Queen's Speech For WWIII: British Must 'Prepare To Survive'

Aug 1, 2013
Originally published on August 1, 2013 1:04 pm

At the height of the Cold War, a broadcast prepared for Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to deliver in the event of a nuclear conflict urged her subjects to be brave and stand firm in the face of destruction, and for the survivors to pick up the pieces and rebuild.

The chilling speech, drafted by civil servants in 1983 as part of a war games scenario, echoes Winston Churchill's defiant radio broadcasts in the face of Adolf Hitler's bombing campaign against London. In the speech that was fortunately never delivered, the queen was to talk of the "madness" of nuclear war and declare: "Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me."

"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," the speech reads.

The Guardian writes:

"The extraordinary speech forms part of a chilling 320-page war games scenario — codenamed Wintex-Cimex 83 — which was drawn up by top intelligence, defence and Home Office staff. It is revealed in a cache of secret documents released on Thursday by the National Archives, which evokes the shadow of nuclear armageddon that hung over Britain 30 years ago."

Britain, the queen was prepared to say, must "prepare to survive against great odds."

"As we strive together to fight off the new evil, let us pray for our country and men of goodwill, wherever they may be. May God bless you all," the speech concludes.

A separate speech to be delivered by then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher would have been slightly more bellicose in tone:

"We wanted peace and strove to achieve it," Thatcher, who died in April, might have said had the unthinkable occurred. "We are the victims of an unprovoked attack and, with our allies, we will fight back."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.