National Perspectives within the Alliance: Impediments to Defence Integration

  • Geoffrey Lee Williams
  • Alan Lee Williams


The US’s relationship with Britain is very different from its relationship with West Germany, despite the supposed equality of all NATO members. The US has a ‘special relationship’ with Britain which had its roots in pre-war politics and the crisis following the fall of France in 1940 and the Second World War cooperation. The ‘special relationship’ was always more than a mere cultural affinity. The US and Britain perceived that cooperation with the other was of deep mutual interest. The US and Britain collaborated during the Second World War on the Manhattan Project to develop the nuclear bomb. British scientists and German scientists living in Britain made major and brilliant contributions to the development of the A-bomb. Although the US Congress claimed exclusive rights to nuclear technology in 1946, the special relationship may explain why Britain painfully acceded to this action with little protest. Britain was secure enough in her relationship with the US to relinquish a large portion of her security to the US. Britain trusted the US and had confidence in the promise of extended deterrence made implicit in NATO. Although the US wielded a good deal of influence over Britain with Marshall Aid, Britain dealt with the US as an independent nation from a position of victor in the Second World War. Although Britain was no longer a real world power, she maintained her dignity and her autonomy. More than any other European member of NATO, Britain was a partner of the US which was consulted and worked closely with the US. Much of the military integration and cooperation established between the two countries during the Second World War was maintained. The US and Britain also shared common interests outside of Europe; they both favoured the promotion of international stability.


Nuclear Weapon Nuclear Force Flexible Response Cruise Missile Nuclear Disarmament 
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Copyright information

© Geoffrey Lee Williams and Alan Lee Williams 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Lee Williams
  • Alan Lee Williams

There are no affiliations available

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