A Citizens' Army

Geoffrey G. Field

in Blood, Sweat, and Toil

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604111
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731686 | DOI:
A Citizens' Army

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter examines the transformation of the British army from a small professional force into a mass conscript army. It discusses such issues as promotion, discipline, the relations of officers and men, conflicts over basic rights between the army and its ‘civilians in uniform’, and political activity. Armies reflect the values and priorities of the societies in which they develop. Particular attention is paid to ways in which division between officers and men replicated class stratification, the expansion of army education schemes (ABCA) to improve morale, the grass-roots forces press, the Cairo and other ‘mock’ forces parliaments, and discontent and strikes among troops awaiting demobilization. A final section focuses on demobilization and the special difficulties of war widows and wives of disabled soldiers who received niggardly treatment from the state.

Keywords: British army; officer selection; ABCA (Army Bureau of Current Affairs); army education; forces parliaments; forces press; mutiny; demobilization; war widows

Chapter.  27130 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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