An original piece of work on an unusual subject. This work is a strong social and cultural history with new information on many institutions familiar today (e.g. BBC, National Theatre) and it is a fascinating background to the contemporary relationship between government and the arts. In 1834, Lord Melbourne spoke the words that epitomised the British government's attitude towards its own involvement in the arts: 'God help the minister that meddles with Art'. One hundred years later, however, with the onset of World War II, that attitude changed dramatically when 'cultural policy' became a key element of the domestic front. "The Arts as a Weapon of War" traces the evolution of this policy from the creation of the Committee for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts, in 1939, to the drafting of the Arts Council's constitution in 1945. From the improvement of the National Gallery to Myra Hess's legendary concerts during the blitz, Jorn Weingartner provides a fascinating account of the powerful policy shift that laid the foundations for the modern relationship between the government and the arts.