The second half of the 20th century was dominated by severe political, economic and military tension between the world’s two superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union. Though open war was never declared between the two nuclear powers, we engaged in a series of proxy wars and technological competitions in an effort to secure our interests and stem the spread of Communism. The Cold War gallery takes you from the initial period of post-WWII mistrust into our first open war against communist ideology: the Korean War.
Then travel from the frozen mountains of Korea into the tropical jungles of Vietnam, viewing the destructive power of the nuclear arms race along the way. In what is arguably our most interactive exhibit, you can experience life “in country,” listening to the voices of actual Vietnam veterans explaining what made our longest war so unique, told in between eruptions of gunfire, explosions and simulated rainstorms. Because the Vietnam jungle can be too intense for some visitors, it can be easily bypassed.
Leaving the 1970s, the voice of President Ronald Reagan announces the necessity of freedom and cooperation in the world. Examine real pieces of the Berlin Wall as you head out of the Cold War and into the present era.