Over the course of human history, there have been countless confrontations between different groups and countries. But few of those conflicts were as potentially dangerous for the entire world as the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960s. And due to the incredibly high stakes during that period, a missile silo in Kansas was subsequently prepped.
At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union came to an agreement with Cuba to store a number of nuclear weapons in the country. So in the summer of 1962 several silos were built for the missiles, but that led to a massive a crisis after an American jet snapped pictures of the facilities.
From there, the United States navy blocked the Soviets’ access to Cuba in October 1962. And while that was going on, officials from both sides attempted to diffuse the situation. Thankfully for everyone concerned, a deal was eventually made a few days later, halting the terrifying prospect of a nuclear war.
Prior to the agreement, though, the missile silo in Kansas would’ve been ready to go if the issue hadn’t been resolved. A few years later the underground facility was dumped, and was eventually bought by a man named Larry Hall in 2008. Then a decade later, two YouTubers decided to visit the bunker and managed to capture some incredible footage.
For many of us, history was one of the most fascinating subjects in school, as we were given the chance to learn about our past. From famous figures to significant events, these topics could provoke some interesting discussions in the classroom. However, we were also informed of the darker periods of time as well.
There were several major conflicts and disputes in the 20th century which had major global significance. Whether it was the two World Wars or the conflict in Vietnam, these confrontations haven’t been forgotten in the years since. But while those are some of the more famous examples, there was another major clash that simmered for over four decades.
Known as the Cold War, this altercation began a short time after World War II concluded. The conflict itself was very different to the aforementioned events, as the United States and the Soviet Union didn’t engage in a direct fight. Instead, it was very much a battle of wills that threatened to escalate as time went on.
The Cold War sparked several proxy wars and an arms race, as the two sides tried to assert their superiority. However, the latter conflict nearly spelled disaster for everyone. Due to the tensions between the U.S. and the Soviets, the threat of a nuclear war seemed all too real.
The confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union then escalated in 1962, as the two superpowers squared off in an incredibly tense event known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Relations had worsened after America’s Central Intelligence Agency led an effort to overthrow the Cuban government in April 1961, known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
The attack was eventually foiled some three days later, which led to a significant moment in the Cold War. Cuba went on to ask the Soviet Union for some of its nuclear warheads, as the country looked to prevent any further incursions. Then in April 1962 Cuba’s request for the weapons was granted by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
Over the course of that summer, the Soviet Union proceeded to build several missile silos in Cuba. And once the U.S. discovered what was happening in the fall, its navy formed a quarantine around the island, edging the two powers closer to a nuclear confrontation.
Away from the blockade, officials from America and the Soviet Union tried to avert disaster through some anxious discussions. Both John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev were involved in those talks, representing the leaders of the two superpowers. In the end, a truce was called a few days later, which brought the crisis to a halt.
As part of the agreement, the Soviets disassembled the nuclear missiles in Cuba, before taking them back home. The Americans, for their part, promised their Caribbean neighbors that they wouldn’t stage any more unprovoked attacks on them in the future. But it didn’t end there, because the terms of the deal went even further.
Prior to the crisis, the U.S. had stockpiled nuclear weapons in both Turkey and Italy, however these were removed following the agreement with the Soviets. And the world breathed a sigh of relief following the resolution of the dispute, which is still considered as one of the most terrifying periods of the entire Cold War.
While the Cuban Missile Crisis was still ongoing, the U.S. had taken some precautions before the agreement was reached. A missile silo in Kansas had been prepped for a potential conflict, ready to strike if need be. Though as we know now, the facility wasn’t required in the end, leading to its closure a few years later.
The nuclear bunker remained empty for over four decades, until Larry Hall bought the structure and proceeded to transform it. Then, in November 2018 a popular YouTube channel was given permission to take a look at the bunker, but few people could’ve predicted what they’d find.
The channel What’s Inside? made its debut on YouTube in May 2008 off the back of a school project. A youngster named Lincoln had been tasked to look inside various sports balls at the time, with his dad Dan helping out. Since then, their content has followed that same idea, albeit with a larger scope.
What’s Inside? now boasts more than six-and-a-half million subscribers on YouTube, with the content earning in excess of one billion views. “What’s inside a Rattlesnake Rattle?” remains the channel’s most popular video, standing at over 86 million views. However, Dan and Lincoln’s journey inside the missile silo was arguably one of their most ambitious projects.
Standing outside the facility in Kansas, the video begins with an introduction from both Lincoln and his dad. The former explains, “Today we are seeing what’s inside a real doomsday bunker. There are 72 of these silos all across America.” At this point, Dan adds, “These things can withstand a 2,000 mile-an-hour wind.”
Dan then shares a bit more background on this particular bunker, adding, “[In] an undisclosed location in Kansas in the middle of America, this is an old missile silo that was built in the 1960s. And it was a key part of the Cuban Missile Crisis.”
After setting the stage, Dan goes on to explain what the facility was like in its heyday. The father tells us that a “giant” nuclear weapon was being stored in the silo back then, ready to be fired if President Kennedy demanded it. Should that have happened, the missile would’ve come up to the surface for the launch.
Dan continues, “After about four years, they found some other technology with missiles that worked a little bit more efficiently, so they abandoned these silos.” Following this recap, Lincoln’s enthusiastic dad brings us forward to today, revealing that the nuclear bunker in Kansas was acquired in 2008.
“There are 12 units that are in here,” Dan tells us. “All of them are purchased, you can’t buy one of these. They were between $1.5 million and $3 million for one of these 12 units. What’s inside of the doomsday bunker? Get ready for the adventure.” After this, he and Lincoln walk through the silo’s large front door.
The video then cuts to a shot of Lincoln and Dan by the side of the door, as it slowly closes. Once it shuts, an echo can be heard in the cavernous “entryway,” drawing a shocked expression from the former. His dad subsequently highlights the sheer size of this area, before touching upon an interesting feature.
“If you listen carefully, you’ll hear a little clicking noise,” Dan says, picking up on the sound. “And if your ears are really good, you’re going to hear a ringing noise. This is the bird repellent system that’s in place, so the birds don’t fly in when you open the door.”
The video then shows Dan and Lincoln walking through a decontamination area, ahead of reaching another door. As the dad explains, this would normally be shut in an emergency to protect the occupants of the bunker. In this instance, though, it’s still open, leading to the next room.
Dan continues, “Once [the door is] opened you come into this area. And this area is kind of like a history map of everything that’s happened in here.” We then see a selection of the photographs on the wall, which include shots of the construction, the missile itself and President John F. Kennedy looking things over.
We then see a shot of another room that’s filled with benches and planted trees. And as the camera pans across the space, a rock climbing wall comes into view, much to Lincoln and Dan’s surprise. To the side of that, they also find a special area where pet dogs can go to the toilet.
Dan and Lincoln subsequently make their way into a futuristic-looking elevator, which is illuminated by red and blue lights. The function of each floor is listed on the wall as well, impressing the pair. Following their trip on the lift, the youngster goes on to highlight a fascinating feature in the next area.
“This is a volcanic ash remover,” Lincoln says. “If there were to be a volcano that exploded around here, there would be as much as four feet of ash.” His father Dan then adds, “This should be able to filter out all of the ash and give clean, breathable air to the tenants. They thought of everything here!”
Dan and Lincoln continue their journey through the silo, noting some of the other equipment there. The latter even climbs inside one of the holes in the wall, which had been left over from when the missile was still there. However, the father and son still had more to discover.
Lincoln and Dan take us through a security room, the bunker’s “jail cell” and a spacious firing range. Then, the video cuts to a shot of the dad in a movie theater room, which he explains is “near the very bottom, we’re 190 feet underground right now.”
There’s also a bar outside the movie room, which Dan briefly visits. At this point, he and Lincoln guide us through some other locations, such as a dental office and a grocery store. And as the pair reveal, the bunker’s residents would be able to survive on the stored food there for around five years.
But the bunker’s residents wouldn’t have to survive on stored food alone; they could also grow their own produce on two separate floors. Lincoln and Dan then walk through the silo’s library and school, with the parent musing, “What type of people are moving in here? It turns out a lot of it is families.”
Dan explains, “They have kids as young as eight months… up to 22 years old that live inside of this facility. Everybody in here is required to have four hours a day of either work or school for kids.” Incredibly, though, that doesn’t signal the end of the bunker’s stunning features.
The video then shows Dan and Lincoln visiting a gym, an arcade room and a gaming area that houses a pool table. Alongside all of this, the YouTubers drop in on the “residential” area of the silo too. When they arrive in one of the living rooms, the pair sit down on some stylish chairs, making an astute observation.
“This looks like it could be any living room in anybody’s house,” Dan says. “There’s a nice painting on the wall, you’ve got these nice couches, nice lights. You even have a window, but in reality we are 90 feet under the ground right now.” As for the window, Lincoln reveals that it’s actually a television screen, showing footage from an outside camera.
The video soon cuts to some other shots of the residential area, as Lincoln and Dan walk through a kitchen and a bedroom. The latter goes on to highlight that the bathrooms don’t have toilet paper, and instead rely on the Japanese-style “bidet washing system.” But that’s not all, because the bunker has one last surprise for them.
To finish the video, Dan and Lincoln take a dip in the silo’s swimming pool. The father reflects, “This is the life of luxury of doomsday bunkers. It’s more like, I wouldn’t even consider it a doomsday bunker. I’d consider it [to be] a luxury, underground apartment that just happens to be the safest place in the world.”
On that note, the video finally comes to an end. And since being posted in November 2018 it’s made a big impact on YouTube, much like the other What’s Inside? content. The post has earned over 11 million views and close to 150,000 likes, while also generating in excess of 15,000 comments from stunned users.