Winston Churchill: atomic warrior, nuclear peacemaker

At the dawn of the Cold War, Winston Churchill – prime minister of Britain between 1940–45 and 1951–55 – was one of the west's leading champions of the atomic bomb. But, as Britain found itself in the crosshairs of a Soviet attack, his attitude changed – and that, writes Kevin Ruane, set him at odds with the United States...

Sky covered by smoke from the first H-Bomb explosion at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific, 1 April 1954. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the November 2016 issue of BBC History Magazine

In 2013, a short royal family home-movie came to light. Dating from early October 1952, it shows Queen Elizabeth II, eight months into her reign, enjoying a family fishing expedition at Balmoral. Also prominent is the unmistakable figure of Winston Churchill, returned as prime minister a year earlier and now, a month shy of his 78th birthday, the Queen’s honoured guest.

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