Prince Philip hits out at Soviet arms build-up (1981)

Prince Philip had been quoted as saying that the Soviet Union posed a military and political challenge to the West, with an armed forces build-up which could not possibly be considered necessary during this week in 1981.

Prince Philip pictured in 2007
Prince Philip pictured in 2007

In an interview with the weekly magazine, US News and World Report, he said world tension and the arms race was “largely the creation of Soviet military aggression and interference in countries all over the world”.

Military power and political ambition “can only be met by military power and a tough military will,” Prince Philip said.

However, the challenge to Western democracies was not simply Soviet ambition.

“The problem is that the world has become polarised between those regimes which prefer to follow Marxist doctrine and those that do not,” he said.

The challenge for non-Marxist was to find common moral and spiritual denominator which would provides publicly convincing justifications for a non-Marxist system.

“The difficulty is that without some fairly easily grasped philosophy, there can be little unity of purpose either nationally or internationally,” he said.

In Moscow the Soviet news agency Tass dismissed Western claims that Russia supports international terrorism, and instead blamed the CIA for numerous political assassinations.

“Terrorism as a means of attaining political aims is deeply alien to the Soviet Union,” it said. “Absurd contentions” to the contrary were designed to whip up a “psychosis about a Soviet threat”, it claimed.

Italian President Sandro Perini had hinted at the end of January 1981 that a Soviet link to the Red Brigade terrorists, blamed for murder former Premier, Aldo Moro in 1978.

And US Secretary of State Alexander Haig had accused Moscow of promoting international terrorism.

Tass had added: “It is an open secret that whenever various circles resort to terror in this or that area of the world, the tracks of criminals lead to the United States and, first of all, to the Central Intelligence Agency.”