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.
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
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
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
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
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
World War II and the Advent of Modern Bomb
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
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.