Tartu on the list of US nuclear targets in the Cold War

Tartus asuv Raadi sõjalennuväli oli külma sõja ajal USA tuumarünnaku sihtmärgiks.

Raadi Airfield in Tartu was a nuclear target of the USA during the Cold War.

US historians from George Washington University requested access to the Cold War military plans from the US federal government. These plans reveal that the only nuclear target in the Baltic region was Raadi Airfield in Tartu during the 1950s. The list of nuclear targets of the United States Strategic Air Forces was drawn up in 1956, when there were not yet all that many nuclear warheads mounted on intercontinental missiles nor submarines, meaning that nuclear bombs had to be transported by bombers. For this reason, the Americans had prioritised air bases on their list of nuclear targets. The material gathered by historians reveal that the US had an overview of 1100 Soviet air bases. They were given a code number based on priority: Raadi Airfield was no. 13.

Used sources and references:

Külma sõja aegne USA sõjaplaan nägi ette Tartu tuumarelvaga hävitamise. Eesti Päevaleht. 23.12.2015. https://epl.delfi.ee/artikkel/73276103/kulma-soja-aegne-usa-sojaplaan-nagi-ette-tartu-tuumarelvaga-havitamise?

Related objects

Former Raadi Military Airfield

This airfield is a former air base on the north-eastern outskirts of Tartu.

On 14 April 1912 Russian pilot Sergei Utochkin made history by completing the first motorised flight in Estonia, in a Farman biplane above Raadi Manor. Baron Liphart, the lord of the manor, had his farmland converted into a runway in summer 1914. During the interwar period of Estonian independence, the 2nd Squadron of the Aviation Regiment was stationed in Raadi. During the 1950s and 1960s the airfield was refashioned into one of the largest air bases in Eastern Europe, at which strategic long-range bombers were stationed. The last landing in Raadi is believed to have taken place in 1996. Plans for renovating the airfield were abandoned in 1999. The airfield has since been decommissioned.

It is situated next to Raadi Manor. In 1922 the Estonian National Museum was established in the manor, which had been expropriated from the Lipharts in 1919. Aerial bombings in August 1944 set fire to the manor, and it burnt down. In 2016 the new building of the Estonian National Museum was opened in Raadi, located at the end of a former runway. The building, which is 350 metres long and rises from the ground, gives the impression of being an extension of the runway.