany na straty, pojawili się przedstawiciele Grupy Turret Development - dewelopera z amerykańskimi korzeniami - którzy kupili atrakcyjne działki i zobowiązali się do przywrócenia fortowi dawnej świetności.

Przez kilka ostatnich lat trwały przygotowania do tej trudnej i pełnej wyzwań inwestycji. Dziś na rogu Nowoursynowskiej i Doliny Służewieckiej widać już dźwigi a w głębokim wykopie powstają hale garażowe pod trzy budynki Fortu Służew. Bliżej ulic powstaje bowiem 9-piętrowa zabudowa mieszkaniowa z wyraźnymi architektonicznymi nawiązaniami do sąsiedniego zabytku, łagodnie obniżająca się w kierunku fortu i istniejącego osiedla. Część mieszkaniowa obejmuje ponad 500 mieszkań, rozległy dziedziniec z fontanną, wielofunkcyjne boisko oraz nową zieleń.

Część historyczna projektu to z kolei rekonstrukcja koszar szyjowych VIII Fortu Twierdzy Warszawa. Ambicją dewelopera jest przywrócenie im dawnej świetności. - W czasach carskich mieszkali tu żołnierze, my chcielibyśmy, aby w tych pomieszczeniach można było pracować, poprawić swoją tężyznę fizyczną, coś zjeść i miło spędzić czas. Jesteśmy otwarci również na inne propozycje zagospodarowania tego wspaniałego obiektu - mówi Jacek Zabojszcz, dyrektor generalny Grupy Turret Development. Niewielka część obiektu jest już odnowiona, dziś pokazano tam plany dewelopera. A prawie 130- letnie koszary nie mogły lepiej trafić. Grupa Turret Development słynie z nadzwyczajnej dbałości o jakość i z szacunku do obiektów historycznych.

Na inwestycji skorzystają również okoliczni mieszkańcy. Ostatnia jej część to park ze starodrzewiem o powierzchni 6 ha wraz z dawną fosą. Turret chce go zrewaloryzować i przekazać dzielnicy za symboliczną złotówkę. - Mam nadzieję, że będzie to wizytówka Ursynowa, w końcu to początek dzielnicy - mówił wiceburmistrz Piotr Zalewski na wmurowaniu kamienia węgielnego pod Fort Służew. Akt erekcyjny został zabetonowany na istniejącym już podziemnym poziomie przyszłych budynków (za budowę odpowiada Unibep S.A.).

Inwestor zapowiada, że pierwsi lokatorzy (dziś odebrali symboliczną cegłę) odbiorą klucze do swoich mieszkań już jesienią przyszłego roku.


Russia to take corresponding measures if South Korea deploys THAAD
Da defence-blog.com del 6 febbraio 2017

Russia will take corresponding measures to ensure its national security if South Koreadeploys the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, Alexander Timonin, Russian Ambassador to South Korea, said at a press conference on Friday in Seoul.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Timonin said that the deployment of THAAD in SouthKorea would pose a threat to security on the Korean Peninsula and would contributenothing to regional peace. He said the deployment indicates that South Korea would beincorporated into the U.S. missile defense system, which would challenge Russia’sstrategic security.

Timonin pointed out that Russia still hopes for South Korea to decide against thedeployment.

South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said on Friday that South Korean DefenseMinister Han Min-goo and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis have reached consensuson making sure that THAAD is deployed in South Korea this year.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) element provides the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) with a globally-transportable, rapidly-deployable capability to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight.



Maastricht, le bunker OTAN
Da tchorski.morkitu.org del 2017

Cette page est un compte-rendu de visite dans le bunker de l'Otan situé à Maastricht. Les lieux possèdent de nombreux noms, comme bien souvent dans le Mergelland. Ainsi on trouve les dénominations de Bosberg, Boshberg, Boschberg, Cannerberg, et bien-sûr NATO Maastricht. Il s'agit d'une carrière souterraine de tuffeau, attenante au Jezuïetenberg. Selon un plan de mauvaise qualité, les deux exploitations ne sont plus jointives mais accolées. Un seul tunnel de jonction existe. Cet unique tunnel entre le Bosberg et le Fallenberg fut obturée avec une porte en métal en 1904, dans le but d'éviter les situations de vandalisme, qui arrivèrent de temps à autre. Cette fermeture fut financée par la famille Poswick, propriétaire des terres de surface au-dessus du Cannerberg. En 1957, l'OTAN prenant possession du site et réalisant un accord avec les moines jésuites, la jonction est fermée avec un mur de béton, une nouvelle entrée vers le Jezuïetenberg est percée, légèrement au nord de celle de l'OTAN. Les galeries du Bosberg sont médiévales, tout comme le Jezuïetenberg. Durant les années 40, l'occupant nazi prend possession du lieu. Les tunnels du Cannerberg sont utilisées en vue de mettre en place une usine d'assemblage des missiles de type V1. Cette usine est en grande partie montée en 1944.

Lors de l'offensive des Ardennes, l'occupant allemand est chassé du site. Les militaires sont évacués, le commandement armé de l'occupant américain prend possession des lieux. Après la seconde guerre mondiale et surtout à l'orée de la guerre froide, l'occupant américain y installe un poste de contrôle. En 1949 le site est évalué par le commandement, qui trouve agréable que les voies d'accès soient déjà bétonnées, l'électricité installée. De plus comme il s'agit d'un lieu reculé, cela s'avère en quelque sorte parfait. La carrière est dès lors retransformée en bunker. En 1956 les travaux d'aménagement sont mis en oeuvre et le site classé comme top-secret. Il en ressort que l'ensemble de galeries est très profondément transformé. Une ville entière s'installe sous terre, avec notamment le bétonnage de certaines galeries, en particulier dans le secteur de l'entrée dite 'officielle'. Les accès sont strictement contrôlés. Des infrastructures militaires sont mises en place : poste de commandement, salle des machines, salle de téléphones, citernes, cuisine, wc et douches, bar, etc. Au cours de cette installation, tous les murs de la carrière sont systématiquement et strictement raclés, ce qui provoque la disparition pure et simple, totale, de toutes les inscriptions médiévales. A la place sont installées des signalétiques directionnelles. Les axes principaux sont transformés en rues, qui portent les noms de l'alphabet OTAN, à savoir Alphastreet, Bravostreet, Golfstreet, Foxtrotstreet et autres de A à G + Mainstreet. Durant toute l'occupation du site, l'activité est secrète. Le personnel OTAN n'avait aucun droit quant à révéler son métier. Il en ressort que si la population se doutait que l'occupation était de type militaire, personne ne savait qu'il s'agissait d'une base de l'OTAN. Il est de fait que ce n'était pas particulièrement choquant à l'époque, considérant que d'abondantes fortifications de tout âge existent autour de Maastricht, ville inévitablement stratégique. Etaient employées 400 personnes de divers grades militaires, en provenance des Pays-Bas, de Belgique, des Etats-Unis, d'Angleterre et d'Allemagne. Un personnel de garde de 40 personnes était actif de nuit et lors de grands exercices, il y eut jusque 1000 personnes présentes. Le site est déclassé durant les années 90.

A lieu en cette période un fort démantèlement des infrastructures. Le moindre matériel est enlevé, à l'exception des infrastructures de la salle des machines - il s'agit des gros moteurs diésel qui pouvaient maintenir l'électricité en cas de chute du réseau électrique public. Etant donné que le site est isolé à l'aide d'amiante, un démantèlement ultérieur a lieu, avec un énorme chantier de retrait des matériaux amiantés. A nouveau le souterrain se trouve raclé de toutes parts. De nombreuses parois sont arrachées, évacuées ; le site est décontaminé, aspiré, balayé. La décontamination a pris 10 ans, a couté 40 millions d'euros, 9000 tonnes d'amiante sont évacuées. De ces diverses strates d'élimination : le retrait des traces d'occupation médiévales, le retrait du matériel OTAN, le retrait des matériaux amiantés, il en ressort à ce jour que le site est totalement vide. L'intérêt historique des lieux a été annihilé. Le parcours dans ces galeries s'avère insipide et sans intérêt. Au vu de cet aspect pénalisant, l'exploitation touristique met en oeuvre des reconstitutions. Dans les salles vides se trouvent de grandes photos d'époque, qui montrent comment c'était avant. Une galerie technique sortait sur le canal Albert. Elle possède à ce jour un énorme portail d'acier qui a été soudé. Les installations sont condamnées. Les photos ci-dessous représentent un compte-rendu de la visite. Au vu de la situation, ce sont des photos extrêmement médiocres. Il n'est guère possible de faire mieux.

vedi il servizio fotografico



Kazemat Verplaatsing objecten Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie
Del 22 febbraio 2017

Om ruimte te maken voor de aanleg van de 3e kolk en de verbreding van het Lekkanaal, moet een aantal objecten van de Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie (/PageByID.aspx? sectionID=98459&contentPageID=835867) worden verplaatst. Het gaat om drie kazematten, een sluisje, een duikerhoofd en een palengroep. De verplaatsingen zijn unieke operaties! Van de meest in het oog springende verplaatsingen doen we op deze pagina verslag.

Kazemat Vreeswijk Oost Op 22 februari hebben we kazemat Vreeswijk Oost verplaatst. Hieronder vind je meer informatie over de verplaatsing, zoals verschenen persberichten, artikelen en een infographic.

Timelapse filmpjes
Op 21 februari hebben we de kazemat alvast opgehesen in het draagportaal. Van deze hijsactie vind je hier (/PageByID.aspx? sectionID=100646&contentPageID=710204)het timelapse filmpje. Van de volledige verplaatsingsoperatie, dus ook van de verplaatsing en positionering van 22 februari, hebben deze totale timelapse (/PageByID.aspx?sectionID=100646&contentPageID=710757) laten maken.

Met deze animatie (/PageByID.aspx? sectionID=100646&contentPageID=708342) laten we zien hoe de verplaatsing in zijn werk gaat.

We hebben een aantal persberichten over de verplaatsing verzonden. Natuurlijk gaan we voor veel aandacht voor dit unieke evenement! Ieder persbericht belicht weer een ander aspect.
 . Dit eerste persbericht is algemene aankondiging van de verplaatsing.
 . Het tweede persbericht belicht de technische aspecten van de    verplaatsing.
 . Het derde bericht vertelt wat er op 22 februari allemaal nog meer te doen was, naast het bewonderen van (het verplaatsen van) de kazemat.
 . Het vierde persbericht blikt terug op de 22ste.

Om de meer technische media te interesseren voor de verplaatsing, hebben we een artikel (/PageByID.aspx? sectionID=100646&contentPageID=699994) gemaakt dat dieper in gaat op de techniek achter de verplaatsing.

De verplaatsing is natuurlijk geen sinecure. Voor de feitelijke verplaatsing hebben we aardig wat voorbereidingen moeten treffen. Deze infographic (/PageByID.aspx? sectionID=100646&contentPageID=695227) laat overzichtelijk en eenvoudig zien uit welke stappen de verplaatsing bestaat.

Bij dit bijzondere evenement slaan we de kleintjes niet over. Zij kunnen meedoen aan een kleurwedstrijd door deze kleurplaat (/PageByID.aspx?sectionID=100646&contentPageID=699996) mooi in te kleuren en in te sturen voor 22 februari of op 22 februari in te leveren in de grote tent. Alle benodigde informatie staat op de kleurplaat.

Kazemat Schalkwijkse Wetering
Op 23 mei verplaatsten we de zwaarste van de drie kazematten.
Kazemat Schalkwijkse Wetering weegt 1,6 miljoen kilo en is probleemloos op zijn nieuwe plek terecht gekomen. Je leest hier (/PageByID.aspx?sectionID=100646&contentPageID=835871) het persbericht dat we over deze verplaatsing hebben verzonden.

Sluisje Schalkwijkse Wetering
In de periode van 3 tot en met 6 juli verplaatsten we het 1,4 miljoen kilo wegende sluisje Schalkwijkse Wetering. Dat deden we in 4 delen. Lees hier (/PageByID.aspx? sectionID=100646&contentPageID=835872) het persbericht over deze verplaatsing of bekijk hier (/PageByID.aspx? sectionID=100646&contentPageID=836342) het timelapse filmpje dat we van deze bijzondere verplaatsing hebben gemaakt.

Kazemat Houtense Wetering
Op 21 augustus verplaatsten we het laatste NHW-object in de reeks, kazemat Houtense Wetering. Kazemat Houtense Wetering is met 750.000 kilo de lichtste, maar het was niet de gemakkelijkste. Aan het einde van de Tweede Wereldoorlog heeft de bezetter in de kazemat een bom tot ontploffing gebracht. Dit heeft de kazemat beschadigd. Om te voorkomen dat de kazemat verder zou beschadigen tijdens de verplaatsing, heeft Sas van Vreeswijk voorafgaand aan de verplaatsing een stalen korset om de kazemat heen aangebracht ter bescherming. Kazemat Houtense Wetering is 80 meter in oostelijke richting verplaatst. Lees hier (/PageByID.aspx? sectionID=99154&contentPageID=865642) het persbericht dat we over deze bijzondere en laatste verplaatsing hebben verzonden.

Na afronding van de totale verplaatsingsoperatie hebben we een mooie foto-impressie van alle verplaatsingen laten maken. Die kun je hier (/PageByID.aspx? sectionID=100646&contentPageID=923864) bekijken.


Die Festung der Franzosen
Da donaukurier.de del 31 gennaio 2017

Franck Deleyrolle besuchte das Fort Prinz Karl, in dem vor 100 Jahren sein Urgroßvater interniert wurde

Ingolstadt (DK) Vor 100 Jahren wurden im Fort Prinz Karl bei Ingolstadt die ersten Kriegsgefangenen aus Frankreich interniert. Jetzt besichtigte der Urenkel eines jener Soldaten mit dem Ingolstädter Geschichtslehrer Maximilian Schuster die Festung.

Eine kleine Episode der deutsch-französischen Freundschaft. Die deutsche Kugel durchschlug seinen linken Arm; vermutlich rettete ihm der Treffer das Leben. Für Ferdinand Deleyrolle, Friseurgeselle aus Paris, 26 Jahre alt, Soldat II. Klasse im 55. französischen Infanterieregiment, war die Schlacht um Lothringen schnell zu Ende. Als Gefangener der Bayerischen Armee gelangte er in die Tiefe des Feindeslandes: nach Ingolstadt. Die Festungen rund um die Stadt waren errichtet worden, um Franzosen abzuwehren. Jetzt diente das dem Prinzen Karl von Bayern gewidmete Fort im Nordosten des äußeren Verteidigungsrings um die Schanz dazu, außer Gefecht gesetzte Gegner zu internieren. Am 27. August 1914 (so dokumentiert es ein königlich-bayerischer Behördenstempel), eine Woche nach seiner Verwundung an der Front, schlossen sich hinter Deleyrolle die Festungstore.

Auf den Tag genau 100 Jahre später schritt ein Moderator und Hörfunkjournalist aus Marseille auf den Kriegsgefangenen zu: Franck Deleyrolle blickte Ferdinand Deleyrolle tief in die Augen. Sein Urgroßvater stand – als Fotografie lebensgroß auf Kunststoff gebannt – im Ingolstädter Schloss vor einer rekonstruierten Kasematte, die originalgetreu einer Gefangenenunterkunft des Forts Prinz Karl nachempfunden war; so gab der einfache Soldat Ferdinand Deleyrolle jener besonderen Episode der Ingolstädter Festungsgeschichte ein Gesicht. Ein ergreifender Augenblick für Franck Deleyrolle. Der Gast aus Frankreich musste es erst mal verarbeiten, hier in einem bayerischen Schloss einer historisch-wissenschaftlichen Annäherung an seinen Urgroßvater gegenüberzustehen, vom dem er nicht viel wusste, und dem er deshalb rege nachgeforscht hat. „Franck war in diesem Moment wie vom Blitz getroffen, er hat wirklich mit sich gerungen“, erzählt Maximilian Schuster, der den 40- jährigen Besucher an jenem für die Deleyrolles familienhistorisch denkwürdigen 27. August begleitet hat.

Schuster ist Geschichtslehrer an der Fronhofer-Realschule. Er hat mit Schülern die fünf Räume füllende Sonderausstellung über Ingolstadt zur Zeit des Ersten Weltkriegs erarbeitet, die vorgestern zu Ende gegangen ist; ein reihum gelobtes Gemeinschaftsprojekt mit dem Katharinen-Gymnasium. Bei den Vorbereitungen war Schuster im Internet auf den Stammbaum der Familie Deleyrolle gestoßen – Francks große Fleißarbeit. Der Hobbyforscher aus Marseille und der Ingolstädter Geschichtslehrer nahmen Kontakt auf. Zusammen holten sie den unbekannten Soldaten aus dem Dunkel der Geschichte; ein Schicksal, das für viele steht.

Der Urenkel hatte anfangs nur eine Postkarte mit dem Foto Ferdinands samt dem Vermerk „Fort Prinz-Karl Ingolstadt Bavière“. Mithilfe des Französischen Roten Kreuzes war es ihm gelungen, die Kriegszeit des Urgroßvaters zu rekonstruieren. Eines fügte sich zum anderen.

Franck Deleyrolles Tour in die Familienhistorie ging noch tiefer: An der Seite Schusters durfte er das Fort Prinz Karl besichtigen. Das bestens erhaltene Relikt der Ingolstädter Landesfestung ist der Öffentlichkeit eigentlich nicht zugänglich (siehe Kasten). Doch die Immobiliengesellschaft des Freistaats Bayern (ihr gehört das Denkmal) ermöglichte eigens für den Gast aus Frankreich einen Rundgang. Die Besucher blickten in die Kasematten, in denen die französischen Kriegsgefangenen (zuerst Mannschaftsdienstgrade, später meist Offiziere) einigermaßen erträglich lebten. Beeindruckt schritt Deleyrolle an den gewaltigen Mauern entlang, zwischen denen die Franzosen damals Fußball spielten. Er hat bei seinen Recherchen ein im Fort entstandenes Mannschaftsfoto aufgestöbert und seinen Uropa darauf identifiziert.

Ferdinand Deleyrolle erlebte in der Festung friedlich-fade Jahre bis zum Kriegsende. 1918 kehrte er nach Paris zurück und heiratete die Witwe seines Chefs, der gefallen war. Er adoptierte auch die zweijährige Tochter des Paares, Franck Deleyrolles Oma. 1941 erlag Ferdinand Deleyrolle in seinem Salon einem Herzinfarkt. Beim Haareschneiden.

Zurück aus der Vergangenheit widmete sich der Urenkel sogleich euphorisch der Zukunft des Forts. „Er hat nach unserem Besuch lange darüber sinniert, wie man dieses Denkmal nutzen kann“, erzählt Schuster. „Er stand richtig unter Strom! Denn so ein imposantes Monument dürfe der Öffentlichkeit nicht verschlossen bleiben, sagt er. Keine deutsche Stadt könne so was vorweisen!“ Das findet Schuster auch. Die deutsch-französische Begegnung endete, wie sie begonnen hatte: in Freundschaft. „Die Frage der Kriegsschuld ist überhaupt kein Thema mehr gewesen“, berichtet Schuster. Das sei definitiv vorbei. „Franck hat den Besuch in Bayern sehr genossen. Auch Ingolstadt gefällt ihm außerordentlich.“ Der Mann aus Marseille glaubt an eine starke Europäische Union. Die Wahlerfolge Marine Le Pens und ihres rechtsradikalen Front National in seiner Heimat sind ihm ein Grauen. Franck Deleyrolle will gern wiederkommen. Als Zeichen der Freundschaft weit über alle Festungen hinaus. Von Christian Silvester


A nuclear world: eight-and-a half rogue states
Da printfriendly.com del 13 gennaio 2017

Nuclear test.Wikimedia/National Nuclear Security Administration. Public Domain.

When Theresa May presented to parliament the case for renewing the state's nuclear forces in July 2016, she was asked directly by a Scottish MP whether she would be prepared to order a nuclear attack. The usual response to this question over the years has been to prevaricate. The United Kingdom's new prime minister, just a few days into the job, gave an unequivocal "yes." This was one of the very rare occasions in British politics when a direct query on nuclear use solicited a direct answer. In a sense, Theresa May did everyone a favour by being so clear.

The British nuclear force is not one of the larger ones, certainly in comparison with the United States and Russia. However, it still has 100-200 thermonuclear warheads, with just one of its Trident submarines capable of launching sixteen missiles, each with three warheads. The actual numbers may be lower than this in routine deployments, but a submarine ordered to fire could certainly ripple-fire over thirty warheads to different targets within half an hour. Typical missile flight times of less than half an hour mean that the destruction could all be achieved in just double that period (see: "Britain's nuclear-weapons future: no done deal," 21 July 2016).

Each warhead is rated at about 100 kilotons of destructive power. This exceeds the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs by over four-fifths in each case. At a very conservative estimate, if each Trident warhead killed 100,000 people (an event of Hiroshima's magnitude), the British prime minister could deliver an order that would kill 3 million people within an hour.

The British prime minister could deliver an order that would kill 3 million people within an hour. But consider a more cautious scenario, where the ballpark figure for nuclear use is "only" a million killed in an hour. How many countries have that capability? The United States and Russia each still have several thousand nuclear weapons, though their total arsenals are drastically down from the 1980s peak of over 60,000. Five other countries – France, China, Israel, Pakistan, and India – operate broadly at the UK's level of capability. North Korea is doing its best to get to that point, but has some way to go.

Leaving aside all the theology of deterrence, the reality is that eight countries underpin their approach to national security in the ability to commit appalling crimes against humanity – and one other is trying to emulate them.

To be clear, the above estimates are extremely modest. For example, in the 1980s the UK government's secret estimate of casualty rates from an all-out Soviet nuclear attack on the west was around 40 million people killed out of a population of 56 million. The government of the day preferred to give ridiculous advice on how to “protect and survive” rather than publish this figure.

A different way of thinking

This all presents us with an alternative way of looking at the possession of nuclear weapons: namely, that any state willing to kill at least a million people in less than an hour as a core part of its fundamental defence posture should be considered a rogue state. This makes for eightand- a-half rogue states worldwide.

One counter-argument is that nuclear weapons keep the peace without carrying any risk of untoward accident or escalation. The history of the past sixty years suggests otherwise. Moreover, far more information is now available about the accidents, dangerous crises, and near-misses in this period, which shows how close the world has come to catastrophe on several occasions.

The UK too has had its share of mishaps. The Nuclear Information Service chronicles many of the country’s problems and is publishing a further report on the subject in February 2017. Today, all seven “open” nuclear states are upgrading their forces, with Israel no doubt doing the same. As, at the same time, Putin and Trump talk up their nuclear prowess, addressing the issue looks difficult. Yet that is the very reason why the rogue-state approach is so useful.

In 2017, there are 193 member-states of the United Nations with seats in the general assembly, of which 185 do not feel the need to possess their own nuclear weapons. Some gave up any efforts, Switzerland and Sweden among them. Others, certainly including Argentina and Brazil, have looked seriously at the possibility; South Africa actually had a small arsenal in the early 1990s but got rid of it. Several countries no longer have the nuclear weapons of other states on their territory, such as Canada, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. These instances all flow from a particular context, but it's nonetheless true that very few nuclear rogue states remain (see: "Two steps to zero," 27 July 2008).

How else can the willingness to acquire the capacity to commit an appalling war crime, and treat this as central to your military stance, be described? In an era when prospects for nuclear disarmament are poor, calling rogue states by their true name is a way of thinking that should catch on.

About the author

Paul Rogers is professor in the department of peace studies at Bradford University, northern England. He is openDemocracy's international security adviser, and has been writing a weekly column on global security since 28 September 2001; he also writes a monthly briefing for the Oxford Research Group. His latest book is Irregular War: ISIS and the New Threat from the Margins (IB Tauris, 2016), which follows Why We’re Losing the War on Terror (Polity, 2007), and Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century (Pluto Press, 3rd edition, 2010). He is on Twitter at: @ProfPRogers

A lecture by Paul Rogers, delivered to the Food Systems Academy in late 2014, provides an overview of the analysis that underpins his openDemocracy column.

The lecture - "The crucial century, 1945-2045: transforming food systems in a global context" - focuses on the central place of food systems in human security worldwide. Paul argues that food is the pivot of humanity's next great transition. It can be accessed here

Related Articles

War and peace, a tale of two museums
Paul Rogers The thirty-year war: still on track
Paul Rogers Britain's nuclear deep: a new transparency
Paul Rogers Nuclear disarmament: the prospects
Paul Rogers Britain's nuclear-weapons future: no done deal
Paul Rogers The nuclear-weapons risk
Paul Rogers The Zeus complex: against air war


US Deploys Sea-Based X-Band Radar To Counter North Korean Nuclear Missile Launch
Da defence-blog.com del 6 gennaio 2017

US Deploys Sea-based X-Band Radar To Counter North Korean Nuclear Missile Launch

US department of Defense has deployed high-tech sea-based X-band radar to look out for a North Korean long-range-missile launch in the coming months. The deployment of sea-based X-band radar (SB-X) is the first US military response to North Korea’s threat that it could launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. The radar is able to track the long-range launches and provide crucial data. The Sea-based, X-band Radar (SBX 1) transits the waters of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, CNN reported today.

Generally the SB-X is sent north of Hawaii and stationed about halfway to Alaska for the optimum spot to track a potential North Korean missile launch headed for Alaska, Guam or the West Coast of the US. Additional surveillance assets are also being identified to monitor activity on the Korean Peninsula. Defense officials have stressed that if North Korea were to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, it might not be shot down by a US missile defense system. "If the missile's threatening, it will be intercepted. If it's not threatening, we won't necessarily do so," Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters Tuesday. "It may be more to our advantage to, first of all, save our interceptor inventory, and, second, to gather intelligence from the flight rather than do that (shoot it down) when it's not threatening." Carter added.

"The SB-X radar will increase the US ability to collect that type of missile data," North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently said the test launch of an ICBM is in its final stages.  However, US still does not believe that North Korea has gained mastery over the technology required for the missile to reenter the atmosphere. “There have been launches of three-stage long-range rockets with a satellite on the front end being boosted into space. The two technologies are very similar, but it is re-entry of the warhead that has not yet been demonstrated,” US officials said.

On Wednesday, the US Treasury froze all US property interests and assets belonging to seven North Korean government officials. The Treasury imposed the sanctions because North Korea continues to engage in grave human rights abuses and actively uses censorship policies to conceal those abuses.

Most of the seven sanctioned North Koreans on the blacklist work in top-level security and prison operations. They include Kim's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong -- Vice Director of the Korean Workers' Party Propaganda and Agitation Department. The Treasury further sanctioned the State Planning Commission and the Ministry of Labor, slamming the two government bodies for coordinating forced labor -- including in North Korean mines.

This is the second time the US has imposed human rights sanctions on Kim's government, after blacklisting Kim and other top officials in July.


FACING NUCLEAR REALITY 35 years after The Day After - by Dawn Stover
Da Bulletin special report del 2017

In 1982, a 40-year-old insurance salesman who sold policies to professional athletes traveled from his home in Lawrence, Kansas, to New York City on a business trip. Shortly before he left, Bob Swan, Jr.—the father of two young daughters, and a man increasingly concerned about the possibility of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union—mentioned to his then-wife Jane that he had had a dream about a film that portrayed an American family and a Russian family in the aftermath of nuclear war and “showed the total absurdity” of such a war. While he was in New York, Swan attended a huge march for nuclear disarmament that was life-changing for him. “When I got back from this amazing experience,” Swan told me when I visited him at his home a few months ago, one of the first things his wife said was: “They announced while you were gone, they’re going to make that film you dreamed about. They’re going to film it in Lawrence.”

The television movie The Day After depicted a full-scale nuclear war and its impacts on people living in and around Kansas City. It became something of a community project in picturesque Lawrence, 40 miles west of Kansas City, where much of the movie was filmed. Thousands of local residents—including students and faculty from the University of Kansas—were recruited as extras for the movie; about 65 of the 80 speaking parts were cast locally. The use of locals was intentional, because the moviemakers wanted to show the grim consequences of a nuclear war for real middle Americans, living in the real middle of the country. By the time the movie ends, almost all of the main characters are dead or dying.

ABC broadcast The Day After on November 20, 1983, with no commercial breaks during the final hour. More than 100 million people saw it—nearly two-thirds of the total viewing audience. It remains one of the most-watched television programs of all time. Brandon Stoddard, then-president of ABC’s motion picture division, called it “the most important movie we’ve ever done.” The Washington Post later described it as “a profound TV moment.” It was arguably the most effective public service announcement in history.

“For those of us who live in Lawrence, it was personal... and it didn’t have a happy ending.”

It was also a turning point for foreign policy. Thirty-five years ago, the United States and the Soviet Union were in a nuclear arms race that had taken them to the brink of war. The Day After was a piercing wakeup shriek, not just for the general public but also for then- President Ronald Reagan. Shortly after he saw the film, Reagan gave a speech saying that he, too, had a dream: that nuclear weapons would be “banished from the face of the Earth.” A few years later, Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate- Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the first agreement that provided for the elimination of an entire category of nuclear weapons. By the late 1990s, American and Russian leaders had created a stable, treaty-based arms-control infrastructure and expected it to continue improving over time.

Now, however, a long era of nuclear restraint appears to be nearing an end. Tensions between the United States and Russia have risen to levels not seen in decades. Alleging treaty violations by Russia, the White House has announced plans to withdraw from the INF Treaty. Both countries are moving forward with the enormously expensive refurbishment of old and development of new nuclear weapons—a process euphemized as “nuclear modernization.” Leaders on both sides have made inflammatory statements, and no serious negotiations have taken place in recent years.

There are striking parallels between the security situations today and 35 years ago, with one major discordance: Today, nuclear weapons are seldom a front- urner concern, largely being forgotten, underestimated, or ignored by the American public. The United States desperately needs a fresh national conversation about the born-again nuclear arms race—a conversation loud enough to catch the attention of the White House and the Kremlin and lead to resumed dialogue. A look back at The Day After and the role played by ordinary citizens in a small Midwestern city shows how the risk of nuclear war took center stage in 1983, and what it would take for that to happen again in 2018.


Aftermath of the nuclear attack on Lawrence depicted in The Day After.

In the film, a 12-year-old farm girl named “Joleen” who has heard an alarming report on the radio asks her father, “There’s not going be a war, is there?” That question was “really emotional for me,” says David Longhurst, who was mayor of Lawrence in 1983 and is now in his mid-70s. He had a son who was 12 at the time, and the girl who played “Joleen” was the daughter of close friends. The Day After had a huge impact on the American psyche. But, Longhurst says, “for those of us who live in Lawrence, it had an even greater impact. It was personal ... and it didn’t have a happy ending.”

In fact, Lawrence—a small city of less than 100,000, including about 30,000 students at the University of Kansas, that lies between two rivers and is dotted with leafy parks and limestone buildings—has a long history of devastation, followed by repeated resurrection. It was founded by anti-slavery settlers who hoped that Kansas would enter the union as a free state. In 1856, pro-slavery activists led by the county sheriff sacked the town. They burned down the Free State Hotel, but a prominent abolitionist named Col. Shalor Eldridge rebuilt the hotel and named it after himself. The hotel, in the midst of another renovation, is where I met Longhurst a few months ago. A part- wner of the hotel, he showed me its Crystal Ballroom and Big 6 Bar (which dates back to the collegiate sports conference of the speakeasy era).

A much bloodier raid followed in 1863, when Confederate guerillas led by William Quantrill attacked Lawrence, massacring more than 150 men and boys and burning down hundreds of homes and businesses, including the Eldridge Hotel. The town rebuilt, and since the 1860s has adopted as its symbol a phoenix rising from the ashes. So it was perhaps fitting that Lawrence was again reduced to ashes—on film, at least—in 1983.

To turn Lawrence into a war zone, the film’s producers closed sections of Massachusetts Street (downtown’s pedestrian-friendly main street, lined with shops and trees) more than once, blew out the windows of storefronts, gave buildings a charred makeover, and littered downtown with ash, debris, and burned-out vehicles. A few blocks from downtown, the filmmakers built a tent city to house “refugees” under a bridge on the banks of the Kansas River, known locally as the Kaw. Each tent housed a family and some of the possessions they had presumably taken when they fled from devastated homes: a doll here, a radio there.

“As you went from tent to tent, it was like going through a neighborhood,” recalls Jack Wright, a now-retired theater professor at the university who became the casting director for the film’s extras, and whose stepdaughter—Ellen Anthony—played “Joleen” in the movie. When I met Wright and his wife Judy (who was an extra in the movie, and whose hint-of-Texas voice immediately reminded me of her daughter Ellen’s) at their house in Lawrence, we looked at magazine clippings and interviews with Ellen that had taken place in their home 35 years earlier.

Wright, who is 75 and still has a grade- chool-issued civil defense helmet in his garage, continues to direct and act in theater productions, including a one-man show in which he plays the legendary Kansas newspaper editor William Allen White. Before he dashed off to a rehearsal, he told me what it was like being at the university’s beloved Allen Fieldhouse, home of the Kansas Jayhawks, in 1983 when the basketball court was transformed into a “hospice” littered with cots for the victims of radiation sickness. He remembers that director Nicholas Meyer told the extras not to look at the camera or anything else and reminded them that if a nuclear war had really happened, “nobody would leave this room alive. You’re on your last legs.” It was silent in the vast room, and Wright says the moviemakers at that time were still considering calling the movie Silence in Heaven.

Sometimes, after shooting a scene, the extras talked about nuclear war and what they would lose, what it would mean for a small city in the heart of the country. One of the most haunting lines in the film comes when John Lithgow, playing a university science professor who has survived the nuclear blast, speaks into his shortwave radio: “This is Lawrence. This is Lawrence, Kansas. Is anybody there? Anybody at all?”   


On Columbus Day in 1983, Ronald Reagan was at Camp David, the wooded presidential retreat in Maryland. That morning, before he boarded a Marine helicopter to fly back to the White House, he previewed an ABC made-for-television movie with the tagline “Beyond imagining.” The Day After deeply affected Reagan, himself a product of Hollywood. He wrote in his diary: “It is powerfully done—all $7 mil. worth. It’s very effective & left me greatly depressed... My own reaction was one of our having to do all we can to have a deterrent & to see there is never a nuclear war.” In an interview last year, Meyer said Reagan’s official biographer told him “the only time he saw Ronald Reagan become upset was after they screened The Day After, and he just went into a funk.”

On November 18, 1983, two days before the film aired on network television, Reagan wrote in his diary of “a most sobering experience” in the Situation Room, where he received a military briefing “on our complete plan in the event of a nuclear attack.” In his 1990 autobiography, An American Life, Reagan recalled the briefing: “Simply put, it was a scenario for a sequence of events that could lead to the end of civilization as we knew it. In several ways, the sequence of events described in the briefing paralleled those in the ABC movie. Yet there were still some people at the Pentagon who claimed a nuclear war was ‘winnable.’”

In that same diary entry, Reagan noted that Secretary of State George Shultz would go on ABC “right after it’s [sic] big Nuclear bomb film Sunday night. We know it’s ‘anti-nuke’ propaganda but we’re going to take it over & say it shows why we must keep on doing what we’re doing.”

Two days later, Shultz appeared before the nation and told ABC News’ Ted Koppel that the film was “a vivid and dramatic portrayal of the fact that nuclear war is simply not acceptable,” saying that US nuclear policy had been successful in preventing such a war. “The only reason we have nuclear weapons,” Shultz said, “is to see to it that they aren’t used.” Shultz told Koppel that the United States had a policy not only of deterrence but also of weapons reduction—eventually to zero. (Although ABC and the film’s director were careful to remain ambiguous about which side started the fictional nuclear war, insisting that the film was “not political,” The Day After left no doubt that deterrence had failed.)

After Shultz spoke, Koppel hosted a televised discussion with a distinguished panel of guests, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, author Elie Wiesel, publisher William F. Buckley, Jr., astronomer Carl Sagan, national security expert Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, and former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. Their reactions ranged from Buckley’s denunciation of the film as propaganda “that seeks to debilitate the United States,” to Sagan’s comment that a real nuclear war would be even more lethal than depicted in the film because it would be followed by a nuclear winter.

Whatever their intentions, Reagan and Shultz made little progress with the Soviets on nuclear weapons until Gorbachev became General Secretary of the governing Communist Party in March 1985. Immediately afterward, Reagan invited him to a summit. They met in Geneva that November; the meeting was scheduled for 15 minutes but lasted five hours. The next year, in Reykjavik, they came very close to agreeing to destroy all their nuclear weapons, and the director of The Day After received a telegram from the administration telling him, “Don’t think your movie didn’t have any part of this, because it did.” In 1987, the year that The Day After was first shown on Soviet television, the two leaders reached agreement on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. By then, as many as 1 billion people may have seen the film.

Today, commentators such as Fox News political anchor Bret Baier and syndicated radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh claim to see parallels between presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, and between the Reagan-Gorbachev summit and Trump’s historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Like Reagan, who called the Soviet Union an “evil empire” in a March 1983 address to the National Association of Evangelicals, Trump initially responded to North Korea’s nuclear program with his infamous threat of “fire and fury.”

In the United States and Russia—and now also North Korea—there is still just one person’s finger on the “nuclear button.” When Reagan was president, his first-term chief of staff and other establishment Republicans reportedly feared that Reagan might get the country into a nuclear war. Last year, similar concerns among some of Trump’s fellow Republicans were on public display. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for example, told the New York Times that Trump’s reckless threats could put the United States “on the path to World War III.”

In 1983, an opinion poll found that about half of Americans thought they would die in a nuclear war. Although nuclear weapons get a smaller share of press attention today than in 1983, a Gallup poll conducted earlier this year reported that Americans fear the development of nuclear weapons by North Korea more than any other “critical threat,” and a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that “about half of Americans are concerned that President Trump might launch a nuclear attack without justification.” The Global Risks Report 2018, published in January by the World Economic Forum and drawn from a survey of the group’s 1,000 members, warned “the North Korea crisis has arguably brought the world closer than it has been for decades to the possible use of nuclear weapons” and has “created uncertainty about the strength of the norms created by decades of work to prevent nuclear conflict.”


More than 50 years after the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty declared the intention of 190 nations (including the United States) “to achieve at the earliest possible date the cessation of the nuclear arms race,” the United States and Russia still have enough weapons to destroy the world many times over—and many of them still stand on hair- rigger alert. Just last month, Gorbachev made an urgent plea for actions to prevent a new arms race.

In Hawaii earlier this year, at the height of tensions between the United States and North Korea, residents received a false ballistic-missile alert over television, radio and cellphones. For 38 minutes, many Hawaiians thought they were about to die. The false alarm reminded some experts of Cold War-era false alarms, the most dangerous of which happened late in September 1983—just two months before The Day After aired. The Soviets’ early-warning system erroneously reported incoming American nuclear missiles, and the gut instincts and wise thinking of a Soviet officer, Col. Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov, were all that saved the world from catastrophe.

In early November 1983—less than two weeks before The Day After aired, and less than a month after Reagan saw a preview—NATO conducted a military exercise called Able Archer, which simulated a nuclear attack and included flights by aircraft armed with dummy nuclear warheads. The nonprofit National Security Archive recently published previously-secret Soviet documents showing that “ranking members of Soviet intelligence, military, and the Politburo, to varying degrees, were fearful of a Western first strike in 1983 under the cover of the NATO exercises Autumn Forge 83 and Able Archer 83.” (Autumn Forge, an exercise that airlifted thousands of troops to Europe under radio silence, culminated with the Able Archer simulation.) For the first time, the Soviets put their military on high alert at Polish and East German bases. Like Col. Petrov, Lt. Gen. Leonard Perroots, the deputy chief of staff for intelligence at the US Air Force’s European headquarters, wisely chose not to respond.

It is not inconceivable that something like the 1983 “war scare” could happen again today. In mid- November, the Russian military jammed GPS signals during a NATO military exercise in Norway. CNN called it “the alliance’s largest exercise since the Cold War.”

In addition to the Able Archer simulation, November 1983 was also the month that NATO began deploying US Pershing II missiles to West Germany. The missiles were intended to counter Soviet medium-range missiles capable of striking anywhere in Europe, and there were huge protests in Germany over their deployment. It is no coincidence that nuclear war begins in The Day After with a gradually escalating conflict in Europe. In one scene, viewers hear a Soviet official mention the “coordinated movement of the Pershing II launchers.”

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that Reagan and Gorbachev signed in 1987 resolved that conflict, banning all ground- aunched and air-launched nuclear and conventional missiles (and their launchers) with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, or 310 to 3,420 miles. However, Trump said in October that he plans to withdraw from the treaty, and on December 4 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would withdraw in 60 days if Russia continues its alleged non-compliance. Gorbachev and Shultz, in a Washington Post op-ed published that day, warned that “[a]bandoning the INF Treaty would be a step toward a new arms race, undermining strategic stability and increasing the threat of miscalculation or technical failure leading to an immensely destructive war.”

The United States first accused Russia of violating the treaty in 2014, by testing a banned cruise missile, and later claimed that Russia had deployed such a missile. However, the United States has not yet divulged details about the alleged violation, and there are no arms control talks currently scheduled.

“The one meaningful thing that Trump is doing is trying to get a dialogue going with Putin,” said former Defense Secretary (and chair of the Bulletin‘s Board of Sponsors) William J. Perry at the Bulletin’s annual dinner in Chicago on November 8. But Russia’s refusal to release Ukrainian Navy ships and sailors seized in the Kerch Strait in late November led Trump to cancel a scheduled meeting with Putin at the recent G20 Summit in Argentina, where they had been expected to discuss the fate of both the INF and another treaty for which Reagan and Gorbachev laid the groundwork in Reykjavik: New START, which capped the number of nuclear warheads on deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and deployed heavy bombers. Nuclear experts worry that Trump will let New START expire in February 2021, if only because it is one of President Barack Obama’s signature achievements, at which point there would no longer be any international agreements governing US and Russian nuclear arsenals for the first time in almost 50 years.


In an October 2017 report, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Obama administration’s 2017 plans for nuclear forces would cost $1.2 trillion over the 2017–2046 period. CBO

When Obama visited the University of Kansas in 2015, he said nothing about nuclear weapons; he spoke of middle-class economics and basketball. Although Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize largely for his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons, he nevertheless bequeathed to Trump a 30-year plan to “modernize” the US nuclear arsenal. Based on a Congressional Budget Office report, the Arms Control Association estimates that the United States will spend about $1.2 trillion in inflationadjusted dollars by 2046 on new bombs, missiles, bombers, submarines, and related systems. The Trump administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review calls for a new generation of land-based ICBMs, which experts such as Perry view as an unnecessary and risky component of a nuclear triad that also includes sea- and air-launched nuclear weapons.

In 1983, the McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas was home to 18 Titan II missiles, the largest ICBM ever deployed by the US Air Force. Reagan was proposing to install the Peacekeeper missile, America’s most controversial ICBM, in Titan II silos and on mobile transporters. Even closer to Lawrence was the Whiteman Air Force Base, east of Kansas City in Missouri, where 150 Minuteman II missiles were deployed.

In The Day After, Minuteman missiles erupt from the plains near farmhouses, and people who see the missile trails above the football stadium and the South Park gazebo in Lawrence understand that a hail of Russian ICBMs will soon follow. There is panic in the streets. When the Russian missiles targeted at Kansas City detonate during the movie’s extended attack sequence, flashing brightly and sending up mushroom clouds, viewers see snippets of footage from actual nuclear tests interspersed with a horrifying, rapid-fire series of “skeletonized” people instantly killed in the midst of everyday activities.

The United States no longer deploys ICBMs near Kansas City. The force has shrunk by about 60 percent, to around 400 missiles now deployed near Air Force bases in Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. That’s good news for the people of Lawrence.

The bad news, however, is that the latest Nuclear Posture Review calls for the development of new and dangerous weapons: a new sea-launched cruise missile and a “low-yield” nuclear warhead that could be more “useable” than bigger bombs—and arguably more likely to make military strategists see a nuclear war as winnable rather than suicidal. The United States might even use such a weapon in response to a non- uclear threat, such as a cyberattack. And Trump seems to be as enamored of his proposed “Space Force” as Reagan was of his “Star Wars” Strategic Defense Initiative.


The Defense Department claims it needs new weapons to respond to new threats from Russia, where Putin in 2016 vowed to modernize its own nuclear weapons to “reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems.” More recently, Putin has bragged about deploying hypersonic missiles capable of traveling at many times the speed of sound “in coming months,” and developing both a global-range, nuclear-powered cruise missile and an underwater nuclear drone.

The Russians say they have been forced into these actions by the eastward expansion of NATO and the installation of missile defense systems in Europe. Russia is also developing the world’s biggest missile—so big it could theoretically fly over the South Pole and avoid US missile defenses.

The rash of new threats makes some experts wonder whether the United States and Russia are serious about resolving their differences over the INF Treaty and other matters—or just looking for excuses to lunge into a new arms race. “The opponents of arms control have won,” says Steven E. Miller, director of the International Security Program at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (and a member of the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board).

“By the end of the 1990s, we had a nuclear order that was internationally regulated and jointly managed. Right now, we're literally on the edge of having nothing left with regard to nuclear restraint. The case for arms control has to be fought all over again.”


Louise Hanson, who is now 78 years old, has been pushing for arms control for most of her adult life. She and her 79-year-old husband Allan, a now-retired professor of anthropology at the University of Kansas, remember being terrified newlyweds listening to news of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis on their car radio at night in Chicago. After they moved to Lawrence, they became leaders in the Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice, a group that formed in the 1970s and by 1983 was focused on nuclear weapons. Louise once wrote to her senator, Bob Dole, on 1,000consecutive days, each time giving him a new reason to halt the nuclear arms race. Today, the Hansons—quick-witted, gracious, and younger-looking than their years—live in a tasteful downtown loft one block from the disaster-struck street that appeared in The Day After.

When the movie came to town, the Coalition recognized it as a golden opportunity. Allan and Louise—she played a “suffering victim” as an extra and elicited a scream from her high-school daughter when she came home in her movie makeup—helped create a local campaign around the movie called “Let Lawrence Live.” They got some unexpected help from a brash, young media strategist named Josh Baran, whose only previous experience was working for the Nuclear Freeze campaign in California. With a budget of only about $50,000 from the Rockefeller Family Fund, Baran and Mark Graham (now director of the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive) helped make The Day After a national sensation.

Baran and The Day After director Nicholas Meyer had friends in common in California, and one of them made introductions. Baran went to Meyer’s house, saw the film (which was still a work in progress), and took home a copy. When I interviewed Baran by phone last month, he said Meyer told him to “do what you want with it, and don’t tell me.” What Baran did was to create a major publicity campaign for an ABC movie ... without ABC’s knowledge or consent. Nowadays this would be called “hijack marketing”: taking advantage of someone else’s event to generate publicity for your own cause. But in 1983, “no one had ever done it,” claims Baran, who now heads Baran Strategies in New York City. “It was a very far out-of-the-box strategy.”

Baran traveled around the country, stimulating interest in the forthcoming film among activists and reporters and planning activities around it. “It took off like gangbusters,” he recalls. “About halfway through, I told ABC what I was doing, and they freaked out.” But there was little the network could do about all the free publicity they were getting from Baran.

He attributes the success of the movie to several factors that would be difficult to replicate today. One was that there were only three television networks in 1983, so programs reached a much broader audience. “I would not have wanted to make this as a feature film,” Meyer told the New York Times a week before the film aired. “I did not want to preach to the converted. I wanted to reach the guy who’s waiting for The Flying Nun to come on.”

Retired theater professor Jack Wright doubts that such a movie could appear today on television. “I think we’re so politically ostracized now that I don’t know that we could ever have another event like we had in The Day After,” he says. “The groups now are so politicized that they would stop it.”

In 1983, putting the movie on television ensured that it would spark a national conversation, because it would be seen simultaneously by millions of people. Bringing the movie into people’s homes was “was genius really,” says Louise Hanson, “because it made it much more intimate.”

The Day After also benefited from good timing. Jonathan Schell’s seminal 1982 book The Fate of the Earth had awakened readers to the unthinkable prospect of a nuclear war that would devastate most life on the planet. The Nuclear Freeze movement was in full swing; a referendum in Lawrence during the November 1982 election received support from 74 percent of voters. Nuclear war was the number one concern preoccupying the nation. The Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice was holding events around town, like a rally at South Park where they released “balloons not bombs.” The park appears briefly in The Day After, with just-launched missiles visible in the sky above the bandstand. Louise Hanson says she can’t go by that bandstand, even to this day, without seeing those missiles in her mind’s eye.

The film did not significantly increase public support for nuclear arms reductions, but research suggests that it may have made viewers more knowledgeable about nuclear war and caused them to think about it more. For viewers who didn’t want to think about nuclear war, perhaps the biggest emotional punch delivered by the movie was the scene in which a husband drags his screaming wife —who is insisting on making the bed, in a desperate attempt to maintain normality—to their basement shelter.

Has it made any difference? That’s what the Hansons wonder now, 35 years after the movie and the height of the peace movement in Lawrence, as they play a song by a local group for me on their living-room stereo: “Uprising,” the anthem of the local coalition, which has a line that Louise loves: “I feel it in my bones.” The Hansons find it alarming that a fictional movie might have played a key role in changing a president’s views. “We in the peace movement have been, for decades, dangerously close to patting ourselves on the head and being satisfied with consciousness raising,” Louise says. “I see that as hugely insufficient unless you can translate it into policy.”


Bob Swan, Jr., a genial man with warm blue eyes who has befriended many Russian athletes and met a number of Russian dignitaries, including Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, is hopeful that citizen diplomacy can fill some of the gaps in policy making. He sees lots of connections between Kansas and Russia, everything from the red winter wheat brought to Kansas by Russian Mennonites, to the American and Soviet soldiers who met and embraced at the Elbe River in April 1945 on their way to jointly defeating Nazi Germany. (He proposed and helped organize a 40th anniversary celebration of the meetup in Torgau, Germany, for veterans of both armies.)

A few months after The Day After began filming, Swan founded the first of several groups dedicated to improving relations between Americans and Russians. He called it Athletes United for Peace. The goal was to promote athletic competition instead of nuclear hostility. When I visited him in August, the dining-room table in his home was covered with neatly stacked papers and memorabilia documenting his persistent efforts during the 1980s and ‘90s (the University of Kansas research library has 37 boxes of material from Swan in its archives). He thought he had “retired” from the volunteer work that had consumed so much of his time—and his first marriage—during those years, but now he is thinking about a possible comeback.

Swan met his current wife, Irina Turenko, in 2002 during one of several dozen trips he made to Russia. She was in Russia visiting family when I met Swan at their home, but he showed me a picture from their wedding day in 2006; he and Irina are standing between an American flag and a Russian one. Swan had another visitor on the day I was there: his sharp-tongued fraternity brother Mark Scott, who speaks fluent Russian and was in Lawrence for medical treatment. In 1982, Scott came up with the idea to invite a delegation of Soviet athletes to participate in the Kansas Relays, a three-day track-and-field meet that has been held at the University of Kansas every April since 1923.

Former mayor David Longhurst remembers attending the 1983 reception for the athletes. It was awkward. The Kansans and the Soviets viewed each other with suspicion. Longhurst didn’t speak Russian, and the visitors didn’t speak English. “I was trying to talk to a Soviet shot putter, and we weren’t communicating at all,” Longhurst recalls. “I took out my wallet and showed him a picture of my son. He took out his wallet and showed me a picture of his kids. All of a sudden, we understood one another. The barrier just melted.”

The next day, at the start of the “friendship relays,” Longhurst told the story to the crowd in his welcoming remarks. He said it had occurred to him that it would be wonderful if the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union could meet in “a place like Lawrence” and discover how much they had in common. “The press got hold of that and went nuts,” says Longhurst. The headlines said he had invited the two leaders to come to Lawrence.

Some of his constituents were so enthusiastic about the idea that they launched a campaign to organize what became known as the Meeting for Peace. Dole and other politicians endorsed the initiative. Longhurst and Swan joined a delegation of schoolchildren (including 10-year-old actress Ellen Anthony) that traveled by train to Washington to deliver thousands of postcards to the White House and the Soviet embassy, asking the nations’ leaders to come to Lawrence.

It took Swan and others more than seven years to make it happen, but the Meeting for Peace was finally held in Lawrence and six other Kansas cities in October 1990. By then, it had become a “people-to-people” event rather than a summit. About 300 prestigious Soviet citizens from a variety of regions and backgrounds—including the son of former Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev— visited Kansas to attend conferences and art shows, stay with Kansas families, celebrate the 100th birthday of Kansas-raised President Dwight D. Eisenhower (a big proponent of people-topeople exchanges to promote international understanding and friendship), and “bury an era” (as a New York Times headline reported). At the opening assembly, the Kansans and their guests applauded wildly when it was announced that Gorbachev had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

After Trump’s inauguration, Swan wrote a long letter to the president and his foreign policy team, proposing a number of ideas for what he called “a remarkable opportunity to improve US- ussia relations,” but he received only a very general reply six months later. Today, Swan remains hopeful about better relations between the two superpowers but says “it’s got to be from the bottom up this time, because our political system is in such disarray.” He hopes that young people will lead a fresh effort to improve relations between Russia and the United States, but it saddens him that “we’vealready done this.”


In one scene in The Day After, a pregnant woman who has taken shelter in the Lawrence hospital along with fallout victims tells her doctor that her overdue baby doesn’t want to be born. You’re holding back hope, he says.

“Hope for what?” she asks. “We knew the score. We knew all about bombs. We knew all about fallout. We knew this could happen for 40 years. Nobody was interested.”

It won’t be long before another 40 years have passed. Americans have not yet perished in a nuclear war or its aftermath, but a new arms race is beginning and the potential for an intentional or accidental nuclear war seems to be rising. As Koppel said in his introduction to the panel discussion that followed The Day After, “There is some good news. If you can, take a quick look out the window. It’s all still there.” But, he asked, “Is the vision that we’ve just seen the future as it will be, or only as it may be? Is there still time?”

The poet Langston Hughes, who spent most of his childhood in Lawrence, wrote a line that the city has adopted as its motto: “We have tomorrow bright before us like a flame.” It was emblazoned on a banner used by local anti-nuclear activists for their 1983 campaign. Today, though, it will take far more than banners or a movie to awaken a new generation to the risks of nuclear war, catch the eye of a president, and instigate a meaningful dialogue between the leaders of the United States and Russia.

There is hope, though. A year ago, the New York Times reported that people close to Trump estimate he spends “at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television.” A two-hour film about ordinary Americans might not interest the president, but a dramatic twominute video clip of Washington experiencing Lawrence-style devastation might get his attention. Especially if it aired on Fox & Friends.