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Cold War Statesmen Confront the BombNuclear Diplomacy Since 1945$
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John Gaddis, Philip Gordon, Ernest May, and Jonathan Rosenberg

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294689

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0198294689.001.0001

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Before the Bomb and After: Winston Churchill and the Use of Force

Before the Bomb and After: Winston Churchill and the Use of Force

(p.171) 8 Before the Bomb and After: Winston Churchill and the Use of Force
Cold War Statesmen Confront the Bomb

Jonathan Rosenberg

Oxford University Press

Between 1945 and 1955, Churchill's attitude towards the use of force had undergone a dramatic transformation. In the period of the American nuclear monopoly, Churchill's views were largely consistent with those he held for many years: It was possible to maintain peace through strength, and, more specifically, the bomb could preserve European democracy against the threat of Soviet expansionism. Moreover, in keeping with his lifetime vigour as a soldier and a statesman, Churchill spoke privately about attacking the Soviet Union and forcing a showdown before the Soviets acquired the bomb. With the disappearance of that monopoly, Churchill came to realize that the new bomb could decrease the likelihood of war and perhaps some day eliminate great‐power conflict altogether. Accordingly, the idea of ’peaceful coexistence’ became an integral part of Churchill's approach to international politics.

Keywords:   Winston Churchill, deterrence, Europe, expansionism, nuclear monopoly, nuclear weapons, peaceful coexistence, Soviet Union, USA, use of force

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