Russia had sinister plans to destroy London with powerful nuclear bombs during the Cold War, according to recently released documents.
A letter sent by British atomic expert William Penney in 1954 has been released from the National Archives for the first time. In it Penney warns Atomic Energy Authority chairman Edwin Plowden that Russia was prepared to launch a devastating atomic assault on the capital, the Daily Mail reports.
Penney helped to develop the UK’s first atomic bomb. He wrote in the letter:
Instead of using, say, 32 bombs on London, they would probably use three, four or five very powerful ones which would give the same total damage but need not be aimed accurately
These series of explosions would’ve caused ‘complete destruction’ for three miles in each direction of the blast centre, encompassing an area of about 30 miles.
According to the historic handwritten letter, the bombs the Russians planned to use were more powerful than the ones dropped on Nagasaki by America at the end of the Second World War – with the blast from that killing at least 74,000 people, wounding a further 75,000.
Another released document, a note from the Chairman of the Home Defence Committee in March 1955, warned:
We cannot tell with certainty how much warning we should get before an attack was made on the United Kingdom.
But we consider that, where essential for planning purposes, departments may continue to proceed on the assumption that the government would be able to detect a deterioration in the international situation some six months before the war came and we would know, say, seven days in advance that an attack on this country was to be expected.
Thank God it never came to that.