Nuclear Weapons and British Strategic Planning, 1955-1958

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byMartin S. Navias

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During the 1950s nuclear weapons began to play an increasingly important role in Britain's defence policy. The development of thermonuclear bombs and assessments of the great destruction that would result from an exchange of nuclear warheads helped alter Britain's planning for war, andinfluenced the structure and deployment of her armed forces. In this study Martin Navias seeks to analyse the significance of the 1957 White Paper on Defence in the context of British strategic planning during the mid-1950s. He assesses claims that the White Paper represented a culmination of trends already prevalent in British defence planning, discusseswhether the basis for a truly independent deterrent was established during 1955-6, and identifies continuities and discontinuities in strategic policies. A major theme throughout is the relationship between nuclear deterrence and the shape and size of conventional forces. Before Duncan Sandys became Minister of Defence, that ministry seemed unable to impose itself on the service departments. Sandys, however, was able to override many traditionalservice preferences. The result was the adoption of a British New Look: conventional forces were reduced, greater relative importance was placed on the nuclear deterrent, but once more the requirements of a truly independent deterrent did not receive priority.

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From the Publisher

During the 1950s nuclear weapons began to play an increasingly important role in Britain's defence policy. The development of thermonuclear bombs and assessments of the great destruction that would result from an exchange of nuclear warheads helped alter Britain's planning for war, andinfluenced the structure and deployment of her arme...

Martin S. Navias is at King's College, London.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:280 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.87 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198277547

ISBN - 13:9780198277545

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'Martin S. Navias's book is a fascinating study of the formulation of the 1957 White Paper ... an insightful portrait of British nuclear planning and a very useful contribution to nuclear history ... Students of postwar British military policy and nuclear history will find much value inNavias' book. Through its rich detail and extensive employment of original government documents, the book contributes to our understanding of a number of important themes ... Navias's work will be of great interest to scholars working with these - and many other - themes in miltary policy.':LPeterJ. Roman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Albion, Winter 1992