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Title: Never to be disclosed : government secrecy in Britain 1945-1975
Author: Moran, Christopher R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2693 3191
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis explores the practice of government secrecy in Britain from 1945-1975. Drawing on oral testimony, unpublished correspondence, and newly released archival material, it addresses the question of how and why governments kept information secret in the context of the Cold War and profound domestic social change. Topics incorporated within the ambit of this study include the origins and troubled history of the Official Secrets Act; the customs and cerebral landscapes of the civil service; the investigative journalism of Chapman Pincher; the disappearance of naval frogman 'Buster' Crabb; and the censorship of political and intelligence biographies. In a departure from traditional histories of secrecy, often written by detractors in the spirit of shrill political partisanship, it will be shown that many secrets were entirely defensible, concealed legitimately in the interests of national security and good government. The argument emphasises that the most effective antibodies to state secrecy were memoirists - who, possessing deep reservoirs of secret knowledge, exploited their status and old boy contacts to circumvent regulations they had themselves parented, and abided by, during their official careers. By 1975, it will be offered that Whitehall had begun to volunteer more information, especially under the aegis of official histories and other selectively discharged 'insider' accounts, in order to ameliorate public relations and deflect calls for more wide-ranging open government initiatives. While primarily political history, this thesis also incorporates socio-cultural analysis of the secret bearers themselves.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick ; Humanities Research Centre ; Warwick American Studies Association
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JN101 Great Britain