The War Game (1965) Script

These are their approximate locations.

To each of them Russia has probably allocated a certain number of her intermediate-range nuclear missiles, which are at this moment pointing at military objectives in Western Europe.

And to each of these locations, being those 25 key cities in which reside almost one third of the entire population of Britain, Russia has probably allocated a further unknown quantity of thermo-nuclear missiles.

Each of these cities and each of these airfields combine to crowd into Britain more potential nuclear targets per acre of land mass than in any other country in the world.

(Announcer) London, Friday the 16th of September.

It's just been confirmed that late last night, to show collective Communist support for the Chinese invasion of South Vietnam, the Russian and East German authorities have sealed off all access to the city of Berlin and have stated their intention of occupying the western half of the city within 48 hours unless the Americans in Vietnam withdraw yesterday's decision to use tactical nuclear weapons against invading Chinese forces.

Here in Britain, Her Majesty's Government has declared a state of national emergency to last the duration of the present crisis.

As from 12 noon today, the central government will cease to function and the administration of the country will be handled by 15 regional commissioners.

A network of emergency committees consisting of local councillors is being set up in every major town and county borough in the country.

In view of the seriousness of the international situation, Her Majesty's Government has decided that the first task of these committees will be to implement the evacuation of a certain proportion of civilians to safer areas in Wales, the Lake District, parts of Northumberland, the Midlands, southwest England, Dorset, East Sussex and Kent.

In accordance with the 1962 Government plan for evacuation, this dispersal is to apply only to certain specified classes of civilians.

As from 0900 tomorrow, we are to receive a total quota of 60,000 evacuees in five priority classes.

Class one: Children under 15 travelling with mothers.

Class two: Schoolchildren under the age of 18.

Class three: Adolescents under the age of 18.

Class four: Expectant mothers.

Class five: People who are blind, crippled, aged or infirm. We...

(Man) Are there any fathers? No. No fathers.

This woman is arriving from Bermondsey into Kent.

She and the other women on this evacuation bus have had to leave their husbands and elder sons behind in London.

According to the last published government plan, there is no provision made for granting the facilities of evacuation to able-bodied men over the age of 18.

It is, therefore, even at this early point that an attempt at mass evacuation might fail, because it's not known how many women would refuse to leave their husband and their home,; to journey with restricted possessions to an unknown town, there to be compulsorily billeted with an unknown family.

Prepare yourself to receive... Five rooms, that's ten evacuees, arriving from the London area tomorrow morning.

What am I gonna feed them on? It's up to you, madam.

Are they coloured?

(Knocking) More haste, less speed.

Within a country where there is still racial and social prejudice, where there is still a shortage of housing and living space, a number of measures would almost certainly be necessary in attempting the evacuation of an estimated 10 million people.

Er, right, eight evacuees...

For this woman, the compulsory sheltering and feeding of an extra eight people.

Quickly. All in, quickly.

For the family who have fled this house, the immediate requisition of their home.

For this man, perhaps imprisonment if he refuses to billet.

Eight evacuees for you. Eight? I'm not havin' eight.

Sorry, sir, you've got to take eight.

I don't mind two. I haven't got enough food in there for eight.

Don't argue. Don't argue.

May I remind you that, under the emergency regulations, with four rooms and a kitchen you can be forced to take eight people.

Bloody hell.

Should Britain ever thus attempt the evacuation of nearly 20 per cent of her entire population, such scenes as these would be almost inevitable.

(Loud-hailer) All citizens resident within this area are requested to proceed immediately to the municipal offices to collect emergency identification papers and ration cards.

Name?

Sue Wilkinson, 159 Thornton Avenue.

(Official) Er, widow... children aged 19 and 21.

Non-supplementary ration card.

This entitles you to a basic ration per week of two ounces of butter, a half a pound of margarine, two ounces of tea, a quarter-pound of sugar, two eggs, a half a pint of milk when available, a quarter-pound of meat, two loaves of bread, a pound of potatoes when available and two ounces of bacon.

It has been estimated that, even if there were no war, Britain would need from 1 ½ to 4 years to recover economically from the effects of full-scale civilian evacuation.

And, if there were a war, at least 20 per cent of the areas into which people had been evacuated would themselves be rendered totally uninhabitable by the resulting radioactive fallout.

Carbon-14 is among the most dangerous elements of radioactive fallout.

Do you know what it does to the human body?

Ooh... No, I'm sorry, I haven't heard of it.

Afraid I don't know much about atomic... radiation at all.

No, I don't.

No, I'm sorry, I don't know.

Do you know what strontium-90 is and what it does?

Erm...

(Laughs weakly)

No. No, I'm afraid I don't.

No, I don't.

I've... no idea really. I...

I know it's some sort of... gunpowder or something, that blows up.

(Shouting)

In Berlin, with rioting West German civilians and armed East German police, there would probably be found the necessary flash point.

(Shouting)

Berlin?

Nah, they've had all this before.

I think it'll die down.

(Shouting)

(Gunshot)

I don't think there's anything to worry about.

No, there won't be a war. I'm quite convinced of that.

September the 17 th.

British Civil Defence deliver to the public for the first time details of the hazards to be expected from radioactive fallout.

Good morning, madam. Please read this booklet and follow the instructions.

But, wh... what is it?

It's a Civil Defence booklet: Your Protection Against Nuclear Attack.

But I... I... Good morning, madam.

(Man) Er, excuse me. Er...

What are you doing here exactly?

We're issuing to as many householders as possible a copy of this booklet, which tells them how to prepare their houses against blast and fallout.

Have people not seen this booklet before?

Well, a copy was prepared some years ago but... it didn't sell very well.

It wasn't... It wasn't free? Oh, no, no. It cost ninepence.

(Siren)

(Tannoy) This siren system is now being tested.

The test will cease in a quarter of an hour.

(Narrator) It's been estimated that, by the time a missile attack could be confirmed to the British National Siren System, there would remain before impact a warning time of approximately 2½ to 3 minutes.

And, should the attacking missiles be launched from submarines lying off the shores of Britain, the warning time could be less than 30 seconds.

(Siren) Move along, there.

Civil Defence have said that we've... got to get, er... stuff to... shore up our windows and, er, barricade ourselves in with.

They didn't tell us where to get it.

I've been around three places already and they've... all the stuff's gone.

And the prices...

My prices at the moment run as follows:

Hessian sacks for sandbags, ten for one pound; sand to put in them, 24 shillings per cubic yard; soil, seven pounds ten per five cubic yards; deal planks, eightpence to a shilling per foot.

How much money have you to... spend on building your refuge?

Well...

Well, I can't afford more than... 17/6 to a pound at the very most.

For this amount of money, she may purchase eight sandbags and six planks.

Friend of mine's a building contractor and he's fixed me up with some stuff.

I've got this out here, which should help a bit.

And inside I've...

I've built a... refuge like they say.

I reckon it should be pretty strong, hold up quite well.

And I had a few sandbags left over so... I built another in the garden.

It is likely that many thousands of families in Britain would be unable to meet the cost of even one substantial shelter and a Government shelter programme for every person in the country would cost an estimated two thousand million pounds.

And I keep this... here.

And I certainly intend to use it if anyone attempts to break into the shelter with me.

A recent American religious journal told its Christian readers to think twice before they rashly gave their family shelter space to neighbours or passing strangers.

(Announcer) September the 18th.

One hour ago, following an armed entry into West Berlin by Russian and East German troops, two NATO armoured divisions attempted to force an entry through to the city and were themselves overrun by outnumbering Communist forces.

(Narrator) Faced with this situation, it is possible that the American president would have no choice but to threaten to release tactical nuclear warheads to NATO forces to show collective determination in the event of a possible Russian attack.

Faced with this situation, the Soviet premier would possibly be left with no alternative but to call this bluff and attack.

Local area commander has authorised the release of tactical nuclear weapons to the British, French and Bundeswehr.

Fifteen crew up for a fast sequence of firing.

(Explosions)

This is a tactical nuclear missile.

It has a warhead equivalent to one Hiroshima bomb.

It is called an Honest John.

The Honest John, the Mace, the Corporal, the Pershing, the Sergeant, and if things don't get better soon all these weapons will be slamming away nuclear warheads and then God help us all!

It is now planned to increase NATO reliability on nuclear missiles, even should the Russians attack using ordinary weapons.

Thus it is possible for the Allies to be the first to press the button in a nuclear war.

Did you know this? No, I did not.

I was vaguely aware of it, yes.

Yes, and I think it's disgraceful.

No, I didn't know this at all.

No. I should think it'd be a good thing.

David Edward Thornley.

Age.; 37.

General practitioner in medicine, now on the staff of one of a series of emergency medical-aid units being established in preparation for a nuclear strike.

Time.; 9.;11 a.m.

September the 18th.

Doctor Thornley stops to make an emergency call.

Berwick Street, Canterbury, twelve miles from the airfield at Manston on the Kent coast.

Oh, good morning, Doctor. Morning!

Come in, please. What's the trouble today?

She's been running a temperature all night.

Of the 750 intermediate-range ballistic missiles at present held by the Russians and targeted on the European countries of the NATO alliance, it is believed that a considerable number are liquid-fuelled and are stored above ground.

Such missiles are therefore themselves extremely vulnerable and, rather than risk losing them in a counter-bombardment, it is likely that the Russians would have no alternative but to fire all of them at a very early stage in such a crisis.

Time.; 9.;13 a.m.

(Siren)

Quick, let's get back! There's no time!

Hurry up! Inside the house! Quickly!

Move, come on, come on! Quick, quick!

This family couldn't afford to build themselves a refuge.

This could be the way the last two minutes of peace in Britain look.

Stay away from the windows! Get all the children!

Peter! Tony! Tony!

Where is he? Where is he? Think! Where is he?

Nurse!

There's a boy outside. Go and fetch him.

9.;16 a.m.

A single-megaton nuclear missile overshoots Manston airfield in Kent and airbursts six miles from this position.

(Screams)

At this distance, the heatwave is sufficient to cause melting of the upturned eyeball, third-degree burning of the skin and ignition of furniture.

(Screaming)

(Shouting)

Twelve seconds later, the shock front arrives.

(Rumbling)


(Screaming)

At seven tenths of a millisecond after the explosion, and at a distance of 60 miles, the light from the fireball of a single-megaton thermo-nuclear device is 30 times brighter than the midday sun.

This little boy has received severe retinal burns from an explosion 27 miles away.

Give him to me!

(Siren continues) What's the matter? Oh...

(Shouting)

This house lies 29 miles from Manston airfield and 41 miles from Gatwick Airport in Sussex.

(Wails)

Under the table.

Under the table!

The blast wave from a thermo-nuclear explosion has been likened to an enormous door slamming in the depths of hell.

(Rumbling)

(Baby wails) (Boy cries)

Shhh.

(Rumbling)

(Glass shatters)

This is the combined shock front from one dispersal airfield 40 miles away.

(Cup shatters)

There are in Britain at least 60 such targets.

(Crashing)

Rochester in Kent.; now two square miles of fire, resulting from the heat of a thermo-nuclear missile, which has exploded off-course on its path to London Airport.

(Screaming) Over there!

This is the phenomenon which could perhaps happen in Britain following a nuclear strike against certain of our cities.

This happened after the bombing of Hamburg, at Dresden, at Tokyo and at Hiroshima.

This is what is technically known as a firestorm.

(Shouting)

(Woman screams)

(Glass shatters)

Within its centre, the rising heat from multiple fires, caused by both the heat flash and the blast wave upsetting stoves and open furnaces, is sucking in ground-level winds at speeds exceeding 100 miles an hour.

This is the wind of a firestorm.

(Screaming)

I saw... a man... get caught... by a great gust of wind!

Pulled his jacket... right over his head!

(Screaming)


I believe that we live in a system of necessary law and order.

And I still believe in the war of the just.

Within this car, a family is burning alive.

(Shouting)

(Explosion)

(Screaming) Get them out of that car!

Charles Brooks, chief fire officer of Chatham.

Already three of his appliances have been smashed, gutted or overturned.

Already 17 of his 60 firemen have been crushed, burnt or killed by flying debris.

(Shouting)

(Explosion)

This is a firestorm.

Within its centre, the oxygen is being consumed in every cellar and every ground-floor room, to be replaced by the gases of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and methane.

Within its centre, the temperature is rising to 800 degrees centigrade.

These men are dying, both of heatstroke and of gassing.

In the next world war, I believe that both sides could stop before the ultimate destruction of cities so that both sides could retire for a period of ten years or so of post-attack recuperation, in which world wars four to eight could be prepared.

When the carbon-dioxide content of inhaled air is greater than 30 per cent, it will cause diminished respiration, fall of blood pressure, coma, loss of reflexes and anaesthesia.

When the carbon-monoxide content of inhaled air exceeds 1.28 per cent, it will be followed by death within three minutes.

This is nuclear war.


10.;47.

Aircraft of the British V-bomber force near the Russian border.

Their purpose.; retaliation.

Their target.; people like this.

If the Russians or anyone else attacked Britain with nuclear weapons would you want us to retaliate by destroying an equal number of Russian cities?

Yes. Yes, I would. Yes.

It's just a vicious circle. But I suppose we should have to retaliate.

People think the British are always sort of... forgiving and forgetting and... I think we'd have to retaliate.

(Groans)

(Whimpers)

I wouldn't want... want us to stand back and do nothing about it but...

Yes, I... I think perhaps, er... perhaps I would.

Oh, yes, I think so, definitely.

Yes, I suppose I would.

Technically and intellectually, we are living in an atomic age.

Emotionally, we are still living in the Stone Age.

The Aztecs on their feast days would sacrifice 20,000 men to their gods in the belief that this would keep the universe on its proper course.

We feel superior to them.

These are the inhabitants of what was once a housing estate near Rochester in Kent.

Following the explosion of three single-megaton missiles within this one county boundary, it's been estimated that each surviving doctor would be faced by at least 350 casualties, many suffering from severe second- and third-degree burns.

I had a little boy with me.

He had his legs burned off.

(Coughing)

(Moaning) (Crying)

Some...

Some of the...

Some of these people are just falling apart.

As far as is known, it is at present planned by the Civil Defence that each doctor, working in a forward medical-aid unit, place every casualty into one of three carefully defined categories to determine whether or not that casualty is worth hospital treatment.

It's the third category that are worst.

For these...

...it's just hopeless. (Coughing)

So we put them into what we call the holding section.

(Doctor) These are people with... 50 per cent or more body burns.

(Narrator) He knows that each patient he places in the holding section will be left to die in pain without drugs.

I know what'll be happening in a few days.

They'll be...

They'll be asking me to kill them.

(Narrator) What you are seeing now is another possible part of nuclear war.

An armed police squad helping the overburdened doctors to relieve the misery of those in category three.

(Groaning)

(Gunshot)

(Sobbing)

(Gunshot)

If I decide to hit, and perhaps kill, another man myself, then I must be prepared to accept the moral responsibility.

If I give the Government the right or the means on my behalf to kill people of another country, then the situation is no different.

(Cleric) I must again myself accept the moral responsibility.

(Narrator) It's been estimated that a nuclear attack on Britain, using approximately 160 single-megaton missiles, would immediately kill or seriously wound between one third and one half of her entire population.

It would destroy from 50 to 80 per cent of all her main food production and storage facilities and from 50 to 80 per cent of the power plants needed to run them.

Such an attack, using weapons of one megaton, could be described as minimal because it's now more than possible that missile warheads or free-falling bombs of between five to ten times that power would be used instead.

I think extra numbers would have made no difference at all to all this.

15 or 20 times the number of Civil Defence wouldn't have stopped the initial attack from killing or maiming exactly the same number of people.

It was the title they had all wrong.

Call this defence?

(Whimpers)

These will be the other casualties of a nuclear war.

Physically unmarked, there will almost inevitably be thousands of people suffering from many complex states of fear and shock, due to the things they've seen and the things that have happened to them.

Many of these people will probably lapse into a state of permanent neurosis because they will totally outnumber the psychiatric services needed to cure them.

This, too, will be the legacy of thermo-nuclear war.

(Grunts)

(Spoon rattles)

(Wailing) (Sobs)

I've already had... a dozen or so of my men go under.

Just... with the strain.

Overwork.

People tend to forget that... a policeman... a Civil Defence worker... anybody... like this... is just a... normal human being, with... normal human reactions and... emotions.

This policeman has spent the entire rescue period searching for his missing family.

No-one's allowed in here.

Go on. Clear off.

Even in the lightly hit county of Kent, there would be immediately an estimated 50,000 corpses to dispose of.

Will you tell us what... Will you tell us what's going on in there?

They're not allowing any photographers in there.

Yes, yes, I know, but, er, just a minute...

Er, will you tell us what they're doing in there, please?

They're simply burning the bodies.

The buildings are full of them. There's just too many to bury.

The buildings are...

The buildings are full so all we can do is put 'em on raised steel girders and put a fire underneath.

It's just like making a grill.

Two days after the attack, the military authorities, to stop the possible spreading of disease, seal off two square miles of the damaged area that had been Rochester and arm the surviving police, determined to prevent by force if necessary relatives of the dead removing bodies before the process of burning.

We were doing the, er, job, burning the... bodies, when two of the soldiers said they weren't gonna do it any more.

(Sighs) One of their officers came up and told them to get on with it and they said no again so he shot them both on the spot.

Everything that you are now seeing happened in Germany after the heavy bombing in the last war.

It would almost certainly have to happen in Britain after a nuclear war.

Another thing the Germans did after the bombing on Dresden was they... took the wedding rings from the bodies.

They were trying to identify them from the inscription inside the ring.

Er, we also are doing this.

We are keeping the rings in this bucket here.

This is a possible part of nuclear war.

For the following 48 hours, an estimated one third of the entire land surface of Britain would be covered by a total dose of radiation exceeding ten times the amount needed to kill a man in the open.

For many of those within this area who had remained even inside the shelter of their homes, there would be death within five weeks.

I... I know a thing or two about... leu... leukaemia and... and suchlike.

I deliberately haven't spoken to my wife about this in the last few days.

But, you know, I'm...

I... I'm so scared.

I... I just want my kids to... to grow up, that's all.

I don't know what's gonna be left of anything, or...

I... I can't change that now.

It's... Well, I... I suppose I'm just being... selfish.

I just want my kids to be straight and... and not to have this... poison working in their bones.

(Coughing)

The main effect of exposure to severe radiation is to stop the renewal of the, er, cellular lining of your intestine, with the result that your body fluids flow straight out from the raw inside of your intestine and you literally... dry out.


This is the menu of a meal prepared by the welfare section of the Civil Defence Corps during an exercise supposed to take place after a thermo-nuclear attack.

"Braised steak, carrots, sprouts, roast and mashed potatoes, steamed pudding, apple pie and custard."

After a nuclear attack on the United States, would Americans live as they're accustomed to, with automobiles, ranch houses, television, freezers and so on?

(Chuckles) No-one can say.

We've got a bathful of water that hasn't been changed for five days.

It's all the water we've got.

We have to drink from it and have to cook with it and wash with it.

At Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the population three months later was found to be apathetic and profoundly lethargic, people living often in their own filth, in total dejection and inertia.

This baby boy has been bitten on the arm by a rat.

There are now no medicines available to prevent the disease which may well follow.

I was carrying a loaf of bread home today from my mother, who'd given it to me, when a guy comes up and offers me a pound for it.

Well, what could I say?

You can't eat a pound note.

(Shouting)

In the face of growing hunger riots, it is very possible that dwindling supplies of food would finally be kept as a form of bonus, for those who perform the precarious maintenance of law and order.

The result of such partial feeding would in itself be almost inevitable.

Get off me!

On this day, the first food rioter is killed by the police in Kent.

(Speech drowned out by shouting)

Tell them to go back.

One in the air.

(Gunshots)

(Horn)

Two days later, as a direct result of this incident, a police ammunition truck and its contents are seized and its volunteer drivers murdered.

(Shouting)

(Man) String him up!

Get 'im!

In Germany during the last war, it was noticed that, with people who'd suffered personal loss or deprivation, even amongst the so-called decent middle class, there was a tendency to develop indifference towards the law and to indulge in looting, black market and petty theft.

This is a Government Food Control Centre, seized and pilfered by armed anti-authority elements.

This is Mrs Joyce Fisher from Gravesend.

She was a housewife.

Three yards from her, the bodies of the military guard.

When morale falls, ideals fall and may go and behaviour becomes more primitive, more a thing of instinct.

Three days later, the first policemen in Kent are killed.

(Gunshots)

Within the next 15 years, possibly another 12 countries will have acquired thermo-nuclear weapons.

For this reason, if not through accident or the impulses of man himself...

Hold it. ...it is now more than possible that what you have seen happen in this film will have taken place before the year 1980.

On the authority of the regional commissioner, under article 17, dealing with civil disturbances and the prevention of Crown-appointed officers from carrying out duties, John Edward Jarrett and William Michael Eades are hereby sentenced to death by firing squad.

May God have mercy on their souls.

Kneel, and we will say the Lord's Prayer together.

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

(Rifles click) Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Amen.

Father, have mercy on their souls, for they know not what they do.

Take aim.

Fire.

For those who haven't had access to orange juice, fresh vegetables, vitamin C in general, and that'll be most people, haemorrhages around the gums will set in at about the four-month stage and then you're into the initial stages of scurvy, with swelling of the ankles and bleeding into the joints of your body.

Stille Nacht Heilige Nacht/

December the 25th.

A refugee compound in Dover, Kent, four months after the attack.

Lieb' aus deinem göttlichen Mund Due to radiation, this little boy has only half the requisite number of red blood corpuscles.

He will be bedridden for seven years, then he will die.

This happened at Hiroshima.

This girl is pregnant.

Because of her constant exposure to radiation, she has no idea whether or not her baby will be born alive.

The thing that terrifies me most is the little ones.

If they've suffered badly from the effects of... of the sight of this horror and... destruction... it is probable that as a consequence some of them may... suffer... terrible character disorders.

One just doesn't know.

I saw one of the little boys in the compound here yesterday.

He was bouncing around, playing hopscotch I think, and suddenly he sat down... as though he were very tired... and his face went listless... like that of an old man.

These children are orphans of the attack.

They were each asked what they now wanted to grow up to be.

I don't want to be nothing.

Neither do I.

I don't want to be nothing.

Neither do I want to be nothing.

On almost the entire subject of thermo-nuclear weapons, on the problems of their possession, on the effects of their use, there is now practically a total silence in the press, in official publications and on television.

There is hope in any unresolved and unpredictable situation.

But is there a real hope to be found in this silence?

The world's stockpile of thermo-nuclear weapons has doubled within the last five years and now is the equivalent of almost 20 tons of high explosive to every man, woman and child on the planet.

This stockpile is still steadily growing.

Heilige Nacht/

Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht Lieb aus deinem göttlichen Mund Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund'

Christ in deiner Geburt Christ in deiner Geburt/