- uploaded: Aug 12, 2008
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Protect and Survive was a programme of national civil defence put into effect by the British government during the late 1970s and early 1980s which used booklets, radio broadcasts, and public information films to instruct British citizens on how to protect themselves during a nuclear attack.
Protect and Survive had its origins in the civil defence leaflets dating back to 1938, titled The Protection of Your Home Against Air Raids. These advised the owner on what to do in the event of air attack. This evolved as the nature of warfare and geopolitics changed, with the leaflets concurrently updated into "Advising the Householder on Protection against Nuclear Attack" in 1963. The leaflets were accompanied by a series of public information films produced in 1964, called Civil Defence Information Bulletin, that, like Protect and Survive, would be broadcast in a state of emergency (they could be seen as a precursor). The leaflets were famously referred to in the controversial BBC Docudrama, The War Game in a scene where they were distributed to people's homes. Hence, these leaflets and public information films were an evolution and continuation of what preceded it, reflecting the state of warfare and geopolitics at the time of going to print.
The purpose of the programme was to provide members of the British public with instructions on how to protect themselves and survive a nuclear attack. If such an attack had been deemed likely by the Government during any period of international crisis, information would have been disseminated via print and broadcast media: a copy of the "Protect and Survive" instructional booklet would have been distributed to every home in the UK, whilst instructional films and radio broadcasts would have been transmitted from domestic stations. The contents of the booklets would also have been printed in national newspapers. The booklet, recordings and films detailed a series of steps recommended to be undertaken by the citizens of the UK to improve their chances of survival during a nuclear attack.