Sunderland, Tyneside and Teeside were named on a hit list of Russia's nuclear targets in the UK.
Cold War predictions drawn up in secret by the British government reveal the extent of a Russian nuclear strike on the UK.
At the height of nuclear tensions in the 1970s and 80s, at least 38 towns and cities were feared to be at risk from a strike from the Soviet Union – and the North East was home to key targets.
Sunderland, Newcastle/Gateshead and Teesside were all on the list.
Dozens of army, navy and air force bases were also earmarked for destruction.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously made no secret of the fact he is willing to use nuclear weapons, and relations between the UK and Russia have reached new lows over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal as fears of a new Cold War grow.
UK defence officials drew up a list of 106 locations they believed were a target for Russia - marking them as 'probable nuclear targets.'
The full list of UK towns and cities listed was Sunderland, Newcastle/Gateshead, Teesside, Central London, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Leicester, Stoke-on-Trent, Belfast, Huddersfield, Gillingham, Rochester, Chatham, Maidstone, Glasgow, Birmingham, Liverpool, Cardiff, Manchester, Southampton, Leeds, Bristol, Sheffield, Swansea, Hull, Catterick, York, Preston, Cambridge, Dover, Reading, Salcombe, Brecon, Kidderminster and Armagh.
Alongside these major population centres were 23 RAF bases, 14 USAF bases, 10 radar stations, 8 military command centres, and 13 Royal Navy bases.
It is not known if the list of probable targets has changed since the Cold War.