The failure to secure a British H-bomb test ban brought the BCC specific problems. First, its officers were aware that many Christians felt that nuclear, and in particular thermonuclear weapons, were uniquely abhorrent. This sense was only exacerbated once western nuclear strategy was considered. Second, they nonetheless felt unable to disavow nuclear weapons and resort to renunciation or ‘third way’ nuclear pacifism. At this juncture Rear Admiral Sir Anthony Buzzard offered his expertise to the BCC. For the first time discussion moved from generalised endstype analysis to concerted deliberation over specific nuclear means. To understand the impact of Admiral Buzzard’s thinking on the churches, it is necessary to locate his thinking in the wider strategic environment. In 1952 Britain became the first western government to base its national security planning almost entirely on a declaratory policy of nuclear deterrence. Out of the Korean War rearmament experience, the conclusion was drawn that the continuation of large, balanced and well-equipped conventional forces was not compatible with the requirements of a healthy economy (Pierre, 1972). In spring 1952 Prime Minister Churchill directed his Chiefs of Staff to undertake a fundamental defence review taking into account the state of the economy, the role of nuclear weapons, and the need for reduced conventional ground forces.


Nuclear Weapon International Department Local Balance Moral Aspect Military Policy 
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© Jonathan Gorry 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Gorry
    • 1
  1. 1.Nottingham Trent UniversityUK

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