This is the first scholarly examination of education in current affairs and citizenship within the British Army in the twentieth century. S. P. MacKenzie charts the development of army education from its beginnings in the First World War, through its heyday in the Second World War, and analyses its final demise in the early 1950s.
Based on extensive research, Politics and Military Morale analyses the thinking which lay behind the establishment of army education schemes, their function and their effects. In particular, Dr. MacKenzie explores the controversial question of the part played in Labour's 1945 election victory by the rank and file of the British Army, often asserted to have absorbed the left-wing attitudes of the Army Bureau of Current Affairs and the Army Educational Corps. This is a comprehensive and rigorous study, which makes an important contribution to the history of the modern British Army.
`this book ... stands as a thoughtful and penetrating examination of an aspect of the army's history that has been not so much ignored as denied.'
John Beeler, The Historian.
`engrossing ... Throughout the study, Strachan's points are well founded, his examples appositely chosen, and his prose clear.'
John Beeler, The Historian.
`In this welcome new book S.P. Mackenzie provides a thorough survey of the debates ... careful study ... Mackenzie's book is a solid and useful addition to the increasingly sophisticated literature on war and society in twentieth-century Britain.'
The Historian Vol 56
`well-researched monograph ... Mackenzie's fine monograph illuminates an important and often misunderstood episode in the political and social history of the 1940's. ... Mackenzie's study adds a solid chapter to this complex story.'
Albion, Summer 1993, Vol 25 No 2
`Dr MacKenzie has provided a complete and valuable study of one significant manifestation of Britain as a "nation in arms" during the twentieth century and has illuminated an area where the army, perhaps unexpectedly, though largely successfully (since morale appears to have been improved by the exercise), exposed itself to what some regarded as subversive and communistic influences.'
Keith Jeffrey, Times Literary Supplement
'another excellent book published by the Oxford University Press recently... important new work.'
Military History Society
`... well-researched and fascination study ... Dr MacKenzie's coverage of the subject from 1917 onwards is very thorough. His comments on the Army Educational Corps are of particular interest. ... a valuable contribution to the history of military education. ...Politics and Military Morale is a thoughtful analysis of one facet of a state coming to terms with the demands of total war. This book clearly demonstrates that an examination of the
social history of a military force can deepen our understanding of the state and society which produced it.' GD, The Journal of Royal Military Academy Vol XLVI, Autumn 92
'this is an excellent study which raises many questions to be pursued by social historians'
Bob Bushaway, University of Birmingham, Social History Society Newsletter, Autumn 1993
'Mackenzie describes the struggle to control the content of army education with remarkable balance and sensitivity. His writing indicates a broad knowledge of the literature on British society in World War Two so the reader is never left to sink in a sea of administrative trivia. This is a fine book. It is carefully researched, clearly written, and sensibly argued.'
Terry Copp, Wilfrid Laurier University, Historical Studies in Education
'elegantly written work'
David French, History, No. 252, February 1993
'Paul MacKenzie has broken new ground by offering a well-thought out and cogently argued analysis of current-affairs and citizenship education in the British army from the beginning of the First World War to the Korean conflict. I commend this book to both British military and social historians who concentrate on the twentieth century ... a valuable book that offers much to scholars of twentieth-century Britain.'
B.J.C. McKercher, Royal Military College of Canada, Canadian Journal of History, XXVIII, December 1993
'In a fragmented way, much has already been written on army education, but MacKenzie has given us the first full scholarly account of its rise and fall. This is ... a first-class monograph.'
Paul Addison, University of Edinburgh, The International History Review, XV:4: November 1993
`Dr Mackenzie has written a very clear and rigourous account of the thinking behind the establishment of army education and of its considerable trials and tribluations. It is an important contribution to a growing literature.'
EHR 110 issue 436
`a new and entertaining history of the men who, armed with pikes and out-of-date rifles, took up the challenge to protect the realm from a German invasion during World War Two.'
`Using an impressive range of archival sources, MacKenzie has examined a somewhat prosaic subject, but has written a book which has broader implications than the title suggests.'
Canadian Military History