Nuclear Illusion, Nuclear Reality: Britain, the United States and Nuclear Weapons, 1958-64

Overview

A study of the political, military and technical aspects of Britains nuclear weapons programme under the Macmillan government, contrasting Britains perceived political decline with its growth in technological mastery and military nuclear capability. Important reading for anyone interested in the history and military technology of the cold war.

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Overview

A study of the political, military and technical aspects of Britains nuclear weapons programme under the Macmillan government, contrasting Britains perceived political decline with its growth in technological mastery and military nuclear capability. Important reading for anyone interested in the history and military technology of the cold war.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

RICHARD MOORE is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies at the University of Southampton, UK. He studied history and international relations at the University of Cambridge, and his PhD dissertation for the University of Hull was published as The Royal Navy and Nuclear Weapons (2001).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Acknowledgements ix

List of Abbreviations xi

Introduction 1

Historiography 5

Macmillan and his ministers 8

Decision-making structures 12

Part I Nuclear Illusion 23

Chapter 1 Policy-making 1958-61 25

Government policy 26

Macmillan, Eisenhower and bilateral defence collaboration 32

Arms control 36

Bombers and ballistic missiles 40

Politics and force levels 46

Political opposition to nuclear weapons 50

NATO strategy 53

Nuclear sufficiency 57

Global war studies 59

NATO and ballistic missiles 62

Holy Loch, Skybolt and Polaris 64

The multi-lateral force and the Kennedy administration 69

Circumstances short of global war 71

Worries about Skybolt 73

Chapter 2 Policy Execution 1958-61 78

Military requirements 79

Fissile material 83

Aldermaston and warheads 85

Using American warhead information 87

Australia 91

Nuclear forces 95

Controlling nuclear operations 101

Megaton bombs 104

Blue Steel 105

Blue Streak 108

Kiloton bombs 112

Skybolt 116

Skybolt warhead 118

Red Beard replacement 122

Defensive weapons 125

Battlefield nuclear weapons 129

The future 133

Part II Nuclear Reality 143

Chapter 3 Policy-making 1961-64 145

Change at the top 147

Nuclear testing 150

NATO and the central front 155

France, West Germany and Europe 157

Defence policy east of Suez 160

Deterrent systems 164

Skybolt 166

Explaining the Skybolt crisis 170

Cuba 173

The Nassau meeting 175

The multi-lateral force 182

Buying Polaris 186

Party politics 189

Chapter 4 Policy Execution 1961-64 194

Military requirements and fissile material 195

Warheads 199

V-bombers 203

Megaton weapons 210

Other nuclear forces 214

WE177 217

Other tactical nuclear weapons 220

Alternative weapons 224

Choice of Polaris missile 227

Polaris system and facilities 231

Polaris warheads and Aldermaston 236

Conclusions 240

Britain and the United States 243

Other nuclear motivations 247

Technology, strategy and politics 250

Wartime experience and nuclear culture 253

Appendices 256

Appendix 1 Estimated deliverable nuclear weapons stockpile 256

Appendix 2 Estimated fissile materials stockpile 257

Notes 258

Bibliography 301

Index 315

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