Learning how to fight total wars

I should, of course, have acknowledged my partial intellectual debt to David Edgerton in concocting the idea at the base of the last post: although what I am proposing is a more cultural approach to a topic that Edgerton deals with in terms of science, technology and industry. But I’ve just re-read his review of Correlli Barnett’s The Audit of War (‘The Prophet Militant and Industrial’, 20th Century British History, 2, 3 (1991), 377-8) and highlighted:
‘We might note, too , that many of the ‘New Jerusalemers’ did indeed have the backgrounds Barnett claims they did not have. Beveridge and Keynes were senior civil servants in the Great War. … Major Attlee volunteered in 1914 and fought in Gallipoli, in Mesopotamia, and on the Western Front where he was wounded for the third time just before the end of the war. Stafford Cripps, who had a degree in chemistry, spent part of the Great War as assistant superintendent of the largest chemical explosives plant in Britain.’


One Response to Learning how to fight total wars

  1. Brett says:

    I was going to say that your post remindws me of Edgerton’s liberal militarism idea! He’s got a book on it coming out soon, too.

    And I was also going to add, re the lost generation myth, that Robin Higham seemed to think, way back in 1966, that disillusionment due to the war prevented a whole generation of men going into politics – the best and the brightest went into business instead. Which seems a bit odd when you consider Majors Attlee and Eden, Colonel Moore-Brabazon, Lieutenants Macmillan and Dalton – even Captain Mosley for that matter.

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