Powder keg Europe

The Wall Net is building bridges from the past into the present. If you go back in time across one of these bridges, you will face a world, which might have been originated from a dystopian novel – in fact it was the reality of millions of people.

The Berlin Wall is a heavily loaded relict from the German-German past. A time, when two
superpowers were facing each other armed to the teeth: The United States of America (USA) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

The Cold War, the threatening and infiltrating of each other, had a number of fronts – in military, political, diplomatic, social, economical, technological, cultural affairs and even sports. Europe became an atomic powder keg. Proxy wars had been (and still are) fought in other regions of the world.

The military power struggle reached its climax in the late 1970s/early 1980s. The USSR had positioned a devastating atomic potential and thus achieved an advantage in the arms race. The Western forces caught up with the NATO Double-Track Decision (aiming for balance and simultaneous negotiating). As a result, about 5,000 nuclear warheads were solely stored in West Germany.

To illustrate: If these atomic warheads would have been evenly distributed on a straight line between Flensburg (in the north of Germany) and Garmisch-Partenkirchen (in the south), one atomic bomb would have popped up every 160 meters.

The medium-range missiles, which should be equipped with these bombs, deeply ranged into enemy territory. It does not take much imagination to figure out what would have been remaining of Europe in the most serious case.
More on the arms race and other topics from German history are vividly presented on Lebendiges Museum online.