Draft. How Queen Elizabeth II “declared war” on the USSR

Plot World History with Andrey Sidorchik

Queen Elizabeth II in our country enjoyed the sympathy of the people. Yes, and she herself, at least publicly, did not demonstrate antipathy towards the Russians.

“I could not imagine that one day I would have to fulfill this solemn and terrible duty”

less four decades ago, a speech was prepared for the queen on the occasion of the start… The third world war, in which the British had to come together in a nuclear battle against the USSR.

“I will never forget the sadness and pride I felt as my sister and I stood by the radio listening to my father’s inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939… I could not imagine for a moment that this solemn and terrible duty one day I would have to fulfill, », — such words should have been spoken by Elizabeth II in an address to the nation on March 4, 1983.

I must say that the British themselves learned about the existence of this speech only in 2013, after it was declassified in the National Archives.

“My beloved son Andrewis currently operating with his unit”

Clarification needed — it was a draft of the “pretend” appeal. The document was developed by the British government in 1983 during exercises that practiced the actions of the country's military and civilian structures during the outbreak of a full-scale nuclear conflict.

“Whatever horrors lie in wait for us, all those qualities that have already twice in this sad century helped us maintain our freedom will again become our strength,” — Elizabeth II had to tell her subjects.

The speech also mentions the Queen's youngest son,  Prince Andrew, at that time an officer in the country's Navy. Its authors of the text “threw into battle” in the forefront.

“My beloved son Andrew is currently operating with his unit, and we pray unceasingly for his safety and for the safety of all military personnel in our country and abroad,” — stated in the appeal.

Thunderous 1983

According to the scenario of the exercise, Elizabeth II's speech was supposed to precede a retaliatory nuclear strike by NATO forces on the USSR and the Warsaw Pact countries, which had allegedly carried out a chemical attack on the UK before that.

1983 was the peak of the aggravation of relations between the USSR and the West, caused by the hard line of the US President Ronald Reaganand Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher.

In the spring of 1983, when the text of this speech was being prepared in the British government, a group of American attack aircraft penetrated the airspace of the USSR and carried out simulated bombing of ground targets in the Far East.

Tensions reached a peak in early November 1983, when the NATO command exercise “Experienced Archer” unfolded in Western Europe. The leaders of the NATO member countries took part in their course, and the military units practiced actions in the mode of maximum combat readiness, which implies the possibility of using nuclear weapons at any moment.

The realism of the exercises was such that the Soviet leadership decided to bring maximum readiness of its armed forces, including units of the strategic missile forces.

“This is the kind of text no one would ever want to hear for real”

Fortunately, the politicians of the NATO countries and the Soviet leadership still did not cross the “red line”.

British journalists who read the draft of the Queen's speech in 2013 admitted: “Nobody would ever want such a text to hear for real.

English historians who have studied the issue claim that, as part of the exercises in 1983, the speech was really made, however, it was entrusted to be read to the official, leaving Elizabeth II herself.

< p> It is believed that the queen was blissfully ignorant of what was planned to be put into her mouth. But the real author was in the cabinet of Margaret Thatcher.

As a result, Elizabeth II  managed to avoid the grim fate of delivering a speech that marks the beginning of a nuclear apocalypse. Whether Karl III is also lucky, time will tell. The era today is no easier.

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Phoenix’s last trip. How “General Belgrano” died for the Falklands

May 2, 1982  Naval history on Earth has changed once and for all. For the first time, a nuclear submarine attacked and sank an enemy surface ship — a whole cruiser!

The cruiser was 44 years old, his name was “General Belgrano”, and he was an Argentinean. The boat was only 13, her name was Conqueror», she was from England.

Islands in ocean

Small islands can sometimes cause big troubles. This happened in 1982 with two patches of land in the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina. The Argentines called the Malvinas Islands. The British, who actually owned them — Falkland Islands.

C XVIII islands belonged to one European power, then another. Above them flew the French flag, then the Spanish. C 1833  Britain controlled the islands. In  April 1982    there their peacefully grazing sheep were attacked by Argentine marines. Argentina was ruled by the ambitious General Leopoldo Galtieriwho decided to take this step of an ideological and demonstrative nature, rather than the practical significance of small islands for big Argentina. In the end, this country, as part of the former Spanish Empire, also had some kind of right to the islands.

But — found a scythe on a stone. The British Prime Minister was the “iron lady” Margaret Thatcher. She quickly shut up her financiers, who said that to recapture the islands — it is expensive. And also to my admirals, who said it was dangerous. By then, Thatcher's own rating had fallen catastrophically due to unpopular measures. And soon Britain faced new parliamentary elections. The cunning Thatcher could not miss such a chance to raise the popularity of the ruling party. As a result, the Falklands turned out to be the center of confrontation between two rulers who were in dire need of a "small victorious war".

Soon, a British squadron consisting of 2 aircraft carriers, 8 destroyers, 17 frigates, 3 nuclear submarines and a large number of “small dishes” entered the course to the south-south-west. Among the submarines was the one   — “Conqueror”.

Alignment of forces

In the early morning of May 2, 1982, “Conqueror” I was doing the same thing as all the previous day — monitored the  Argentine naval formation as part of the cruiser "General Belgrano" and 2 destroyers. The cruiser was built in the USA before the Second World War under the name “Phoenix”. The Argentines who bought it after the war named the cruiser in honor of their national hero. Manuel Belgrano — Argentine general and diplomat XVIII — 19th century. He became famous, in particular, for inventing the current flag of his country.

Manuel Belgrano. Photo: Public Domain

“General Belgrano” was not  the newest ship, but in the entire British squadron, its 152-mm guns had nothing to oppose. Don't let him close to the ships of his unit — and this was the combat mission of Captain 2 rank Christopher Reford-Brown, commander of the Conqueror.

Boat versus cruiser

British Naval Strike Force at the Falklands was commanded by Admiral Sir John Forster Woodward nicknamed Sandy. Every British admiral, if he's worth anything, has a similar nickname. It is a tradition. After retiring, Woodward wrote a memoir, which he called Napoleonically simply: “One Hundred Days.” (One Hundred Days). On board the Conqueror he, of course, was not present, but he knew the commander of the submarine, Christopher Reford-Brown. He served under him when Sandy himself was a submariner.

“Seconds were running, — the admiral wrote in his memoirs about the very moment of the torpedo attack, & nbsp; & mdash; the big cruiser was still sailing at 13 knots. 55 seconds after the shot, the first Mk8 torpedo crashed into the port side of the General Belgrano between the anchor and the first gun turret. The explosion tore off almost the entire bow of the ship. Through the periscope, Christopher Wreford-Brown saw a large, sky-high fireball of explosion.

The Conqueror's acoustician, in a dull tone, as if he was counting sheep, reported: “Explosion!”.. Then followed: “Second explosion!..” The second torpedo exploded under the aft superstructure … The last torpedo sounded different, more distant, more metallic, more clear. One of the escort ships, the destroyer Buchard, later reported that it had received a glancing hit from a torpedo that failed to explode.

On the Conqueror everything listened to the unforgettable impact of the explosions and knew that their torpedoes had hit somewhere. For the first time in 24 hours, the sound of the cruiser's propellers disappeared, and     the ensuing silence, on the sonar remained only an ominous tinkling sound, reminiscent of the sound of breaking glass. This is how the noise of a collapsing large ship is heard on a modern sonar.

A few explanations: the  submarine "Conqueror" there were 6 bow torpedo tubes. At three, the commander ordered the loading of a Mk8 torpedo, which was no newer than the cruiser they had sunk. Another three were more modern Mk 8 “Tigerfish”, controlled by wires. But Reford-Browns relied on the classics.

Together with the cruiser, 323 sailors died, about half of all Argentina's casualties in the war.

The story is different, another Argentine ship, the aircraft carrier Vainticinco de Mayo, built in  1945 in England, would have been hit by a nuclear submarine. However, this would hardly have affected the course of the war. After the death of “General Belgrano” the entire fleet of Argentina was laid up and did not participate in the fighting. The ship's air group operated from airfields on land and achieved considerable success. However, this is a completely different story.

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A World History of Nationalization: From Lenin to Bush Jr.

Plot World History with Andrey Sidorchik

New times and new conditions often require special measures, which, due to the lack of elementary basic knowledge, may seem to someone an anachronism or something unacceptable.

Freedom, equality, nationalization

The term “nationalization” in our country in the post-Soviet period was practically anathema. Adherents of the concept of the market, which “regulates everything by itself”, consider nationalization as a harmful relic of the Soviet economic model. In fact, everything is much more complicated: nationalization has also been carried out more than once in countries with a capitalist economic model.

From a scientific point of view, nationalization — this is the transfer of land, industrial enterprises, banks, transport or other property belonging to private individuals into the ownership of the state. Nationalization can be carried out through gratuitous expropriation (confiscation), and also through full or partial redemption (requisition).

The pioneers of nationalization in its understanding, close to modern, were the French. During the French Revolution, by a decree of 10 October 1789, church property was nationalized in favor of the state. The beneficiaries of this reform were, oddly enough, the lower-ranking clergy who worked in the hospitals for the poor: they, once in the rank of civil servants, significantly increased their incomes. The peasants were also pleased, who expanded their land plots at the expense of the territories previously owned by the church.

In addition, in 1792, the property of the nobility, hostile to the revolution and fled abroad, was nationalized. Everything that these people owned was transferred to the property of the state.

Factories — workers, earth — peasants

But the largest should be considered the nationalization carried out in Russia after the October Revolution. Here it had a clear ideological character. The concept of socialism and communism in the economic sphere is based on the issue of ownership of the means of production. Such a society assumes that the means of production are in the control of the worker himself, and not the capitalist. In                      land and industry and ending with urban real estate. At the same time, Soviet nationalization did not consider the question of the success and efficiency of an enterprise in the hands of a private owner: both oil fields and bakeries were subject to seizure.

However, the Civil War and the destruction of the economy forced the Bolsheviks to significantly reconsider their course. The so-called NEP (New Economic Policy) actually allowed private initiative, first of all — in the consumer area. This greatly improved the situation in the country. But the general attitudes of the authorities did not change: by the end of the 1920s, the NEP was curtailed.

Pros and cons: what's good for rockets, then for bakeries — not very

It is important to note that the discussion in the ranks of the Bolsheviks regarding approaches to conducting activities in different areas was very active. The institution of collective farms provided for the property not of the state, but of agricultural workers united in cooperatives. There was also a system of consumer cooperation that encouraged private initiative.

Speaking about the results of nationalization, it should be noted that not a single large enterprise that existed in the Russian Empire was lost in the industry. Moreover, they continued their development in the new conditions, becoming giants with a worldwide reputation.

Another thing — the sphere of small business, the area of ​​consumption. The shortcomings of the state model were felt here until  the very collapse of the USSR and to a certain extent contributed to the collapse of the state. This negative experience was taken into account in China, where the symbiosis of economic models gave excellent results.

With nationalization in the countries of socialism, everything is more or less clear. But why is it carried out in capitalist countries?

Capitalism and nationalization: if you want to live, you won’t grow up like that yet

France alone experienced three nationalizations in the 20th century: pre-war, post-war and nationalization in the early 1980s under President François Mitterrand. In Great Britain in 1945-1946, about 20% percent of the entire economy was nationalized, from banks to and ending with extractive industries.

The reasons are different. For example, the nationalization of defense enterprises and railways carried out in France in 1936-1937 was explained by the need for tight control over strategic areas in the conditions of an impending war. The laws of the market in such a situation are inferior to the requirements of a strategic nature. The movement of trains here ceases to depend on the will of the private trader, just as concerns go into oblivion.

But these measures did not save France, but the completely mobilization and state Soviet model ended up in     ;100% effective in military conditions.

Post-war nationalizations were explained by the destruction of the economy. The ruined business owners could not work effectively in these conditions, so nationalization was a form of salvation from the closure of plants and factories, and also a way to stop the expansion of unemployment.

And the United States is doing it

After relative stabilization in capitalist countries, the reverse process began: privatization, in which state-owned enterprises were transferred to private owners.

Adept of broad privatization in the  Great Britain, for example, there was Margaret Thatcher.

It is important to note in this connection that the statement that the private owner always manages better than the state, — myth.

Moreover, often the state has to intervene in situations and without any emergency circumstances like war. This happens in the event that a large enterprise is on the verge of collapse, the ruin of which threatens with a large-scale economic crisis.

For example, in  2008 the year the United States, the main adherent of the free market, nationalized private banks Bank of America Corp, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Such drastic measures were the only way to mitigate the crisis, which has turned into a global one.

Nationalization versus neo-colonialism

Another version of nationalization is characteristic of countries that have freed themselves from colonial dependence and/or are under the control of transnational corporations.

In fact, we are talking about the fact that the subsoil and other wealth of these countries do not work for the population of the state, but provide fantastic profits for foreign companies.

First example — nationalization in & nbsp; 1956 by the Egyptian government of the Suez Canal, which was in & nbsp; foreign ownership. The Suez crisis that broke out on this basis almost turned into a big war, which was avoided only thanks to the position of the USSR, which took the side of the Egyptians. As a result, the Suez Canal became the national property of Egypt.

The second example — nationalization of the mining industry in Chile under a socialist president Salvador Allende. Allende, acting in the interests of the Chilean people, affected the interests of transnational corporations, including American ones. This was one of the reasons for organizing a military coup with the participation of the CIA, during which Salvador Allende died. The junta of General Augusto Pinochet, who came to power, returned the Chilean subsoil to the bigwigs of American business.

Summarizing, we can say that nationalization is a tool for the implementation of economic policy, and its efficiency depends on the circumstances in which it is carried out, and the talents of those who implement it.

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Dan MacIntosh Review: UB40 Rerelease ‘Signing Off’ Rings More True Today

Dan MacIntosh Review: UB40 Rerelease ‘Signing Off’ Rings More True Today
March 11, 2021
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UB40 rereleases Signing Off – Courtesy


UB40 has just rereleased its debut album, which is ironically titled Signing Off.  It’s ironic because when Signing Off was originally released in 1980, this was the sound of a new band just signing on.

The reissued album once again features as its cover art a blown-up picture of a British unemployment form, which is – of course – called a UB40. The music sounds just as fresh today, as it did back when it was first released during the pre-CD, pre-MP3, pre-streaming era.

This newly issued LP comes with two discs. One includes the original side one and side two tracks, while the second is a 45 RPM 12-inch EP, with “Madam Medusa” at 12:52 on side one, and “Strange Fruit” and “Reefer Madness” on side two. Both discs come in beautiful red vinyl.

Although this was UB40’s debut album, many believe it is also their best album. There is a strong case for this argument. Two of its tracks would become concerts staples for years to come, “Food for Thought” and “King.”  The group’s sound was distinctive, even within the reggae world.

Ali Campbell’s reedy singing sounded like nobody else, and Brian Travers saxophone oftentimes gave UB40’s sound enough of a ska touch to make the group appeal to the burgeoning Two-Tone movement at the time. It’s easy to hear how the driving instrumental “Reefer Madness would have had ska fans getting down and dancing to it.

UB40 – Courtesy of UB40

There’s also a sense of melancholy saturating the songs on this album. This album was, after all, released in 1980, back when the recently elected Conservative party of Margaret Thatcher had just come to power. “Food For Thought” begins with Campbell sadly noting, “Ivory Madonna dying in the dust/Waiting for the manna coming from the west.” “Food For Thought” was written to bring attention to the famine in north Africa, almost five years before Band Aid’s all-star cast recording came along.

“King” is included twice here. Once in its original form, and a second time from a BBC Radio One John Peel Session. Unlike Stevie Wonder’s jubilant “Happy Birthday,” which celebrated the life and legacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his birthday, UB40’s “King” sadly cries about the downtrodden state of black America at the time. “King, where are your people now?/Chained and pacified.”

Its lyric goes on to speak of how King had a promise land dream for his people, “But they’re not ready to accept/That dream situation, yet.” Propelled by a mournful keyboard part, stinging electric lead guitar notes and a wonderfully wandering bass line, this song expertly captures all the depression and dread of those times.

UB40 would not become world famous until a few years later with the release of Labour of Love, its all covers album that featured the pop hit “Red Red Wine.” Although no one can begrudge UB40 its commercial success, many of these new fans might have missed out on the much more serious nature of earlier work. Yes, Labour of Love proved UB40 could be a darn good party band, but it was so much more than just that. Signing Off also featured one notable cover song. However, in this instance, UB40 had the smart audacity to give sarcastic and sardonic Randy Newman’s “I think It’s Going to Rain Today” the reggae treatment, which is far from a party anthem.

All these years later, Signing Off still sounds incredibly good – especially on vinyl. UB40 fans, both old and new, will genuinely love it.


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