Nuclear Weapons and the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 General Election

Image, adapted from Dr. Strangelove (1964).

Andrew Holt
History Department, University of Exeter

The future of Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent remains a controversial subject. Debate continues as to the nature of the replacement for the Trident force of Vanguard class submarines – or whether they should be replaced at all. Whatever their respective views, it is difficult to imagine either David Cameron or Ed Miliband choosing to put the matter at the forefront of their campaigns for the May 2015 general election. Yet 50 years ago today, that is exactly the issue upon which the prime minister chose to base his campaign. Continue reading “Nuclear Weapons and the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 General Election”

British Foreign Policy in the Shadow of a General Election: The Douglas-Home Government

Andrew Holt
Author of The Foreign Policy of the Douglas-Home Government: Britain, the United States and the End of Empire (2014)

Dr. Holt explores the crucial role of the short-lived Douglas-Home Government (1963-64) upon Cold War relations and British decolonization. With the 2015 general elections fast approaching, the story of Douglas-Home also proffers an illustrative historical example of how an impending poll can affect foreign policy.

Holt DouglasHome

Last month marked the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Established under Security Council Resolution 186 of 4 March 1964, the force was tasked with preventing further violence between Cyprus’s Greek and Turkish communities in the aftermath of 1963’s ‘Bloody Christmas’. Still in place today, UNFICYP has become one of the longest running UN peacekeeping missions, and it owed much to the diplomacy of the British government of Sir Alec Douglas-Home. It is also just one of many episodes highlighting the significance of Douglas-Home’s short-lived and oft-overlooked administration within the larger histories of Cold War relations and British decolonization. Continue reading “British Foreign Policy in the Shadow of a General Election: The Douglas-Home Government”