The ‘No War Rule’

Part of the Studies in Military and Strategic History book series (SMSH)


Held to be a crowning example of budget-driven, civilian mis-management of military affairs, and an illustration of the perils of failing to consult professional defence planners in matters of national security, the no-war rule of 1919–1933 has clearly made a deep impression on strategic thinking in Britain. But what is most interesting about the above comment is not that it was made in mid-1990, but that it could also have been uttered in, and of, the late 1940s. During post-war discussion of strategy and resources a variation of the rule was developed which, like its predecessor, still crops up in contemporary defence policy debate in Britain.


Atomic Weapon Atomic Bomb Defence Policy Strategic Thinking Defence Budget 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    N. Bagnall, ‘Keeping Up Our Guard Against the Unexpected’, Daily Telegraph, 26 June 1990.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Quoted in S. Roskill, ‘The Ten Year Rule — The Historical Facts’, Journal of the Royal United Services Institute (March 1972), p. 69.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    C. Barnett, The Collapse of British Power (Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1987), p. 278.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    P. Silverman, ‘The Ten Year Rule’, Journal of the Royal United Services Institute (March 1971).Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    K. Booth, ‘The Ten Year Rule; An Unfinished Debate’, Journal of the Royal United Services Institute (September 1971).Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    M. Edmonds, ‘Planning Britain’s Defence, 1945–85’, in Edmonds (ed.), The Defence Equation, p.12.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    W. Jackson and E. Bramall, The Chiefs: The Story of the United Kingdom Chiefs of Staff (London: Brassey’s, 1992 ), pp. 270–1.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    E. Grove, ‘The Post War “Ten Year Rule” — Myth and Reality’, Journal of the Royal United Services Institute (129/4, 1984 ).Google Scholar
  9. 24.
    A.J.P. Taylor, English History 1914–1945(Oxford University Press, 1965), p.460.Google Scholar
  10. 32.
    M. Gowing, Independence and Deterrence: Britain and Atomic Energy, 1945–1952. Volume I: Policy Making (London: Macmillan, 1974), p. 35.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Paul Cornish 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Security ProgrammeRoyal Institute of International AffairsLondonUK

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