Britain on the Brink: The Cold War's Most Dangerous Weekend, 27-28 October 1962

Overview

At the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Britain was America’s first-line defense, a vulnerable, but unsinkable ‘aircraft carrier’ on which the United States based the Strategic Air Command’s first-strike elements of their America’s nuclear deterrent. The Strategic Air Command’s UK bases and the RAF’s V-Force were ordered to the highest state of readiness at any time during the Cold War. Nuclear weapons were loaded, some nuclear-armed aircraft went on round-the-clock airborne patrol, others were held at cockpit ...
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Britain on the Brink: The Cold War's Most Dangerous Weekend, 27-28 October 1962

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Overview

At the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Britain was America’s first-line defense, a vulnerable, but unsinkable ‘aircraft carrier’ on which the United States based the Strategic Air Command’s first-strike elements of their America’s nuclear deterrent. The Strategic Air Command’s UK bases and the RAF’s V-Force were ordered to the highest state of readiness at any time during the Cold War. Nuclear weapons were loaded, some nuclear-armed aircraft went on round-the-clock airborne patrol, others were held at cockpit readiness. But the British public was largely unaware that, as tensions rose thousands of miles away, the UK itself was under imminent threat of Armageddon.

The book focuses on the implications for Britain of the covert deployment by the Soviet Union of ballistic nuclear missiles ninety miles off the US coast. It follows the crisis as it developed in London, Washington and Moscow. It looks at secret planning in the UK for World War III, and the activities of the JIGSAW Group (Joint Inter-Services Group for the Study of All-Out War). It also examines how close the UK went to activating ‘Visitation’, the code name for the movement of parts of the British State into a secret bunker referred to in Whitehall as ‘The Quarry’.

Britain on the Brink also reveals the major strategic rethink the Cuban Crisis forced on Prime Minister Macmillan and the British Government.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781848848146
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Limited
  • Publication date: 1/19/2013
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword vi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The Unthinkable 4

Chapter 2 America's Front-line 12

Chapter 3 Jigsaw Puzzles 23

Chapter 4 'Tit-for-Tat' 32

Chapter 5 Castro's Concerns 36

Chapter 6 The View From Moscow 40

Chapter 7 Sunday, 14 October-Monday, 22 October 47

Chapter 8 Tuesday, 23 October-Wednesday, 24 October 61

Chapter 9 Stretched Nerves 74

Chapter 10 Thursday, 25 October-Friday, 26 October 82

Chapter 11 'Black Saturday' 27 October 93

Chapter 12 Burlington 'Berties' 114

Chapter 13 Britain's 'Gods' of War 121

Chapter 14 Looking Back 129

Chapter 15 Sunday, 28 October 147

Chapter 16 'Near The Edge' 157

Chapter 17 The Penkovsky Factor 163

Chapter 18 Post Cuba Review 170

Chapter 19 Last Word 175

Chapter 20 And Still The Facts Were Witheld 179

Appendix. Crisis Timeline 186

Bibliography 192

Index 194

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