Nuclear Weapons and International Security since 1945
During the second half of the last century, the practical aspects of national nuclear weapon policies remained shrouded in state secrecy laws. This was an area where political and technical issues were intertwined, and understanding required knowledge and expertise of both. Archival material was sparse and most writings on the subject were based on information provided to well-placed journalists and confidential interviews with some of those involved. The result was that for the academic analyst, separating truth from fiction was a very difficult task, especially in the case in the United Kingdom. With the end of the Cold War, archival material became available from all of the five declared nuclear-weapon states on their activities and scholars were able to discuss the previous century's nuclear reality. A small community of scholars and former practitioners in the UK therefore started to rethink this history by producing a new series of volumes on the evolution of the United Kingdom's nuclear weapon policies from 1952 onwards, the date of the explosion of its first nuclear device. Thanks to a grant from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Board to the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies at the University of Southampton, Professor John Simpson and his colleagues were able to start a systematic study of the post-1952 period, and to engage with those directly involved in its many aspects.