Winston Churchill, the H-Bomb and Nuclear Disarmament

Geoffrey Best considers Winston Churchill’s growing alarm about the possibility of nuclear war, and his efforts to ensure that its horrors never happened.

Winston Churchill must be the only recipient of a Nobel Prize who was less than wholly thrilled by it. He was awarded the Prize for Literature in the autumn of 1953. Honours and awards had recently showered upon him but this one was special: ‘£12,000 free of tax. Not so bad’, he chortled. But, either then or later, he wished it had been the Nobel Prize for Peace. Only just recovering from a stroke, aware that everyone in his Cabinet was longing for him to retire, he was clinging on to office because he felt a mission to stop the Cold War becoming a hot one. A man of war for much of his life, he wanted to end it as a man of peace.

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