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Posted: 12/30/2005 5:25:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/30/2005 5:25:23 AM EDT by fight4yourrights]
Paintings, not people, to be whisked to safety in nuclear holocaust plan

GERRI PEEV POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT

SECRET documents detailing the government's emergency response to a nuclear attack have revealed officials had no plans for a mass civilian evacuation - but a strategy was in place for saving treasured works of art.

According to the 30-year-old files - described by historians as the "most secret" to be released by the National Archive at Kew to date - Russia had so many nuclear warheads trained on Britain that around 12 million citizens would have been wiped out.

People would have been urged to stay indoors while all radio and television were to be replaced by an emergency BBC broadcast telling them: "There is nothing to be gained by trying to get away".

While members of the public would not be offered a shelter in nuclear bunkers, the government had devised a strategy for saving the country's art treasures.

Masterpieces from galleries in Edinburgh and London would have been transported to Wales, where they would have been stashed in a slate quarry.

Meanwhile, the prime minister and top officials would have been taken to government bunkers manned by civil servants.

According to the 1975 Government War Book, much of which remains classified, a single, looped broadcast would have taken over the airwaves and television.

Parliament would have fast-tracked emergency legislation to give the government wide-sweeping powers to cover transport, manpower, communications and food.

Historian Peter Hennessy told the BBC the documents on the preparations for a nuclear attack were the most secret he had ever seen. "These were the Crown Jewels of genuine official secrecy ... because you didn't want the other side to get your war plans," he said.

"Also, the degree of alarm for the civilian population, in relatively tranquil times, that a leakage of this would have produced would have been extraordinary."

Much of the file remains secret, except for the headings of the 15 chapters.

The contingency plan would have applied at any time up until 1989.

One civilian who was privy to some of the classified information was Peter Donaldson, the BBC newsreader, who pre-recorded a broadcast that would have been run continuously in the event of a nuclear holocaust.

"It felt really spooky," he said. "Here I was talking about the end of the world as we know it."

Mr Donaldson was made to give back the transcript after he had read it for the recording. He would have told listeners: "This is the wartime broadcast service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons."

People would have been urged to "stay tuned, stay calm and stay in your own house".

By leaving their own homes, they would face great danger, being left without food and without protection - unlike the national art treasures, which would have been taken to safety.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 6:26:29 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/30/2005 6:28:44 AM EDT by pillbox]
Thats really not a surprize.....there is really not any govt built bunkers for U.S. citzens either. Most "fallout" shelters from the 50's arent in exsistance anymore, and there was never enough for everybody anyway. If nuke missles were 30minutes away right now, I doubt we would even get a public broadcast warning...in big cities it would just create a panic and folks would be kicking each others asses/do crazy crap with very few making it out in those 30 minutes....well not that long by the time they determined where it would hit...more like 10 or 15. Sadly,Its simply par for the course. "Art is priceless, you can always make more people....the missionary position is not a skilled labor position, and lot of them are accidents anyway" BWAHAHAHAHAHA
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:12:38 AM EDT
There will be no public broadcast warning
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:18:14 AM EDT
The revolution will not be televised
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:22:19 AM EDT
you save what you can
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:23:47 AM EDT
Too many people anyway.

Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:32:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:
Too many people anyway.



Would you place yourself among one of the "too many", or, as was stated in a recent thread in the SF, do you see yourself as one of the (sometimes miraculously ) saved folkks, even in the scenarios with an almost 100 % mortality rate?
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:34:26 AM EDT
Many of those works of art have provided more inspiration and pleasure to the world than any of us likely have.

We can make more people, but there's only so many Picassos and Rembrandts
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:51:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By tc556guy:

Originally Posted By garandman:
Too many people anyway.



Would you place yourself among one of the "too many", or, as was stated in a recent thread in the SF, do you see yourself as one of the (sometimes miraculously ) saved folkks, even in the scenarios with an almost 100 % mortality rate?



I would place myself as a person who never intends to rely on gov't (The least efficient organizartion in the history of mankind) to save my butt.

In a nuke attack, I'd either be already dead, soon to be dead, or on my own. The first two there's nothing I can do about. I'm not at all afraid to die.

The last one is what I prepare for.

Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:57:57 AM EDT
Anyone ever play the game Fallout? I wonder what a series of actual Vaults for the general population would cost? 400 billion over 10 years? half a trillion? something like that?
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:31:43 AM EDT
Same thing in the U.S. Go to the Kenmore Gun Range in Bothell, WA some time -- just up the hill from it is a FEMA shelter compound (now converted for some other use, supposedly) which was meant to house government workers in the event of a nuclear attack.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:40:55 AM EDT
Maybe I'm being defeatist, but if we get into a nuclear exchange with another nuclear nation, I hope the first one goes off right over my head.

I'd rather be with the Lord or in oblivion (take your pick), than picking for survival amongst radioactive rubble. I have no romantic notions about "suriving" under such circumstances.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 11:08:06 AM EDT
It makes sense to me to try and save national treasures and those document that provide for a sense of national identity in that instance. Re-constituting a country takes, among other things, objects and important documents.
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