Nuclear weapons and British defence policy : an examination of nuclear aspects of British foreign and defence policy 1940-1990
This thesis is an attempt to understand the role of nuclear weapons in Britain's defence and foreign policies. It works from the assumption that decisions in relation to nuclear weapons, can only be understood in the context of a broader overview of the British state's policies since the 1940's. In turn Britain's nuclear policies have made a decisive impact on defence policy as a whole and have had an important effect on international developments. It is hoped that this thesis will contribute to a better-understanding of the causes and effects of the nuclear weapons policies adopted by the UK since the 19401s. The thesis will focus on the politics and political economy of nuclear weapons and British defence policy. This central concern has required that a number of other important aspects of the subject have been given only peripheral consideration. The thesis does not attempt to provide a detailed technological history of Britain's nuclear force. Nor is it intended to provide particular new insights on the nuclear decisionmaking process. Rather it seeks to explore the underlying factors which have shaped both the technology and the perceptions of decision-makers. There is no shortage of historical accounts of Britain's nuclear force. The unique contribution which it is hoped that this thesis makes, however, does not lie so much in its subject matter as in the way that this subject matter is approached. In my view that approach is sufficiently different from those of previous works in this area as to be both original and of some interest to other scholars in this field.