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Super-weapons and Subversion: British Deterrence by Deception Operations in the Early Cold War

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)704-728
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Strategic Studies
Issue number5
Early online date8 Jun 2015
Accepted/In press10 Mar 2015
E-pub ahead of print8 Jun 2015


King's Authors


This article examines British deception operations in the early Cold War. It illustrates how, in the years before Britain could threaten atomic retaliation, Britain’s deception organisation, the London Controlling Section (LCS) was tasked with conducting operations to deter the USSR and China from starting a war or threatening British interests. It introduces a number of their ploys – some physical and military, others subversive and political. It argues that the LCS faced significant challenges in implementing its deceptions. Repeating the great strategic successes of the Second World War was extremely difficult; what remained for the Cold War were more limited deceptions.

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