Minutemen Missiles inSouth Dakota

The Minuteman Missiles in South Dakota are an excellent example of the Cold War economy and the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address. The military-industrial complex refers to the relationship between the military establishment and the defense industry, which mutually benefit from each other’s activities.

During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union were in a nuclear arms race, each seeking to build more nuclear weapons and missiles than the other. The United States built a network of missile silos in remote locations, including South Dakota, to house its nuclear weapons. The construction of these silos required extensive government funding, which provided a significant boost to the defense industry and the economy. The Minuteman Missiles themselves were also a product of this relationship between the military and defense contractors.

The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site was established by the National Park Service to preserve a piece of Cold War history and educate the public about the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The site includes a missile silo, a launch control center, and a visitor center with exhibits and educational programs. By preserving this site, the National Park Service is providing visitors with a firsthand look at the nuclear arms race, the technology that was developed, and the potential consequences of nuclear war. It also serves as a reminder of the risks and costs of maintaining such a complex and dangerous arsenal.

One thought on “Minutemen Missiles inSouth Dakota

  1. Lauren,

    I’m intrigued by how we view these missiles as pieces of national and state history. Is it best that we memorialize them as we have? Perhaps the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site operates more as a testament to South Dakota’s importance on a national scale than as a healthy learning tool. On the other hand, most would agree that having something there to preserve history is preferable to pretending nothing happened, even if the information provided is taken in a jingoistic way.


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