Oct. 16-28 marks the 55th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a time when the United State stood on the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union.
Leaders of the U.S. and the Soviet Union engaged in a tense, 13-day standoff over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles in Cuba. In a TV address President Kennedy told Americans the U.S. was prepared to use military force if necessary to neutralize this perceived threat to national security.
Disaster was avoided when the U.S. agreed to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s offer to remove the Cuban missiles in exchange for the U.S. promising not to invade Cuba.
The incident was part of the "Cold War" waged between the United States and Soviet Union from 1947 to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
It was a time of Fallout Shelters, underground bomb shelters, Civil Defense warning sirens, and emergency drills in schools.
Here's a look back at Civil Defense during the Cold War.
WONDER BUILDING LIVING SHELTER.
Plan Dedication One of the first wide-scale Civil Defense Training Centers in the United States will be dedicated at Indian Bluff Forest Preserve Sunday afternoon, Aug. 6, 1961, In the above photo, Donald E. Lemme, civil defense director of Rock Island County, operates a piece of equipment in the communications center of the new building -- to be called the Rock Island County Civil Defense Training Center. (Morning Democrat photo)
The photo at the right shows the new unit and a storage tent and the two towers which will be used for communications. The center was built under the Federal Contributions Program and is expected to serve as a model for other centers, according to Lemme. The public is invited to attend the dedication ceremonies at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, 1961. John W. McConnell, Region 4 director of the Office of Civil Defense Mobilization, will speak. An open house will follow demonstrations of the unit given. (Morning Democrat photo)
(Probably an unpublished photo. From a similar photo) The photo at the right shows the new unit and a storage tent and the two towers which will be used for communications. The center was built under the Federal Contributions Program and is expected to serve as a model for other centers, according to Lemme. The public is invited to attend the dedication ceremonies at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, 1961. John W. McConnell, Region 4 director of the Office of Civil Defense Mobilization, will speak. An open house will follow demonstrations of the unit given. (Morning Democrat photo)
LIVING SHELTER FALLOUT DEFENSE DISTRIBUTED BY MIDWEST METALS, DAVENPORT, IOWA. Published Sunday Sept. 21, 1961 You still look twice at such a structure as this, but they are no longer oddities as they go on display for sales purposes in the Quad-City region. This shelter must be hurried in the ground. Delivered to your home, but not installed, this unit costs $415 in Davenport. (Times-Democrat photo)
Show New Bomb Shelter Workmen Harvey Hertig (left) and Henry Jones install a section of a nuclear attack shelter Friday which will be displayed at the Mississippi Valley Fair and Exposition starting Sunday. It is the only home type shelter approved by the Office of Civilian Defense Mobilization. Midwest Metals Corp., of Davenport is distributor for the steel shelters in the eastern Iowa-western Illinois area. The shelter is made to be set up in a home basement. (Photo by Times-Democrat)
Schick Studies Fallout Behavior Davenport Fire Chief Lester Schick, right, and Battle Creek, Mich., Chief Don Burrows listen at the Fire Services National Civil Defense Staff and Command Course in Battle Creek -- to explanation of fallout behavior from Barent F. Landstreet. He's in charge of the course as Community Services Director for the Office of Civil Defense, Department of Defense. Nearly 60 fire chiefs or government officials involved in fire protection from throughout the nation are attending the two-week OCD course ending Friday, Oct. 27, 1961. The elliptical patterns on the map indicate the way in which fallout from nuclear blasts in target areas would spread downwind across the countryside. (Times-Democrat photo)
Civil Defense warning siren.
Civil Defense Emergency Unit.
Fallout Shelter Capacity 275.
IN BOMBS' BIRTHPLACE In Los Alamos, N.M., birthplace of the atomic and hydrogen bombs, the John F. Spalding family (left) and the Chester R. Richmonds demonstrate how people of the town would sit out a nuclear attack and its radioactive aftermath. They are in the well-stocked basement of a scientific laboratory building. Boxes marked MPF contain "multi-purposed food." The American scientific community is divided on the value of a fallout shelter program. (Associated Press photo)
(Probably an unpublished photo. From a similar photo) Last fall demonstration fallout shelters (like this one) were erected throughout the Quad-Cities. Interest dropped and the one above at Bettendorf's Duck Creek Plaza was razed. (Times-Democrat photo)
(Probably unpublished photo. From a similar photo) Last fall demonstration fallout shelters (like this one) were erected throughout the Quad-Cities. Interest dropped and the one above at Bettendorf's Duck Creek Plaza was razed. (Times-Democrat photo)
Handwritten on back: Civil Defense pumps. Photo taken Wednesday, March 16, 1966. (Photo by Phil Hutchison/The Daily Times)
Tornado Casualties Brought In A helicopter churned over Mercy Hospital, Davenport, Wednesday morning, Sept. 25, 1968, bringing in 20 volunteer "victims" of a tornado that supposedly struck 14 miles west of the Quad-Cities. The air rescue delivery was all part of the hospital's simulated natural disaster test alert that included hospital personnel and Sisters of Mercy, the Davenport Civil Air Patrol, and men from the 1105th Aviation Company (MDM Hel), Davenport. The "casualties" were flown to an emergency heliport on the west hospital grounds and then transferred by ambulance to the hospital's triage area. Hospital officials termed the alert a 'complete success." (Times-Democrat photo)
Civil Defense (Associated Press illustration)
"CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE" "The way things are now, people will die needlessly from fallout ... we are criminally unprepared," claims Omaha civil defense director William Noyes. He stands here in an Omaha shelter, in front of a stack of cartons containing survival supplies. Noyes and other local civil defense officials call for strong national leadership to inform and mobilize people behind programs. (Associated Press photo)
John E. Davis, a two-term governor from North Dakota, now head of the nation's civil defense apparatus, works at his Pentagon office in Washington. He concedes the U.S. Public is poorly protected, but says he has no present plans to ask Congress for more money or power to improve the system. He forcefully argues that much can be done even within the present budget if only state an local offices would tighten up their operations. (The Associated Press)
BARELY SHELTERED A federal report shows that there are stocked, public fallout shelter spaces for only 61 million Americans. Eight percent of the buildings marked as shelter sites do not have any supplies and instruments. Some of the stocked shelters are not even marked as shelters. The photo shows water storage tins stacked in a Pittsburgh shelter. They are empty. (Associated Press photo)
UPHILL JOB Mrs. Frances Helman is the local civil defense director of Indiana County, Pa. She says that fewer than 10 percent of the county's residents could expect to find a stocked public shelter space. And that there is no nuclear disaster plan for her county since city and county officials have not joined in working one out - this is a commonly heard complaint from civil defense officials across the country. (Associated Press photo)
The circled areas on this map of the City of Davenport show areas covered by the present Civil Defense tornado alert siren system. Officials have said the system covers 25 percent of Davenport's incorporated area.
Roy Lindholme, left, chairman of the Rock Island County Board administration committee, and Arlan Fox, supervisor at the county office building, inspect some of the estimated $1 million worth of civil defense emergency supplies stored in the building's basement and elsewhere in the county. (Photo by Dick Heap/Quad-City Times)
Concrete blocks encase the air intake pipes in the Veigel fallout shelter, the first one built in Rock Island. The air passages follow a maze in order to trap radioactive dust. Published Sunday, May 16, 1976. (Photo by Harry E. Boll/Quad-City Times)
Heinz Veigel, hoists a concrete shield that covers the glass brick window of a fallout shelter he helped his uncle build at their former residence at 2019 42nd St., Rock Island. Published Sunday, May 16, 1976. (Photo by Harry E. Boll/Quad-City Times)
Brenda Kloppenborg, 18, descends into the fallout shelter built by her father, John Kloppenborg. Kloppenborg was the first Davenport resident to take out a construction permit for such a shelter in 1961. Published Sunday, May 16, 1976. (Photo by Larry Fisher/Quad-City Times)
John Kloppenborg and his daughter, Brenda, take a look at the apples now stored in the family fallout shelter. Published Sunday, May 16, 1976. (Photo by Larry Fisher/Quad-City Times)
Mrs. Joseph DeBlois, Bettendorf, moves another box into the fallout shelter beneath the garage of their home. The shelter, which the DeBloises use for storage, was built by the previous owner, Don R. Plumb. Published Sunday, May 16, 1976. (Photo by Harry E. Boll/Quad-City Times)