Home Defence and the Sandys Defence White Paper, 1957

Matthew Grant

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Long understood as the key document in Britain‟s cold war history, the
Sandys Defence White Paper of 1957 nevertheless has a largely forgotten
context: home defence. This article argues that understanding this
context allows importa
nt new conclusions to be drawn concerning the
drafting, presentation and the reception of the document and the deterrent
strategy it expounded.
It argues that the
Paper failed to establish a new
doctrine for civil defence which reconcile
the policy with
the wider
deterrent strategy. In doing this,
the Paper presented a muddled policy to
the public: one which failed to justify the reductions in civil defence
provision but which stressed the destructive power of thermonuclear
weapons. This had the effect
of encouraging the critics of the
Government‟s nuclear strategy to flag the absence of adequate civil
defence measures and highlight the „admission‟ that there was no defence
against the hydrogen bomb
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-949
JournalJournal of Strategic Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008


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