THEY are chilling words. Queen Elizabeth II was to tell the nation that they were staring at nuclear conflict, urging the “brave country” to stand firm as it faced up to “the madness of war”.
The words were only written as part of an exercise scenario, but they give a stark insight into the British government’s mindset at a time of heightened tension with the Soviet Union.
Although it was only a simulation, the text of the fictitious Queen’s address – supposedly broadcast at noon on Friday 4 March 1983 – captures with chilling realism just how World War III may have begun. In sombre tones, it seeks to prepare the country for the unimaginable ordeal ahead. There are references to the Queen’s “beloved son Andrew”, serving with his unit as a Royal Navy helicopter pilot and the address by her father George VI on the outbreak of the Second World War – famously dramatised in the film, The King’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 odds,” it reads.
The year 1983 was one of the most dangerous years of the Cold War. US president Ronald Reagan alarmed the Soviets after denouncing their nation as the “evil empire”, his plans for a “Star Wars” ballistic missile shield in space, and the deployment of US nuclear cruise missiles to Europe –including to RAF Greenham Common.
Tensions were further ratcheted up when the Soviets shot down a South Korean airliner which strayed into their airspace killing all 269 on board.
Last night a spokesman for the Cabinet Office said: “All we know is that it was drafted by a civil servant for the sole purpose of an exercise.
“There is no indication that it was ever planned for use.”
A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace could not confirm if the Queen had read the draft.