A dispassionate onlooker of life in London in the immediate post-war years could be forgiven for assuming that Britain was a curious mixture of fantasy and reality. The latter was plain for all to see: the capital’s drab, bomb-cratered landscape provided the backdrop for a community for whom the staples of life – food, fuel and clothing – were, and would continue to be for some time, rationed. Despite such hardships, the fantasy that the nation was still a major force on the world stage was alive and well and was to be found in the hearts and minds of many British people; especially politicians of both major parties and members of the elite, who fervently believed that despite the reality of the nation’s ‘Mother Hubbard’ predicament, Britain and its Commonwealth remained one-third of the world’s ‘big three’, along with the United States and the USSR.