• CLOSED
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
National Army Museum
  • CLOSED
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

Preparing for Nuclear War in the British Army

Soldiers of 12 Air Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery, in their NBC or ‘Noddy’ suits, 1978

Dr Simon J Moody will examine how the Cold War nuclear threat affected the British Army’s training, war doctrine and purpose.

The British Army’s primary mission during the Cold War was to deter Soviet aggression in Europe by demonstrating the will and capability to fight with nuclear weapons in defence of Nato territory.  

Preparing for a war which many observers regarded as ‘beyond the imagination’ presented a number of practical and conceptual difficulties for the Army, with few intellectual reference points to inform its thinking about the unthinkable. 

In this online talk, Dr Moody will explore how the British Army structured its thinking about nuclear combat, how nuclear war was taught at the Staff College, and the evolution of its nuclear war-fighting doctrine. He will be in conversation with Dr Peter Johnston, lead curator of the National Army Museum’s exhibition ‘Foe to Friend: The British Army in Germany since 1945’.

Dr Simon J Moody is a Lecturer in Defence Studies at King’s College London. He has taught for a number of years at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, and has published widely on the history of strategic thought, nuclear strategy, and British defence policy. His recent book, ‘Imagining Nuclear War in the British Army, 1945-1989’, was published by Oxford University Press in 2020.

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"First time @NAM_London today. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought the presentation & interpretation made the subject accessible..."