To be brutal, the Regan/Thatcher period was kiddies stuff, I lived throiugh the Cuban Missile crisis and you really did expect the sirens to go off, I can remember the count down to the point of no return for the Russian Fleet, now that was cary stuff, watching the Yanks and Russians playing chicken for real. Russia as we know flinched first.
Our family seriously considered moving out of town to our holday cottage
I went through a period in the mid-1980s (strangely, just after watching Threads and the Day After) when I couldn't sleep 'cos I was cacking it so much over when (not if) the mushroom clouds would go up..... I think I only got over it when I discovered what girls were hiding underneath their clothes...
The cynic in me wonders whether the high recruitment levels of that era were due to soldiers having NBC kit on individual issue. Protect and Survive seemed a lot more feasible with an NBC suit and respirator...
Personally, I wasn't too much worried until 1989 when the East Berliners started demolishing the wall. "This can only have one of two outcomes." I thought, and started stockpiling food and water (seriously!). Outcome 1 would have been the Berliners being machine-gunned off the wall and NATO forces charging across East Germany to rescue them, initiating WW3. Outcome 2 would have been the Soviets machine-gunning the Berliners off the wall and, realising that they'd lost the PR battle, charging across West Germany to gain as much ground as possible as a shock manoeuvre while everybody in the west was glued to the TV sets.
The possibility that nobody would try to stop the Berliners from pulling the wall to bits didn't occur to me. If it had, I may have held off showing Mrs Puttees how to convert the kitchen (our strongest room) into a bomb shelter and making nightly trips to Sainsbury's to increase our stock of tinned food and bottled water.
We can look back on it and laugh, but at the time, with a 2 year-old kid...
I remember watching the animated film of 'When The Wind Blows' by Raymond (The Snowman) Briggs. I think Sir John Mills did the voice of the male character. I thoght this film was more chilling than both 'The Day After' and 'Threads'.
Protect and Survive was utter bollocks in a civil defence sense, but was good propaganda that those evil reds were waiting to melt us off the face of the planet with nuclear fire. Strangely enough, that's exactly what they thought we were planning on doing to them.
When the atom bomb became the hydrogen bomb most Western and NATO countries knew that civil defence was no longer feasible. Add to that relative cheapness and reliability of ICBM MIRV'd systems, meant that so many targets were now double targetted (Ground and air bursts) and that for anything to survive you had to go very deep underground or under the ocean.
Another problem that P&S overlooked was that there is only 3 to 4 days worth of food available at any one time in Western Europe and the UK. By the time the full page adverts and leaflets have gone through the door panic buying will ensue. Also there will be a run on P&S materials, like sandbags, timber etc; used to build your inner refuge.
The advice was flawed too. Takeoff your internal doors so that you can use them to build your shelter. Great idea as fire spreads throughout your home and then your entire street, even if you are far enough away to survive blast effects, the thermal flash effects will do for you instead.
Not everyone would have been killed instantly. Millions would have starved or succumbed to fallout. There would be no rescue services. No firefighting (the transition to war plan was to quietly remove all fire appliances to low risk areas, followed by ambulances in the small hours pre attack) Any feeding of the survivors would only begin after Attack +14 days if fallout levels allow, and assuming any authority exists and is capable of doing so in the first place. Any feeding would be for the fit and able and not much more than 1000-1200 calories a day + 2 pints of water. The seriously wounded or moribund would be left to die. The NHS would cease to exist, and only basic first aid for viable survivors would be offered. Euthanasia would likely be an official 'option' One estimate suggested that only 1 in 20 of the population would still be alive at Attack+24 months. Reconstruction to prewar levels would take 20-30 years.
I too had nightmares. I remember sitting down with a girlfriend to watch The Day After on its first UK Screening one saturday night. I was horrified as some bloke gets his face melted off and then my GF starts laughing hysterically, and taking the piss. Heartless cow.
I have a nice little basement, nice concrete slab roof and RSJ supported. Plenty of canned, preserved food, water, err "adult reading material" (In two minds about letting "she who shall be obeyed" in), although seeing the world out with a "Bang" does seem to have some appeal.
Got the Owd Lee Enfield, as well as my trusty SLR (along with two Battle Packs of Royal Ordnance ammunition unopened), so I doubt the neighbours will be too much mother!
I joined AAC Harrogate in the mid seventies, we had a siren in the grounds that was supposed to be our alert for the 4 minute warning. That and having, we were told, the Vulcans that provided our 24 hour nuclear deterrent passing overhead twice a day made things very real.
Most of the guys I knew were not interested in the 'after', our only interest was getting a bone hawaiian shirt, a cold beer and a deck chair and the opportunity to get the worlds greatest, and final, suntan. Everything that we were taught about the aftermath of the biggest bang since the big one taught me that I did not want to be around afterwards.