Wednesday, 23 December 2015

It was indeed a MAD world

Letter sent to New York Times:

Your extraordinary report “1950s U.S. Nuclear Target List Offers Chilling Insight,” NY
Times, Dec. 23, ( coming as it does at the start of the season of peace and goodwill to all men and women, concentrates the mind on how insane was the policy of mutually assured destruction (M.A.D.) throughout the so-called Cold War between the super atomic-armed powers

The key document reported was the MAD target list is titled “Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959, developed in in 1956, the year of my birth in Wales in Great Britain.

Eleven years ago, the British equivalent of the National Archives and Records Administration, hosted a blood curdling exhibition opened at its London base, titled ‘Secret State.’.

My own home city of Swansea was listed as one of the 20 major cities in a Top Secret report ‘Probable Nuclear targets in the United Kingdom: Assumptions for Planning’- prepared by the Joint Intelligence Committee. (Annex A, File TNA: DEFE 4/224, dated November 2nd,1967).


One document – the ‘Strath Report’- prepared in 1955, so secret it was not publicly released until last 2003,  was the best estimate of the atomic war experts of what would have happened if Britain was attacked by the Soviet Union with just 10 Hydrogen (H-) bombs


It concluded 12  million people would be incinerated in the first few seconds with another 4 million seriously injured, even before the radiation clouds had made their poisonous way across the country.


However, there were some instances of black humor.


Scientists working on an atomic land mine - meant for deployment underground in Germany’s northern plains - realized that it could fail in winter if vital components become too cold, so they explored ways of keeping the inner workings warm.


One proposal put forward consisted of filling the casing of the mine with live chickens, which would give off sufficient heat - prior to suffocating or starving to death - to keep the delicate explosive mechanism from freezing.

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