Manage episode 360131316 series 2312958
During the Cold War, the awesome power of nuclear weapons and its deadly fallout meant that every town, village and home in Britain fell under the nuclear shadow, and the threat of annihilation coloured every aspect of ordinary life.
I chat with author and fellow Cold War podcaster Julie McDowall about her new book Attack Warning Red!: How Britain Prepared for Nuclear War. We discuss how families were encouraged to construct makeshift shelters with cardboard, plastic sheets and sandbags, as well as how vicars and pub landlords learnt how to sound hand-wound sirens, offering four minutes to scramble to safety. and the thousands who volunteered to give nuclear first aid, often consisting of breakfast tea, herbal remedies, and advice on how to die without contaminating others.
It's a fascinating, haunting and darkly humorous look at the UK government’s attempts to prepare the UK population for nuclear war while bunkers were readied for the officials and experts who, in theory, would ensure life continued after Armageddon.
Buy the book & support CWC https://uk.bookshop.org/a/1549/9781847926210
0:00 Introduction and story of a village landlord's plan for nuclear warning
4:08 The 4-minute nuclear warning system in the UK
14:22 Role of the Women's Royal Volunteer Service in the Cold War
20:03 Rise of organizations like the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
27:05 The Python plan for government survival in a nuclear attack
33:07 Visiting former Cold War government bunkers in the UK
37:04 The haunting TV version of Protect and Survive
51:15 The selection process for government bunker inhabitants
56:09 The importance of Threads in understanding nuclear war
1:10:54 Introduction to Julie McDowell's book 'Attack Warning Red'
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Previous UK Civil Defence episodes
Cold War leaflets and documents https://coldwarconversations.com/episode112/
Assigned to a government bunker https://coldwarconversations.com/episode107/
Visit to a Royal Observer Corps monitoring post and interview with the Chief Observer who served in the post https://coldwarconversations.com/episode30/
Alistair McCann has preserved a Royal Observer Corps monitoring post as a museum in Northern Ireland. https://coldwarconversations.com/episode11/
Support the project! https://coldwarconversations.com/donate/
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