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Bomb Shelters

From around World War I forward, nations at war have used the bombing of civilian populations as a means of forcing the opposing side to withdraw, retreat and surrender. And yes, it still goes on today.

Modern Bomb Shelter

Many people think that bomb shelters as we know them today came into being during the days of the cold war.

But that is not the case. The history of humans hiding underground to escape falling weapons from the sky goes back almost to the beginning of the 20th century in Great Britain.

The Little Grey Garage That Was the Birth of an Idea

One of the first structures that could be called the birther of all bomb shelters to the present day is located in Lincolnshire, Britain. The small concrete structure that is now a single car garage was constructed by Joseph Forrester sometime around 1916. It was built after German Zeppelin airships had killed many local residents and soldiers in the area during the First World War. It was later turned into a garage yet it still holds the resemblance of its original use generations ago.

It is known that the first use of aerial bombing of civilian populations began in 1911 during the Italian-Turkish war that began that same year. What was obviously seen as a great idea caught on around Europe and by the time the first world war came around a few years later, German Zeppelin's were dropping bombs weighing a half ton each on cities and towns in Britain.

Brits Respond To New Threat

While the German Zeppelins were bombing Britain, the Brits themselves were trying to figure out how to respond and develop some sort of solid bomb shelters that could withstand the weight and explosive power of the German aerial fury.

Modern Bomb Shelter Being Built

The first response by the British people was to seek out bomb shelters in underground train stations, garden cellars, and home basements. Where those were not available, those fleeing the bombs hid under railway viaducts and some even sought shelter in rural caves and tunnels away from the cities.

World War II and the Advent of Modern Bomb Shelters

During World War I and during the early days and weeks of World War II, there was much debate in Britain's government about what should be used for bomb shelters and how they should be constructed, or even if they should be constructed at all.

Some government leaders held fast to the idea of using underground train stations and tunnels for bomb shelters, while other leaders wanted a different solution after it was determined that a number of people were either injured or died falling onto the train tracks, as well as a noticeable lack of proper sanitary conditions in such crowded environments.

By 1940, enough planning had taken place so that Brits began building "street communal shelters."

These were usually underground bomb shelters built with reinforced concrete, and proper plumbing and air ducts. Those bomb shelters and the ones that followed during the remainder of World War II had a big effect in helping Londoners and the rest of Britain survive the war.

From Israel to Iraq: Bomb Shelters Continue to Evolve

Nowadays bomb shelters are still in use in areas of military conflict around the world. The people of Israel would probably insist that they can't live without them, and recent history has shown that military leaders have relied on them for survival.

Some of the most complex and massive bomb shelters ever built were designed to protect Saddam Hussein's regime and were so strong that opposing military forces have had to design special bombs to penetrate hundreds of feet below the surface of the ground.


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