Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
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Read The Queen's speech on the outbreak of Nuclear War in 1983

Illustration for article titled Read The Queens speech on the outbreak of Nuclear War in 1983

At the height of the Cold War, a speech for Queen Elizabeth II to read to the nation on the outbreak of Nuclear War was written as part of a Government training exercise. Of course it went unused, but thanks to the 30-year rule that makes Cabinet documents enter the UK's National Archives, it's now available to read.


1983 brought unprecedented heat to the Cold War - it was the year that Reagan revealed his plans for the 'Star Wars' anti-missile system, as well as the stationing of several US cruise missiles across Europe and the UK. It was also the year Soviets shot down South Korean Airlines Flight 007 as it accidentally entered their airspace, killing all 269 passengers aboard, and also when NATO's Operation Able Archer 83 training exercise almost tricked the Russians into believing open conflict had begun.

Written as part of the Whitehall Wargaming plan WINTEX-CIMEX 83 (the Queen herself had no role in writing the text, and was unlikely to have seen the draft herself), the Queen's speech, drafted for a tentative release of March 4th 1983, echoed her own father's words on the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939:

When I spoke to you less than three months ago we were all enjoying the warmth and fellowship of a family Christmas. Our thoughts were concentrated on the strong links that bind each generation to the ones that came before and those that will follow. The horrors of war could not have seemed more remote as my family and I shared our Christmas joy with the growing family of the Commonwealth.

Now this madness of war is once more spreading through the world and our brave country must again prepare itself to survive against great odds.

I have never forgotten the sorrow and the pride I felt as my sister and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my father's inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939. Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me.

We all know that the dangers facing us today are greater by far than at any time in our long history. The enemy is not the soldier with his rifle nor even the airman prowling the skies above our cities and towns but the deadly power of abused technology.

But whatever terrors lie in wait for us all the qualities that have helped to keep our freedom intact twice already during this sad century will once more be our strength.

My husband and I share with families up and down the land the fear we feel for sons and daughters, husbands and brothers who have left our side to serve their country. My beloved son Andrew is at this moment in action with his unit and we pray continually for his safety and for the safety of all servicemen and women at home and overseas.

It is this close bond of family life that must be our greatest defence against the unknown. If families remain united and resolute, giving shelter to those living alone and unprotected, our country's will to survive cannot be broken.

My message to you therefore is simple. Help those who cannot help themselves, give comfort to the lonely and the homeless and let your family become the focus of hope and life to those who need it.

As we strive together to fight off the new evil let us pray for our country and men of goodwill wherever they may be.

God bless you all.

[BBC News, images via The Telegraph]

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