Their Sheltered Honeymoon (1959), Life Magazine
“One owner assured his neighbour that his bomb shelter was actually a wine cellar.”
Much like how Pinocchio felt threatened by the effect lying would have on his wooden nose, Americans in the 1950’s sought refuge beneath the surface from total annihilation by Soviet nuclear weapons. Was a 22-ton, steel and concrete 8×14-foot shelter 12 feet underground going to protect them from nuclear fission? NO. But the opposite was what the Eisenhower administration sought to implant in the minds of the terrified and easily controllable population. A vicious chain of deception, formed out of fear, stretched from the highest level (government) to the local level (average citizen). The American public needed assurance that they would survive a nuclear attack and turned to their government for answers.
“Bomb shelters will protect you from the Soviets!” was the word around town and every American who could afford an underground escape rushed for them. Little did they know that they were being lied to by the very people elected to protect them. Now proud owners of a second chance at life, these “lucky” Americans were unwilling to share and denounced its existence to their neighbours. Unfortunately for the public, the government was much better at masking their deception than our childhood fairytale protagonist, Pinocchio.