How Soviets mapped out Leicester for nuclear war
A Soviet map of military and industrial buildings in Leicester during the Cold War has been revealed.
The map, dated 1974, highlights all the city's significant structures, such as colleges, a Territorial Army base and numerous factories.
It is thought the topographical plans were created using aerial photography, satellite images and reports from undercover Soviet agents.
They have been released for the first time today after being discovered following the collapse of the Soviet Union almost two decades ago.
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Dr Kenneth Morrison, senior lecturer in modern European history at De Montfort University, runs a course on the Cold War.
He said: "All major industrial cities would have been legitimate targets in the event of a nuclear war, with the main objective being to destroy the UK's military, communications and civilian infrastructure and to decimate its industrial capacity.
2: Bus depot and gas works
3: Charles Keene College
4: Territorial Army Centre and factories
5: Great Central railway station
6: Primary school
7: Leicester railway station & goods yard
8: College on Mill Lane / Goswell Street
"Even those seemingly benign industrial centres, such as Leicester, were home to factories that could have been put to use to produce military equipment and supplies. It was, therefore, a legitimate military target.
"The very fact that such detailed maps of the city exist suggests that the Cold War did impact upon Leicester, despite the fact many citizens may have been unaware of this."
The maps would have been used by the Soviet military intelligence to develop an offensive strategy in the event of a nuclear war.
Military strategists would have devised a "strike pattern", in which important industrial sites would have been identified as "first-strike targets", said Dr Morrison.
Military bases, Government and administrative buildings, industrial sites, power stations, coal mines and communications centres would have all been primary targets.
Dr Morrison said that Leicester's hosiery industry could be one of the reason the city was highlighted as a target.
Factories which made military clothing were seen as an important part of the Armed Forces' infrastructure and were pinpointed on their maps. They would also have been used to target buildings such as Leicester railway station, the Territorial Army centre, in Belgrave Road, and the Grand Central Railway.
Website old-maps.co.uk bought the rights to the maps from a US company.
Russell Morris, from old-maps.co.uk, said: "These maps are totally accurate. They relate directly to the Ordnance Survey maps of the time. The roads, rail and river networks are the same and all the buildings are the same. It is just that these military maps have top secret buildings that the OS could not show.
"They reveal the exact location and purpose of every structure of possible military importance, including details such as the width of our roads, the height of our bridges and the depth of our rivers."