Rehearsing for war
in The American bomb in Britain
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Having achieved the basics of what was referred to as a ‘force-in-being’ on the British bases, this chapter explains how SAC units underwent an intensive process of training to establish their readiness for combat. The regular alerts and exercises raised concern among both politicians and the public, particularly with the carriage of thermonuclear weapons by aircraft deployed to Britain. A number of flying accidents occurred over a space of years, and two in particular, recounted here, raised issues about the release of radioactive contamination. Such concerns sustained the growth of an anti-nuclear movement. That movement gained strength as the UK appeared to become more vulnerable when American ballistic missiles, the Thor IRBM, were installed in Britain under joint USAF/RAF control.

The American bomb in Britain

US Air Forces’ strategic presence, 1946–64

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