Cold War, we miss you

CONELRAD is an interesting site with lots of curiousities from the Cold War era. I was tipped off to this site by my parents, who experienced more of the Cold War than I did. Alas, the cruel whims of history dictated that I would grow up in the least interesting part of the Cold War–the final stretch right before it ended. (And by “least interesting part” I guess I mean “the part of the Cold War during which nuclear armageddon, while a definite possibility, did not seem like an absolute certainty.”) Explaining the site’s unusual name, dad also related the following tidbit, which I’m sure he won’t mind me quoting here:

The name Conelrad comes from the name of the emergency alert system for atomic attacks that was set up on all broadcast radio stations back during the peak of the cold war (50’s). Even ham radio operators were required to continuously monitor a broadcast station while transmitting so that if a Conelrad alert was broadcast they could stop their ham transmissions immediately so that the enemy bombers could not use their signals to home in their positions. (Yes, I used to have to do that when I was a kid.)

And sure enough, you can read all about CONELRAD on Wikipedia. As for myself, I was too busy playing with my G.I. Joe toys during the early 80s to be much aware of the subtle and terrifying developments of the Cold War. The entirety of my understanding of the conflict at the time came from Viktor Suvorov’s Inside the Soviet Army,* which inexplicably found its way onto my childhood bookshelf alongside the Chronicles of Narnia and the Empire Strikes Back Picture Book.

* strangely listed on Amazon as a “board book.” Is it just me, or are board books usually those thick-cardboard storybooks for babies? That’s not the Inside the Soviet Army that I remember, but then it has been a few decades.