Be prepared!

Did you know that DTU was equipped to play a vital role in the protection of civilians during war and disasters? In this exhibit you see examples of emergency gear stored in a secret depot at DTU. The university also housed a hospital, shelters and a fire engine. Now, the depot is closed and serves as a relic of the Cold War era.

The room was an element in the national plan for total defense, which made use of public buildings. The total defense plan was a response to changes in warfare. Military actions increasingly targeted civilians and the nuclear apocalypse was looming. 

Why were storage rooms with emergency equipment made? Was it in response to the Cold War? As often with recent history concerning national security it is difficult to find a clear answer. Matters of national security are often steeped in secrecy.  Hence, our historical understanding of the Cold War era may change dramatically as new material emerge in the future.

The information material for depots like this one mentions both military aggression and peacetime incidents. In Denmark, the establishment of shelters and depots happened in parallel with the formation of the welfare state. These developments may well be connected.

The Cold War was a period of political and military tension between the United States and Soviet Union from 1945 until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.The war was characterized by the complications which arose from shifting international power after the end of the Second World War. It was "cold" because the United States and USSR never fought each other in a direct military confrontation.  

Both superpowers threatened each other with nuclear annihilation and by supporting allied nations in numerous "hot" wars in places like Korean, Vietnam and Angola. Significantly the Cold War became a battle between civilizations; a clash between American (and western European) capitalism and Soviet Communism.

The building and destruction of the Berlin Wall can be seen as a monument of the Cold War – how it separated people but eventually unified them.


taken only a few days before the room was cleared in 2015