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Essay on The Decline of British Military Innovation

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World War I was perhaps the greatest catalyst for military innovation in modern history. The speed in which the doctrinal, technical and tactical changes were developed and implemented was astounding. At the end of World War I, Britain was at the forefront of doctrinal and technological innovation in the field of armor and aircraft warfare. The factors which caused Britain to lose their innovative edge in these areas prior to World War II was the 10 year rule policy, operational attitude of the British Army, and an emphasis on land based aviation.
At the conclusion of World War I, Britain had the largest navy in the world, a brand new Royal Air Force (RAF) and an army that had extended its technical, tactical and operational capabilities. Although the British military was strong, their economy was on the brink of collapse at the end of the war. The fiscal burdens of the rebuilding the economy required the British government to carefully consider their expenditures after the war. In 1919, it was decided for planning purposes the armed forces would not plan on fighting a major war for 10 years; the policy would be known as the 10 Year Policy. The policy reduced the military budget to funding levels lower than allocated in 1914.
This reduced budget limited the size of the Armed Forces and supplied limited funds for the research and development of new equipment. This discouraged civilian companies in Britain from investing large sums of their capital into research and development for military products, because the British military did not have the funds to purchase equipment on a large scale. The policy was made permanent in 1928, with the result that each year the ten year clock would be reset...


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...essed on the internet at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/cabinetpapers/themes/10-year-rule-disarmament.htm on 31 December 2014.

Geoffrey Megargee The Army Before Last: British Military Policy 1919-1939 and Its Relevance for The U.S. Army Today accessed on the internet at http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA379001 on 31 December 2014.

Williamson Murray and Allan R. Millett, Military Innovation in the Interwar Period,: Cambridge Press, 1996, 20

Ibid
Ibid 22
Ibid 25
Ibid 26

Classroom discussion/lecture during H200 block of instruction by Mr. Edward Bowie

Ibid

Fort Leavenworth USACGSC, August 2011 US Army Command and General Staff College, H200 Military Innovation in Peace and War August 2011 page 85

Williamson Murray and Allan R. Millett, Military Innovation in the Interwar Period,: Cambridge Press, 1996, 195



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