Warfare State: Britain, 1920–1970

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Dec 8, 2005 - History
A challenge to the central theme of the existing histories of twentieth-century Britain, that the British state was a welfare state, this book argues that it was also a warfare state, which supported a powerful armaments industry. This insight implies major revisions to our understanding of twentieth-century British history, from appeasement, to wartime industrial and economic policy, and the place of science and technology in government. David Edgerton also shows how British intellectuals came to think of the state in terms of welfare and decline, and includes a devastating analysis of C. P. Snow's two cultures. This groundbreaking book offers a new, post-welfarist and post-declinist, account of Britain, and an original analysis of the relations of science, technology, industry and the military. It will be essential reading for those working on the history and historiography of twentieth-century Britain, the historical sociology of war and the history of science and technology.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

This is one of those works where the author says that everything that you think you know is wrong. The main thrust is Edgerton argues that the typical depiction of the British state as technologically ... Read full review

Selected pages


The militaryindustrial complex in the interwar years
The warfare state and the nationalisation of Britain 193955
The expert state the militaryscientific complex in the interwar years
The new men and the new state 193970
Antihistorians and technocrats revisiting the technocratic moment 195964
The warfare state and the white heat 195570
The disappearance of the British warfare state
Rethinking the relations of science technology industry and war

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

David Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the Imperial College London. His previous publications include England and the Aeroplane: an Essay on a Militant and Technological Nation (1991) and Science, Technology and the British industrial 'Decline', 1870–1970 (1996).

Bibliographic information