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Arms, Economics and British Strategy
From Dreadnoughts to Hydrogen Bombs


Part of Cambridge Military Histories

  • Date Published: April 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521108386

£ 37.99

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About the Authors
  • This book integrates strategy, technology and economics and presents a new way of looking at twentieth-century military history and Britain's decline as a great power. G. C. Peden explores how from the Edwardian era to the 1960s warfare was transformed by a series of innovations, including dreadnoughts, submarines, aircraft, tanks, radar, nuclear weapons and guided missiles. He shows that the cost of these new weapons tended to rise more quickly than national income and argues that strategy had to be adapted to take account of both the increased potency of new weapons and the economy's diminishing ability to sustain armed forces of a given size. Prior to the development of nuclear weapons, British strategy was based on an ability to wear down an enemy through blockade, attrition (in the First World War) and strategic bombing (in the Second), and therefore power rested as much on economic strength as on armaments.

    • An innovative study of British defence policy in the period 1900–1970
    • Uses a series of case studies such as the pre-1914 naval race, World War I, World War II, and the impact of the hydrogen bomb during the Cold War
    • Will appeal to scholars of military history, strategic studies, war studies, defence studies, international history and international relations as well as to a professional audience within military staff and command colleges
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'For a work of detailed historical scholarship, this is a remarkably topical book.' Royal United Services Institute Journal

    'Arms, Economics and British Strategy is an outstanding book that will become central to our understanding of British military policy in the twentieth century. ' Diplomacy and Strategy

    'This is an excellent book which should be recommended reading for defence and peace economists.' Keith Hartley, University of York

    'This is a first-rate book by as first-rate scholar. It is based on a thorough reading in the secondary literature and Peden's own research in the archives, primarily those of the treasury. It is intellectually sophisticated, clearly written, and its conclusions follow nicely from the evidence marshalled in each chapter.' International History Review

    'For a work of detailed scholarship, this is a remarkably topical book.' Royal United Services Institute Journal

    'The premise of this excellent book is to place arms and defence capability in the context of the British economy and military strategy.' Journal of British Studies

    'This book combines in masterly fashion separate strands of historical literature demonstrating beyond dispute that arms, economics, and military strategy are link irrevocably and together determine a country's overall power.' Economic History Review

    'Peden succeeds in his aim of providing an integrated account of strategy, technology and economics … the book is an achievement of high order.' Contemporary European History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521108386
    • length: 400 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • contains: 35 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The Dreadnought era, 1904–14
    2. The First World War
    3. Retrenchment and rearmament, 1919–39
    4. The Second World War
    5. The impacts of the atomic bomb and the Cold War, 1945–54
    6. The hydrogen bomb, the economy and decolonisation, 1954–69
    Select bibliography

  • Author

    G. C. Peden, University of Stirling
    G. C. Peden is Professor of History at the University of Stirling. His recent publications include Keynes, the Treasury and British Economic Policy (1988), and The Treasury and British Public Policy, 1906–1959 (2000).

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