The best-kept Cold War Secrets

The Cold War, which lasted from the conclusion of World War II to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, was a period of intense geopolitical rivalry and warfare between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Despite the fact that much has been written about key events and personalities in this age, certain mysteries have remained unsolved for many years. During the Cold War, there was never such much secrecy and intrigue, from espionage to covert weapon development.

Prepare for an in-depth look at some of the Cold War’s best-kept secrets.

Operation Blue Bird
The CIA has its own mind control projects, as I previously explained with Zerestung and the Stasa (see link here).

Operation Bluebird gave birth to Project MKUltra, a CIA project to investigate various mind control and questioning tactics.

The programme, which was initiated in the 1950s, entailed human subjects being subjected to hypnosis, electroshock therapy, and other psychological manipulation research.

The goal of Operation Bluebird was to investigate methods for acquiring intelligence from POWs and other people deemed a threat to US national security.

Prisoners, drug addicts, and mentally ill people were among the willing and unwilling participants tested on by CIA agents working on the programme.

The program’s experiments sparked widespread outrage, and many of the procedures used were later condemned as cruel and unethical.

Some of the victims suffered permanent psychological impairment as a result of the research, and some died.

In the middle of the 1950s, Operation Bluebird was renamed Operation Artichoke, and it continued to explore mind control tactics until Project MKUltra took its place in 1953.

The Azorian Project
Project Azorian, originally known as “Project Glomar Explorer”, was a clandestine CIA mission carried out during the Cold War in the 1970s.

The mission’s principal purpose was to recover the Soviet submarine K-129 from the depths of the Pacific Ocean. When the ballistic missile submarine K-129 sank in 1968, all 98 crew members perished.

The CIA was eager to recover the submarine’s remnants in order to evaluate its technology and learn more about Soviet submarine capabilities.

The project’s platform was the Hughes Glomar Explorer, a deep-sea mining vessel customised for the job. A grapple vehicle, a huge claw-like device used to raise a submarine from the ocean floor, was installed on the ship.

The 1,500-ton submarine had to be hauled from the ocean floor, and developing a capture vehicle was just one of several engineering challenges imposed by the mission’s complexity. Because the Soviet Union was likely apprehensive of any American ship operating in the area, the CIA needed to devise a cover story for the mission.

Despite these challenges, the Glomar Explorer was able to recover a large amount of the submarine’s debris, as well as other objects and some important documents. Because the CIA has never made the specifics of the operation public, it is uncertain how much intelligence was acquired during the trip.

Ford’s Project West
As part of the Cold War, the United States carried out the West Ford Project, also known as the West Ford Needles, in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The West Ford project aimed to create an artificial ionosphere—a layer of charged particles in the upper atmosphere that may reflect radio waves—by launching millions of tiny copper needles into space.

In May 1961, an Atlas rocket launched 480 million copper needles into orbit from Cape Canaveral. The needles, which weighed less than a human hair and were about an inch long, were designed to stay in orbit for a few years before gradually returning to Earth.

Nonetheless, the idea has sparked considerable controversy and resistance. Numerous scientists and astronomers have expressed concern about the potential consequences of copper needles on astronomical observations and prospective space missions. Concerns were raised about the needles’ capacity to create space debris and collisions, as well as their long-term environmental effects.

The West Ford project was ultimately regarded mostly unsuccessful. The project was eventually cancelled in the middle of the 1960s because the artificial ionosphere created by the needles did not perform as intended. While many of the needles that were previously launched into orbit have already broken apart or returned to Earth, microscopic bits of copper needles remain in the upper atmosphere.

The Dead Hand Project
During the Cold War in the 1980s, the Soviet Union developed the Dead Hand, also known as the Perimeter, as a nuclear control system. As a last resort, the system was designed to ensure that, even in the case of a surprise attack, the Soviet Union could retaliate with a nuclear strike.

The Dead Hand system was built on a network of sensors, communications cables, and computer systems spread across the Soviet Union. In the case of a nuclear assault, the system would automatically launch a counterstrike without the need for human intervention.

The Dead Hand was intended to serve as a warning against an initial attack by the US or any other potential enemy. The Dead Hand system ensured that a nuclear reprisal would be launched even if a surprise attack deposed the Soviet leadership.

Many people regard the Dead Hand system as one of the most terrifying examples of the dangers of nuclear proliferation and the possibilities of unexpected events in the event of nuclear war. Even while it was intended to avert a surprise strike that resulted in a catastrophic loss of life, the technology created the risk of an unintended launch or mistake that may have fatal ramifications on the entire world.

The Paperclip Initiative
Following WWII, the United States initiated Operation Paperclip, a secret operation in which it employed German scientists, engineers, and technicians to work for its military, intelligence, and government agencies. The goal of the programme was to gain German technological know-how and expertise in order to provide Germany a competitive advantage over the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The program’s name is derived from the practise of attaching a paper clip—a symbol of approval for admission into the United States—to a foreign scientist’s visa application. Under the effort, nearly 1,600 German scientists, many of them were active in the Nazi leadership, and their families were relocated to the United States.

Among those hired as part of Operation Paperclip were prominent scientists such as Wernher von Braun, the rocket scientist who designed the V-2 rocket for Nazi Germany. Later in his career, Von Braun became a crucial role in the US space programme, overseeing the development of the Saturn V rocket that would take Americans to the moon.

Many Americans were initially averse to recruiting former Nazi scientists and officials. Supporters of the effort, on the other hand, said that the Soviet Union was also recruiting German expertise and that the United States should do all possible to stay ahead of the arms race.

The Great War. Some secrets should be kept hidden.

This post was written by Mario Bekes