Up in our attic I found this booklet that was issued to all British households by our government in May 1980 - forty three years ago. It was meant to be a practical guide - telling us what to do in the event of a nuclear attack.
We were advised how to build nuclear fall-0ut shelters in our homes using tables, doors and cushions or how to make them in our cellars or under the stairs. The importance of sanitation arrangements was stressed as well making sure we had plenty of water.
In those days there was genuine fear in western Europe that the pesky and unpredictable Russians could launch a nuclear attack at any time and on the thinnest of pretexts. We were walking on a knife edge and didn't know for sure if there would even be a tomorrow.
Facing the prospect of a nuclear war seemed a bit like planning for a boy scouts' expedition:-
Having read and digested the booklet, we were meant to go through the check list, confirming in our minds that we were ready for Armageddon:-
I don't know if anybody actually prepared fallout rooms with inner refuges back in the early eighties. We certainly didn't and I also have no idea whether or not Russian citizens were also preparing for the nuclear nightmare. Thoughts of such a scenario seem to have dissipated through the decades but even in the last twelve months the idea of terrible nuclear bombs has returned in connection with The Ukraine War and the crazy tyrant who is Russia's political leader.
Also in the attic I found my old autograph book. I haven't reopened it yet. I will do that in tomorrow's blogpost - assuming of course that the Russians have still not attacked.
I have a quite extensive earthquake survival kit and lots of canned food which resembles this list in many ways. If an earthquake doesn't kill me first, an eruption of Mt. Rainier will!ReplyDelete
I hope you have got your molten lava protection suit ready.Delete
Oh, heavens, no. Mt. Rainier is a stratovolcano and I would be at risk of immense lahars, not lava. But not as much as the nearby valleys because I live on a hill.Delete
I guess living in Australia we were under the illusion we would be safe. But I guess people had forgotten "On the Beach".ReplyDelete
The pesky Russians have got enough targets in sight without adding Australia to their wishlist.Delete
If there's a nuclear attack, I want to go in the blast. What good would it do me to survive for a month or so?ReplyDelete
Just my opinion.
What good? You could finish another jigsaw.Delete
Not at the rate I do them.Delete
I'm old enough to remember the Duck and Cover drills in grade school; as if crawling beneath your desk will save you from a nuclear attack!ReplyDelete
The advice in "Protect and Survive" is just as pathetic.Delete
I'm with Ms. Moon. I wouldn't want to survive a nuclear war, only to die later from the nuclear winter, or radiation poisioning, or the firestorms.ReplyDelete
You are scaring me Nurse Lily! I don't want to die!Delete
I note the lack of information about what to do in the event of radiation poisoningReplyDelete
There's the false assumption that we really could survive!Delete
I was more involved with the 'Protest and Survive' at the time:-)ReplyDelete
Politicians frequently pave the way to disaster.Delete
I remember the handbook and telling us to whitewash everything. Suppose there will always be the fear of nuclear war? Or a nuclear power station accident?ReplyDelete
Or worse still - the return of Boris Johnson!Delete
In 1980, I was twelve. We talked about the matter at school but I can not remember a discussion with my parents, or any particular fear of mine in connection with nuclear war. We still had a very large US military presence in our area at that time, and I guess they had plans for action in their drawers, as the German government must have had, too - we were so close to the USSR, it began practically East of Bavaria.ReplyDelete
I remember the film When The Wind Blows. It left me sad but not overly scared.
When you say the Americans probably had plans in their drawers, did you mean their underpants?Delete
I am sure they had those, too.Delete
I'm sure we must have had a copy of this booklet, but I can't recall ever reading it. We had two lofts in the house we lived in, in 1980, but we obviously never bothered to make a safe haven in either of them. Though we did have a couple of tatty sleeping bags amongst all the junk. We were probably of the same mind as Mrs Moon.ReplyDelete
Do you remember those TV dramas about survivors of the nuclear attack?
Oh yes! "Threads" by Barry Hines directed by Ken Loach was set here in Sheffield. The threat of a nuclear attack seemed very real - not fictional fantasy.Delete
That TV film was seared in my memory for years afterwards.Delete
It almost seemed inevitable. We tend to forget the genuine fear that abounded.Delete
Disarmament activists altered it to "PROTEST and survive".ReplyDelete
Look forward to seeing Vlad's autograph tomorrow.
I struggled to get impressive autographs in East Yorkshire. Not many Hollywood stars or World Cup winners went to Withernsea for their holidays.Delete
Where I live, everyone had a basement or cellar so we didn't worry about such things at home. But in school, we did do the duck and get under our desks routine to prepare for a nuclear attack. I guess they were worried about the impact and we would just have to deal with the fallout later.ReplyDelete
I don't suppose governments could put out leaflets that read, "IN THE EVENT OF A NUCLEAR ATTACK DON'T DO ANYTHING BECAUSE ESSENTIALLY YOU ARE SCREWED!"Delete
At my age, I think I would take the binoculars and stand out front to watch the end of civilization.ReplyDelete
Sing it dude - "It's all over now, nothing left to say..."Delete
I'd keep that booklet handy. You never know with the way things are going out in the Eastern blocReplyDelete
"Protect and Survive" could be a nourishing furniture spray,Delete
I don't think we had these plans in the 80's but it was big in the 50's. As school kids we were taught the best way to get under our desk for protection.ReplyDelete
Did you have to get under from the front, the back, the left or the right? It would have been nice to have a Canadian girl under there with you.Delete
It's ridiculous, isn't it? We were bombarded with similar public safety messages when I was a kid in the late '70s and early '80s, and I found it all terrifying. Our neighbors even had an underground bomb shelter. And I'm pretty sure none of it would have helped if the worst came to pass. My grandfather (who was a government scientist) used to say if the nuclear attack warnings sounded, he'd head toward Ground Zero -- because he wanted to die fast.ReplyDelete
Grandpa had the right idea I think.Delete
I'd just want to die quickly. I always tell my kids that if there is a zombie apocalypse, they can throw me out to the zombies while they escape out the back. I've lived long enough!ReplyDelete
No-no-no Ellen! Your best years are still to come girl!Delete
That book assumed everyone had the time, space and means to create such shelters and stock them with necessities, but in reality, how many would have? And no one would know just how long they had to stay in them just surviving on endless cans of baked beans with nowhere to empty the "buckets". I'd guess the government of the time thought they were reassuring people. Thank goodness it didn't come to pass. But now with crazy Putin in charge of things, who's to say he won't trip over the rug and accidentally land with his hand on that big red button? If that happens I want to die immediately not suffer horrendously for months after.ReplyDelete