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Title: The development of nuclear military strategy and Anglo-American relations, 1939-1958
Author: Skinner, G.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 8916
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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There was no special governmental partnership between Britain and America during the Second World War in atomic affairs. A recalibration is required that updates and amends the existing historiography in this respect. The wartime atomic relations of those countries were cooperative at the level of science and resources, but rarely that of the state. As soon as it became apparent that fission weaponry would be the main basis of future military power, America decided to gain exclusive control over the weapon. Britain could not replicate American resources and no assistance was offered to it by its conventional ally. America then created its own, closed, nuclear system and well before the 1946 Atomic Energy Act, the event which is typically seen by historians as the explanation of the fracturing of wartime atomic relations. Immediately after 1945 there was insufficient systemic force to create change in the consistent American policy of atomic monopoly. As fusion bombs introduced a new magnitude of risk, and as the nuclear world expanded and deepened, the systemic pressures grew. It was these pressures which forced America to review its security alignment. Science can hold a mirror to changing strategic relationships during the militarisation of nuclear affairs. From leadership during the inception phase, through to becoming one part of a multi-dimensional defence environment as technical progress accelerated, science reflected wider atomic developments in both Britain and America during the 1950s. It was the benefits resulting from its increasingly linked internal science-military structures, combined with the changing worldwide geopolitical forces of the late 1950's, which encouraged and constrained America to consider previously unthinkable external nuclear relationships. In 1958, America moved away from separatism in atomic affairs. It chose to create a nuclear state partnership with the nation that best reflected its new security orientation, and which had also reached a significant level of maturity in fusion weaponry. That country was Britain.
Supervisor: Toye, R. ; Thomas, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available