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The United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent: Past, Present and Future

13 May 2011, 12:00
A lecture by Professor Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield FBA, Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History, Queen Mary, University of London. Ever since Ernest Bevin declared in a Cabinet Committee in 1946 that 'we have got to have a bloody Union Jack on top of it', successive British governments of all colours have decided that this was not the moment to cease to be a nuclear weapons power. In his lecture, Professor Lord Hennessy will discuss to what extent instinct rather than circumstances led to such outcomes and what it might take in the future for the United Kingdom to cease to be a nuclear weapons state.

Professor Peter Henessey Members LectureA lecture by Professor Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield FBA, Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History, Queen Mary, University of London.

Ever since Ernest Bevin declared in a Cabinet Committee in 1946 that 'we have got to have a bloody Union Jack on top of it', successive British governments of all colours have decided that this was not the moment to cease to be a nuclear weapons power. In his lecture, Professor Lord Hennessy discussed to what extent instinct rather than circumstances led to such outcomes and what it might take in the future for the United Kingdom to cease to be a nuclear weapons state. 

Professor Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield FBA is Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History, Queen Mary, University of London. He wrote for the Times Educational Supplement, The Times and the Financial Times. He is the author of a number of books on British politics and Whitehall, most notably the multi-award winning Never Again: Britain 1945-51 and Having It So Good: Britain in the 1950s, which won the 2007 Orwell Prize. His book Secret State: Whitehall and the Cold War looks at every aspect of the civil service, including the intelligence services. He is a Fellow of the British Academy.

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