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The official history of the UK strategic nuclear deterrent. Volume I: from the V-Bomber Era to the Arrival of Polaris, 1945-1964

Jones, Matthew (2017) The official history of the UK strategic nuclear deterrent. Volume I: from the V-Bomber Era to the Arrival of Polaris, 1945-1964. Government Official History Series. Routledge, Abingdon, UK. ISBN 9781138674936

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Identification Number: 10.4324/9781315192543


Volume I of The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent provides an authoritative and in-depth examination of the British government’s strategic nuclear policy from 1945 to 1964. Written with full access to the UK documentary record, this volume examines how British governments after 1945 tried to build and then maintain an independent, nationally controlled strategic nuclear capability, and the debates this provoked in official circles. Against a background of evolving British ideas about deterrence during the Cold War, it focuses on the strategic, political and diplomatic considerations that compelled governments, in the face of ever-increasing pressures on the defence budget, to persist in their efforts to develop nuclear weapons and to deploy a credible nuclear force, as the age of the manned bomber gave way to the ballistic missile. Particular attention is given to controversies over the portion of the defence budget devoted to the deterrent programme, the effects of the restoration of Anglo-American nuclear collaboration after 1958, increasing reliance on the United States for nuclear delivery systems, the negotiations that led to the Nassau Agreement of 1962 and the supply of Polaris, and discussions within the Western Alliance over the control of nuclear forces. By the time of the October 1964 election, when this volume concludes, previous dismissal of the prospects for successful ballistic missile defence were giving way to growing doubts over the long-term effectiveness of the Polaris system in its role as an independent deterrent, several years before it was due to enter service with the Royal Navy.

Item Type: Book
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Crown Copyright
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
Date Deposited: 23 May 2017 12:41
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 21:57

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