Communicating the Unthinkable

About

This is a blog where I share documents + artefacts from the Cold War. It focuses on British civil defence and 'domestic propaganda' from 1950-1990, with other bits thrown in from time to time.

It's written and edited by me, Taras Young. I collect this stuff. I try to post something new as often as I can, at least once a month.

To stay up-to-date, follow the blog on Twitter:

@coldwaruk

More info

Categories

1950s · 1970s · 1980s · Administration · Analysis · Booklet · Central Government · Central Office of Information · Civil Defence · Document · Emergency planning · Home Office · International · Leaflet · Local Government · Military · Ministry of Defence · Postcards · Protest · Public Information · Training and Tools

Recent posts

ONDG – So You Think You’re Safe?

This early 1980s protest flyer was handed out by members of Oswestry Nuclear Disarmament Group (ONDG).

Oswestry, found in Shropshire near the Welsh border, was under threat because of the nearby Criggion Radio Station. Criggion transmitted messages to British nuclear submarines, making it a potential target for attack in a war with the USSR.

As well as providing anti-nuclear viewpoints and information, the leaflet acted as a recruitment tool for new members for ONDG.

Possible targets in and around London

For #LondonHistoryDay, here’s a very special map of London. Produced by the Greater London Council (GLC) in 1985, it shows potential targets for Soviet nuclear weapons. You can click the map above to zoom in.

The GLC – whose nuclear policy team are shown below in 1985 – were vociferous opponents of the UK government’s views on Civil Defence. This map was created as part of a whole host of materials making their case. I’ll cover more bits and pieces from GLC in future posts.

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A Nuclear Free Europe?

The line between public information and propaganda can be quite indistinct, but this little leaflet is pretty solidly in the latter camp.

Published in 1982 by the Ministry of Defence’s Public Relations division, ‘A Nuclear Free Europe?’ set out their view that the call for a Europe free from nuclear weapons was unrealistic.

The cover shows an unidentified cold, grey mountain range – a hint at the reason ‘why it wouldn’t work’ – the subtitle of the leaflet.

The design of the leaflet itself, which opens up from the centre, has quite an impact. It would be reasonable to expect, on opening the cover, to find several detailed arguments inside.

Instead, you’re presented with just one point.

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