King's College London
Archive Catalogues

BRINK OF APOCALYPSE, Television Documentary Archive

BRINK OF APOCALYPSE 5/1-7: NATO Military

Please note: We require 7 days notice to retrieve this collection as part, or all of it, is held off-campus.


Brink of Apocalypse 5: NATO Military


Brink of Apocalypse 5/1

[2007]

Interview with John Hughes Wilson, NATO Colonel and Author

Typescript transcript of interview, with John Hughes Wilson, NATO Colonel and Author. Subjects include the idea behind the Able Archer exercise; what the WINTEX exercise was; NATO forces deployed during the command post exercise; the testing of communications and new equipment in Able Archer; how exercises were seen by officers of NATO; the role of the Supreme Allied Commander (SACR) in Able Archer in collaboration with the Military Committee and the Defence Planning Committee; the length of Able Archer exercises; the concept of “the third cold war”, tensions during this period, in particular the political tensions; Beirut barracks bombing, Oct 1983; the shooting down of Korean Airlines flight KAL 007; coming up with potential scenarios for NATO exercises; why did Able Archer’83 cause USSR particular concern compared to other NATO exercises; the belief that Able Archer was a cover for a real nuclear attack and Able Archer intimidating the USSR; KGB and GRU awareness of exercise; the use of conventional warfare in a NATO exercise scenario; the strategy being based on Warsaw Pact and NATO man power; the level of civilian involvement; the imminent deployment of Pershing II missiles and the USSR’s concerns; NATO’s response to the USSR deployment of SS20s; USSR use of Rainer Rupp (‘Topaz’) , spy within NATO; the impact of psychological operations; USSR analysis of signals traffic; what is known now about USSR reaction to Able Archer; NATO as a defensive organisation; the secrecy surrounding Able Archer; description of SHAPE, as a building and the atmosphere within it.52pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 5/2

[2007]

Interview with Col Spike Callender, Directing Staff of Able Archer, NATO

Typescript transcript of interview with Col Spike Callender, Directing Staff of Able Archer, NATO. Subjects include his role in NATO/Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and NATO exercise planning 1981-1984; what was Able Archer and it involved; how Able Archer played out annually, based on tensions between Warsaw Pact and NATO; the role of exercise planners in a command post exercise and the presence of no troops on the ground in these exercises; the Able Archer scenario; the WINTEX exercise, which was the biennial exercise focussing on political consultation; the atmosphere amongst those taking part in the Able Archer exercise; what players knew about Able Archer script prior to reading it; Able Archer timeframe; USSR monitoring of Able Archer, Able Archer as a provocative exercise; Callender’s role in Special (nuclear) Weapons branch. 58pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 5/3

[2007]

Interview with Gene Gay, Nuclear Planner, Able Archer, NATO

Typescript transcript interview with Gene Gay, Nuclear Planner, Able Archer, NATO. Subjects include his role as Chief of the Selective Employment Team for the Nuclear Operations branch within NATO, in 1983; what kind of military exercise Able Archer was; his role focusing on nuclear weapons release; the staff structure of peacetime establishment and war time headquarters staff; the Able Archer script and the aim of Able Archer; war time planning location for the crisis preparation schedule; vault layout; the testing deployment of Pershing II missiles; the use of conventional and chemical weapons as well as nuclear in Able Archer; the attitude towards Able Archer from staff; NATO as a defensive organisation; his role to gather information from different sources; seriousness of the exercise as perceived by US, Britain and Germany; use of post-World War II methods; relief and sense of accomplishment after NATO exercises. 49pp.Contains duplicate (without annotations)

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 5/4

[2007]

Interview with Joe Troxell, Staff Officer, SHAPE

Typescript transcript of interview with Joe Troxell, Staff Officer, SHAPE. Subjects include the Able Archer exercise his role in Able Archer and how it increased the confidence of staff unfamiliar with procedure, the value and importance of the exercise; description of facilities at SHAPE and atmosphere within SHAPE bunker; tensions between NATO countries; Able Archer concerns of West Germany; the possible use of pre-emptive strike by NATO; what did the USSR know about Able Archer; psychological operations in military and politics, particularly Grenada and Able Archer; USSR response to Ronald Reagan and the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI); Able Archer as a provocative exercise. 67pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 5/5

[2007]

Interview with David Blythe, with NATO Special Weapons Section, the Nuclear Policy Section

Typescript transcript of interview with David Blythe NATO Special Weapons Section, the Nuclear Policy Section. Subjects include Able Archer exercise; his role within NATO Special Weapons Section and the Nuclear Policy Section; Nuclear Policy’s role within Able Archer; Nuclear Weapons Release Procedure; the atmosphere within the Supreme Headquarters Allied Paths Europe (SHAPE) bunker, where the exercise took place; the Nuclear Weapons Release Procedure exercise; analysis of Able Archer and how believable was the Able Archer scenario; use of Pershing II missiles in the exercise ;the purpose of the exercise. 38pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 5/6

[2007]

Interview with Capt William Bliss, Chief of the Nuclear Operation Section of the Operations Division, NATO

Typescript transcript of interview with Capt William Bliss, Chief of the Nuclear Operation Section of the Operations Division, NATO. Subjects include his role as Chief of the Nuclear Operation Section with Supreme Headquarters Allied Paths Europe (SHAPE) in 1983; his specialism in nuclear weapons; SHAPE as an organisation and building in Brussels; the atmosphere within the SHAPE bunker ;what Able Archer was; communications within the Able Archer exercise; tensions between Turkey and Greece within the exercise; anticipation of Able Archer; the testing of communications; Able Archer leaks to the German press; intelligence leaks within SHAPE use of Pershing II missiles in exercise and the use of chemical and conventional weapons alongside nuclear in Able Archer; the role of American and British administration within Able Archer; the idea that Able Archer was a provocative exercise; completion of the exercise and emotions upon doing so.

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 5/7

[2007]

Interview with Col Charlie Simpson, NATO Special Weapons Section, the Nuclear Policy Section

Typescript transcript of interview with Col Charlie Simpson, NATO Special Weapons Section, the Nuclear Policy Section with questions. Subjects include a description of a NATO bunker in South Dakota; the reinforcements and shock insulation of the bunkers and its ability withstand nuclear attack; the launch control centre; protection against unauthorised launches, the workings of a self-contained bunker/capsule; survival period in the bunker; the psychology of no lone zone policy; Primary Arding System (PAS) which was a direct communication line to military crews and any backup communication devices. 43pp

1 file

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