Theaker, Martin (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis concerns the role of atomic power in the development of British national identity and international relations between the end of the Second World War and the early nineteen-sixties. It deals with the changing nature of interaction with the United States, Europe and Commonwealth through the focus of new science as well as the impact of civil atomic power on British society and political decision-making structures. A new space for Britain in the context of Cold-War relations is identified in the field of atomic science, as Britain’s development of independent nuclear weapons and subsequently civil electrical engineering ran counter to the otherwise prevalent trend of declining great power status. The thesis concludes that the atomic energy program in Britain was an important component in the definition of a new post-war identity, with increased scientific input into government policy ultimately resulting in Britain developing a potential for commercial uses which was a key factor in prompting American intervention in the European atomic arena during the nineteen-fifties. It also contends that the politics of European integration around the Treaty of Rome were substantially informed by British attitudes towards her atomic power legacy.
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