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Politics and National Security: The Battles for Britain

Conflict Management and Peace Science , Volume 21 (4): 269 – Sep 1, 2004

Details

Publisher
Sage Publications
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0738-8942
eISSN
0738-8942
D.O.I.
10.1080/07388940490882541
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Politics and National Security: The Battles for Britain

Abstract

Between 1889 and 1939 Britain created security for itself through alliances, rearmament, or appeasement (either alone or in some combination). The existing literature emphasizes the role of geopolitics, domestic characteristics, and individual idiosyncrasies to explain Britain's choices. I argue that within Britain, two broad and logrolled coalitions (outward-looking internationalist bloc and inward-oriented nationalist faction) battled to advance their faction's preferred security strategy and to capture the associated distributive benefits. Supporters and opponents understood that how Britain secured itself would create internal winners and losers. Supporters and opponents also recognized that any changes in the security strategy would have domestic redistributional consequences. I apply this model to Britain and use a longitudinal controlled comparison over three periods: 1889—1914, 1914—1919, and 1919—1939.
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