The British recently unveiled some sensitive documents from the l950’s, when the threat of nuclear war was being planned for. I recall being in elementary school in the late 1950’s when we’d have drills that required us to duck and hide under our desks, giving the illusion that we would be safe if a bomb were to explode in our vicinity. With that same mind set apparently, the British were voicing concerns about tea supplies.
Never mind the radiation. Recently declassified documents showed Monday that British contingency planners worried there would be a dramatic shortage of tea in the aftermath of a nuclear attack. The shortfall of the staple British beverage would be “very serious” if the country were to come under attack with atomic and hydrogen bombs, according to a memo drafted between 1954 and 1956: “The tea position would be very serious with a loss of 75 percent of stocks and substantial delays in imports and with no system of rationing it would be wrong to consider that even one ounce (28 grams) per head per week could be ensured.”
My oh my, what would they have done? Perhaps it was an attempt to divert attention away from the fact that a thermonuclear war would leave everyone crispy, so if we could just focus on tea, the event wouldn’t sound so scary. Being without tea . . . was pretty scary.
If only war left so little to be concerned about.
I’d like to thank British Intelligence for putting everything into a proper perspective for us. I bet they would have loved our school house drills.