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The Military United Kingdom

Queen's WWIII Speech Revealed 147

Posted by timothy
from the we-are-the-champions-of-the-world dept.
EzInKy writes "This BBC article provides details of the script the United Kingdom's Queen was to deliver in the event of a nuclear holocaust. The document, released by the government under the 30-year rule, was drawn up as part of a war-gaming exercise in the spring of 1983, working through potential scenarios. In it, the Queen was expected to urge the people of the United Kingdom to 'pray' in the event of a nuclear war. Although it was only a simulation, the text of the Queen's address — written as if broadcast at midday on Friday 4 March 1983 — seeks to prepare the country for the ordeal of World War III. The script reads: 'Now this madness of war is once more spreading through the world and our brave country must again prepare itself to survive against great odds. I have never forgotten the sorrow and the pride I felt as my sister and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my father's inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939. Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me. But 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.'" I prefer Tom Lehrer's approach.
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Queen's WWIII Speech Revealed

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @03:41PM (#44450923)

    "Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me"

    It's fun to see those words in a prepared speech. :)

    • Re:Blatant Lies (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Urban Garlic (447282) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @03:45PM (#44450967)

      Well, in fairness, it was prepared for the Queen, not necessarily by the Queen. It was her advisers who imagined the solemn and awful duty falling to her.

      • You prepare for things you don't imagine could actually happen, particularly when you are talking the government of a country. You want to have contingency plans in place, even for disasters you say "There's no way that is going to happen."

    • Re:Blatant Lies (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @03:59PM (#44451109)

      She meant when she was a child in 1939 listening to her father's address. Come on, people, reading comprehension!

    • Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oGMo (379) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @04:13PM (#44451237)

      Definitely funny, but not exactly ... you could have a Zombie Preparedness Plan or Alien Invasion Plan or Ant Uprising Plan ... you might even write it yourself, but that doesn't mean you actually believe it's going to happen. It's just what you'd do if it did happen, quite probably involving a speech where you utter your surprise that it actually happened.

      • But the script didn't say "BELIEVE" it said imagine. If you are preparing for somehing, you must shurely be imagining it. Otherwise you aren't really doing that good of a job of prepairing for it.

        Casual Observer: Hey you! What are you doing with that angel food cake. lincon logs and "Tin Cup" DVD?

        Me: Oh this? I'm just prepairing for Team USA ski try outs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Context is everything. This sentence comes immediately after describing herself and her sister listening to their father's 1939 speech. I have no doubt that at not a moment during that speech did she imagine that duty falling to her.

      Reading comprehension: some people don't have it.

    • by Kvasio (127200)

      They have long tradition of lies.

      It's now 70 years since Sikorski [wikipedia.org] died in "accident"; yet many believe he was killed by Soviets with British approval. (Poland as an ally was "an obstacle" to cooperate with Soviets, as Soviets done mass killings two years earlier).

      Somehow British archives on the subject are still classified. Not a sign of clear conscience on their side.

    • I imagine that you've set aside an emergency fund for the things you've imagined could go wrong, even if you can't imagine any of them happening anytime soon.

      The irony definitely is strong in the sentence you've cited, but it's not dishonest. "Imagine" doesn't merely mean forming a mental image of something. It's also commonly used in a sense that refers more to expectations, assumptions, or beliefs [reference.com]. We routinely make plans for contingencies that we don't imagine will actually take place, even though we're

    • by flyneye (84093)

      And when I saw the headline, I was like "OMG, now there's a damn Elton John article on Slashdot"...

  • by CajunArson (465943) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @03:44PM (#44450949) Journal

    Here's the speech:

    "We are the champions, my friends.
    And we'll keep on fighting, 'till the end!
    We are the Champions,
    We are the Champions!
    No room for losers, cause we are the Champions,
    Of the World."

    Oh... wait.. you meant THAT Queen?
    Nevermind.

  • Pray (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @03:44PM (#44450951)

    In it, the Queen was expected to urge the people of the United Kingdom to 'pray' in the event of a nuclear war.

    What's with the scare quotes? Does the submitter think there's something weird about the Supreme Governor of the Church of England [wikipedia.org] urging the membership of her church to pray?

    • Because in the event of an all out nuclear war, praying will be about as effective against an atomic blast as against an oncoming tidal wave, and everybody knows this.
      • by Applekid (993327)

        Because in the event of an all out nuclear war, praying will be about as effective against an atomic blast as against an oncoming tidal wave, and everybody knows this.

        What would you prefer? I've always liked "smoke 'em if you got 'em"

        • by bmk67 (971394)

          Oh, I don't know - how about seeking cover? People can survive and have survived nuclear blasts. I'm not particularly sure I'd want to, though.

          You go ahead and pray. I'll fap. I'm sure my efforts will be just as effective.

          • You'd agree that bombs have improved since the end of ww2, right? What would your strategies be exactly? "seek shelter 20 miles below the surface?" Or are you thinking the old "duck and cover" will work?

            • by bmk67 (971394)

              If you're sufficiently distant from ground zero, where the primary hazard is from falling debris then yes, it can be effective. Certainly, under those circumstances, you've got a better chance for survival than if you continue to stand there like a dumbass.

              Obviously, if you're in the primary blast zone, there's not much you can do at all. Of course, if you're in the primary blast zone, you're not going to have much time to react once you see a flash.

              "seek shelter 20 miles below surface"? Hyperbole much?

              • by 0123456 (636235)

                If you're sufficiently distant from ground zero, where the primary hazard is from falling debris then yes, it can be effective.

                In the UK, at least, there would have been few places 'sufficiently distant from ground zero'. Realistic predictions of a Soviet attack put most of the country in a blast zone powerful enough to damage a house badly enough that you'd die from fallout.

          • You go ahead and pray. I'll fap. I'm sure my efforts will be just as effective.

            But if you survive you'll want a nap, and others will get a head start on the looting.

    • Re:Pray (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @04:10PM (#44451195)

      What's with the scare quotes?

      Because its a euphemism for "put your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye".

  • Seriously? (Score:1, Troll)

    by gallondr00nk (868673)

    Some ridiculous, flag waving drivel written by some speech writer somewhere for a monarch in the event of a war that didn't actually happen?

    Come on editors, this is stretching News For Nerds a bit, don't you think?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In the war-gaming exercise, Orange bloc forces - representing the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies - launch a chemical weapon attack on the UK.

      Blue forces - representing Nato - retaliate with a "limited-yield" nuclear strike, forcing Orange to initiate a peace process.

      That isn't anywhere near what any war plan of the USSR would have entailed, and the USA and UK governments knew that quite well, so what the hell was the point of the war-gaming exercise?

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        That isn't anywhere near what any war plan of the USSR would have entailed, and the USA and UK governments knew that quite well, so what the hell was the point of the war-gaming exercise?

        Read 'War Plan UK', if you can find a copy.

        Much of it seems to have been PR. Much of the rest seems to have been self-delusion. The remainder seems to have been 'What do you mean, why do we have war games? You've got to have war games,' and planning for everyone to die within two days wasn't much fun.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          You need training exercises essentially. So that people don't stand around saying "what am I supposed to be doing now?" Sometimes it's just making sure that the lines of communication are known and used, that procedures are followed, and so forth. Essentially fire drills.

          Then someone with a stop watch in the background is saying "Good work everyone, it took us only 7 minutes and 28 seconds to destroy the world. This is a new record. Tomorrow we'll see if we can do even better!"

          • But you don't tell them they destoryed the world, you tell them they saved everyone in their own country. Of course that wouldn't be true, in a real war, but you have to have them strick back otherwise the whole mad thing just fizzles out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What would be more interesting would be the text of the sealed letters the Prime Ministers gave to nuclear submarine crews to open if all communication was lost with London...

      I'm guessing Thatcher's would be 'Nuke the Bastards!', and some Labour PM's would be 'Better Red Than Dead,' but I'm not so sure about the rest.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The real speech would be very short.. it would be something like... "What the fuck"?

    • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Billly Gates (198444) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @04:26PM (#44451361) Journal

      Apparently someone who was not alive or mature yet during the Cold War.

      It sounds laughable today, but back then the threat was very scary and real. WWWIII almost happened several times from the Cuban Missile Crises, to faulty radars for NORAD, to this being misinterpreted, to several instances of American fighters from Alaskan accidentally flying into Siberian airspace.

      If nuclear war would have happened it would have consisted of several hundred nuclear bombs, radiation, a nuclear winter, and perhaps a new ice age if big enough with dust.

      The USSR and its satellite republics owned 1/3 of the world and the influence of communism was growing and spreading which is why Americans got involved in both Korea and Vietnam.

      It sounds laughable to the millenial generation probably smirking at this, but as a child we had drills in our schools and TV shows demonstrating what would have happened once the first nuclear launch happened.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Drills are normal. Even without WWIII drills, the military drills all the time to ensure that everyone can respond quickly and orderly in a crisis. Different groups that don't normally interact will drill with each other to make sure that they can do so smoothly. At the larger scale you will even have coordination between different military departments (army, navy, air force, space cadets). Logistics need to run smoothly, supplies moved and coordinated, deployments done on time, etc.

      • by bknack (947759)
        I wasn't old enough to go through any drills, but I can tell you that the threat of nuclear annihilation was certainly real. My gut reaction to some of these comments is similar to yours. These folks don't 'get it' and don't have the education to realize what they're joking about. To be honest, my thought was more along the lines of: I doubt she'd have time to deliver any speech.
      • I never had to do the duck and cover drills in elementary school but that was because my elementary school had a fallout shelter so once a year we had the drill where every one went into this large underground room that was under the the gym that was in the basement of the school. Granted this was in the early 80s and shortly there after the cold war ended
  • by SJester (1676058) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @03:51PM (#44451017) Journal
    This was a waste of time, OP. RTFA - the speech was not written for the Queen, it was never intended to be read by the Queen under any circumstances. It was scripted for a wargame scenario, a fictional engagement. You might as well post the inspiring speech written for the US President in the film "Independence Day."
    • Go check out the Tom Lehrer link at the bottom, that should make up for it.

      • by Nutria (679911)

        As soon as I heard him say, "WW3 is almostï upon us..." I decided I had a better use for my 3 minutes.

        • As soon as I heard him say, "WW3 is almostï upon us..." I decided I had a better use for my 3 minutes.

          Developing a sense of humor, perhaps?

          bu-dum psht!

        • by Macgrrl (762836)

          If you've never experienced Tom Lehrer before, go see/hear some of his stuff, it's generally very funny and thought provoking.

          I'm guessing the track linked to is "So Long Mom, I'm off to drop the bomb" (at work so no youtube for me), which is one of a number of songs he did about nuclear proliferation. His songs cover science practice, popular culture, mathematics and the general absurdities of 'modern' life. He was sued by the Boy Scouts of America for bringing them into disrepute for his song "Be Prepared

          • by Nutria (679911)

            I'd have probably thought it was biting wit, too, if I was hip 30 years ago. Reagan's 1984 (yes, I know it was only 29 years ago...) open mike "gaffe" would have made it that much more ironic. (The leftist outrage was truly stunning to behold. "He's a cowboy, he'll get us all killed!" Europe almost had a simultaneous 300M person apoplectic fit. The heads of all the editors of /Le Monde/ certainly exploded...)

            But I had classes to attend and projects to complete.

    • by RDW (41497)

      You might as well post the inspiring speech written for the US President in the film "Independence Day."

      Or better still, check out the superbly bleak BBC drama 'Threads' (1984), which showed in documentary style the build-up to a nuclear attack and its aftermath. Scarier than any horror movie at the time, when it felt like all of this might actually happen, possibly next week:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MCbTvoNrAg [youtube.com]

      The 'Protect and Survive' public information films, made for broadcast if an attack seemed imminent, also became well known in the early 80s for their creepy jingle, amateurish DIY fallout shelte

    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      Somewhat more exciting recordings are the airchecks from the EBS Scare of 1971 [blogspot.com], when a NORAD telegrapher accidentally sent the "Duck and Cover" signal to every radio station in America, and the stations all read their pre-prepared "stand by for an Emergency Action Message from the President of the United States" script.

      And here [radiotapes.com] are recordings of the original, pre-recorded nuclear attack messages that would be played, one for if there was several hours warning, and one if there were only minutes warning.

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @03:57PM (#44451089)

    Sometimes you had better be careful when you rattle your saber [wikipedia.org].

  • Reagan's sound check (Score:4, Informative)

    by intermodal (534361) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @03:59PM (#44451103) Homepage Journal

    Just over a year later, on August 11, 1984, President Reagan's sound-check could have given her a chance to use the speech if the Russians had itchier trigger fingers: "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

    • by WiiVault (1039946)
      Wow, did a quick Google and learned a lot about this infamous sound-check. Reagan... really seems like a fool. Was just a little tyke at the time but the more I hear the less I like the man.
      • by khallow (566160)

        Reagan... really seems like a fool.

        Why? That's a cheap way to play crazy person. The ploy is to appear crazy and erratic so that any foe in a MAD game doesn't know how far they can push before you escalate irrationally.

        • by Hentes (2461350)

          Or they might think that a crazy adversary makes the war inevitable so it's better to strike first.

      • In the sense of "fool" as a term that means "jester", I'll agree. But to claim that a joke in a sound check qualifies him as any other form of fool is just silly.

    • by qamerr (1618331)
      Interesting. For those that don't want to google: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_begin_bombing_in_five_minutes [wikipedia.org]
    • Just over a year later, on August 11, 1984, President Reagan's sound-check could have given her a chance to use the speech if the Russians had itchier trigger fingers: "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

      It's not like it was broadcast.

  • Lets go for it. Let the best man win.
    Since we are already stealing, cheating, spying on each other like never before in human history.
    WWIII should be, every man for himself. There is no need to ruin all the fun with nukes. Btw. There is practically no where to drop nuki without directly destroying own interests in form of own properties, factories, resources or other investments.
    Just grab a hoe (tool) and get going.

  • Keep Calm and Die A Slow Painful Death

    • It always seemed to me that the approach adopted by most of the characters of On The Beach [wikipedia.org] would be appropriate. In my case, I would like to wash down my suicide pill with Lagavulin...
  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @04:36PM (#44451433)

    OK, who read that while hearing Jon Stewart's British queen voice?

  • From the transcript of an actual audio recording of The Queen practicing The Queen's Speech:

    "Now this madness of war is once more spreading through the world and our brave country must again prepare itself to survive against great fuck fuck shit fuckin' shit odds. I have never forgotten the sorrow and the pride I felt as my sister. fuck shit (singsong) Mary had a little jug-eared baaaaaaaaaaaby and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my father's inspiring words on that fateful day in 193

  • by PPH (736903)
    "Take refuge behind the sofa!"
  • "Send wire, main office, tell them I said 'ow!' - gotcha!'

  • by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Friday August 02, 2013 @01:14AM (#44454039)

    Someone's got to write the story of the Queen's WW3 speech during Thatcher's Britain, throw Ronald Regan in, and somehow include zombies in the plot.

  • ...go to timothy for mentioning Tom Lehrer, my childhood hero.

    A phenomenal intellect paired with incredible song-writing skills and a real awareness of all socio-political issues of the time.

    Thank you, timothy.

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