The Cruel Peace: Everyday Life and the Cold War

The Cruel Peace: Everyday Life and the Cold War

The Cruel Peace: Everyday Life and the Cold War

The Cruel Peace: Everyday Life and the Cold War

Excerpt

On 27 July 1945, the London Daily Herald bore the brave banner "Labour in Power." Further down the detailed front page another item announced world acclaim at this great victory and looked forward to "closer ties with Soviets." A column across, a smaller item reported an "Ultimatum to the Japs" with an accompanying warning about the enormous destruction that failure to surrender would bring.

The lineaments of cold war now stand out starkly on that page. A few days later, a cheerful little boy of eight in a happy household, I brought in the local evening paper from the doorstep. It announced the detonation of an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, and the big whitewashed "VJ" signs, proclaiming the Allied Victory in Japan, went up on the walls of bombed houses down the road to join "VE" (victory in Europe) and "Welcome Home Jack."

Forty-odd years later, in June 1987, I was fighting a Parliamentary election on behalf of my beloved Labour party in a seat safely held by the enemy. I was, for the fourth time, helplessly facing certain defeat, and could find no consolation but for the soft medieval loveliness of the city of Winchester in which I had conducted my genteelly doomed campaign.

I had been speaking at a packed meeting for all parties held in an ecumenical church in this most Christian of constituencies. Against the grain of the place—in Winchester, according to ancient European traditions, the Army . . .

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