russia

How can the February Revolution begin on March 8th, you might ask? Well, if you know much about 1917 Russia, you know that the calendar at that time was the Julian calendar, and not the Gregorian calendar that we use today in most countries. That was how the February Revolution (known as such because of Russia’s use of the Julian calendar) which began on February 23rd in the Julian calendar, actually began on March 8th in the now-used Gregorian calendar. The February Revolution started with riots and strikes over the scarcity of food erupt in Petrograd. One week later, centuries of czarist rule in Russia ended with the abdication of Czar Nicholas II, and Russia took a dramatic step closer to a communist revolution.

By 1917, Czar Nicholas II had already lost all of his credibility. The corruption in the government was rampant, the economy was a mess, and Nicholas repeatedly dissolved the Duma…the Russian parliament established after the Revolution of 1905…whenever it opposed his will. All that was bad, but the immediate cause of the February Revolution, which was the first phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917…was Russia’s disastrous involvement in World War I. Militarily, Russia was no match for industrialized Germany, and Russian casualties were greater than those sustained by any nation in any previous war. They were severely pounded by the Germans. Meanwhile, the economy was hopelessly disrupted by the costly war effort, and moderates joined Russian radical elements in calling for the overthrow of the czar, who was already weak due to family problems, namely a sick child.

While most of the world switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1582, Russia didn’t make the conversion until 1918. So, 104 years ago, the Russian people irrevocably had half a month wiped out of their lives…13 days of February in 1918. Their calendar went from January 31, 1918, to February 14, 1918…overnight. On March 8th or February 23rd, 1917, depending on the calendar you choose to use for the event, demonstrators were clamoring for bread in the streets of the Russian capital of Petrograd (now known as Saint Petersburg). Supported by 90,000 men and women on strike, the protesters clashed with police but refused to leave the streets. The strike spread, and on March 10th, it had spread among all of Petrograd’s workers, and irate mobs of workers destroyed police stations. Several factories elected deputies to the Petrograd Soviet, or “council” of workers’ committees, following the model devised during the Revolution of 1905.

By March 11th, the troops of the Petrograd army garrison ordered soldiers to crush the uprising. Regiments opened fire, killing demonstrators, but the protesters kept to the streets, and the troops began to waver. Nicholas dissolved the Duma again on that day, and on March 12, the revolution triumphed when regiment after regiment of the Petrograd garrison defected to the cause of the demonstrators. The soldiers, some 150,000 men, subsequently formed committees that elected deputies to the Petrograd Soviet.

The uprising forced the imperial government to resign, and the Duma formed a provisional government that peacefully vied with the Petrograd Soviet for control of the revolution. March 14th, saw the Petrograd Soviet issuing “Order No. 1,” which instructed Russian soldiers and sailors to obey only those orders that did not conflict with the directives of the Soviet. Czar Nicholas II abdicated the throne the next day, March 15th, in favor of his brother Michael, who refused the crown, ending the czarist autocracy.

The Petrograd Soviet tolerated the new provincial government and hoped to salvage the Russian war effort while ending the food shortage and many other domestic crises…a daunting task. Meanwhile, Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik revolutionary party, left his exile in Switzerland and crossed German enemy lines to return home and take control of the Russian Revolution.

Czar Nicholas II and Czarina Alexandra were not always considered popular, in fact you could say that the tumultuous reign of Nicholas II, who was the last czar of Russia, was tarnished by his ineptitude in both foreign and domestic affairs that helped to bring about the Russian Revolution. Nevertheless, he was a part of the Romanov Dynasty, which had ruled Russia for three centuries.

I think that his young son, Alexi’s health issues played a rather large part in what many would consider his failure to lead, but things were looking up for the family when a young Siberian-born muzhik, or peasant, who underwent a religious conversion as a teenager and proclaimed himself a healer with the ability to predict the future, won the favor of Czar Nicholas II and Czarina Alexandra. Grigory Efimovich Rasputin was able, through his ability, to stop the bleeding of their hemophiliac son, Alexei, in 1908.

Many people, from that time forward, began to criticize Rasputin for his lechery and drunkenness, if these things are true. The left-wing Bolsheviks were deeply unhappy with the government and began spreading calls for a military uprising. The Bolsheviks were a revolutionary party, dedicated to Karl Marx’s ideas, and they wanted a coup d’etat, which is a sudden, violent, and unlawful seizure of power from a government. That said, the last thing they needed was a “miracle-working holy man” advising the Czar. Rasputin exerted a powerful influence on the ruling family of Russia, infuriating nobles, church orthodoxy, and peasants alike. He particularly influenced the czarina and was rumored to be her lover.

Rasputin had to go, so sometime over the course of the night and the early morning of December 29-30, 1916, Grigory Efimovich Rasputin was murdered by Russian nobles eager to end his influence over the royal family. Still, that wasn’t all, and the rest of it should have scared them…to death. A group of nobles, led by Prince Felix Youssupov, the husband of the czar’s niece, and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, Nicholas’s first cousin, lured Rasputin to Youssupov Palace on the night of December 29, 1916. First, Rasputin’s would-be killers first gave the monk food and wine laced with cyanide…which miraculously had no effect on him. When he failed to react to the poison, they shot him at close range, leaving him for dead. Once again, they failed to kill him. Rasputin revived a short time later and attempted to escape from the palace grounds. They caught up with him and shot him again, and then beat him viciously. Finally, because Rasputin was still alive, they bound him and tossed him into a freezing river. His body was discovered several days later and the two main conspirators, Youssupov and Pavlovich were exiled. It was the beginning of the end. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 put an end to the imperial regime. Nicholas and Alexandra were murdered, and the long, dark reign of the Romanovs was over.

I like lighthouses. That is just a fact. I am particularly fascinated with unusual lighthouse. There are many lighthouses all over the world. They are, of course, used to direct ships away from shallow waters or dangerous rocks that lurk below the surface of the water. Today, there are more than 21,600 lighthouses worldwide, and there are a few that are still in use. In pre-GPS days, they played a vital role in the shipping industry, but these days they are usually used as tourist attractions. Many are privately owned, and are only used in an extreme emergency, when the electronic guidance systems are down. Some lighthouses are simply abandoned. I have mixed feelings about those, because when abandoned, they usually fall into disrepair, but there is something about abandoned buildings that has always intrigued me…even when they have fallen into disrepair.

One such unusual, abandoned lighthouse is the Aniva Lighthouse in Sakhalin, Russia. The lighthouse is situated on a small rock called Sivuchya near the rocky Cape Aniva. It is difficult to reach, and can only be accessed by water. To make matters worse, the tides are strong there. Still, the breathtaking scenery makes the journey worth while. Construction started on Aniva Lighthouse in June 1937 and finished in October 1939, taking just over two years. Building this navigational structure was difficult: all of the construction materials had to be delivered by water. Severe weather conditions didn’t make the process any easier.

When I first saw a picture on the Aniva Lighthouse, it reminded me of the front of a ship. It almost looked like a shipwreck, except for the lighthouse part, of course. Upon closer inspection, the lighthouse really doesn’t look like a ship at all, but maybe it was designed to give that illusion. The concrete tower, is painted to match the surrounding rocks, its stroboscopic lamp located 131 above the ground. The structure is round in shape and equipped with a bay window, the 9-floor tower stands on an oval base, which looks like it is coming out of the coastal rocks. Maybe that’s why it looks like a ship.

The Aniva Lighthouse was well equipped for living, no matter what the weather conditions. The basement was equipped with diesel engines and batteries. The kitchen was located on the ground floor along with the food storage The radio room, equipment room, and watch room were situated on the second floor of the lighthouse. As many as 12 people could be accommodated in the living quarters, located on the third, fourth and fifth floors, with each floor having a separate room. The interior of the quarters was modest, housing two bunk beds and small alcoves for personal belongings. Much of the light came in through small porthole windows. The storeroom was on the sixth floor. The seventh floor housed the mechanisms of a pneumatic siren, with its horn installed directly on the roof of the bay window. The eighth floor was used for fuel storage. The ninth floor housed the lens rotation mechanism of the lighthouse. The lantern rotated inside a bowl with about 660 pounds of mercury. The stroboscopic lamp was set in motion by a mechanism similar to a clockwork. Running through the center of a spiral staircase leading to the very top of the tower, was a pipe with a suspended weight of 595 pounds inside. It took the weight three hours to reach the bottom, rotating the lamp in the process. After that, the lighthouse keeper had to rewind the system. The lighthouse had a range of 17.5 miles. That must have been a job.

It was decided to make the Aniva Lighthouse autonomous by re-equipping it to work from a nuclear power source in the 1990s. In 2006, the radioisotope generators were removed. The lighthouse has been abandoned ever since. These days it is a haven for the birds.

Through the years, Russia, also known as the Soviet Union and the USSR, has been sometimes ally and sometimes enemy of the United States. World War I and World War II found the Soviet Union once again on the side of good as a part of the Allied Forces. The main countries in the Allied powers of World War I were France, the British Empire and the Russian Empire. The main Allied powers of World War II were France, Great Britain, the United States, China, and the Soviet Union. So in these two wars anyway, the United States and Russia were on the same side. The three principal partners in the Axis alliance in World War II were Germany, Italy, and Japan. They were joined by Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Thailand, who also signed the Tri-Partite Pact as member states.

On May 12, 1942, Soviet forces under the command of Marshal Semyon Timoshenko attacked the German 6th Army from a vulnerable point established during the winter counter-offensive. After a promising start, the offensive was stopped on May 15th by massive airstrikes. There were a number of critical Soviet errors by several staff officers and by Joseph Stalin, who failed to accurately estimate the 6th Army’s potential and overestimated their own newly raised forces, facilitated a German pincer attack on May 17th which cut off three Soviet field armies from the rest of the front by May 22nd. The Soviet Army was hemmed into a narrow area, and the 250,000-strong Soviet force inside the pocket was exterminated from all sides by German armored, artillery, and machine gun firepower, as well as 7,700 tons of air-dropped bombs. After six days of encirclement by the German Army, the Soviet resistance ended as their troops were killed or taken prisoner. It was a devastating loss for the Soviets.

The Counter-offensive of the Second Battle of Kharkov, was called Operation Fredericus, and was launched by the Axis forces in the region around Kharkov against the Red Army Izium bridgehead offensive, and was conducted from May 12 to May 28, 1942, on the Eastern Front during World War II. The objective was to eliminate the Izium bridgehead over Seversky Donets, also known as the “Barvenkovo bulge,” which was one of the Soviet offensive’s staging areas. A winter counter-offensive drove German troops away from Moscow, but depleted the Red Army’s reserves. The Kharkov offensive was next Soviet attempt to expand their strategic initiative, although it failed to secure a significant element of surprise. The battle ended up being an overwhelming German victory, with 280,000 Soviet casualties compared to just 20,000 for the Germans and their allies. The German Army Group South pressed its advantage, encircling the Soviet 28th Army on June 13 in Operation Wilhelm and pushing back the 38th and 9th Armies on June 22.

On January 22, 1905, while Russia was well on its way to losing a war against Japan in the Far East, the country found itself engulfed in internal discontent that finally exploded into violence in Saint Petersburg. The horrific events of the day became known as the Bloody Sunday Massacre. Russia had been under the rule of Romanov Czar Nicholas II who had ascended to the throne in 1894. Czar Nicholas II was a weak-willed man who was more concerned that his line would not continue, because his only son Alexis suffered from hemophilia, than he was about the corruption going on in his own administration. Before long, Nicholas fell under the influence of such unsavory characters as Grigory Rasputin, the so-called mad monk. As corruption and an oppressive regime often do, Russia’s imperialist interests in Manchuria at the turn of the century brought on the Russo-Japanese War, which began in February 1904. Behind the scenes, revolutionary leaders, such as the exiled Vladimir Lenin, were gathering forces of socialist rebellion aimed at toppling the czar.

No one wanted to go to war with Japan, and it was going to take some work to drum up support for the unpopular war. The Russian government allowed a conference of the zemstvos to take the lead. A zemstvo was an institution of local government set up during the great emancipation reform of 1861 and carried out in Imperial Russia by Emperor Alexander II of Russia. The first zemstvo laws went into effect in 1864. After the October Revolution the zemstvo system was shut down by the Bolsheviks and replaced with a multilevel system of workers’ and peasants’ councils…the regional governments instituted by Nicholas’s grandfather Alexander II, in St. Petersburg in November 1904. The demands for reform made at this congress went unmet and more radical socialist and workers’ groups decided to take a different tack.

Things exploded on January 22, 1905, when a group of workers led by the radical priest Georgy Apollonovich Gapon marched to the czar’s Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg to make their demands. the imperial forces immediately opened fire on the demonstrators, killing and wounding hundreds. Strikes and riots broke out throughout the country in outraged response to the massacre. Czar Nicholas responded by promising the formation of a series of representative assemblies, or Dumas, to work toward reform. Unfortunately, he did not follow through with his promise, and internal tension in Russia continued to build over the next decade. As the regime proved unwilling to truly change its repressive ways and radical socialist groups, including Lenin’s Bolsheviks, became stronger, drawing ever closer to their revolutionary goals, the situation grew worse. Finally, more than 10 years later, everything came to a head as Russia’s resources were stretched to the breaking point by the demands of World War I.

Our enemies really depend on the war we are in. In World War II, Russia was on the side of the United States. While they might not have really been our ally, they weren’t really our enemy either, so I guess they were our “frienemy.” In reality, they were in just as much danger as any other member of the Allies. Germany had made a deal with them, but then invaded them anyway. World War II was a fear-filled time. It was a hard-fought war, against terrible enemies. There were times that it looked like Hitler would win, but in the end, he did not, and as far as history knows, he committed suicide, along with his wife, Eve Braun Hitler, who married him the day before.

The people of the Soviet Union heard on the radio on May 9, 1945, at 1:10am, that Nazi Germany had signed the act of unconditional surrender. That surrender ended the USSR’s fight on the Eastern Front of World War II, or the Great Patriotic War as the Soviets called it. That war had been devastating consequences…according to official data, the state lost more than 26 million people. It was a great day for Russia and for the world. Hitler was dead, and the world could move forward and begin to heal. It was truly a rare case of an indestructible victory over its worst enemy, and the people of the state began a traditional method of celebration…drinking vodka and toasting to their victory.

The party began that day, May 9, 1945, and continued without ceasing for about 22 hours. People were so excitedly celebrating that they really didn’t think about their condition. They went outside in their pajamas, embraced, and wept with happiness. They didn’t care if they were in their pajamas, they were elated, and they partied. In fact, even non-drinkers began to drink. The party came to a screeching halt 22 hours later when the wartime deficiency of vodka, led to a unique situation. The party was in full swing, and when Joseph Stalin stepped up to address the nation in honor of the victory, the population had drunk all the vodka reserves in the country. I don’t think people really cared at that point what they toasted with. They would gladly lift a glass of water to cheer the victory. Nevertheless, how often does an entire nation run out of liquor…unless the nation is in prohibition, that is?

War machines…the weapons of war…everything from tanks to airplanes to ships. A war cannot be fought without the equipment that transports, shoots, bombs, floats, and flies over the war. What happens to the shattered remains of the equipment that didn’t make it back to base? Obviously, if a ship is hit, it ends up at the bottom of the ocean, as does a submarine, but what of the planes, tanks, jeeps, and even the bases that have been bombed out, shot up, or otherwise rendered useless? The world is littered with the wreckage of the many wars that have taken place over the years of human existence, because humans have a propensity for fighting. We don’t like when things don’t go our way, and if we don’t understand that we can’t always have it our way, we tend to go to war.

On an island in the North Pacific, lies a remote island called Shikotan, at the southern end of the Kuril archipelago. The island seems like a simple place, green and lush in the summertime, but the island hides a secret. It has one particularly astonishing characteristic. The island is dotted with the decaying hulks of Russian military tanks from the 1950s. And these rusting relics hint at the troubled past…and present of Shikotan. Shikotan is a part of an ongoing battle for ownership between Russia and Japan.

Shikotan is part of the Kuril archipelago, a chain of islands stretching from the southeastern tip of Russia to the north of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The Pacific lies on one side of the Kuril Islands, with the Sea of Okhotsk found on the other. Its location makes it an important island to both countries, hence the battle. After World War II, the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which was signed between the Allies and Japan in 1951, stated that Japan must give up “all right, title and claim to the Kuril Islands.” Unfortunately, it didn’t specifically recognize the Soviet Union’s sovereignty over them. That allowed the dispute that has ensued. Japan claims that at least some of the disputed islands are not a part of the Kuril Islands, and thus are not covered by the treaty. Russia maintains that the Soviet Union’s sovereignty over the islands was recognized in post-war agreements.

Since that time, Japan and the Soviet Union had been fighting over the island. They finally ended their formal state of war with the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, but did not resolve the territorial dispute. During talks leading to the joint declaration, the Soviet Union offered Japan the two smaller islands of Shikotan and the Habomai Islands in exchange for Japan renouncing all claims to the two bigger islands of Iturup and Kunashir, but Japan refused the offer after pressure from the US. Japan did not really intend to give up the island, and no one really knows how strong their army there was, but what is left on the island are the remnants of that army…a few masterpieces of Soviet engineering, IS-2 and IS-3 tanks.

It seems there is always talk of the Third World War coming, and what might set it off. Most people hope that it stays all talk, because the weapons that are available these days could potentially wipe the human race off the planet, or at the very least, wipe whole nations off the map. Sometimes I wonder how we have avoided it so far, considering all the hate in the world today. Somehow our world leaders have held it off…for now. Nevertheless, there have been times when we have come very close to the last straw that would bring World War III. For 16 hours, between October 27 and October 28, 1961, at the height of the Cold War, US and Soviet tanks faced each other in divided Berlin in an action that brought the two superpowers closer to kicking off a third world war than in any other cold-war confrontation, with the exception of the Cuban missile crisis one year later. It was a very heated time in history.

Washington and its British and French allies had failed to stop the Russians from building the Berlin Wall in August of 1961. By October, East German officials began to deny US diplomats the unhindered access to East Berlin that they were required to allow as part of the agreement with Moscow on the postwar occupation of Germany. Then, on 22 October, E Allan Lightner Jr, the senior US diplomat in West Berlin, was stopped by East German border guards on his way to the state opera house in East Berlin. The East Germans demanded to see his passport, which he insisted only Soviet officials had the right to check. The situation grew more heated with this exchange. Lightner was forced to turn back.

General Clay, who was an American hero of the 1948-1949 Berlin Airlift was sent by Washington to deal with the Russians after the erection of the Berlin Wall. He gave orders that the next American diplomat entering East Berlin be escorted by armed US army military police in jeeps. The maneuver succeeded, but the East Germans continued to attempt to assert their claim to control western allied officials entering East Berlin. Never one to suffer defeat easily, Clay ordered American M48 tanks to head for Checkpoint Charlie. There they stood, some 80 yards from the border, noisily racing their engines and sending plumes of black smoke into the night air. Alarmed by the apparent threat, Moscow, with the approval of the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, sent an equal number of Russian T55 tanks rumbling to face down the Americans. They too ground to a halt some 80 yards from the East/West Berlin border and, as with the US tanks they faced, stayed there for 16 hours.

American officials were becoming more and more alarmed by the potential consequences. General Clay was quickly reminded by Washington that Berlin was not so “vital” an interest to be worth risking a conflict with Moscow. President Kennedy approved the opening of a back channel with the Kremlin in order to defuse the situation that had blown up. As a result, the Soviets pulled back one of their T55s from the eastern side of the border at Friedrichstrasse and minutes later an American M48 also left the scene. That was how it went until all the tanks were withdrawn. General Clay’s reputation among West Berliners rose, but not so much his warrior capabilities as far as the united States was concerned. Khrushchev had been equally uninterested in risking a battle over Berlin. In return for Kennedy’s assurance that the west had no designs on East Berlin, the Soviet leader tacitly recognised that allied officials and military personnel would have unimpeded access to the East German capital. From that point on, the western allies freely dispatched diplomats and military personnel to attend the opera and theater in East Berlin. Soviet diplomats, too, attended functions in West Berlin and sent Volga limousines packed with Soviet military police on patrol to West Berlin. The elaborate routine served to prove that the Four Power status of the city was intact. It was faithfully observed until the Wall fell in 1990. they weren’t as eager to start World War III as they thoughts they were.

After World War II, most of Europe was in a big mess, whether it was the land,the cities and towns, or the government. There were scores of dead people around, countries and borders were torn apart, most of Europe had been “ground into a very civilized kind of pudding…and the USSR was knocking on the door to come and raid the fridge…so to speak.” Russia would have loved to sneak in and take over when they were at their most vulnerable. The people looked to the United States to figure out away to keep them safe, but not to occupy their countries, per se. That is a rather tall order, but one that the United States took seriously.

So the United States came up with Operation Gladio. Basically, they installed a secret military that would unofficially operate all across Europe. The secret military would have one and only one goal…combating communism. Little is known about this secret military, even today, because it wouldn’t be a very good secret army if we knew all about them. So, facts are pretty limited, but it’s not some crazy theory either. Their existence has been confirmed, and the network has been associated with such high-stakes super-evil events, as an attempted pope assassination, large scale bombings, and kidnappings of several high-level government officials. They were willing to do anything to fight communism…murder, extortion, even seemingly becoming communists, if that’s what it took. It turns out that the Italian branch was a particularly active group. An entirely different president of Italy, Francesco Cossiga, was involved in this ominous anti-communism secret society. The reason we don’t know more about them, even years after the end of the Cold War, is simple: crazy, crazy murders. Their secrets will follow them to the grave.

Then a new Italian president was elected. President Aldo Moro, wanted to allow communists to run for office.The still operating Gladio could not let this happen. He was suddenly kidnapped and eventually executed. His body was found in the trunk of a car parked next to an ancient gladiatorial site. A warning to others…more than probably!! A “gladio” is an ancient Roman short sword, used in arena combat. A former colonel of Gladio operations in Switzerland decided to write a letter to the government stating that he was ready to “reveal the whole truth.” Again, Operation Gladio took action. The Gladio colonel was found dead in his home a month later. He was stabbed to death with his own bayonet. There were a series of mysterious characters written on his chest that couldn’t be deciphered. Of course, that’s not concrete evidence of Gladio’s direct involvement in these events, but these are just two brutal, worrying events that spin a web of mystery and fear that keeps further investigations from being opened. Sometimes, it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.

When I think about secrets, nothing very sinister comes to my mind, but when it comes to national or world secrets, maybe we should think a little differently. Of course, not every world or national secret is sinister, but some can be pretty odd. I don’t claim to be privy to any current national security secrets, but I’m finding out some from the past. There were some secrets that most people don’t know about, and some that almost seemed like science fiction. In 1959, the United States used to have a small underground city in the North Pole called Camp Century. It looked a lot like the rebel base on Hoth, which is the sixth planet in the remote system of the same name, and was the site of the Rebel Alliance’s Echo Base, as Star Wars fans would already know. Hoth is a world of snow and ice, surrounded by numerous moons, and home to deadly creatures like the Wampanoag…a cross between a polar bear and a Sasquatch, in looks anyway. Of course, that isn’t what Camp Century really was.

When Camp Century began its life, it was as a scientific outpost located hundreds of feet beneath a Greenland iceberg. From the surface, it looked like nothing more than an ominous snow-covered pyramid. But below, it was gigantic. The base was powered by an underground nuclear reactor, and at one point, is said to have housed a staff of 200. It was a self-contained city, complete with a gym, a chapel, a library, hobby shops and even a movie theater. I wonder what kinds of movies they watched…movies about the outside world, and in summer no doubt. The plan was for scientific experiments to be conducted there, but as sometimes happens, the military decided it could be better used as a base for their own experiments…namely blowing things up. I suppose they assumed that there was little chance of anyone getting hurt, because of the remoteness of the base. The best kept secrets exist here, and I don’t think I have a big problem with that. So, to recap: The United States had a 200-person nuclear-powered outpost located beneath the ice of the North Pole, where one of their primary objectives was to drill as deep into the unforgiving, ancient ice as possible. Now, that sounds scary.

The military took over in about 1960 and converted Camp Century into a giant ice-bound missile silo. Called Project Iceworm, the goal was to store approximately 600 nuclear missiles in the base, giving the United States a nice, secret little nuclear facility right next to Soviet Russia. Luckily for Russia, technical problems led to the whole mission being scrapped, because maintaining the tunnels was a constant chore. Every month, 120 tons of ice had to be removed to maintain the tunnels. The whole site collapsed within the that decade. Apparently, they worked harder at keeping the tunnels cleared, than at any experiment, or missile setup that they did.

The unites States Department of Defense told the Danish government that the “official purpose” of Camp Century was to test various construction techniques under Arctic conditions, explore practical problems with a semi-mobile nuclear reactor, as well as supporting scientific experiments on the icecap. The process involved cutting a total of 21 trenches and covering them with arched roofs, within which prefabricated buildings were erected. With a total length of 1.9 mi, these tunnels contained a basically a small town, the total population of which was around 200. From 1960 until 1963 the electricity supply was provided by means of the world’s first mobile/portable nuclear reactor, designated PM-2A and designed by Alco for the United States Army. Water was supplied by melting glaciers and tested to determine whether germs such as the plague were present. Once it was cleared, they were able to use it. Nevertheless, fraught with trouble from the start, it proved a better idea to close it down.

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