The CPD Blog is intended to stimulate dialog among scholars and practitioners from around the world in the public diplomacy sphere. The opinions represented here are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect CPD's views. For blogger guidelines, click here.

The Ghost under the Brooklyn Bridge

Mar 29, 2006


This week workers at the Brooklyn Bridge chanced upon a forgotten room
containing supplies stockpiled against a nuclear attack. Dates on the
materials were evocative: 1957 - the year of Sputnik; 1962 - the year
of the Cuban missile crisis. This discovery is an oddly evocative
interruption from the high point last long war into what future
historians will doubtless see as the opening phase of the era-defining
conflict. It is like a ghost in a Shakespeare play -- reminding us of
just how bleak things were in the era of Sputnik and the Cuban missile
crisis, and how different the threats are today. Looking back, when
the USSR was the enemy there was some comfort to be derived from
imagining the mirror image state with its mirror image concerns. Al
Qaeda is a very different proposition. Beyond such musings the room
under the bridge is a fascinating comment on the abundance of
America's Cold War civil defense. Evidently there was so much
material being stockpiled that it
was possible to loose track of a supply cache like this. Hardly 'your
tax dollars at work.' One wonders what monuments to the defense and
homeland security budget of 2006 will turn up to haunt our


Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

I highly recommend the 2008

I highly recommend the 2008 book " Ten Minutes to Midnight" by Michael Dobbs (Washington post reporter) on the Cuban missile crisis. Extensive footnotes show great care to document much new material from Washington, Cuba and the USSR on the crisis and its resolution.

Michael Dobbs' book Ten

Michael Dobbs' book Ten Minutes to Midnight states that serious US Civil Defence efforts were miniscule during the Cold War, though lots of slogans and signs were created to comfort the public. The USSR, with its experience of WW II, did devote massive efforts to civil defense.


Visit CPD's Online Library

Explore CPD's vast online database featuring the latest books, articles, speeches and information on international organizations dedicated to public diplomacy. 

Join the Conversation

Interested in contributing to the CPD Blog? We welcome your posts. Read our guidelines and find out how you can submit blogs and photo essays >