Before the Bomb and After: Winston Churchill and the Use of Force

Jonathan Rosenberg

in Cold War Statesmen Confront the Bomb

Published in print April 1999 | ISBN: 9780198294689
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601538 | DOI:
 Before the Bomb and After: Winston Churchill and the Use of Force

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Between 1945 and 1955, Churchill's attitude towards the use of force had undergone a dramatic transformation. In the period of the American nuclear monopoly, Churchill's views were largely consistent with those he held for many years: It was possible to maintain peace through strength, and, more specifically, the bomb could preserve European democracy against the threat of Soviet expansionism. Moreover, in keeping with his lifetime vigour as a soldier and a statesman, Churchill spoke privately about attacking the Soviet Union and forcing a showdown before the Soviets acquired the bomb. With the disappearance of that monopoly, Churchill came to realize that the new bomb could decrease the likelihood of war and perhaps some day eliminate great‐power conflict altogether. Accordingly, the idea of ’peaceful coexistence’ became an integral part of Churchill's approach to international politics.

Keywords: Winston Churchill; deterrence; Europe; expansionism; nuclear monopoly; nuclear weapons; peaceful coexistence; Soviet Union; USA; use of force

Chapter.  11711 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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