U.S. president Barack Obama was recently asked if Washington is entering a new “Cold War” with Moscow as relations sour. The cold war between the U.S., and then Soviet Union, was characterized by the threat of a nuclear war.
The question is does the U.S. and Russia really want to venture back to those dark days?
Bob Conte, the Greenbrier historian has been telling a story for a long time:
A 25 ton steel door swings shut, and in the event of a nuclear attack on Washington, D.C., 11,000 members of congress would be locked safely inside, with enough generator power, food, water and beds to last weeks.
While schoolchildren practiced, “duck and cover”, then U.S. President Eisenhower cut a deal to build the bunker, nicknamed “Project Greek Island,” beneath one of the most plush resorts in the nation. Congressional members and limited staff would find themselves racing down this hall in the event of a nuclear assault.
Once they arrive, members of congress would be forced to discard their contaminated clothes.
Then, it’s a walk down this narrow corridor, without a stitch on, where jets of water would blast them, continuing the decontamination process.
The cots, the mattresses, the hospital, and ICU remain just the same as they did in the early ’60’s. The Greenbrier kept prying eyes away, by placing “high voltage signs on massive doors that served as the entrance to the bunker. Former President Eisenhower’s goal was to keep the legislative branch of the U.S. democracy up and running.
It remained a closely-guarded secret, only the speaker of the House of Representatives and the senate majority leader knew about “Project Greek Island.” That is, until the end of the Cold War.
There is one thing that the greenbrier bunker still has, its place in history and no one can take that away.