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Conscription and the Attlee GovernmentsThe Politics and Policy of National Service 1945–1951$
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L. V. Scott

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198204213

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204213.001.0001

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The Coalition Government and Post-war Conscription

The Coalition Government and Post-war Conscription

(p.15) 2 The Coalition Government and Post-war Conscription
Conscription and the Attlee Governments


Oxford University Press

Changes in the post-war world presented formidable changes to planners and policy-makers. As the war drew to an end it was clear that the question of conscription involved the continuation of the call-up to meet occupation commitments and endure the success of the demobilization scheme, and the long-term issue of permanent conscription. This chapter focuses on how these issues were seen in government before the war ended, and on the reaction of the Labour Party. The outcome, in both government and party, was acceptance of compulsory service in the short term, but deferment of the more controversial decision on the long term. When the Coalition government broke up in May 1945 ministerial consideration of permanent conscription lapsed. The Chief of Staff began the task of shaping the long-term strategy of Britain’s armed forces.

Keywords:   post-war, conscription, demobilization scheme, permanent conscription, Labour Party, compulsory service, Coalition government

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