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Munitions 1914–16

  • Andrew Suttie

Abstract

The establishment and development of the Ministry of Munitions by Lloyd George in 1915–16 was one of the Asquith Coalition’s few success stories, and the chapters devoted to munitions remain (in contrast to other chapters of the War Memoirs) a valuable contribution to our historical understanding of a comparatively neglected topic.1 War production was put on a sounder footing and rose dramatically from 1916. Lloyd George and his new ministry, he claims in the War Memoirs, laid the foundation in 1915–16 for the Allies’ material superiority in 1917–18. His account of the work of the Ministry of Munitions in the War Memoirs, however, can be criticised on a number of fronts. His allegations of War Office inefficiency prior to his appointment in June 1915 are, for example, greatly exaggerated, and to a significant extent quantity came at the expense of quality in many areas.

Keywords

High Explosive Industrial Capacity British Army Munition Programme Western Front 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    For general accounts of Lloyd George and the Ministry of Munitions, see R.J.Q. Adams, Arms and the Wizard: Lloyd George and the Ministry of Munitions 1915–1916 (London: Cassell, 1978); Google Scholar
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  7. 3.
    See Michael and Eleonor Brock (eds), H.H. Asquith: Letters to Venetia Stanley (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 558; Google Scholar
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  10. 5.
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  11. 11.
    Chris Wrigley, ‘The Ministry of Munitions: An Innovatory Department’, in Kathleen Burk (ed.), War and the State: The Transformation of British Government 1914–1919 (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1982), p. 38; a similar point is made by Strachan, The First World War, I, pp. 1069.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
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  13. 14.
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  27. 77.
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  34. 81.
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  35. 85.
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  36. 87.
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  37. 90.
    See Tim Travers, How the War Was Won: Command and Technology in the British Army on the Western front 1917–1918 (London and New York: Routledge, 1992), pp. 20–22; Wilson, Myriad Faces, pp. 486–89; Terraine, The Smoke and the Fire, pp. 153–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 92.
    Military Operations 1916, II, p. 365; Robin Prior, Churchill’s ‘World Crisis’ as History (London: Croom Helm, 1983), p. 239.Google Scholar

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© Andrew Suttie 2005

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  • Andrew Suttie

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