For more than 40 years, Europe lived under the nuclear threat of the Cold War. For the project ‘Remnants of deterrence‘, historian Arnold Pronk and photographer Martin Bruining traveled to the places where the nuclear missiles of the Soviet Union were once deployed. From the far north in Russia near Murmansk to in the south of Ukraine in Crimea in the south, these forgotten places are scattered in one long, unbroken chain.
This book is the culmination of more than fifteen years of archival and field research into the Soviet Union’s medium-range nuclear weapons. It gives a glimpse of the hidden world that took place behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War and that fell into disrepair after the fall of The Wall. The book shows what remains of these fascinating places where the missiles – above and below ground – were deployed, aimed at Western Europe.
The title is the translation of the telling slogan of the strategic missile forces of the Soviet Union. “After us – silence” would have become a reality if the missiles stationed at the 159 bases had been fired towards the West. With the destructive power of these weapons and the (automatic) counter-reaction, life on both sides of the Iron Curtain would become impossible.
‘After us – silence‘ is more than a photo book. It paints a picture of the Cold War, it shows how great the threat actually was and it provides insight into the evolution of the various weapon systems. Supplemented with stories of chance encounters, interviews with former soldiers who worked on the missile bases and travel anecdotes, the reader gets the chance to travel through the countries of the former Soviet Union; a unique insight into a hidden world, which everyone knew existed, but which no one knew where and what it actually looked like.