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By M. Grant

Civil defence used to be a vital part of Britain’s smooth background. through the chilly struggle it was once a relevant reaction of the British govt to the specter of conflict. This book is the 1st historical past of the arrangements to struggle a nuclear battle taken in Britain among the tip of the second one global struggle and 1968.

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Additional resources for After The Bomb: Civil Defence and Nuclear War in Cold War Britain, 1945-68

Example text

It was also an implicit criticism of the previous approach – instead of being too focussed on long-term planning to meet an immediate emergency, the new way of planning would build up from preparations designed to meet both immediate and long-term needs. This subtle but definite shift from the panic of late July was caused by the stabilisation of the Berlin Crisis, and Ede realised that there was little point continuing to construct a ‘really effective plan’ because of the problems with publicity and the shortages of all kinds of materials and supplies.

6 The economic and political cost of this rearmament programme was enormous. Two Cabinet Ministers, Aneurin Bevan and Harold Wilson, resigned over the cuts in welfare spending demanded by the rearmament programme; the cost in cash, and already scarce raw materials, led to a curtailment of the exportdriven, dollar-earning reconstruction drive and plunged Britain back into trade deficit. 7 Korea threw the lack of civil defence preparations into sharp focus – again. 12 Had a global war broken out in 1950, Britain’s industrial capacity and its ability to import vital food and materials would have been crippled, essentially destroying any hope of Preparing for a Third World War 39 prosecuting a major war on continental Europe for any length of time, to say nothing of the enormous civilian casualties which would have been suffered if Britain faced major bombing raids.

This was clearly a potentially catastrophic planning failure, and one that illustrates some of civil defence planning’s broader flaws. 79 A decision was taken that the officials on the Civil Defence Committee should not be ‘deflected’ from their long-term planning remit. Clearly, more political and strategic direction based on sound intelligence was needed, and such an important planning decision should not have been in the hands of a relatively unimportant committee. After Berlin, 28 After the Bomb with the Ministerial committee and the greater interest in civil defence taken by the Cabinet Secretary, such strategic direction was in place.

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