Edgerton David - Britain's war machine

Author : Edgerton David
Title : Britain's war machine Weapons, resources, and experts in the second world war
Year : 2011

Link download : Edgerton_David_-_Britain_s_war_machine.zip

Preface. Hasn’t everything interesting already been said about Britain in the Second World War? Do we really need another book on this subject? I hope to show that we do; that much remains unsaid; and that we need to reconsider, often drastically, many important arguments. In the course of researching and writing this book I myself have been astonished by what I have found, and I say this as someone who for thirty years has been criticizing received views about twentieth-century British history, particularly in relation to warfare, to the state, and to science and technology. I hope that by the time you have read even a small part of this book, you will feel that the new evidence and interpretations it contains will make you rethink the history both of the war and of Britain’s place in it. These are not topics to be dealt with lightly. What is known and what is believed about Britain in the Second World War have mattered to many people, for many reasons. Such views have profoundly affected British decisions to go to war, from Suez to Iraq. They shape, not surprisingly, the ways we understand recent British history, for the war is taken to be a pivotal event in that history. Indeed much writing about the war has been not just about the conflict itself, but about the entire history of twentieth-century Britain. In these pages I shall describe an image of wartime Britain and its fighting power that will be unfamiliar. I shall describe the Britain that went into the war and the one that came out in terms that are quite different from most other accounts. I see the war not as something that tested and re-created the nation; which changed much, and yet did not change everything. Instead I see it as a distinctive period, characterized by sudden yet often temporary changes. My account gives a central place to the armed services and Britain’s method of waging war. Most distinctively it is based on a new material reckoning of the war effort which respects the particularities of the extraordinary global war in which Britain was a great player. I also reject the sentimental view, still widely encountered, that the war was, for Britain, a good thing. We now too readily associate the evils of war with war crimes; yet it is the fact of war itself which is the greatest crime against humanity. That the Second World War was perhaps necessary does not prevent its being a terrible disaster for humankind, and even being on the right side did not mean it was good for those who waged it. Camden Town, December 2010. ...

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