Monday, August 05, 2013

It Wasn't Yet Time for Apocalypse

Newly declassified documents made public in the UK last week included a secret 1983 speech written for the Queen, to be broadcast in the event of imminent nuclear war. Full text of the speech is available at this link.

It's strange, but I've searched my memory on the 1980s and can find no recollection of being afraid of nuclear war during that decade. I recall experiencing some feelings of that nature in 1962 - must have been around the time of the Cuban missile crisis in the USA - and that was also the time of my first marriage. I've often thought, since, that it'd have done me a favour if the crisis had become even more intense and stopped the wedding!

Back to the 1980s then. No..... still nothing surfaces along those panicky lines. I was promoted at work in the early 80s, took a wonderful 3-week vacation in Hawaii 1984, had to undergo a major operation perhaps my mind was on other, more personal matters.

That speech written for the Queen now reads like something from a dystopian novel. I wonder if there's a comparable speech for the US President stashed away in the archives here? I wonder if there's one prepared for the current and future Presidents in the event of....well, you name it. There's a cornucopia of possibilities now, well beyond nuclear war, and some dangers now even come from within!


mike said...

I remember the constant nuclear option unrest in the 1980s. This was a turbulent glad you don't recall those years, Twilight!

From Wiki:
"Operation Opera - a 1981 surprise Israeli air strike that destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor being constructed in Osirak. Israeli military intelligence assumed this was for the purpose of plutonium production to further an Iraqi nuclear weapons program. Israeli intelligence also believed that the summer of 1981 would be the last chance to destroy the reactor before it would be loaded with nuclear fuel.

President Reagan's decision to station intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Western Europe provoked mass protests involving more than one million people."

More from Wiki:
"The international diplomatic response was severe, ranging from stern warnings to a US-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow (in which Afghanistan competed). The intervention, along with other events, such as the Iranian revolution and the US hostage stand-off that accompanied it, the Iran–Iraq War, the 1982 Lebanon War, the escalating tensions between Pakistan and India, contributed to making the Middle East and South Asia extremely violent and turbulent regions during the 1980s. The Non-Aligned Movement was sharply divided between those who believed the Soviet deployment to be legal and others who considered the deployment an illegal invasion. Among the Warsaw Pact countries, the intervention was condemned only by Romania.[103] India, a close ally of the Soviet Union, refused to support the Afghan war.[104] though by the end of the hostilities offered to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghan government."

And one more from Wiki regarding the increased threat of nuclear war between India and Pakistan:
"The nuclear conflict between both countries is of passive strategic nature with nuclear doctrine of Pakistan stating a first strike policy, although the strike would only be initiated if and only if, the Pakistan Armed Forces are unable to halt an invasion (as for example in 1971 war) or a nuclear strike is launched against Pakistan[citation needed] while India has a declared policy of no first use."

mike (again) said...

BTW: It was during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan that the U.S. heavily funded and armed the mujahideen's Osama Bin Laden via the Pakistan government.

mike (again) said...

Now back to's a new one (oh, am I ever surprised...NOT!):

(Reuters) - A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I'm glad I was in blissful ignorance of all that!

Pre-internet, I suppose when I noticed news stories at all they'd be local ones, or at least stories relating to Britain.
I do clearly remember the miners' strike in the UK in the mid-1980s, which was very close to home.

And then...of course, the IRA bombings!

Why be afraid of hypothetical nuclear war when we were receiving real-life bomb warnings at work on a regular basis!
Now it's coming more into focus!

mike(again) - Back to 2013:

Groan... well, that was a dot on the card wasn't it!? Groan encore.

R J Adams said...

You were in Hawaii in 1894? Goodness, you're even older than me! ;-)

Let's not forget dear Maggie's little foray into the South Atlantic in 1982, that cost nearly 1,000 lives.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~ LOL! Oh - thanks for pointing that out - I've amended it. Just having a wee time-slippy or finger-slippy experience! Hawaii would've been quite a trip in 1894!
Gosh - yes! The Falklands debacle.
I'd forgotten about that. That was a busy old decade in Britain then - no wonder we didn't have time to worry about nuclear war!

Chomp said...

In fact a general awareness of nuclear danger was not that great in the Eighties as it was in the first part of the Sixties.

What was real present was the understress by **Western** political Agenda on the use of the nuclear weapons by the Russians: All the risk was put on teh Russian.

That was. And now we know it was a blackmail or an extortion, a politcal extortion, to put Russia in a bad situation and force it to resign

Not only in 1962 the world really risked but do not underestimate the Corean War: That was a moment in which the world risked

Anyway the nuclear risk grows as weapons diminish ...

Nuclear weapons in fact act as opposite in comparison to conventional weapons ...

Twilight said...

Chomp ~ Your first sentence was my own first thought - but memory dims, and impressions were no doubt different from how things were in the US, in the UK - and elsewhere.

I've never felt that Russia was the "bogey man" - something to fear. I could be naive but, there you go!
Maybe I've watched "Dr. Zhivago" too many times! :-)

Nuclear war is a threat in the background that'll never, ever, go away. We have to live with it and hope that those in power have level heads and a clear grasp of what's at stake. They usually imply as much in their speeches, but their actions often leave us wondering.