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Britain and the BombNuclear Diplomacy, 1964-1970$
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David James Gill

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804786584

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804786584.001.0001

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The Ambiguities of Opposition

The Ambiguities of Opposition

(p.51) 2 The Ambiguities of Opposition
Britain and the Bomb

David James Gill

Stanford University Press

This chapter explores the twenty-month period between Harold Wilson becoming leader of the opposition in February 1963 and the General Election of October 1964. It considers how Wilson balanced his own approach to nuclear diplomacy with the demands of the Labour Party and broader domestic and international constraints. Nuclear weapons had been a tremendously divisive issue within the Labour Party. As leader of the opposition, Wilson sought to satisfy the needs of the party, which often came at the expense of a more conciliatory negotiating position with Washington concerning nuclear sharing proposals. International pressures, specifically the fear of an exclusive nuclear alliance between the FRG and US, and consequently West German access to nuclear weapons, eventually led Wilson to produce some subtle caveats to his negotiating position with Washington.

Keywords:   General election, United States of America, Federal Republic of Germany, Economy, Douglas-Home

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