Book Review-‘Planning and Profits: British naval armaments manufacture and the military–industrialcomplex, 1918–1941’ by C. W. Miller

By Andrew Lambert, published December 2020


The evolution of British warship building infrastructure between the two World Wars has long been a significant historiographical issue, attracting attention in Churchill’s war memoirs, official histories, academic monographs, broader surveys of British strategic capacity, industrial performance, and specific aspects of warship construction. Christopher Miller’s contribution, developed from a PhD written in the Glasgow University Centre for Business History in Scotland, offers a distinctly commercial perspective on the issue.

In 1919 Britain possessed unprecedented naval industrial assets, the Royal Dockyards, along with major shipbuilding concerns, some of which were integrated with armour plate, marine engine and boiler suppliers, and other specialist firms. This industry had developed during the unprecedented peace time defence expansion that began in 1889 and was sustained at a consistently high level down to 1914, prompting new firms to enter the business, and others to integrate. This unique capability enabled Britain to dominate the lucrative warship export market, and meet the extraordinary demands generated by the Anglo-German Arms Race between 1906 and 1914…

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Filed under: Interwar
Subjects include: Weapons

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