In the light of post-Cold War developments, this book addresses central and poignant questions to Britain's decision to acquire, deploy and maintain a strategic nuclear deterrent.
The scene is set with a resume of the historical background from the discovery of nuclear fission in early 1939 to the deployment of the V-bomber force in the 1950s. The development of nuclear strategy is thereafter summarised with emphasis on Britain's contribution to that process vis a vis the United States, and on the reasons for Britain's adoption of specific strategic doctrines.
Robert Paterson then devotes the central portion of the book to detailed examinations of the decisions to procure and deploy Polaris and subsequently to replace it with Trident.
The book concludes with comparisons with France's experience with an independent strategic nuclear deterrent, and an assessment of the key strategic changes in the post-Cold War period and of how strategic geo-political changes, international aspirations regarding arms control developments and the domestic constraints of public opinion and economics might influence a decision regarding a fourth-generation nuclear deterrent.
It will be of value to those in universities or military training establishments reading strategic studies, as well as others who have a professional or amateur interest in defence policy.