German Cold War bunker reopens as museum

5th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Visitors can see the furniture and equipment installed between 1960 and 1972 for German leaders, who feared Warsaw Pact forces would march into West Germany, starting a Third World War.

Bonn, Germany -- Part of an underground bunker system secretly built to protect the West German government in a nuclear attack opened as a museum this weekend.

Based on an old railway tunnel that had been bored through a hill south of Bonn but then never used, the labyrinth was nearly 19 kilometres long when finished, but has now been gutted except for the 200-metre museum.

Visitors can see the furniture and equipment installed between 1960 and 1972 for German leaders, who feared Warsaw Pact forces would march into West Germany, starting a Third World War.

The site was never used and became redundant when communism collapsed and the Cold War ended.

It had been intended to accommodate 3,000 senior officials and their aides in spartan conditions as nuclear weapons rained down on German cities. Its existence was kept secret.

A local history society obtained 2.5 million euros (3.7 million dollars) in grants to convert part of the tunnel into a museum, graphically illustrating the Cold War military doctrine of "mutually assured destruction."

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