p0fjsr2xThis morning I read a BBC post about the retirement in Denmark of Regan Vest (Regan west), a huge bunker built in the 1960s in face of the cold-war nuclear threat. This was produced by journalist Adrienne Murray Niesen, and it’s in the BBC travel section. I’m going to include a link at the end of this post, for it’s well done, with many more interesting photos.

The bunker is a giant labyrinth of deep tunnels that were kept secret from the Danish public until 2012, the reason presumably being that this was for the Danish government and the royal family only. I’m going to try to keep my thoughts here to one aspect of this. Look at this quote from the BBC post referring to the 1960s:

This was a time of fear and paranoia, but also preparedness. From basements in kindergartens to military forts, approximately 14,000 Cold War-era structures were erected across Denmark

Yes, I thought, all over Europe they were preparing, but not in North America. Except for the bunkers built for the American and Canadian governments and military, which were large and deep and I believe still exist, there was nothing for the Canadian public, and nothing I know of for citizens of cities in the USA. As I’ve said before, during the period of the most extreme danger, the early 1980s, I tried to write about this but I couldn’t get a single newspaper or magazine interested.

In Berlin the subway system was set up to rapidly convert to an enormous nuclear bunker. This was not just there to protect the public who could get in before the explosion(s) – they included food and water to last until the radiation levels were low enough to go outside.

Meanwhile, in North America, the view was basically “everyone knows it will be the end of the world, so why try to protect ourselves?” No one could understand why I was trying to change their minds.

Are we not right now in another time of fear and paranoia?

Never mind that many Japanese people in Nagasaki, with just 3 days to figure it out, learned to wear light colored clothing, throw themselves properly to the ground, not look towards the light, etc, in the face of a nuclear explosion. Though the Nagasaki bomb was twice as powerful as that dropped on Hiroshima, the deaths and injuries in Nagasaki were half of Hiroshima’s, and that was partly because many people knew what to do.

Anyway, this afternoon I couldn’t at first reconnect with the BBC site, but searching for it I found, mostly for the UK alone,  these news stories:

  • A nuclear bunker for 30 people in Hampshire is to be put up for auction
  • Another in Somerset will be converted to a short-term holiday stay residence.
  • One in Lincolnshire has just sold for 31,000 pounds
  • Another on the Essex-Sutton border sold at auction for 350,000 pounds
  • a giant labyrinthine bunker 100 ft beneath the city of Edinburgh has been decommissioned and the debate is on what to do with it
  • In Salisbury, a secret illegal cannabis farm was discovered in a big government bunker, then another one was found in Wiltshire.
  • Somewhere in the ex-Yugoslavia lands, the dictator Tito’s bunker has become an art gallery.

What strikes me is this – while Denmark, and Europe as a whole, was once prepared for the worst, apparently they no longer are (although the Danish government had two of these sites and one remains active – Regan East). In North America we never were prepared, and we still aren’t.

Yet those nuclear weapons are still there, still ready to go. Meanwhile, on Russian TV, government approved commentators are apparently pushing the notion that nuclear weapons should not be left unused, while telling Russians over and over that the Ukraine war is a war to defend Russia from Nato – from us.

What else do I need to say?

Here is the link to the BBC account, and another from a Danish site about Regan Vest – they have completely different photos, so I recommend both of them if you find this interesting.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s