In Search of a Defence Policy: 1945–7

  • C. J. Bartlett


‘Well, it certainly is a great day; a great historic day …’ wrote a distinguished British scientist, Sir Henry Tizard, in his diary on 8 May 1945 on the defeat of Hitler’s Germany. But he went on thoughtfully: ‘It is hard to realise now, but we shall know better later on. I feel rather like a patient coming round after a severe but successful operation. Deep down there is a feeling that all is well … but other feelings are not so pleasant, and the nurse who pats one on the arm and shouts that all is over is excessively exasperating.’ His forebodings were justified, for among the many problems that Britain was to face in the post-war world was the stagger­ing cost of defence as new challenges to her security and interests, and new and revolutionary weapons, emerged. Given the development of nuclear weapons, more powerful bombers and submarines, and perhaps too of guided missiles, even a prosperous and powerful Britain could well prove more vulnerable than at any time in her previous history. For the clear-sighted there was the further realisation that Britain’s strength would not easily be restored. In particular, power in Europe might soon become the prerogative of the Soviet Union alone.


Middle East Nuclear Weapon Atomic Bomb Defence Policy Defence Spending 
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© C. J. Bartlett 1972

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  • C. J. Bartlett

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