During the Second World War the British army absorbed approximately three million new recruits, the majority of whom were conscripts. Drawn from all occupational groups and social classes, the military authorities were confronted with the task of molding these civilians in uniform into an effective fighting force. This book analyzes the impact of this process of integration on the army as a social institution. Exploring such aspects of the army’s social organization as other rank selection, officer selection, officer promotion, officer-man relations, the soldier’s working life, army welfare, and army education, it assesses the ways in which the army changed in relation to its new intake, what the extent of any change that took place actually was, and how different the army of 1945 was to that of 1939.
Which People's War? examines how national belonging, or British national identity, was envisaged in the public culture of the World War II home front. Using materials from newspapers, magazines, films, novels, diaries, letters, and all sorts of public documents, it explores such questions as: who was included as 'British' and what did it mean to be British? How did the British describe themselves as a singular people, and what were the consequences of those depictions? It also examines the several meanings of citizenship elaborated in various discussions concerning the British nation at war. This investigation of the powerful constructions of national identity and understandings of citizenship circulating in Britain during the Second World War exposes their multiple and contradictory consequences at the time. It reveals the fragility of any singular conception of 'Britishness' even during a war that involved the total mobilization of the country's citizenry and cost 400,000 British civilian lives.
The cinema was the most popular form of entertainment during the Second World War. Film was a critically important medium for influencing opinion. Films, such as In Which We Serve and One of Our Aircraft is Missing, shaped the British people's perceptions of the conflict. British War Films, 1939-45 is an account of the feature films produced during the war, rather than government documentaries and official propaganda, making the book an important index of British morale and values at a time of desperate national crisis.
From the Napoleonic Wars to the battle of the Falklands, from the pike and musket to the Challenger tank, The Oxford History of the British Army brings to life the far-reaching history of this long-lived institution. This definitive one-volume reference provides a wealth of historical detail as it takes readers on a lively journey through the annals of the British Army. Here are vivid descriptions of all the famous military campaigns and battles--from Agincourt and Crecy, to Trafalgar, Waterloo, and Yorktown Heights, to Dunkirk and D-Day--as well as insightful portraits of the great commanders, including Edward I, the Duke of Marlborough, Cromwell, the Duke of Wellington, and Field Marshall Montgomery. Military experts and military history buffs will be particularly interested in the special sections that highlight vital aspects of the Army, including tactics, weaponry, and major figures. Finally, the volume boasts a distinguished roster of contributors, including not only prominent military historians, but also former servicemen, who provide expert technical insight and vivid, eyewitness accounts of modern soldiering and warfare. Comprehensive and authoritative, The Oxford History of the British Army will fascinate military history buffs as well as anyone seeking a broader understanding of British or modern world history.
This book describes to what extent and in what ways the military policies of Western European societies are determined by liberal ideology. A wide variety of issues affected by liberal ideology, including conscription, conscientious objection, military mission, military ethics and the professional identity of soldiers are addressed in the book. The empirical analysis draws on the cases of the German Bundeswehr (from the 1950s onwards), the Swedish Armed Forces (the transformation after the end of the Cold War), and the British Armed Forces (from the beginning of the twentieth century onwards). The book’s examination of these cases reveals that specific policies, institutions and practices are preferred because of their relation to liberalism. Since Samuel Huntington’s seminal book The Soldier and the State the literature on civil-military relations and military sociology depicts the relationship between liberal ideology and military security as intrinsically antithetical. This book is conceived as a critical debate with Huntington. Contrary to the notion of antithetical societal-military relationship, this book demonstrates that a meaningful adaptation of the military to the principles possessed by its parent society can be, more often than not, desirable also from the perspective of security strategy. This book will be of considerable interest to students of civil-military relations, military sociology, Western European politics, security studies and IR.
Death in war matters. It matters to the individual, threatened with their own death, or the death of loved ones. It matters to groups and communities who have to find ways to manage death, to support the bereaved and to dispose of bodies amidst the confusion of conflict. It matters to the state, which has to find ways of coping with mass death that convey a sense of gratitude and respect for the sacrifice of both the victims of war, and those that mourn in their wake. This social and cultural history of Britain in the Second World War places death at the heart of our understanding of the British experience of conflict. Drawing on a range of material, Dying for the nation demonstrates just how much death matters in wartime and examines the experience, management and memory of death. The book will appeal to anyone with an interest in the social and cultural history of Britain in the Second World War.
Frome at War 1939-1945 is a comprehensive account of this Somerset market town’s experience of the conflict, covering in detail life on the Home Front set against the background of the wider theatres of war. The narrative of that global struggle is given with a focus on the ordeals endured by the people of Frome, as they cheered their men and women fighters off to war, welcomed hundreds of evacuated men, women and children to the town, and contributed their part to the fight against Hitler and the Nazi threat. Rare insights into the life of the town are included, along with seldom told stories from the footnotes of history; from Frome’s part within the secret underground resistance movement and the national fight for women’s equality, to the gradual influx of American GIs and Field-Marshall Montgomery's stay in the aftermath of Dunkirk. The book incorporates memoirs and memories, along with in depth research from official records and newspaper accounts, which allow the reader to see the war not only from ordinary people’s perceptive, but the military experiences of Frome’s heroic men and women - and in many cases their tragic sacrifices – as well. More controversial aspects are also touched on, including injustice, espionage, racism and politics, to give a full and fascinating picture of a town facing profound trials of endurance and courage, but at the same time revealing the characteristics that have sustained Frome throughout its illustrious and turbulent history.
In A World At War, 1911-1949, scholars of the cultural history of warfare, inspired by the work of Professor John Horne, break down the traditional barriers between the historiographies of the First and Second World Wars.
In this book an internationally renowned team of historians provides comprehensive coverage of all major campaigns and theaters of World War II, synthesizing the tremendous breadth and depth of source materials on this global conflict. It includes primary-source documents created by both famous leaders and average citizens. * Introductory essays examine the causes, course, and consequences of the war * A bibliography includes recently published books as well as movies and electronic media * A comprehensive chronology clarifies the order of historical events
On battleships, behind the trenches of the Western Front and in the midst of the Desert War, British servicemen and women have played sport in the least promising circumstances. When 400 soldiers were asked in Burma in 1946 what they liked about the Army, 108 put sport in first place - well ahead of comradeship and leave - and this book explores the fascinating history of organised sport in the life of officers and other ranks of all three British services from 1880–1960. Drawing on a wide range of sources, this book examines how organised sport developed in the Victorian army and navy, became the focus of criticism for Edwardian army reformers, and was officially adopted during the Great War to boost morale and esprit de corps. It shows how service sport adapted to the influx of professional sportsmen, especially footballers, during the Second World War and the National Service years.
This is the first detailed analysis of the combat capability of the British army in the Second World War. It sweeps away the myth that the army suffered from poor morale, and that it only won its battles through the use of 'brute force' and by reverting to the techniques of the First World War. Few soldiers were actively eager to close with the enemy, but the morale of the army never collapsed and its combat capability steadily improved from 1942 onwards.