The economy the defence industries

Rising costs of research and development also had implications for the shape of the defence industries. The Cabinet's Economic Policy Committee had been assured in 1952 by the Ministry of Supply that Britain had a remarkable technical lead over competitors in aircraft manufacture and that there was enormous potential for the industry.84 The industry was the third largest in the world and was highly concentrated. In 1955, the top six firms Vickers-Armstrong, Hawker Sid-deley, Rolls-Royce,...

War economy and finance

With the exception of major warships, the armaments available in 191418 were suitable for mass production, making war a gigantic industrial undertaking. Britain had the largest shipbuilding industry in the world, but even so it was difficult to meet the requirements of both the Royal Navy and the merchant navy when the latter was suffering heavy losses from submarines. British steel production in 1914 was only about half of Germany's, and domestic output had to be supplemented by imports from...

Grand strategy the Empire at bay June 1940July 1942

The immediate problem facing the War Cabinet and the Chiefs of Staff in June 1940 was the defence of the United Kingdom and its trade routes. In the longer term, there were the questions of whether and how the war could be won. Churchill placed his hopes in 'immense American supplies' becoming available, and even in Roosevelt bringing the United States into the war once the presidential election in November was over.108 By September a new strategy was in place for a long war, on the assumption...

Strategy planning for war

Once the threats to Britain's overseas territories and interests had been dealt with through the Anglo-Japanese alliance and the ententes with 53 'Cost of certain capital ships', Dec. 1913, Treasury records, series 1, box 11598, file 25942 (T 1 11598 25942), TNA Hugh Peebles, Warshipbulding on the Clyde Naval Orders and the Prosperity of the Clyde Shipbuilding Industry, 1899-1939 (Edinburgh John Donald, 1987), p. 158. 54 Clive Trebilcock, 'War and the failure of industrial mobilisation', in J....

Economics

The relative decline in Britain's economy, compared with other industrial countries, during the first eight decades of the twentieth century was clearly a factor limiting her ability to compete as a military power. Even so, output per person remained above French and German levels until the 1960s. Since Britain spent a higher proportion of her national income on defence than other Western European countries after 1945, her military expenditure remained greater than France's until 1968 and West...

Global strategy retreat from East of Suez

Harold Wilson told the House of Commons on 16 December 1964 that, while the government was reviewing defence expenditure with a view to increasing cost-effectiveness, Britain could not afford to relinquish its world role, 'which for shorthand purposes is sometimes called our East of Suez role'.148 Nevertheless, his government decided in November 1965 to withdraw from the Persian Gulf as well as Aden, and in 1967-8 to withdraw from Singapore and Malaysia. Jeffrey Pickering has suggested that,...

Info

Source Raleigh and Jones, The War in the Air, vol. of appendices, p. 154. Source Raleigh and Jones, The War in the Air, vol. of appendices, p. 154. numbers, monthly output never exceeding thirty-six. In 1917-18 the German industry likewise lacked the resources to produce Gothas in quantity.46 As table 2.1 shows, British output of aero-engines lagged behind that of France, but this shortcoming could be made up by imports 16,987 of the engines required for British airframes (or 29 per cent of the...

Aircraft

Before the twentieth century an account of armaments would have been restricted to those required for sea and land forces. However, developments with airships and aeroplanes in the Edwardian period caught the public imagination, with the prospect of future wars being waged in a third dimension. In Germany, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin had begun experiments with large, rigid airships in 1900, and by 1906 had achieved sufficient success for the German government to purchase one, which was...

Global strategy the impact of the hydrogen bomb

Since the United States was by far the senior partner in the Anglo-American 'special relationship', the context for the impact of technical change on strategy is best provided by looking at American strategic thought, as represented by Bernard Brodie. Brodie's Strategy in the Missile Age (1959) did not, as he modestly noted, cause the changes that occurred in American strategy after 1960, but it did set out the intellectual framework within which the movement from the doctrines of the...

Army weapons and tactics

The historiography of the First World War has long been dominated by the heavy casualties suffered on the Western Front. Names like the Somme and Passchendaele are still evocative of human suffering. The suffering seemed to be all the more deplorable since it was widely believed that different tactics could have reduced the scale of casualties. Churchill and Lloyd George complained that the generals had been, at best, unimaginative, Churchill emphasising the war-winning potential of the tank,...

Arms

Assessment of Britain's technological backwardness or otherwise in armaments has to be made against a background of a series of innovations that transformed warfare. At the beginning of the twentieth century the wireless telegraph, as radio was then called, was a novelty subsequently, electronics were applied not only to communications, but also to detecting the enemy with radar and to enabling warships, aircraft or guided missiles to find their targets. At sea Britain took a technological lead...

Military strategy

British military strategy in the First World War is an enduring subject of debate. Should Britain have used command of the sea to land forces at strategic points Should commitment to the Western Front have been limited and more effort been put into defeating Germany's allies On the Western Front itself, did tanks offer an alternative to the strategy of attrition represented by the Somme and Passchendaele These were 77 N. D. Black, 'The Admiralty War Staff and its influence on the conduct of the...

Introduction

British defence policy in the inter-war years may be divided into two phases 1919 to 1932, when economic problems and the absence of pressing dangers to national security led to reductions in the armed forces and 1932 to 1939, when the darkening international situation gave defence preparedness increasing political priority. However, many of the strategic problems encountered during the later 1930s were rooted in the earlier phase, and this chapter analyses the period 1919-39 as a whole. There...

The economy searching for stability 194550

Financial restraint was inevitable after the war when, in Keynes' words, Britain faced a 'financial Dunkirk'. Lend-Lease had enabled Britain to concentrate on munitions production but ended with the surrender of Japan. In 1945 British exports were only 46 per cent of the 1938 volume, yet Britain would have to export more than before the war in order to avoid a balance-of-payments deficit on current account. Net income from abroad had been reduced between 1938 and 1945 from 168 million to 50...

Grand strategy the period of the Anglo French alliance

Anglo-French war plans prior to September 1939 had been based on the assumption that blockade would be as potent a weapon as it had seemed to be in 1916-18. It was expected, therefore, that the Germans would seek an early victory before blockade could wear them down. British and French planners thought in terms of a long war, in which they would follow a defensive strategy in the opening phase, gaining time in which to mobilise their superior resources, including those of their empires, and...

Other Books And Articles

Addison, Paul, and Jeremy Crang eds. , The Burning Blue A New History of the Battle of Britain, London Pimlico, 2000. Firestorm The Bombing of Dresden, 1945, London Pimlico, 2006. Aldrich, Richard, and Michael Coleman, 'Britain and the strategic air offensive against the Soviet Union the question of the South Asian air bases, 19459', History, 74 1989 , 400-26. Andrew, Christopher, Secret Service The Making of the British Intelligence Community, London Heinemann, 1985. Armitage, M. J., and R. A....

Naval weapons and tactics

Wartime experience quickly exposed the hazards facing surface ships. The first action between the British and German navies was the sinking by gunfire of the minelayer Koenigin Luise on 5 August, followed by the 14 Malcolm Cooper, 'A house divided policy, rivalry and administration in Britain's military air command, 1914-1918', Journal of Strategic Studies, 3 1980 , no. 2 178201, at 181 and 197. 15 Kathleen Burk, 'The Treasury from impotence to power', in Burk ed. , War and the State, pp....

The economy and finance

The size of the armed forces that Britain could maintain was determined by the growth of her economy, and therefore of the chancellor of the exchequer's revenue, relative to the growth in the cost of armaments. Britain's lead as the first industrial nation was being eroded from the 1870s, and average annual growth rates in GDP and labour productivity 35 Ibid. 36 Edgerton, England and the Aeroplane, p. 10. between the Boer and First World Wars were only about half the levels of the 1856-99 or...