Britain and disarmament

Today, VERTIC hosted the launch of the latest book by Dr John R. Walker, entitled Britain and Disarmament: The UK and Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons Arms Control and Programmes 1956-1975. As Dr Walker himself notes, the book is the result of around 25 years of research into the ‘dusty recesses’ of Foreign Office and other government departmental files, including substantial periods of time spent in the National Archives at Kew. This book addresses issues concerning the military, economic and political pressures that influenced government policy between 1956 and 1975, as well as the extent to which Britain played a role in the international arms control arena, and the impact of international agreements on Britain’s weapons programmes. And Dr Walker, in addition to working in the Arms Control and Disarmament Research Unit of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is a first-rate historian. ‘The past continues to exert an influence on current policy preoccupations ‘, he writes, ‘and the historical background often helps inform contemporary debates.’

As the book’s publisher – Ashgate – notes, in exploring these issues as Dr Walker does, this book provides the first attempt to assess British nuclear, biological and chemical arms control policy and practice during the Cold War. VERTIC was honoured to host Dr Walker, and delighted to welcome so many people – students, policy-makers and shapers and think-tankers alike – to today’s event. A meticulous, broad-ranging study of nearly 20 years of British arms control history, the book is highly recommended for anyone seeking to better understand how policies governing some the worst kinds of weapons have developed in the United Kingdom – and where Britain has come from as it contributes to the arms control debates of the present.

Download Dr. Walker's presentation here.


Last changed: Feb 27 2012 at 8:05 PM