The British Government has released a tape recording made in the 1970s to be played to survivors of a nuclear war. The tape was kept at the BBC’s wartime studio at Wood Norton to be played by an engineer, if he survived.
The message that would have been broadcast to a terror stricken population is as follows. ‘This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Comunications have been severely disrupted and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. ‘We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes. Remember there is nothing to be gained by trying to get away. By leaving your homes you could be exposing yourselves to greater danger. If you leave you may find yourself without food, without water, without accommodation and without protection.
‘Radioactive fallout, which follows a nuclear explosions, is many times more dangerous if you are directly exposed to it in the open. Roofs and walls offer substantial protection.
‘The safest place is indoors. Make sure gas and other fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished. If mains water is available, this can be used for fire fighting. You should also refill all your containers for drinking water after the fires have been put out, because the mains water supply may not be available for very long. Water must not be used for flushing lavatories: until you are told they may be used again, other toilet arrangements must be made. Use your water only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. Water means life. Don’t waste it.
‘Make your food stocks last: ration your supply, because it may have to last 14 days or more. If you have fresh food in the house, use this first to avoid wasting it: food in tins will keep.
‘If you live in an area where a fallout warning has been given, stay in your fallout room until you are told it is safe to come out. When the immediate danger has passed the sirens will sound a steady note.
‘Do not, in any circumstances, go outside the house. Radioactive fallout can kill. You cannot see it or feel it, but it is there.
‘If you go outside, you will bring danger to your family and you may die. Stay in your fallout room until you are told it is safe to come out or you hear the “all clear” on the sirens.’ (End of wartime broadcast)
People in the West were far more aware of the possibility of nuclear war in the 70s. We lived then in a small town about 50 miles from London. Our son was about two years old when I bought a copy of ‘Protect and Survive’, the official British booklet telling people what to do if there was a nuclear war. I remember reading it with horror.
Basically, the advice was to get away from windows, get to some form of protection, if only under a table, and then go hide in a cupboard for two weeks, taking buckets of water with you. Since very few English homes have basements, but nearly every house in England in those days had a cupboard under the stairs, that was the place to head for.
Our under stairs cupboard, like most people’s, was full of junk which would first have to be cleared out. Then the buckets would have to be found and cleaned and filled with water. My first thought was – better to go in a nuclear war than spend two weeks in a little closet with a two-year-old! I knew I could never survive that anyway!
Then I thought maybe I should buy some new buckets. In the end, I did nothing and the understairs cupboard stayed full of junk; there was nowhere else to put the stuff.
America, like Germany, has basements under most homes, and these are natural shelters. That is where everyone goes to wait out tornado warnings. I remember my mother waking us all up in the middle of the night to go down to the basement during one particularly bad storm when the tornado sirens started blaring. No doubt the basements will be used as shelters if there ever is an attack on America.
Switzerland has fallout shelters for the entire population. Every house built has to include a shelter. People living in older houses know exactly what to do and where to go in the event of nuclear war. A Swiss friend told us that everyone has to keep a supply of food which they rotate so that they have enough to survive for weeks. The men are all taught to shoot, as well, and the roads through mountain passes can be made impassable to any enemy silly enough to try to attack on the ground. In a word, the Swiss have their heads screwed on! Would that Britain and America were so prudent.
Israel has shelters for many people, but not all. One friend in northern Israel showed us their ‘safe room’ on the ground floor of their house. It has concrete walls 18 inches thick, a heavy steel door like that of a bank vault, and a small window with a heavy steel plate covering it. It is like a tomb. One family near our friend sat out much of the 2006 war with Hezbollah in their safe room. Their house took a direct hit, but they were in the safe room. When the all-clear sounded, the steel door would not open, but they managed to climb out of the window. Their house was gone.
When Alan and I started touring the USA I realised for the first time how very vulnerable my country is. Most states have only about three big cities, if that. This means that about 150 hydrogen bombs would totally destroy my country. Actually, far fewer even than that would knock us out. Our enemies have thousands of doomsday weapons. The absolute dearth of any discussion on all this strikes me as rather suspicious.
Why are there no programs on TV about it? I haven’t seen a single program on the subject for – oh, maybe 15 or 20 years. This is strange. We must have had about a trillion documentaries on sharks in that time. They always go for the most sensational scare stuff they can think up, but the subject of nuclear war is like an elephant in the middle of the living room which everyone pretends is not there. Maybe it is just too scary; maybe they do not want to panic people; maybe they just don’t want to have to spend money on building shelters for the population. Maybe they know that there is no way the populations can really be protected.
In the 1970s I used to be very fearful of nuclear war. Then in January of 1981 there was a total shift in my life. I realised the Bible was true and Jesus was real and I was a sinner bound for Hell. I knelt down in the bedroom one evening and confessed every sin I could remember, and begged the Lord Jesus to forgive me and make me one of His people. Since that day I have belonged to Him. One consequence of this was that my fear of nuclear war was completely gone!
I only realised this a few weeks after praying that prayer when something brought it to my mind about the buckets and the cupboard under the stairs. Suddenly I realised that the awful fear of what might happen was simply not there anymore. I had been set free from the fear, without even realising it. It is really wonderful to belong to the Lord Jesus and know that He really is in charge, whatever might happen. He told believers not to worry, since we can’t really do much about anything anyway!
And He told us that He would NEVER leave us or forsake us. Best of all, He told us if we believe in Him we HAVE eternal life, absolutely guaranteed. Many Christians believe we will suffer a nuclear attack. I have heard very godly men sorrowfully warn of it. Dr Vernon McGee in one teaching on coming judgement, said sadly, something like: ‘Yes, dear friends, the bombs are coming.’
After all the sins of our nations, particularly abortion, and our utter refusal to repent of our murders, we leave God with no option but to rain judgement down upon us. A fallout shelter will not be of much value when His judgement falls. You can’t hide from God. You can only get on your knees and beg His mercy, which is what I did. Some of you reading this need to do that today.