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History Corner





Winston Churchill on the Hydrogen Bomb (1953)


John Colville, The Fringes of Power: 10 Downing Street Diaries 1939-1955 (London: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd., 1985), 676.


‛When the explosion of the first hydrogen bomb was announced in an after-dinner speech in the United States, the only English paper to carry the news was the Manchester Guardian.

The Prime Minister [Churchill] read it in bed at 10 Downing Street and immediately telephoned to the Chiefs of Staff and everybody else in Whitehall who might know about the matter.


Nobody did.


The account in the Manchester Guardian described in some detail the effect of exploding a thermo-nuclear bomb and the P.M. said to me that we were now as far from the age of the atomic bomb as the atomic bomb itself from the bow and arrow.
His subsequent reaction, which he fully maintained over the rest of his Prime Ministership, was that this ghastly invention might perhaps present humanity with a real chance of lasting peace, since war would now be impossible.