Britain recently released its "War Book," detailing the national plan for life after a nuclear attack. By all accounts, it's a hair raising document, but I'm damned if I can find a copy on the web, or on the National Archives' site. Can you? Post links in the comments section, please!
The country would have been divided into 12 regions, each governed by cabinet ministers with wide powers, aided by senior military officers, chief constables and judges and based in bunkers. Other senior figures would have retreated to a central government shelter under the Cotswolds.
The plans all assumed that the confrontation would be with the Soviet Union. Among the possible scenarios spelled out in the autumn of 1968 was escalating tension following a Soviet moon landing and troop movements in eastern Europe…
The book apparently formed the basis for regular exercises every two years by senior civil servants, with daily internal briefings, the organisation of national preparedness schemes including the stockpiling of food and building materials for shelters and, as the threat grew more imminent, the removal of art treasures from London to Scotland and the emptying of hospitals of all but the most acutely ill.
David Young, a former Ministry of Defence civil servant who took part in the mock exercises, told the programme: "R-hour would be the final release of nuclear weapons. There may have been an earlier tactical use … but R-hour was [when] everything that's left goes. That's not an easy decision to participate in. Even though you know it is just an exercise, it makes you think."
Young said ministers were not encouraged to take part in the exercises: "They would be disinclined to play by the rules. Some of them quite liked talking, so you'd get behind time and there would be a fear that if they showed a reluctance to do what the military believed was necessary, that this would weaken deterrence…"
"My favourite measure, the one which always aroused a lot of debate … was the introduction of censorship for private correspondence. You can imagine that was something that ministers would only agree to right at the very end when it was clear that war was inevitable."