Attack Warning Red! By Julie McDowall

  • Narrated by: Julie McDowall
  • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
  • Release date: 04-06-23

Attack Warning Red! By Julie McDowall AudioBook Summary

There have been many histories of the Cold War but Attack Warning Red! is the first book to tell the domestic story of day-to-day life on the nuclear home front.

The dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 changed the nature of war forever. The awesome power of the atomic blast and its deadly fallout meant that nowhere was safe: every town, village, street and home in Britain fell under the nuclear shadow, and the threat of annihilation coloured every aspect of ordinary life for the next forty years. As the media reported on the inevitability of approaching conflict with the Soviet Union, the British people were told to prepare for the coming apocalypse.

Families were taught how to construct makeshift shelters in their homes and stockpile food and medicines; vicars and pub landlords were instructed to sound hand-wound sirens to deliver the Four Minute Warning. Schools and hospitals prepared for the worst, and thousands volunteered for civil defence organisations to be trained in nuclear first aid. And while the British people were expected to look after themselves, bunkers were prepared for government officials and experts needed to ensure that life continued after the catastrophe.

Looming nuclear war and the planning for it affected people’s everyday lives: it informed their childhoods, structured their work, and inhabited their dreams and nightmares. Today, more than thirty years after the end of the Cold War, we read this story – with its Dad’s Army comedy, endearing amateurism and futile measures for a war that was not survivable – with a sense of relief that the worst did not happen; but it is also a timely – and frightening – reminder that the nuclear threat will always be with us.


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