Cold War Economy

The Minutemen Missles in South Dakota played a big role in the Cold War economy or what Dwight Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex. The military-industrial complex is when businesses and individuals are involved in the creation of military technologies. In South Dakota, the military-industrial complex revolved around the Minutemen Missles. Minutemen Missles needed to be located by “near access roads, near commercial power, above water tables, and relatively flat” (Heefner, 187). South Dakota fit these requirements to a tea. The population was also low, so if the Soviets did try to attack to take out these sites, the consequences were low. During the Cold War, it was important to make America look like they were advancing in almost any aspect of life while still keeping conservative values. This meant that advances in nuclear power became a critical aspect because we wanted to assert our dominance and show that we are ready if something were to escalate. The Minutemen Missles helped the economy vastly  It says in the reading, that in the West side of South Dakota there was “little organic job creation and economic opportunity, cold war deployment promised much” (Heefner, 186). In this area were there was not much growth in the economy, the minute missiles changes that. However, though the Minutemen Missles provided jobs for the economy, in some ways the creation of them also negatively impacted people. Those people would be farmers. The missiles were being put in the middle of farmers fields. Since my family farms, I know how important it is to farmers to be able to utilize every inch of their land. However, if the farmers spoke out about this they would be called unpatriotic and probably would be deemed a communist. In some ways, the Minutemen Missles helped the economy, but in others ways it did not. 

I think a silo was preserved as a national historic site with the National Park Service because the Minutemen Missles played a big role in South Dakota for many decades. Also by keeping the silo up, it shows South Dakota`s role during the Cold War. In better words from the reading,”the site would “preserve, protect and interpret” the Minuteman II system, its historical role as part of “America’s strategic commitment to preserve world peace” and place this story within the “broader context of the Cold War” (Heefner, 196). The Cold War was a huge historical event, and I feel sometimes we would not think of the effects of it affecting places were not many things happen, like in South Dakota. Therefore, by having one Silo preserved, it does show that even in rural areas the Cold War had an impact on the economy and the people.

2 thoughts on “Cold War Economy

  1. You have mentioned that the locations where the minutemen missiles were implemented meant lowering the damages that would have occurred in case of a nuclear exchange. However, even if it was less populated than other areas across the nation, it is undeniable that it would have devastating consequences for the people. The minutemen missiles in this case, as you have said, did not advantage the citizens of those areas in any way. They not only demanded their right to know the purpose of this excessive nuclear development but they also asked for recompensation for their exploited lands. despite being underground and land-based, The minutemen’s missile control sites such as the one in South Dakota were of great damage and most importantly a great burden on the economy. The high expenditure on technical and nuclear arms development didn’t benefit the country’s economy nor did it favor it in the nuclear race during the Cold War era.


    1. In your post, I like the mention of how the Minutemen Missles’ helped the economy because of the opening of jobs. When I considered how the economy was helped by the growth of these missiles, I originally only found the concept that the missiles were cheap and easy to construct, they also didn’t take long to be built. I agree that if the remaining silo was not added as a Historic Site by the National Park Services then South Dakota would be totally forgotten as a part of the Cold War. So many people were impacted by the Silos and without the preservation of the Silo, their troubles are forgotten and pushed off to the backburners.


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