Duncan Sandys was one of the most significant British politicians of the 1950s, serving in successive Conservative administrations from 1951 to 1964, and holding a number of key posts. Most significantly, he was Minister of Defence at the time of the controversial 1957 White Paper on Defence, which set out a radical vison for the future of the British military, and would have profound effects on defence policy and the defence industry in the years that followed. Yet, unlike many politicians of his generation, Sandys has not been the subject of any detailed study. There have been no biographies published, and his personal memoirs remained unfinished, with entire sections incomplete or missing.1 In the absence of any serious historical interest, and when not simply referring to him to in passing as Winston Churchill’s son-in-law, the discussion of Sandys tends to focus on his supposedly difficult character—we hear that Harold Macmillan thought that his prickly character might have been down to ‘German blood’, and that Ian Smith, the notably intransigent Rhodesian white minority leader with whom Sandys dealt with as Secretary of State for the Colonies, found him ‘abrupt, even tending to aggressiveness’, and ‘completely devoid of those qualities of diplomacy and tact associated with British “statesmen”’.2


Foreign Policy Policy Preference Defence Policy Nuclear Deterrence Nuclear Weapon State 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent ScholarHedonUK

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