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The American Bomb in BritainUs Air Forces' Strategic Presence, 1946-64$
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Ken Young

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719086755

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719086755.001.0001

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The asymmetrical alliance

The asymmetrical alliance

Chapter:
(p.275) 12 The asymmetrical alliance
Source:
The American Bomb in Britain
Author(s):

Ken Young

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719086755.003.0013

This final chapter reviews what the forgoing has shown to be an asymmetrical alliance. The asymmetry, however, was not just the obvious one between a major and a medium power. There were throughout the period crucial differences of perception and appreciation that limited British support to this aspect of the western alliance. The chapter argues first that British decision makers lacked foresight in consenting to the acquisition of US bases in 1946, and that the subsequent political and military tensions about the use of those bases in war could have been foreseen. Second, it argues that throughout the first decade of the Cold war, many British officials failed to grasp the geo-strategic realities of the British Isles, the nature of an atomic air campaign, and Britain’s role in it. Third, it is argued that due to this failure of perception, coupled with a determination to limit defence expenditure, the British failed to make a proper contribution to the defence of the nuclear alliance into which they entered in 1946

Keywords:   Foresight, Geo-Strategic Position, Political Ambivalence, Expenditure Limits

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