A challenge to the central theme of the existing histories of twentieth-century Britain, that the British state was a welfare state, this book argues that it was also a warfare state, which supported a powerful armaments industry. This insight implies major revisions to our understanding of twentieth-century British history, from appeasement, to wartime industrial and economic policy, and the place of science and technology in government. David Edgerton also shows how British intellectuals came to think of the state in terms of welfare and decline, and includes a devastating analysis of C. P. Snow's two cultures. This groundbreaking book offers a new, post-welfarist and post-declinist, account of Britain, and an original analysis of the relations of science, technology, industry and the military. It will be essential reading for those working on the history and historiography of twentieth-century Britain, the historical sociology of war and the history of science and technology.
David Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the Imperial College London. His previous publications include England and the Aeroplane: an Essay on a Militant and Technological Nation (1991) and Science, Technology and the British industrial 'Decline', 1870-1970 (1996).
1. The military-industrial complex in the interwar years; 2. The warfare state and the nationalisation of Britain, 1939-55; 3. The expert state: the military-scientific complex in the interwar years; 4. The new men and the new state, 1939-70; 5. Anti-historians and technocrats: revisiting the post-war technocratic moment; 6. The warfare state and the 'white heat', 1955-70; 7. The disappearance of the British warfare state; 8. Rethinking the relations of science, technology, industry and war in the twentieth century.