Arms, Economics and British Strategy: From Dreadnoughts to Hydrogen Bombs

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 8, 2007 - History
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This book integrates strategy, technology and economics and presents a new way of looking at twentieth-century military history and Britain's decline as a great power. G. C. Peden explores how from the Edwardian era to the 1960s warfare was transformed by a series of innovations, including dreadnoughts, submarines, aircraft, tanks, radar, nuclear weapons and guided missiles. He shows that the cost of these new weapons tended to rise more quickly than national income and argues that strategy had to be adapted to take account of both the increased potency of new weapons and the economy's diminishing ability to sustain armed forces of a given size. Prior to the development of nuclear weapons, British strategy was based on an ability to wear down an enemy through blockade, attrition (in the First World War) and strategic bombing (in the Second), and therefore power rested as much on economic strength as on armaments.
 

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Contents

Table 11 Defence expenditure as percentage of GDP 19045191314
35
Table 12 Distribution of defence expenditure by departments 19045191314
38
Table 13 Cumulative totals of dreadnought battleships and battlecruisers completed
39
2 The First World War
49
Army weapons and tactics
58
War economy and finance
67
Table 21 Aircraft production 191418
69
CH Feinstein National Income Expenditure and Output of the
74
Table 44 Numbers of days lost in strikes and lockouts
192
Table 45 Percentage shares of national income NNP 193845
194
the period of the AngloFrench alliance
199
the Empire at bay June 1940July 1942
205
an advanced base for six British capital ships provided it
215
indeed about the northern flank of the British position in
217
Summary
227
5 The impacts of the atomic bomb and the
229

Table 23 Balance of payments on current account 191418
75
Table 24 Balance of payments on capital account 191418
76
Naval strategy
78
provides another example of the limitations of older ships retained
81
1915 the German government gave notice that the waters around
82
Summary
96
3
98
Air weapons
108
Table 31 Costs of aircraft 192439 at current prices
117
Table 32 Defence departments expenditure as percentage of GDP 191920193940
127
Table 33 Indices of GDP for United Kingdom France Germany
129
Table 34 Balance of payments 19308 million at the
136
The defence industries
137
Table 35 Military aircraft production in Britain France Germany Japan
138
Table 36 Major warships launched or conversions to aircraft carriers
141
Grand strategy
145
Table 37 Commonwealth navies in 1931 and 1939 1931 figures
149
Table 38 Expenditure by the defence departments 19245193940
151
Table 39 Distribution of expenditure by the defence services 1933419389
152
4 The Second World War
164
Air weapons and tactics
169
Naval weapons and tactics
176
Table 41 Capital ships and aircraft carriers launched or converted
178
War economy and finance
184
Table 42 British and German aircraft production 193944
186
Table 43 Production of tanks and selfpropelled artillery on tank
187
Atomic weapons13
234
Naval weapons
241
numbers of ships with numbers
243
Army weapons
244
by mass formations at night From the mid1950s the LeeEnfield
245
Table 52 Strength of armed forces and womens services 194554
250
Table 54 Planned and actual rearmament expenditure on products of
252
Table 55 UK share of export of manufactures from eleven
258
NATO Information Service NATO Facts and Figures Brussels 1976
259
Global strategy
260
also argued for the retention of air bases from which
262
6 The hydrogen bomb the economy
272
Policymakers
275
the exchange of fissile material The agreement proved to be
281
Air weapons
283
Army weapons
296
Table 61 UK share of export of manufactures from eleven
298
Table 62 Comparisons of GNP of various countries with UK
300
Table 63 Populations of various countries 1959 and 1970
301
Table 64 Defence personnel overseas and balanceofpayments cost 1955 1961
305
Table 65 Defence expenditure of leading NATO countries as percentage
306
Table 66 Strength of armed forces and womens services 195469
307
Table 67 Defence expenditure as a percentage of GDP 19545
308
Table 68 Index of defence expenditure at constant prices 195569
309
at or above the 1960 level but risingcosts of new
310
the impact of the hydrogen bomb
316

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About the author (2007)

G. C. Peden is Professor of History at the University of Stirling. His recent publications include Keynes, the Treasury and British Economic Policy (1988), and The Treasury and British Public Policy, 1906–1959 (2000).