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At Cold War Nuclear Fallout Shelters, These Foods Were Stocked for Survival

February 26, 2020 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

Bulgur biscuits and a granulated synthetic protein dubbed ‘multi-purpose food’ promised long shelf life—but not much else.

What were postwar Americans planning to eat in the event of a nuclear attack? Hint: It wasn’t very appetizing.

With , Sara Mansfield Taber wrote that she and her classmates “brought in cans of tuna fish, chicken noodle soup, jars of Tang (the drink of the astronauts), and Vienna sausages for the emergency stockpile” before hunkering down in the basement of a classmate’s home as part of a school air-raid drill. Tang also showed up in a 1960s shelter unearthed in the backyard of a Wisconsin home in 2013, alongside individual packs of cornflakes and cans of pineapple juice.

Though published in 2012, the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul Cookbook featured a Cold War-era recipe for “Doomsday Cookies.” The recipe’s author, Barbara Curtis, recalled doing duck-and-cover drills at school in the 1950s. At home, Curtis’s mother made her signature oatmeal, walnut and chocolate chip cookies in massive quantities to stockpile along with the “cases of Spam, Vienna sausages and oil-packed tuna” stored in the family’s garage.

The long afterlife of fallout shelter foods

Supplies line the walls of an intact fallout shelter dating from 1962, pictured 2017.

Though fears of a Soviet atomic attack had largely receded by the 1970s, replaced by concerns over the war in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal, some fallout shelter foods proved to have an even longer shelf life than their government boosters might have predicted—sort of. In 2006, workers in New York City were conducting a routine structural inspection of the Brooklyn Bridge when they came across a blast from the Cold War past: a stockpile of medical supplies, water drums and an estimated 140 boxes containing more than 350,000 “Civil Defense All-Purpose Survival Crackers.”

“It tasted like cardboard, but with a nasty backbite that stayed in your mouth for hours,” reported Iris Weinshall, the city’s transportation commissioner at the time. “I cannot think of eating a saltine now without that taste coming up.”

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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4 Contested Conventions in Presidential Election History

February 26, 2020 in History

By Lesley Kennedy

Having a single candidate by the time of the convention has been a key stepping stone for a party’s victory. But it hasn’t always worked out that way.

For all the pomp and circumstance that once surrounded presidential party conventions, they’re rarely all that dramatic today. In fact, the last time Democrats faced a tight delegate race was in 1980, when reported. “By the time Mr. Davis was nominated, more than 100 delegates had already packed up and gone home, having run out of money, patience, or energy.”

Davis was a dark horse introduced as a compromise after neither New York Governor Alfred E. Smith, an anti-Prohibitionist, or William G. McAdoo, who had the support of the Ku Klux Klan, could wrangle a then-necessary two-thirds majority.

Davis lost the general election resoundingly to Republican President Calvin Coolidge.

Republican National Convention, 1964

Ku Klux Klan members supporting Barry Goldwater’s campaign for the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention, San Francisco, California, as an African American man pushes signs back.

In a clash of Republican conservatives vs. moderates, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, the former, had managed to fend off New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the latter, during primary season. But the senator was still shy of the total delegates needed to clearly clinch the party’s nomination at the San Francisco-held convention on the first ballot.

With support from former President Dwight Eisenhower, as well as failed candidate Rockefeller, a last-minute bid from Pennsylvania Gov. William Scranton threw a wrench in Goldwater’s plan to secure the nomination.

Just a month before the convention, Goldwater was one of six Republicans to vote against the Civil Rights Act. A “Stop Goldwater” movement ensued, with moderates throwing their support to Scranton and massive anti-Goldwater protests taking place outside the convention hall.

“The 40,000-person demonstration in San Francisco was the largest protest since the March on Washington,” author and political correspondent John Dickerson writes in Slate. “Signs read, ‘Goldwater for Fuhrer, Freedom Is Dead, Hitler Was Sincere, Too. ‘Goldwater in ’64: Bread and water in ’65; hot water in ’66,’ ‘Vote for Barry, stamp out peace,’ ‘I’d rather have scurvy than Barry–Barry.’ ”

But while he may not have held the popular vote, he held the delegates’ votes and Goldwater ended up wresting the nomination from Scranton with a vote of 883 to 214. He went on to lose the national election to …read more

Source: HISTORY