Fort Report: America's Cold War Museum
America won the Cold War. While seemingly far behind us, the complicated history of this threat dynamic is an essential American story involving espionage, propaganda, embargoes, psychological warfare, and the amassing of a vast arsenal of nuclear weapons. It’s important for us to remember this history.
Recently, I introduced legislation to designate the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum “America’s National Museum of the Cold War.” I’m hopeful that this new federal designation will make Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum a global hub for historians of the conflict, tourists from around the world, and families and friends of the unsung covert heroes who gave their last full measure so that Soviet Communism could be defeated. The designation will also draw resources and talent to the museum to greatly expand its mission.
Forerunner of today’s USSTRATCOM, the nerve center of our nation’s nuclear infrastructure, Strategic Air Command in Bellevue, Nebraska was the literal and figurative “ground zero” during the Cold War. It’s only fitting that the nearby museum in Ashland is ground zero for retelling the full story of that epic decades-long conflict, spanning the end of WWII to the dissolution of the Soviet Empire. That rich, fascinating narrative––the subject of amazing books, movies, and television shows––encompasses the Berlin Airlift, Checkpoint Charlie, the rise of NATO, the U-2 Incident, the Suez Crisis, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs, Soviet invasions of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Afghanistan, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the H-bomb, the Space Race, the SALT treaties, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s a story that has not been told in one place, until now.
Thank you to my Nebraska colleague and former Offutt Air Force Base Commander, Congressman Don Bacon, for joining me in this exciting expansion of the museum’s research and education mission, and for helping raise awareness of this major national museum in the heart of the heartland.