Abstract

Abstract:

The speech delivered by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara on 16 June 1962 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is often cited for its significance in the enunciation of U.S. nuclear strategy, but the speech also featured passages decrying the existence of separate, national nuclear forces within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This article concentrates on the latter dimension of the speech by examining the context of McNamara’s remarks and the reactions they provoked, particularly in Great Britain. A vociferous political debate erupted in the United Kingdom over the country’s independent nuclear deterrent. The article presents new evidence about McNamara’s thinking on independent nuclear forces during this period and shows that the speech had the unintended consequence of complicating Britain’s attempts to enter the European Economic Community. The speech and the resulting debate were a crucial part of the sequence of events that produced the Skybolt crisis at the end of 1962.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1531-3298
Print ISSN
1520-3972
Pages
pp. 58-109
Launched on MUSE
2019-06-05
Open Access
No
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