Welcome to Nuclear War in the UK – Communicating the Unthinkable, a blog about how Britain dealt with the threat of nuclear attack during the Cold War period (around 1947 to 1991), told through contemporary documents and media. If you’re not sure where to look first, try the ‘Popular Articles’ link in the menu above.

Since 2020, this blog has become something of a companion piece to my book, Nuclear War in the UK. You can also follow @coldwaruk on Twitter, where I share more bits and pieces, as well as links to new articles on this site.

Introducing Nuclear War in the UK – the book

Some exciting news! If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll already know that I have a book coming out this week.

For a long time, I wondered whether anyone was going to create the book I wanted to see: a richly-illustrated, well-written history of British civil defence and our governments’ preparations for nuclear attack – equal parts interesting, horrifying and amusing. Eventually I realised that I was going to have to write it – and, several years of work later, here it finally is.

It’s called Nuclear War in the UK, and it’s a potted history of the booklets, pamphlets, leaflets, posters and other ephemera created by British governments in preparation for nuclear attack. It’s a lovely hardback book – the publishers, Four Corners Books, have a background in creating art books and have done an amazing job on reproducing the art brilliantly. Best of all, it costs just £10.

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Hello! I’m Taras and I research and collect Cold War documents.

This is my blog, which loosely focuses on British civil defence and ‘domestic propaganda’ from around 1950-1990.


As a teenager snooping around my grandparents’ attic, I found a dusty copy of an early 1950s Civil Defence booklet called ‘Atomic Warfare’. This piqued my interest, and led – a few years later – to my first purchase: a copy of the infamous ‘Protect and Survive’ booklet.

Later still, as a postgraduate studying communication and public affairs, I based my Master’s dissertation on the items in my burgeoning collection of public information documents. Like this blog, it was titled ‘Communicating the Unthinkable’, and it looked at how the British government chose to communicate large-scale threats to the public.

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