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Download e-book for iPad: Britain and Nuclear Weapons by Lawrence Freedman

By Lawrence Freedman

ISBN-10: 0333305116

ISBN-13: 9780333305119

ISBN-10: 1349163880

ISBN-13: 9781349163885

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Extra resources for Britain and Nuclear Weapons

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The development of a new reactor core, which could last for 5f rather than 31 years, was of only limited benefit when it came to the re-scheduling of re-fits. What all this means is that for about half of each year only one boat is on station. I t is the case that given warning time of more than a day an extra boat can usually be got out to sea or asked to extend its patrol (supplies for another month are kept on board). Furthermore, missiles could be fired from a boat at base in Faslane on the Clyde in an emergency at some 25 minutes' notice, but Faslane would be a prime target for any surprise attack.

The American suspicion of nuclear weapons embraced the 'theatre' or 'tactical' as well as the 'strategic' variety. Thousands of short-range 'tactical' nuclear weapons, conceived of as providing a massive supplement to conventional firepower, had arrived in Europe. One feature of the 1957 policy had been to encourage the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) to take this route. In 1960 BAOR received American Honest John and Corporal short-range missiles, the warheads of which were under American custody, only to be used with American permission.

They lacked the accuracy to attack high-value military targets, and were most suitable for the destruction of cities, an event that would probably involve everyone in a general cataclysm. These were forces best held in reserve. There is much to the argument that any use of nuclear weapons, even if ostensibly precise and discriminating, cannot avoid the risk of suicidal consequences and is therefore a matter of last resort. However, during the 1950S NATO strategy had come to depend on convincing the Soviet Union that any serious breach 19 20 Britain and Nuclear Weapons of the European peace was quite likely to result in a nuclear war.

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Britain and Nuclear Weapons by Lawrence Freedman

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