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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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Defence Policy, National Service, and the Cold War 1949–1951

Defence Policy, National Service, and the Cold War 1949–1951

(p.219) 9 Defence Policy, National Service, and the Cold War 1949–1951
Conscription and the Attlee Governments


Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the views, conflicts between defence requirements, and economic constraints as the Cold War developed. Opposition to the government’s policy from within the Labour Party concentrated on its costs and social implications rather than its logic or its assumptions. Sentiment against conscription was powerful, but public opposition on the issue had declined as the Cold War intensified from 1948. Abolishing conscription would have required bold and radical action to achieve a fundamental recasting of defence planning. With the rearmament programme under way, that was politically unthinkable for government and party alike.

Keywords:   Cold War, Labour Party, public opposition, conscription, defence planning, rearmament programme

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