We spent the decades between the Cuban Missile Crisis and the collapse of the Berlin Wall “fighting” a Cold War with the Soviet Union, with the threat of imminent nuclear obliteration hanging over our heads. Similarly, ahead of the outbreak of WWII, the UK had lived in fear of the threat of saturation bombing – the Blitz. While this fear was based upon extrapolations of a flawed analysis of German bombings in the Spanish Civil War, notably at Guernica, the terror was real. The British Government had believed that Nazi saturation bombing of London would force the UK to surrender within just 48 hours. Indeed, this concern was one of the strong factors that led Chamberlain down his path of Appeasement.
In the last few days, a new term has entered the English vernacular – “snow bomb”. The tabloids are using it to describe the extreme cold spell, accompanied by snow blizzards over a short, concentrated period that are about to hit areas of the UK this evening. Indeed, it has just started to snow here and the North West of England is well and truly in the firing zone……
How different would the Cold War have been if the Soviets had spent their energies developing “snow bomb” technology rather than their prolific nuclear arsenal. A single, well-placed “snow bomb” would have knocked out the UK infrastructure in a moment. The population would retreat to their living rooms, and, whatever remains of our industrial manufacturing capability would grind to a halt within hours. Communication would break down as under-staffed call centres would be unable to cope with the volume of incoming panic calls and web sites would crash for similar reasons. Our rail, road and air traffic would grind to a halt.
And so, divisions of Russian tanks would have been able to roll their way across our undefended and incapacitated nation at their will. We would be doomed and looking forward to an era of cabbage soup, vodka and over-paid football players. Of course, they would need to find somewhere other than Heathrow to land their transporters…….
Roll on Spring.