The British government looked at a proposal to recruit psychopaths to help keep order in the event of a devastating nuclear attack, recently released documents from official archives have revealed.
Reported by the BBC, the files, which date from a secret Home Office exercise held in 1982, investigate Britain’s capacity to function and rebuild following a 16-hour attack in which 300 megatons of nuclear weaponry was detonated over the country.
After millions had been killed, with millions more soon to die from radiation poisoning, Jane Hogg, a scientific officer in the Home Office, suggested employing psychopaths to maintain order as their cold logic and lack of morality would make them ideal in the confusion following a nuclear exchange.
She wrote: “It is generally accepted that around one per cent of the population are psychopaths. These are people who could be expected to show no psychological effects in the communities, which have suffered the severest losses.
“They are very good in crises, as they have no feelings for others, no moral code, and tend to be very intelligent and logical.
“Pre-strike the only solution for these people is to contain them; post-strike, in the immediate aftermath, the formal authorities may well find it advantageous to recruit these people into their organisations as they could prove an exceptionally valuable resource.”
Hogg’s idea was not adopted by the Home Office, with one official responding, “I am not at all sure you convince me. I would regard them as dangerous whether or not recruited into post-attack organisation."
Named Exercise Regenerate, the investigation looked at six months of life following a nuclear strike, and how survivors would cope in the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire.
Speaking to the BBC, Lord Hennessy, author of The Secret State, described Hogg’s psychopath suggestion as "extraordinary", adding that Cold War documents in which civil servants had to “look into the abyss” always took his breath away.