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!FREE DOWNLOAD ☻ Britain's War Machine ♦ GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEARThe familiar image of the British in the Second World War is that of the plucky underdog taking on German might David Edgerton s bold, compelling new history shows the conflict in a new light, with Britain as a very wealthy country, formidable in arms, ruthless in pursuit of its interests and sitting at the heart of a global production systemThe British, indeed Churchillian, vision of war and modernity was challenged by repeated defeat by less well equipped enemies Yet the end result was a vindication of this vision Like the United States, a powerful Britain won a cheap victory, while others paid a great price Britain s War Machine, by putting resources, machines and experts at the heart of a global rather than merely imperial story, demolishes some of the most cherished myths about wartime Britain and gives us a very different and often unsettling picture of a great power in action BY PERMISSION FROM www.paper trails.caOriginal Post shallow review I suppose mostly summary but such a great book I ve been reading while knocking around NZ one last time in my surf van and today Lest We Forget I can t resist throwing it up here.With a blizzard of fact and annecdote, Edgerton here demolishes the traditional narrative the British have told themselves that after the fall of France amid the Battle of Britain, under threat of Hitler BY PERMISSION FROM www.paper trails.caOriginal Post shallow review I suppose mostly summary but such a great book I ve been reading while knocking around NZ one last time in my surf van and today Lest We Forget I can t resist throwing it up here.With a blizzard of fact and annecdote, Edgerton here demolishes the traditional narrative the British have told themselves that after the fall of France amid the Battle of Britain, under threat of Hitler s unrealized OP SEALION invasion plans in 1941, they stood alone as a plucky underdog holding out against ruthlessly efficient mechanized Nazi blitzkrieg In reality, Britain was far from alone, as Canadian know well believing this story requires writing Canada out of the war, along with India, British Africa, and the rest of the roughly one quarter of the manpower of the human race It rests on a very twentieth century and very English assumption that only white peoples in Europe countries count strategically.If legeandary Kiwi born catoonist David Low is a good example, it also rested on the very colonial England worship of the rest of us Britons elsewhere in defferential, perennially small minded quarters of the empire If the Anglo American Atlanticists have written us out of our central role in world history, we ve only been too keen to help.Most bizarrely, it rests on a peculiarly un English underrating of the strategic weight of sea power the Royal Navy was never seriously challenged by Germany and as long as it controlled Europe s coastline, it was the Europe under economic siege, not the British Isles The U boat threat, famously at least among RCN sailors claimed by Churchill as the only thing which really worried him can be disposed of with some solid data for the reliability of food imports the U Boats were alwaysthreat than blow, the marine equivalent of V1 and V2 rocketry Their destruction was spectacular, but not strategically decisive in a war attrition Allied shipyards were always certain to win Meanwhile, the RN home fleet s blockade of Nazi Europe put farserious constraint on Axis access to resources, as the economic data here bear out, and was so complete it was never even contested even by the great Bismark Perhaps modern media are part of the problem battlefleets that rarely fight suffer from an availability problem to radio listeners we don t hear about them much, so they don t seem to matter In fact, strategic outcomes are not incremmental sum of operations war is not tennis, and the winner of the most battles does not necessarily win overall, at all It s unwise to make strategy by publicity but that is generally the scheme of democracies historiography, at very least.In reality, George VI s realm has to be graded the favourite to prevail throughout the conflict and was much stronger than generally realised both in its materiel on hand, the industrial mass of war production, and technological sophistication On this too Low s typical chagrin another 1940 cartoon juxtoposing planes and tanks with a threadbear infantryman lists the score as Machines 1 Heroes 0 was merely compounding the conventional wisdom already shared by the Whitehall elite and as Edgerton documents, reflected in British resources allocation for years already The reason the Home Guard was so notoriously short of rifles was not unreadiness, but the higher priority of heavy mechanisation in lieu of small arms Our idea of a bankrupt late empire Britain as technologically superior to the vigourous, youthfull America obscures the reality that so much technology transfer actually flowed the other way In radar and sonar, in intelligence cryptography, and of course on the atomic bomb, the main result of U.S entry into the war was to enable the Americans to take tutelage, catch up, and modernize Yet even at the time, the image of Britain as a faltering dinosaur dominated public perception on both sides For Edgerton, paradoxical paranoia about falling behind in weapons science is what may well have drove investment in secret weapons and war machines an investment at least on par with Hitler s better known secret weapon mania, and arguably an overinvestment.By extension to the Social Democratic era that followed, Edgerton shows how crucial wartime mobilisation and militarism really was in the drift leftward not a welfare state, so much as a warfare state This crucial idea the social progressivity of the military industrial complex is not one the contemporary pseudo pacifist left is keen to entertain Beveridge et al were building not a Welfare State but a Warfare State, in his words, emphatically in context relative to totalitarianism i.e not a social safety net so much as a harness to mobilize total employment to the task at hand Self sufficiency in lieu of trade only really makes sense as a lingering U.K value in strategic terms.Here, the idea that the British Empire could have won World War II in Europe unilaterally without any American intervention at all iscredibly presented than I ve ever seen Thehoards may accuse him of nationalism, but I think they re missing the point he s rescuing the visibility of the country which actually fought the war The Empire and revealing what a novelty the U.K nation state and its islander national identity really is a Britishness explicitly exclusive of Anglo Canadians, Australians, and the rest was a novelty indeed Whereas at the time, as one of Edgerton s wiser 1940 Punch cartoons has it, We stand alone only the billion and a half of us So why not some revisionism on 1940 So much of the conventional narrative comes from Churchill himself by which he emerges as the preiminent hero that it s hard to say what else we would expect him to tell us Judged by their full participation in the pre war arms race Churchill s predecessors of the thirties were not, according to Edgerton, the luddites and anti mechanisation dinosaurs pre supposed as such by the very title of Churchill s 1938 polemic While England Slept As he declared in the Commons, History shall judge you harshly, for I shall write that history As an American Briton determined to definitively tie Britain to American power, his rhetoric rationlised a strategic neediness in the English people that still drives the special relationship today.The lesson here is that industrial strategy matters as I ve argued about the CF 35s, procurement is not simply buying a product off the shelf in the market place A native defence industrial base is invaluable in its own right, whether measured against enemies or as we see here so vividly in the London Washington dynamic with allies alike The implications of transactions for vendors are strategic variables in their own right they have to be planned A economics of defence must be a planned economy this is not a popular approach today to say the least But we re paying the costs in Canada For example, what of Ottawa s Silicon Valley North It seems hard to deny defence IT spending was a key spark now that it s unravelled, how ready for the era of cyberwar can Ottawa really be Well, I know China is certainly ready, and given their neighbourhood and 20th century history with surviving it, who could blame them Certainly in aerospace, and above all in civil nuclear energy, post war Canada s high tech prosperity were directly the spoils of an agressively RD led Imperial industrial strategy we ve left too forgotten to credit.Canada too is better understood as a consequence of the story Edgerton tells in our poverty of strategic culture, and our semi colonial eager beaver assumption that the grownups in London and Washington will know what to do or that even if they don t we can safely sit out from it all I ve written elsewhere of my conviction that the reason Canadian foreign policy or at least public opnion about it so strongly resembles post war German and Japanese pseudo pacifist multilateralism is that like them, anglo Canadians too lost the war It was our Empire too, and when the war was over we d lost it despite our most entheusiastic popular imperialism having raised arguably the largest all voluntary army in world history twice Legal definition of a separate Canadian citizenship would arguably not have been politically salable in Ontario or the Maritimes for Mackenzie King s Liberals prior to the War, but was self evident in 1948 If the U.K nationality was a post war novelty then so, by way of geopolitical orphanhood, was ours The Aussies have never been confused about that, of course but in this regard, their War is as forgotten to Anglo American Atlanticist historiography as our own.Reality is that while Gibraltar never fell, but the vaunted Gibraltar of the East at Singapore certainly did Our deliciously revisionist author locates the true nadir of British fortunes in the war catastrophic naval defeat by Japan by early 1942 In the Churchillian memory, the Indian Ocean theatre is a sideshow we scarcely really think of Britain as a player in the Pacific, the Americans War but that s only because their setbacks at Singapore, Hong Kong, even at Trincomalee were all so spectacularly decisive, with the sinking at sea of flagship HMS Prince of Wales, her cutting edge radar malfunctioning and anti air gunners proving unready To the Japanese it was European colonialism in Asia which formed the Main Adversary Churchill loudly dismissed Ghandi as a terrorist, for example, and had the Japanese a clear opening they might well have sought to adopt the Congress Party as a proxy as Stallin in the event made sure to do Churchill s memoirs may well rather dwell on the Battle of Britain, but to Edgerton these naval defeats cast a far longer shadow, ending the RN s two century hegemony over a whole hemesphere, leaving the post war end of Empire a forgone conclusion and having nothing at all to do with any unpreparedness of appeasement Midway was nopredictable as a victory and American tribulations around the Asian littoral ever since are largely a matter of its grasping often absent mindedly to pick up the pieces amid a vacuum left by unforseeable and basically spontaneous British combustion.In sum our Empire had a hip tech led strategy after all but still lost WW2 in weak leadership at sea to the United States.So the Clauswitzian lesson here is simply that battles matter so refreshing to read after decades of Marxist or Neo liberal materialism and economic determinism about global power Battles don t matter cumulatively, necessarily, but quite often as decisive fulcrums where so very much is prone to random chance This debate echoes Roman historiography, where the causative weight of far from inevitable battlefield disasters especially at Adrianople 378 have long been cast as mere symptoms of inexorable social or economic decline at least since Edward Gibbon invented modern academic history in his 1776 classic I ve raised this dilemma with my History students this semester just because there are systemic implications trending human societies towards some configuration technolgical implications, sociological, implications does exclude a decisive role for random chance.The same point applies to business strategy, or social policy, any other strategic context it is a profound fallacy to assume cause and effect are proportionate Obscurities can have comprehensive consequences New technology is not destiny and not necessarily even a strategy.It s why history is inherently of the humanities history is a literature, and certainly not a social science Theories of history are not falsifiable because history does not repeat itself when it does, unexpectedly Even if we could press a rewind button and rerun the same events, we would almost certainly not see causititve variables yield the same results.Sometimes stuff happens Very data rich and does some heavy myth busting of common misconceptions about Great Britain and the Second World War It HAD way too many examples and failed to keep the narrative moving steadily and coherently from chapter to chapter Don t bother with it unless you have a pretty serious interest in the technological innovations and minutiae of production in the UK leading up to and during WWII. This is a strange book Starts off fantastically and convincingly, goes through a 100 page section which just bombards you with statistics, then gets it together again at the end.Unbelievably level of research 300 pages long, plus 150 pages of footnotes. On the way back from a trip to the UK I dipped into the bookstore at the airport and couldn t resist a 3 for 2 Sonderangebot The main inspiration was David Edgerton s book on the mobilisation of the Empire in Britain s War Machine I got excited by the tables of British and overseas production as well as the maps of oil pipelines and major centres of war production Topping that is the list of highest awards from the Royal Commission of Awards for Inventions Edgerton weaves contemporary and ne On the way back from a trip to the UK I dipped into the bookstore at the airport and couldn t resist a 3 for 2 Sonderangebot The main inspiration was David Edgerton s book on the mobilisation of the Empire in Britain s War Machine I got excited by the tables of British and overseas production as well as the maps of oil pipelines and major centres of war production Topping that is the list of highest awards from the Royal Commission of Awards for Inventions Edgerton weaves contemporary and newly made graphics very well and I look forward to reading it some day More often or not, I come across a work of history and think this is a good book Very rarely do I come across a book that changes my entire perception of an historical event This book is one of them Students of WW2 history are familiar with the image of plucky Britain standing up to the Nazi juggernaut Edgerton takes a mills bomb to this idea and blows it out of the water Using a barrage no pun intended of stats, tables and pages of brilliantly researched data, Edgerton turns one of the More often or not, I come across a work of history and think this is a good book Very rarely do I come across a book that changes my entire perception of an historical event This book is one of them Students of WW2 history are familiar with the image of plucky Britain standing up to the Nazi juggernaut Edgerton takes a mills bomb to this idea and blows it out of the water Using a barrage no pun intended of stats, tables and pages of brilliantly researched data, Edgerton turns one of the enduring myths of WW2 on its head If anything, it was Germany that was the underdog The sheer scale of Britain s empire, the resources at its disposal, and its ability to fight and dictate war on its terms, made victory inevitable Edgerton rightly points to the horrendous attrition on the Eastern Front and compares it with Britain s losses we got off lightly part of that was Britain s goal to fight a modern war In contrast, the low mechanization of the Wehrmacht and the Red Army was a reminder of the slaughter of the Great War Edgerton demolishes myths about Britain s food supply only the Americans were better feed manpower how can a country with a global empire of 500 million suffer a manpower shortage and tank production.Now, tank production is a double edged sword, and one of the very few bones of contention I have with this book Yes, Britain producedtanks, but it was the quality and the training that made the difference in match ups against the Germans Edgerton highlights the General Grant as an example of a British tank with a better main gun than its German counterpart Panzer Mark IV Yes, the Grant s 75mm was better than the mark IV s short barrelled equivalent, but the panzer s armament was turret mounted, whilst the Grant had its 75mm fixed in the hull, reducing its arc of fire A moot point, but crucial in tank Vs tank combat If the author had spent less time buried in stats andplaying miniature wargames, he d know this Jokes aside, Britain s war machine is an insightful and at times, brilliant read The blurb suggested a popular history that would make a narrative case that the popular view of British war production that it wasn t good enough was false The book is actually a pretty dry academic recounting of British war production a third of the book is notes and references with a lot of facts, figures, and names, and not so much narrative It does occasionally get round to the case it promises British war production was strong and innovative, easily the match of Germany and the USA The blurb suggested a popular history that would make a narrative case that the popular view of British war production that it wasn t good enough was false The book is actually a pretty dry academic recounting of British war production a third of the book is notes and references with a lot of facts, figures, and names, and not so much narrative It does occasionally get round to the case it promises British war production was strong and innovative, easily the match of Germany and the USA early in the war, outstripping Germany handily by the end, although many of the inventions that became famous during and after the war PLUTO, Mulberry, the bouncing bomb had very little impact.An interesting story, competently if uninspiringly told An interesting read that sets out to challenge the conventional received narrative about Britain in the Second World War, starting from the argued premise that a Britain versus Nazi Germany conflict was a sure win for Britain not necessarily easy but sure The author offers lots of evidence to support that view supported by 81 pages of end notes and a 36 page bibliography He also goes to the trouble to explain how the received version of this history emerged and was propagated by both polit An interesting read that sets out to challenge the conventional received narrative about Britain in the Second World War, starting from the argued premise that a Britain versus Nazi Germany conflict was a sure win for Britain not necessarily easy but sure The author offers lots of evidence to support that view supported by 81 pages of end notes and a 36 page bibliography He also goes to the trouble to explain how the received version of this history emerged and was propagated by both politicians and historians You don t need to be convinced but if you wish to be considered a serious student of World War Two you need to read this book A good companion to works such as Tooze s Wages of Destruction and Collingham s The Taste of War, this work investigates British attitudes towards a war that was thought to be determined by modern technology The British Empire was notable for its reliance on its powerful industrial basis Perhaps Edgerton s book is not as thorough as the two studies mentioned above The book has a stronger political slant, as Edgerton argues that later historical interpretation of the war was strongly colored b A good companion to works such as Tooze s Wages of Destruction and Collingham s The Taste of War, this work investigates British attitudes towards a war that was thought to be determined by modern technology The British Empire was notable for its reliance on its powerful industrial basis Perhaps Edgerton s book is not as thorough as the two studies mentioned above The book has a stronger political slant, as Edgerton argues that later historical interpretation of the war was strongly colored by the rise of British nationalism and post war political thinking, which displaced the strongly internationalist outlook of the war years This gave rise to the myth of Britain standing alone against the might of Nazi occupied Europe, which in turn fed many small myths This work makes a strong effort to replace myth with facts and figures, and describe the reality of the war years The result is laden with information both on industry and on the important personalities of the period At times one does get the feeling that the author is overreaching a bit But this is a very interesting work, which may change one s perspective on a period about which all already appeared to be known A good debunking of many myths about British war production.