1st Edition

British Nuclear Mobilisation Since 1945 Social and Cultural Histories

Edited By Jonathan Hogg, Kate Brown Copyright 2021
    140 Pages
    by Routledge

    140 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores aspects of the social and cultural history of nuclear Britain in the Cold War era (1945–1991) and contributes to a more multivalent exploration of the consequences of nuclear choices which are too often left unacknowledged by historians of post-war Britain.

    In the years after 1945, the British government mobilised money, scientific knowledge, people and military–industrial capacity to create both an independent nuclear deterrent and the generation of electricity through nuclear reactors. This expensive and vast ‘technopolitical’ project, mostly top-secret and run by small sub-committees within government, was central to broader Cold War strategy and policy. Recent attempts to map the resulting social and cultural history of these military–industrial policy decisions suggest that nuclear mobilisation had far-reaching consequences for British life.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Contemporary British History.

    Introduction: social and cultural histories of British nuclear mobilisation since 1945

    Jonathan Hogg and Kate Brown

    1. Mass observing the atom bomb: the emotional politics of August 1945

    Claire Langhamer

    2. ‘...what in the hell’s this?’ Rehearsing nuclear war in Britain’s Civil Defence Corps

    Jessica Douthwaite

    3. ‘Nuclear Prospects’: the siting and construction of Sizewell A power station 1957-1966

    Christine Wall

    4. Weaponising peace: the Greater London Council, cultural policy, and ‘GLC Peace Year 1983’

    Hazel Atashroo

    5. Resist and survive: Welsh protests and the British nuclear state in the 1980s

    Christophe Laucht and Martin Johnes

    6. Britain, West Africa and ‘The new nuclear imperialism’: decolonisation and development during French tests

    Christopher Robert Hill


    Jonathan Hogg is Senior Lecturer in Twentieth Century History at the University of Liverpool, UK. He is the author of British Nuclear Culture: Official and Unofficial Narratives in the Long Twentieth Century (Bloomsbury, 2016), and editor of the e-textbook Using Primary Sources (Liverpool University Press, 2017).

    Kate Brown is Professor of Science, Technology and Society at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA. Her numerous books include Plutopia: Nuclear Families in Atomic Cities and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford, 2013), Dispatches from Dystopia: Histories of Places Not Yet Forgotten (University of Chicago Press, 2015), and most recently Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future (Allen Lane, 2019).