Project to explore Cold War era when Khrushchev visited Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 08:56 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:26 06 March 2019
From Thor missiles armed and ready at RAF Feltwell and USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev being shown around RAF Marham, Norfolk played a crucial role during the Cold War.
Under constant threat of nuclear annihilation following the end of the Second World War, the region was centre stage for the secretive fight against the communist bloc.
Central to the deterrent tactics of the Cold War, Norfolk saw secret nuclear bunkers and nuclear weapon bases spring up around the county.
US Airbases such as RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall contributed to the defence of the country, alongside British bases including RAF Marham, RAF Feltwell and RAF Barnham.
Now, a new project exploring the history of the Cold War and its links with the Brecks is due to begin after receiving nearly £10,000 in National Lottery funding.
During the Cold War era, Queen Elizabeth and Nikita Khrushchev visited RAF Marham in 1956, with the construction of missile sites in Feltwell and around the area leading to protest marches in places such as North Pickenham.
On the day of the visit, the EDP printed its leader column in Russian in the form of an open letter to the two leaders.
The new project, called The Cold War in the Brecks, is run by The Breckland Society and will see activities including archival research, site visits and oral history interviews take place.
The Breckland Society’s project manager, Ken Delve, said: “The Brecks area and its immediate surroundings included a significant number of RAF and American air bases, and as such was very much central to the deterrent nature of the Cold War.
“Whilst such bases were vital, they had to be protected, as did the general population, and of course there were segments of society that protested the entire concept.
“The Cold War in The Brecks project will be looking at all aspects of this critical period in European history, in which The Brecks played a central role.”
Two meetings for those interested in the project will take place in March, with one at Barnham Camp on Saturday, March 23 at 10.30am and another at RAF Marham Aviation Heritage Centre on Saturday, March 30 from midday.