Nuclear History Resources

My graduate thesis focused on the Cold War era fallout shelter and I’ve always had a fondness for the nuclear history of the United States. If you have any interest in the topic, there are some great online resources that might interest you. Warning: I’ve lost countless hours combing through some of the posts and information provided on these sites. They are great resources!

The Nuclear Secrecy Blog. Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog is run by Alex Wellerstein, an historian of science at the American Institute of Physics. Wellerstein’s posts are thorough, intriguing, and full of excellent, historical imagery. His posts range for those interested in the “science” aspects of nuclear history, to more of the social aspects (Civil Defense), and logistical/political issues (Government, Cuban Misslie Crisis).

The National Security Archive. Hosted by George Washington University, the National Security Archive features primary source documents and electronic briefing books on a variety of topics ranging from nuclear history, U.S. military history, foreign policy, and other major events. They have successfully FOIA requested several controversial documents and analyzed these documents, one of note is titled “Declassified Pentagon History Provides Hair-Raising Scenarios of U.S. Vulnerabilities to Nuclear Attack through 1970s.

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Thanks to the Google Books digitization effort, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists issues from the 1940s through 1998 are available online. Although the Bulletin is more technical in nature, nuclear scientists debated every issue and topic related to the atomic field (and continue to do so) in this publication. For fun, check out the issues in the early 1960s.

CONELRAD | ATOMIC PLATTERS: Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security. For those interested in the pop culture aspects of nuclear history, this website is a must visit. CONELRAD features a list of songs that had some connection to atomic history, with a short history, and lyrics for each song. I used part of the lyrics from Fallout Shelter: Mike and Bernie Winters [1961] in my thesis and used this website as a valuable resource. They also have audio tracks of several songs, worth a listen!

This is just a sampling of the resources available online. I also recommend several twitter users, including @wellerstein, @AtomicHeritage, and @nuclearmuseum, among others.

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