In sponsoring the 1939 Military Training Act the government abandoned its previous pledges not to introduce military conscription in peacetime in haste and without the consultation that the opposition had come to enjoy. The Labour Party did not oppose the principle of compulsory military service in wartime, but found peacetime conscription unacceptable. Chamberlain announced that the government still committed to the voluntary principle in service recruitment. However, in the next month he changed his mind, and announced the ‘temporary and limited’ measures that would conscript twenty-year olds for a period of six months’ military training. Chamberlain changed his mind for a mixture of diplomatic and military reasons. In Parliament peacetime compulsion brought a flood of embittered rhetoric from Labour members. The Labour Party became increasingly isolated in its hostility. The Liberal Party quickly accepted the need for the Military Training Act and voted with the government.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.