Twitter is normally known for being the most up to the minute social network, with news of events such as the Bin Laden raid and the death of Whitney Houston being mentioned on the micro-blogging site some time before hitting the mainstream press.
However, a BBC memo first scripted in the 1970s and made public in 2008 had suddenly causing a tweet-frenzy yesterday. The link spreading like wildfire was a contingency plan for what the BBC would broadcast in the event of a nuclear attack during the height of the Cold War.
Ok, so why has this happened now, when the details were available four years ago? The Huffington Post ponder whether it may have been a reaction to current nuclear tension with Iran, or the fact that the government have announced plans for the predicted drought in the South East, and people wondered what other measure might be in place for something more catastrophic.
In any event, the BBC Nuclear Memo copied below paints a picture of what people would have been advised to do in case of a nuclear attack. Bear in mind that this was drafted in the 1970s, so some of the actions may seem interesting given our current way of life.
This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known.
We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes.
Remember there is nothing to be gained by trying to get away. By leaving your homes you could be exposing yourselves to greater danger.
If you leave, you may find yourself without food, without water, without accommodation and without protection. Radioactive fall-out, which follows a nuclear explosion, is many times more dangerous if you are directly exposed to it in the open. Roofs and walls offer substantial protection. The safest place is indoors.
Make sure gas and other fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished. If mains water is available, this can be used for fire-fighting.
You should also refill all your containers for drinking water after the fires have been put out, because the mains water supply may not be available for very long.
Water must not be used for flushing lavatories: until you are told that lavatories may be used again, other toilet arrangements must be made. Use your water only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. Water means life. Don’t waste it.
Make your food stocks last: ration your supply, because it may have to last for 14 days or more. If you have fresh food in the house, use this first to avoid wasting it: food in tins will keep.
If you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given, stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out. When the immediate danger has passed the sirens will sound a steady note. The “all clear” message will also be given on this wavelength. If you leave the fall-out room to go to the lavatory or replenish food or water supplies, do not remain outside the room for a minute longer than is necessary.
Do not, in any circumstances, go outside the house. Radioactive fall-out can kill. You cannot see it or feel it, but it is there. If you go outside, you will bring danger to your family and you may die. Stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out or you hear the “all clear” on the sirens.
Here are the main points again:
- Stay in your own homes, and if you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given stay in your fall-out room, until you are told it is safe to come out. The message that the immediate danger has passed will be given by the sirens and repeated on this wavelength.
- Make sure that the gas and all fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished.
- Water must be rationed, and used only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. It must not be used for flushing lavatories.
- Ration your food supply: it may have to last for 14 days or more.
We shall repeat this broadcast in two hours’ time. Stay tuned to this wavelength, but switch your radios off now to save your batteries until we come on the air again. That is the end of this broadcast.