Queen’s World War 3 speech: Found in the archives, the dress rehearsal for disaster

  • Speech was  prepared for Queen to deliver at outbreak of World War Three
  • In speech  she denounces ‘deadly power of abused technology’
  • Words  written by imaginative speech writer in disaster planning  exercise

By  Claire Ellicott

PUBLISHED: 18:04 EST, 31  July 2013 |  UPDATED: 18:29 EST, 31 July 2013

The words are full of warmth, hope and  comfort. But fortunately for history, the Queen never had to say  them.

Deep in the corridors of Whitehall at the  height of the Cold War civil servants prepared a speech for the monarch to  deliver at the outbreak of World War Three between a nuclear-armed Soviet Union  and the West.

In a chilling depiction of a world on the  brink of nuclear destruction, she denounces the ‘deadly power of abused  technology’ – and refers to her ‘beloved son Andrew’ on the frontline. However,  she rallies her country behind her, declaring in the planned broadcast:  ‘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.’

Duty calls: Civil servants prepared a speech for the Queen, pictured in 1983, to deliver at the outbreak of World War Three 

Duty calls: Civil servants prepared a speech for the  Queen, pictured in 1983, to deliver at the outbreak of World War Three

 

Threat: In the speech the Queen denounces the 'deadly power of abused technology' and refers to her 'beloved son Andrew' on the frontline 

Threat: In the speech the Queen denounces the ‘deadly  power of abused technology’ and refers to her ‘beloved son Andrew’ on the  frontline

The moving words were written by an  imaginative speech writer taking part in a disaster planning exercise and are  among previously secret Cabinet files newly released by the National Archives.

The writer envisages the Queen saying: ‘Not  for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day  fall to me.’ It continues: ‘We all know that the dangers facing us today are  greater by far than at any time in our long history.’

 

The disaster planning meeting, known as the  Cabinet Wintex-Cimex 83 Committee exercise, came in the spring of 1983 against a  backdrop of worsening US-Russian relations and tit-for-tat battles on each  side.

It was the year that US President Ronald  Reagan described the Soviets as the ‘evil empire’, deployed medium-range nuclear  missiles to Europe and began the Star Wars project.

Message to the Nation: The speech prepared for the Queen in the event of the outbreak of World War ThreeThe speech prepared for the Queen in the event of the outbreak of World War Three

Message to the Nation: The speech prepared for the Queen  in the event of the outbreak of World War Three

A Nato military exercise codenamed Able  Archer nearly led to actual war when the Soviet Union became convinced it was a  genuine attack.

The Queen’s words were imagined to be  broadcast at noon on Friday, March 4, 1983.

In the exercise, Orange (the Soviet Union and  its Warsaw Pact allies) launch a chemical weapons attack on Britain. The Blue  forces (Nato) respond with a ‘limited yield’ nuclear strike forcing the Orange  bloc to offer peace.

The civil servants even thought up what the  Prime Minister would say. A participant writes a speech for Margaret Thatcher  saying: ‘We wanted peace and strove to achieve it.

‘We are the victims of an unprovoked attack  and, with our allies, we will fight back.’

THE QUEEN’S DOOMSDAY ADDRESS  IN FULL

 

The Queen giving her Christmas Day Broadcast to the Commonwealth in 1983

 

Text of the  1983 message to the nation written for Her Majesty the Queen… but never  delivered

When I spoke to you less than three months  ago we were all enjoying the warmth and fellowship of a family Christmas. Our  thoughts were concentrated on the strong links that bind each generation to the  ones that came before and those that will follow. The horrors of war could not  have seemed more remote as my family and I shared our Christmas joy with the  growing family of the Commonwealth.

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 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.

We all know that the dangers facing us today  are greater by far than at any time in our long history. The enemy is not the  soldier with his rifle nor even the airman prowling the skies above our cities  and towns but the deadly power of abused technology.

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.

My husband and I share with families up and  down the land the fear we feel for sons and daughters, husbands and brothers who  have left our side to serve their country. My beloved son Andrew is at this  moment in action with his unit and we pray continually for his safety and for  the safety of all servicemen and women at home and overseas.

It is this close bond of family life that  must be our greatest defence against the unknown. If families remain united and  resolute, giving shelter to those living alone and unprotected, our country’s  will to survive cannot be broken.

My message to you therefore is simple. Help  those who cannot help themselves, give comfort to the lonely and the homeless  and let your family become the focus of hope and life to those who need it.

As we strive together to fight off the new  evil let us pray for our country and men of goodwill wherever they may  be.

God bless you all.

Britain was ready  to use lasers to ‘dazzle’ Argentine pilots attacking British ships during the  1982 Falklands War.

A top-secret  document describing the new weapon was produced after a request from Mrs  Thatcher, files just released from the National Archives show.

Dated January  1983 and written by then Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine, it explained that  Britain, spurred on by Russia’s adoption of laser technology, had developed its  own arsenal.

‘You may recall  that we developed and deployed with very great urgency a naval laser weapon,  designed to dazzle low-flying Argentine pilots attacking ships, to the Task  Force in the South Atlantic,’ the document said.

‘This weapon was not used  in action and knowledge of it has been kept to a very restricted  level.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2382211/Queens-World-War-3-speech-Found-archives-dress-rehearsal-disaster.html#ixzz2agU1eLpi Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  2 comments for “Queen’s World War 3 speech: Found in the archives, the dress rehearsal for disaster

  1. jkmhoffman
    August 1, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Reblogged this on kjmhoffman.

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