The British Empire's Dr Strangelove? Ernest Titterton and the Royal Commission into British nuclear tests in Australia

Date

2021

Authors

Urwin, Jessica

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Taylor & Francis Group

Abstract

This article reconsiders some of the narratives constructed by the Royal Commission into British nuclear tests in Australia (1984–85), primarily those surrounding the role of nuclear physicist Ernest Titterton. Labelled a ‘Dr Strangelove figure’ by the Royal Commission’s president, Jim McClelland, Titterton’s perceived betrayal of Australia during the nuclear tests facilitated the bolstering of nationalistic sentiment among those involved in the Commission. Problematising Titterton’s characterisation as a ‘Dr Strangelove figure’, planted in the pursuit of British interests, allows for insight into the role played by imperialism in Britain’s nuclear program, and into Australia’s contemporary history more generally. Considering nuclear testing in the context of empire demonstrates that Titterton’s appointment was in fulfilment of imperial obligations to both Britain and Australia, while his individual allegiances transcended Britain. Rather, Titterton’s allegiances lay with the promotion and development of nuclear physics, facilitated by and taking advantage of networks spanning across the Anglosphere.

Description

Keywords

Nuclear testing, Ernest Titterton, empire, imperialism, Australia, history

Citation

Source

History Australia

Type

Journal article

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

License Rights

DOI

10.1080/14490854.2021.1988649

Restricted until

2099-12-31