January 1953. Eight years on from the most destructive conflict in human history, the Cold War enters its deadliest phase. An Iron Curtain has descended across Europe, and hostilities have turned hot on the Korean peninsula as the United States and Soviet Union clash in an intractable and bloody proxy war.
Former wartime allies have grown far apart. An ageing Winston Churchill, back in Downing Street, yearns for peace with the Kremlin - but new American President Dwight Eisenhower cautions the West not to drop its guard. Joseph Stalin, implacable as ever, conducts vicious campaigns against imaginary internal enemies.
Meanwhile, the pace of the nuclear arms race has become frenetic. The Soviet Union has finally tested its own atom bomb, as has Britain. But in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the United States has detonated its first thermonuclear device, dwarfing the destruction unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
For the first time, the Doomsday Clock is set at two minutes to midnight, with the risk of a man-made global apocalypse increasingly likely. As the Cold War powers square up, every city has become a potential battleground and every citizen a target. 1953 is set to be a year of living dangerously.
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