Download After the Bomb: Civil Defence and Nuclear War in Britain, by Matthew Grant (auth.) PDF

By Matthew Grant (auth.)

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Additional resources for After the Bomb: Civil Defence and Nuclear War in Britain, 1945–68

Sample text

7 Korea threw the lack of civil defence preparations into sharp focus – again. 12 Had a global war broken out in 1950, Britain’s industrial capacity and its ability to import vital food and materials would have been crippled, essentially destroying any hope of Preparing for a Third World War 39 prosecuting a major war on continental Europe for any length of time, to say nothing of the enormous civilian casualties which would have been suffered if Britain faced major bombing raids. Measures were, however, already being taken towards rectifying the lack of progress.

Casualties would have undoubtedly outstripped those of the Blitz. For ministers, however, concentrating on resolving the crisis rather than preparing for its escalation, any publicity surrounding civil defence preparations must be avoided. 82 This decision set in motion a flurry of activity to prepare an emergency civil defence plan, part of which was a list of what could be done if the publicity ban was lifted. The list of 16 key subjects to be considered across various Whitehall departments gives an impression of the scale of the task facing civil defence planners.

In time this fear would raise awkward questions as to whether any worthwhile preparations – including evacuation – could be authorised in an emergency. 78 It sought to give the facts concerning the lack of any plans to meet an immediate emergency. This was clearly a potentially catastrophic planning failure, and one that illustrates some of civil defence planning’s broader flaws. 79 A decision was taken that the officials on the Civil Defence Committee should not be ‘deflected’ from their long-term planning remit.

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