The reality of nuclear combat's devastation was clear as soon as the first atomic weapons were dropped during World War II, leading the U.S. government to develop a "doomsday plan"out of perceived necessity. In the Cold War era, the threat of impending nuclear warfare – and the fear it caused in the American citizenship – escalated even further. Politicians played on this fear, and the government began planning for a potential attack. Testing bombs on mock cities in the Nevada desert – constructed to assess potential damage – was only part of the doomsday strategy. The U.S. also secretly dug giant bunkers into mountains, allegedly to protect the American way of life.
Only through a fluke was one of these hollowed-out mountains, the Raven Rock complex, discovered by journalist Gerrett Graff. His investigation into the elaborate compound yielded some surprising finds.
The Temperature In Raven Rock Rose Due To All Of The Technology
In 1989, the government invested $13.5 million dollars in Raven Rock to upgrade the air conditioning system. All of the computers in the facility needed to be kept cool, so an additional reservoir was also added. During the 1990s, however, Raven Rock Mountain Complex and the other bunkers fell dormant or shifted in use.
President George Bush ordered the 24-hour operation of Raven Rock Mountain Complex to end in 1991. When the Washington Post Magazine revealed the existence of Project Greek Island in 1992, the facility was closed and became a tourist destination in 1995. Cheyenne Mountain opened up for tours in 1992, but was closed to the public after the events of 9/11.
Raven Rock Was Reactivated On 9/11
On 9/11, several government officials went to Raven Rock for protection. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously refused to go and sent his Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz instead. It is also where then Vice President Dick Cheney spent the days after 9/11, his "undisclosed location."
The Raven Rock Mountain Complex underwent a large expansion after 9/11. Fuel tanks, square footage, and other upgrades created a space that can now safely house 5,000 people in an emergency.
Bunkers Were About Saving The Idea Of America, Not Americans
The goals of the government's doomsday plan during the Cold War were to save artifacts and government officials and to keep the infrastructure of America alive. The plan also seems to have prioritized the executive branch over the legislative and judicial branches, despite the fact that President Truman refused to go underground during a suspected attack, and President Carter expressed similar resistance to the notion.
The full story of Graff's discovery, as well as his understanding of the bunker's purposes, are detailed in his 2017 book, Raven Rock.