Past eventMembers

The Secret State: Preparing for the Worst, 1945-2010

15 September 2010 - 13:30 to 14:30

Chatham House, London


Peter Hennessy, Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History, Queen Mary, University of London
Chair: Lord Hurd of Westwell, Chairman, Panel of Senior Adviser, Chatham House



The speaker will discuss newly declassified material from Whitehall's Cold War Files, and explore how the state responded to the Soviet threat, from the Second World War to the 1970s. He will outline the size and shape of the Cold War state built in response to that threat and trace arguments used by successive generations of ministers, the military and civil servants to justify the British nuclear capability. He will also discuss how Britain's Cold War state has now been turned into a protective 'counter-terror' state, exploring the threats presented by radical Islamic terrorists post 9/11. He will detail the experiences of politicians and the military who have kept the British nuclear deterrent in a state of readiness from the 1960s right through to the Royal Navy Trident submarine on patrol in the North Atlantic today.