The Minutemen Missiles of South Dakota was an example of how careless the United States was with money during the cold war—the U.S. was so frightened by the possibility of being taken over by communism that they were doing anything they could to be “prepared”. President Dwight Eisenhower warned of this in his farewell address. He told Americans about the risks that the military-industrial complex came with and how the relationship between the U.S. and military supply corporations could be dangerous. The government could get carried away with wanting to be “prepared” and spiral out of control with spending to be able to fund the minutemen missiles. This can all be tied back into funding for nuclear testing and the land they used for it—the U.S. spent millions of dollars constantly testing nuclear weapons for so many reasons they felt necessary at the time. With all the spending it shows where the government’s mind was at during the cold war. They did not care for the people or the economy that they were living in. They did not care about the well-being or the current safety from the nuclear testing. All they cared about was stopping communism and the possibility of it infiltrating the country. The worst part was how hidden the minutemen project was hidden at the time. Many U.S. citizens had no idea what the government was created in the midwest. Mostly because no one lived in the area to witness it. And for a long time, the U.S. population went without knowing of the massive firepower hidden in the midwest. Eisenhower warned of the dangers that the military-industrial complex brought to the U.S. but most people had no idea what he was referring to at that time.
I believe there was more than one reason they made one of the silos into a national historic site. The first reason is that they know a lot of people will want to see what it looks like and how it operates. There are tons of history junkies and people who are infatuated with war history. I myself would want to see that and be able to tour something that held a missile capable of mass destruction. Knowing this the government also knew it would bring in tons of money. If you charge $10 dollars to every person wanting to tour the missile silo you will be making some good money at the end of the year. The second reason I believe they made it into a national historic site was to play off what the main purpose of the silo was for. No one really is going to think about all the money they wasted on these silos when you get to go in the thing. They did it to distract the people from the damage they did to the midwest landscape and all the money that they wasted on these thousands of silos that they didn’t even use.
One thought on “The Waste of the Midwest.”
The way you considered the Minutemen missiles programs is very interesting and definitely different from how I saw it. I never really thought about how they could ultimately be seen as a waste. I thought it was cool how they generated some extra income in the midwest due to the construction contracts, but didn’t consider how putting so much money into a program, never ending up using it, and then spending more money to destroy it was not helpful in the end. It’s also sad to think about the way that they went about destroying most of the silos, without caring about the effect on the environment or farmers living in those areas.