The American bomb in Britain

US Air Forces' strategic presence, 1946-64

By Ken Young

The American bomb in Britain


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8675-5
  • Pages: 320
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: July 2016
  • BIC Category: International Relations, Military history, Diplomacy, HISTORY / Military / Nuclear Warfare, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy, The Cold War, Humanities / Military history


This study tells the story of the strategic nuclear forces deployed to England by the United States from the late 1940s, and details the secret agreement made to launch atomic strikes against the USSR.

Drawing on more than a decade's research in archives on both sides of the Atlantic, hitherto unknown aspects of Cold War history are revealed. The book deals with the United States Air Force's (USAF) relations with their British hosts as well as tensions between the American commands, with the continuous struggle to develop and safeguard the expanding base network and with the losing battle to provide the deployed bomber forces with an adequate air defence.

This challenging analysis, based on massive archival sources, will provoke and stimulate Cold War historians and air power enthusiasts alike, and be read by those many veterans who served in the units of Strategic Air Command and the USAF in Europe, during that brief but dangerous period of nuclear history.


'The American Bomb in Britain is an impressive achievement and significant contribution to the field. It is highly recommended to academic and public libraries and anyone who has ever reflected on what was actually special about the Anglo-American 'special relationship.'
H-Diplo, Joseph M. Siracusa, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, December 2016

'Young's detailed passages on the intricacies of deploying, bedding down, maintaining, and operating strategic bombers, and how such skilled and famed USAF officers as General Leon Johnson forged and maintained working relationships with RAF and British civil authorities on a day-to-day basis to achieve operational goals are especially informative.'
Steve Agoratus, Hamilton NJ


1. Searching for bases
2. Deploying to England
3. Here to stay
4. Rehearsing for war
5. Difficult relations
6. A vulnerable island
7. Defending the strategic force
8. Towards atomic partnership
9. Borrowing the bomb
10. Consenting to nuclear war
11. Strike hard, strike sure...and strike together?
12. The asymmetrical alliance


Ken Young is Professor of Public Policy at King's College, London

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