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

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Categories

1950s · 1960s · 1970s · 1980s · Administration · Advertisement · Analysis · Booklet · Central Government · Central Office of Information · Civil Defence · Civil Defence Corps · Document · Emergency planning · Home Office · International · Leaflet · Local Government · Media · Medical · Military · Ministry of Defence · Postcards · Protest · Public Information · Training and Tools

Recent posts

Displaying posts tagged 'Local Government'

The York Experiment

Cover of the York Experiment report

In 1965, Civil Defence preparations in the UK were at an all-time high. The government had issued advice to householders on constructing a basic domestic fallout shelter. But would it actually be effective? York’s Civil Defence Committee decided to find out for themselves.

You can find out what happened next in The York Experiment, my article for History Today’s ‘Miscellanies’ series.

Wrekin and the Bomb

Wrekin and the Bomb booklet cover

The beginning of the 1980s saw the UK government pursue civil defence with a renewed vigour. Local authorities, who were legally responsible for implementing civil defence preparations, were put under increasing pressure to demonstrate that they were prepared for nuclear attack.

Not all were happy to comply, however, and many left-leaning councils chose to fulfil their public information duties by publishing booklets critical of civil defence.

Wrekin and the Bomb, subtitled A look at Civil Defence, was published in the early 1980s by Wrekin Council, setting out their case against nuclear weapons and civil defence. Pictured on the cover is The Wrekin itself, the hill which gives this area of rural Shropshire its name, with a nuclear blast close behind.

The council’s reference to its “legal and moral obligation” refers to the regulations imposed on them from above, which gave central government the power to force councils to make preparations for attack.

Continue reading →

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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