Tag Archives: berlin crisis

Teaching The Nuclear Cold War: Weeks 4 and 5, US-UK relations & the Berlin and Cuban crises

21 Oct

An omnibus edition this time round, because of extreme busy-ness last week!

Week four of the course saw us tackle the ups and downs of the Anglo-American nuclear relationship. From the sudden cut-off because of the McMahon Act to the restoration to full cooperation under the Mutual Defence Agreement, nuclear relations between London and Washington were never that smooth.

This aside, one of the most fascinating aspects of week 3 was our examination of the 1955 Strath Report, and it’s this I’d like to concentrate on. Few university courses use the report in full as a primary source, but I think it – and the reactions it provokes – provide immensely instructive insights into British nuclear thinking in the 1950s. In brief, the Strath Report argued that with the advent of the hydrogen bomb, British society – in its 1950s form – could not survive nuclear war. Ministers responded to this with horror, recoiling from many of William Strath’s recommendations to increase survivability. Likewise, the government declined to make public the findings of Strath.

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