Ambiguity and Deterrence: British Nuclear Strategy, 1945-1964

By John Baylis | Go to book overview

APPENDIX 1
The Influence of the Atomic
Bomb on War
ADM 1/117259 2 September 1945The following remarks are forwarded by Plans Division in accordance with your T S D 4821/45 dated 21 August.
2. The first obvious fact is that it is not possible properly to consider the effects of atomic energy on war without the necessary scientific data, since the whole matter seems largely to hinge upon the question whether:--

'The introduction of atomic explosives open up an era of destruction on a scale never before considered feasible, or is it merely an intensive development of the existing concept of war, which science may render controllable by local defence and counter-action'.

3. Before any conclusions can be reached, we shall require answers to the following questions:--
a. What are the limits of its destructive power?
b. Will it be possible to control production of the bomb, or will any country be able to make it, possibly in secrecy?
c. Is there any potential counter measure other than counterbombing?
d. What production effort is necessary, expressed in terms of labour and ground space, as compared with existing methods such as the 'block-busting' bombs?
e. Will the atomic bomb remain a weapon which can only be produced in relatively small quantities and in consequence its use reserved for a few vital targets; or will it ultimately be capable of being produced in large numbers and employed in the majority of weapons, such as anti-aircraft weapons, sea and land artillery, ships' rockets, etc.
4. Until the Anderson Committee presents its report there is, therefore, a danger of reaching tentative conclusions based on false premises.
5. The following thoughts, however, follow from assumptions that:--

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