Britain would have been split into 12 regions in Cold War nuke exchange with Russia: Book

June 23rd, 2009 - 6:51 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 23 (ANI): A nuclear conflict with the Soviet Union would have forced Britain to divide into 12 regions governed by Cabinet ministers, a secret War book has revealed.

“The country was going to be split into 12 mini-kingdoms after the bomb had dropped, with real draconian powers for a Cabinet minister, a senior military figure, a policeman and a judge,” The Telegraph quoted Whitehall historian Peter Hennessy, as saying.The document, drawn up by the Government more than 40 years ago and updated until the early 1990s, sets out in immense detail how Britain would have been administered in the event of a devastating nuclear exchange, the paper said.

The War Book has been obtained by Hennessy, professor of contemporary history at Queen Mary University of London, who said the war document shows how civil servants held mock briefings to prepare for nuclear war situation. “It was done by people who had to do it. It must have been one of the most terrible jobs in Whitehall during the Cold War. It literally was requiring people in immense security to peer into the abyss,” Hennessy was quoted by the paper, as saying.

According to the report, the book sets out scenarios in which an exchange of nuclear weapons might take place, with mock daily briefings from the Joint Intelligence Committee and bulletins from civil defence officials in the Home Office.

Each day, a mock cabinet of civil servants would meet to decide what elements of the emergency plans should be implemented.

The final steps include the removal of major art treasures from London and the introduction of a wartime justice system, before R-hour, on which all nuclear weapons are fired.

“R-hour would be the final release of nuclear weapons. There may have been an earlier tactical use of nuclear weapons but R-hour was (when) everything that’s left goes. That’s not an easy decision to participate in. Even though you know it’s just an exercise… it makes you think,” the paper quoted David Young, a civil servant involved in the exercises, as saying. (ANI)

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