Britain and the Bomb: Nuclear Diplomacy, 1964-1970 (Stanford Nuclear Age Series)
- Publish Date: 2014-01-08
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: David James Gill
Drawing on primary sources from both sides of the Atlantic, Britain and the Bomb explores how economic, political, and strategic considerations have shaped British nuclear diplomacy. The book concentrates on Prime Minister Harold Wilson's first two terms of office, 1964-1970, which represent a critical period in international nuclear history. Wilson's commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and his support for continued investment in the British nuclear weapons program, despite serious economic and political challenges, established precedents that still influence policymakers today. The continued independence of Britain's nuclear force, and the enduring absence of a German or European deterrent, certainly owes a debt to Wilson's handling of nuclear diplomacy more than four decades ago. Beyond highlighting the importance of this period, the book explains how and why British nuclear diplomacy evolved during Wilson's leadership. Cabinet discussions, financial crises, and international tensions encouraged a degree of flexibility in the pursuit of strategic independence and the creation of a non-proliferation treaty. Gill shows us that British nuclear diplomacy was a series of compromises, an intricate blend of political, economic, and strategic considerations.