From the late 1940's until the early 1990's the United States was front and center in an event known to history as the Cold War. This conflict involved political, economic, cultural and military confrontation between the democratic capitalist system of the United States and its allies versus the communist totalitarian system of the Soviet Union and its allies. The conflict was personified by a nuclear arms race which threatened destruction of both sides yet kept an uneasy peace. All aspects of life in the United States were influenced by the Cold War.
One of the most intriguing parts of the conflict took place in the heartland of the United States where 1,000 Minuteman Missile silos were located. The construction of these sites, their operation for over thirty years and eventually their deactivation was and still is today one of the most dramatic in American history.
This story includes such world historical events as the Cold War, the launching of Sputnik, the missile gap, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the nuclear arms race, peace movement, disarmament treaties and the fall of the Iron Curtain. It also includes more personal stories from places like western South Dakota where families learned to live with nuclear weapons literally in their backyard, young male and female missileers were given control of unprecedented military power and maintenance teams working at missile silos in almost unimaginable winter weather conditions. These are just a few of the stories told at Minuteman Missile. There are thousands of others that are waiting to be discovered, researched and told. The essence of history is the story of humanity, the essence of Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is a human story and how it was shaped by the forces of technology to protect freedom and democracy.