The British military-industrial complex in history: The importance of political economy

David Edgerton

Abstract


This article highlights the until quite recently neglected political-economic thinking in matters of defense in twentieth-century Britain. It argues that retrieving such analyses from the interwar years is an excellent although partial way to get at an alternative picture of interwar defense spending and the arms industry. Interestingly, the political-economic approach fell out of favor in the nuclear age, but became central from the 1970s in critical discussion of British militarism. Yet that political-economic view was limited in that it made important assumptions about the civilian origins and nature of modern war. The article challenges these assumptions, noting the military origins and nature of most military technologies, and indeed of many civilian technologies, too.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15355/epsj.3.1.6

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