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Ambiguity and DeterrenceBritish Nuclear Strategy 1945-1964$
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John Baylis

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198280125

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198280125.001.0001

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(p.359) Conclusion
Ambiguity and Deterrence

John Baylis

Oxford University Press

This chapter recapitulates the salient events from 1945 to 1964 that shaped the British method of dealing with nuclear deterrence. Various perspectives were explicated and examined, focusing on Rosenberg's definition of the nuclear deterrence as ‘High Policy’, ‘Strategic Planning’, and ‘Operational Planning’. The integration of these frameworks into practical terms became one of the major dilemmas of the government officials for the reason that the policy-making body lacked the technical knowledge to approve or modify proposals given to them. Aside from this, the conflicts between the political and military leaders revolved around six common motives: the low level of the sustenance of the military authority to lessen attacks versus nuclear domination; ‘Deterrence through Punishment’ or ‘Deterrence through Denial’; indications of nuclear impairment; war conducted in short-run or in the long-run; restricted nuclear hostilities and acceleration; and inquiries on pre-emption. With all these taken into consideration, the emergence of disagreements about the appropriate approach to nuclear deterrence continued.

Keywords:   British nuclear deterrence, strategic planning, operational planning, policy, integration

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