Cold War

During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F Kennedy discusses results of surveillance missions in Cuba

How the Presidency Took Control of America's Nuclear Arsenal

From Truman onwards, the ability to order a nuclear strike has shaped the office

Evel Knievel's trademark red, white and blue leathers, with accompanying cape and boots, joined the Smithsonian's American history collection in the early 1990s.

This Woeful Wipeout Made Evel Knievel an Instant Legend

In 1967, a bone-shattering spill at Caesars Palace spawned a career in self-endangerment

'It's a Wonderful Life' protagonist George Bailey with his family, Mary Hatch Bailey and Little Mary Hatch, at the end of the film.

The Weird Story of the FBI and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

The film supposedly had Communistic tendencies

'The Nutcracker' is performed across North America each Christmas season.

How 1950s America Shaped ‘The Nutcracker’

It took the marketing insight of a Russian choreographer to make it all happen

More than 50 percent of Sweden is covered in forest, making bunkers easy to disguise in plain sight.

New Video Highlights Hidden Cold War Bunker in Sweden

Viral footage shows off the site that appears to have been inhabited by Swedish intelligence workers

For the first time, human beings harnessed the power of atomic fission.

The Science Behind the First Nuclear Chain Reaction, Which Ushered in the Atomic Age 75 Years Ago

That fateful discovery helped give us nuclear power reactors and the atomic bomb

What would the days, weeks, years after a nuclear explosion really look like? In 1983, Carl Sagan gave the public their first imagining.

When Carl Sagan Warned the World About Nuclear Winter

Before the official report came out, the popular scientist took to the presses to paint a dire picture of what nuclear war might look like

Robin Hood in a modern production of a play.

Students Allied Themselves With Robin Hood During This Anti-McCarthyism Movement

The students of the Green Feather Movement caused an on-campus controversy at Indiana University

Even the venus fly trap, which takes an active role in catching its prey, is almost nothing like us.

Getting to the Roots of "Plant Horror"

From the serious—pod people—to the farcical—”feed me, feed me!”—this genre has produced some strange stuff

President Kennedy meets with Gen. Curtis LeMay and the pilots who discovered the Cuban missiles.

JFK Faked a Cold to Get Back to Washington During the Cuban Missile Crisis

The president was in Chicago when he got the news that he needed to make a decision


The Sweet Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber

Gail Halvorsen's efforts made children happy but they also provided the U.S. military with an opportunity

Stanislav Yevgrafovich in Petrov, Friazino, on October 30, 2011.

Man Who Saved the World From Nuclear Annihilation Dies at 77

In 1983, Soviet lieutenant colonel Stanislav Petrov kept his cool and reported a U.S. missile strike as a false alarm, preventing a massive counterstrike

Hemingway in Cuba.

How Mary Hemingway and JFK Got Ernest Hemingway’s Legacy Out of Cuba

1961, the year Hemingway died, was a complicated year for U.S.-Cuba relations

One of the cats involved in the Acoustic Kitty Project was a grey-and-white female.

The CIA Experimented On Animals in the 1960s Too. Just Ask ‘Acoustic Kitty’

Turns out that cats really don't take direction well

Dalton Trumbo was one of the "Hollywood 10" who were arrested for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He was later blacklisted from working in the industry.

The Columnist Who Shaped Hollywood's Most Destructive Witch Hunt

Billy Wilkerson's complicated legacy has only been recently discussed by the magazine he founded

The first atomic shock wave caused by Gilda's explosion on this day in 1946.

The Crazy Story of the 1946 Bikini Atoll Nuclear Tests

They were the first time that a nuclear weapon had been deployed since the 1945 attacks on Japan

J. Robert Oppenheimer in 1956.

Robert Oppenheimer’s Career Ended Long After the Bang, With a Whimper

The rivalry between Edward Teller and Robert Oppenheimer ended both their careers

President John F. Kennedy sits in the Oval Office with West Berlin's Mayor Willy Brandt in 1961.  The Berlin Wall would be erected only a few months later.

Where the Myth of JFK's 'Jelly Donut' Mistake Came From

The misinterpretation didn't arise until years after his death

Jerrie Cobb stands before a Project Mercury space capsule in heels and gloves. What you can't see: inside the capsule, a male mannequin lies in the place where an astronaut eventually would. The FLATs were never seriously considered for astronaut positions.

Meet the Rogue Women Astronauts of the 1960s Who Never Flew

But they passed the same tests the male astronauts did—and, yes, in high heels

Some of the 3,000 commemorative letters sent in the first Postal Department rocket mail are still around. Some made it into the National Postal Museum's collection.

Mail Delivery By Rocket Never Took Off

Although the Postmaster General was on board with the idea of missile mail, the Navy was ultimately less interested

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