The Struggle over the Nuclear Delivery System: 1957–1960



We have seen how Sandys’ experiences and memories of the Second World War had left an indelible impression on him, informing his strategic concepts by making him believe that defence was impossible. The next logical move on this trajectory was to ensure that Britain had its own ballistic missile, and by 1957 this was a viable option. The White Paper had not committed the government to Blue Streak, but Sandys intended for it to enter service, and did all he could to ensure its success in the face of pressure brought about by rising costs and the rapid progress made by the United States in sea and air-launched alternatives. Despite support for Blue Streak gradually waning across the government, Sandys insisted that Britain needed its own ballistic missiles, and a point was eventually reached where his apparent refusal to give fair consideration to the merits of Polaris, the submarine-launched ballistic missile system favoured by the Admiralty, caused a high-ranking admiral to complain that Sandys ‘will do all in his power to prevent any alternative to blue streak from being even considered’.1


Nuclear Weapon Weapon System Fissile Material Ballistic Missile Aircraft Carrier 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent ScholarHedonUK

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