Sheila Kerr


Kerr, Sheila. "Alperovitz, Timewatch and the Bomb." Intelligence and National Security 5, no. 3 (Jul. 1990): 207-214.

Clark comment: Kerr's article succinctly frames the parameters of the debate over the U.S. decision to use the Atomic bomb. The author takes issue with the BBC's Timewatch program, "Summer of the Bomb" (first aired on 9 August 1989), and its presenter, Gar Alperovitz, with regard to the conclusion that President Truman decided to use the atomic bomb in order to intimidate the Soviets. Alperovitz' thesis "rests upon a great deal of circumstantial evidence which ... is ... either inaccurate or irrelevant." The work of other scholars on the subject was ignored in the BBC's program.

Robert Marshall, Timewatch program director, responds in "The Atomic Bomb -- And the Lag in Historical Understanding," Intelligence and National Security 6, no. 2 (Apr. 1991): 458-466. Marshall concludes that Kerr's article "is fully in line with th[e] now increasingly obsolete tradition" of not addressing the findings of recent research on the subject. In a reply to Marshall, Kerr, I&NS 6.2/466-469, notes her belief that "scholarly opinion has not shifted as fast or as far towards Alperovitz's views as Marshall thinks." She also reiterates her argument that the BBC's program was too one-sided in the views it reflected.

Geoffrey Warner, I&NS 6.2/469-470, who was rather cavalierly dismissed by Marshall in his article as not being particularly well-known, reiterates his criticism of Alperovitz' use of his sources. Warner also quotes Arthur M. Schlesinger for the reinforcing opinion that "Alperovitz ... sometimes twists his material in a most unscholarly way" (The Cycles of American History, footnote on p. 167 of the Penguin edition).

Watt, I&NS 6.2/470-472, says that Marshall has "chosen uncritically to embrace one faction in a now out-dated pseudo-historical scholarly debate which ... used historical issues as a cover for an attack on American foreign policy in the 1960s and on the historical beliefs that were advanced to support that foreign policy."

[WWII/FEPac/Bomb & Intro][c]

Kerr, Sheila. "British Cold War Defectors: The Versatile Durable Toys of Cold War Propagandists." In British Intelligence, Strategy and the Cold War, 1945-51, ed. R. J. Aldrich, 112-140. London: Routledge, 1992.


Kerr, Sheila. "The Debate on US Post-Cold War Intelligence: One More New Botched Beginning?" Defense Analysis 10, no. 3 (Dec. 1994): 323-350.


Kerr, Sheila. "Investigating Soviet Espionage and Subversion: The Case of Donald Maclean." Intelligence and National Security 17, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 101-116.

The author concludes that the available intelligence record is insufficient to determine intelligence's or Maclean's "impact on the collection and analysis that supported the formulation and implementation of Soviet foreign policy."


Kerr, Sheila. "KGB Sources on the Cambridge Network of Soviet Agents: True or False?" Intelligence and National Security 11, no. 3 (Jul. 1996): 561-585.

Kerr, Sheila. "Roger Hollis and the Dangers of the Anglo-Soviet Treaty of 1942" Intelligence and National Security 5, no. 3 (Jul. 1990): 148-157.

Kerr, Sheila. "The Secret Hotline to Moscow: Donald Maclean and the Berlin Crisis of 1948." In Britain and the First Cold War, ed. Anne Deighton, 71-87. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1990.


Return to Ker