Military Innovation

Topics: Royal Air Force, World War II, United Kingdom Pages: 4 (1209 words) Published: October 10, 2013
During the years between the two World Wars, British military theorists were among the most forward-thinking and innovative in the world. Figures such as J.F.C. Fuller, Basil Liddell, Hart, and Sir Hugh Trenchard espoused visions of warfare that sought to organize forces and employ technological innovations in ways unheard of in previous conflicts. From the tank to the airplane, British thinkers were among the intellectual vanguard that developed the foundational concepts that shaped the future battlefields of the 20th Century and beyond. However, by 1940 Great Britain had lost her innovative edge, resulting in initial battlefield defeats and near disaster at the hands of her enemies. This loss was due primarily to the political and institutional atmosphere of the interwar years that imposed constraints on military development, tightened defense budgets, and offered significant resistance within the British military to innovation that challenged traditional force structures and doctrines. These factors served to blunt the influence of the innovators in Britain even as her adversaries moved to take better advantage of new developments.

Even in hindsight, it is difficult to fathom the impact of the First World War’s killing fields on the collective psyche of Great Britain and the whole of Western Europe. The nightmare of trenches and blood-soaked battlefields lingered heavily in the minds of Britain’s politicians well after the conclusion of hostilities in 1918. The discontent with all things military found expression in Britain’s signing of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, an agreement that sought to renounce the use of armed force except as a means of self defense. However, prior to that agreement, Britain was part of other international efforts to limit armaments in hopes of preventing a recurrence of the carnage of World War I. Notable among these was the Washington Naval Treaty of 1921 and the subsequent modifications and extensions of that treaty that...
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