Defence Policy, National Service, and the Cold War 1949–1951
This chapter focuses on the views, conflicts between defence requirements, and economic constraints as the Cold War developed. Opposition to the government’s policy from within the Labour Party concentrated on its costs and social implications rather than its logic or its assumptions. Sentiment against conscription was powerful, but public opposition on the issue had declined as the Cold War intensified from 1948. Abolishing conscription would have required bold and radical action to achieve a fundamental recasting of defence planning. With the rearmament programme under way, that was politically unthinkable for government and party alike.
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