• David Roberts UK

Any lessons from the First World War??

Updated: Nov 27, 2018


(Southwark Cathedral Talk 3 November 2018, given by David Roberts. Original title and notes  at end of this post. A slightly enhanced version of the first part of this talk appears under FIRST WORLD WAR, SUCCESS on this remembering war website.)

At the end of the First World War for Britain, came victory, but a weakened country, an enlarged empire, a huge population of disabled ex-soldiers and searing grief in almost every town and village. Why the war? What had been achieved? Does history provide any lessons?

We are coming to the end of 4 years of commemorating the first world war. No country in history has ever endured such a prolonged and intense commemoration of a war. The government has spent £50 million funding projects to commemorate this war. The Heritage Lottery Fund gave grants of £3000 to £10,000 each to groups of people who wanted to research and commemorate the First World War.

But what is the use of all this storytelling and analysis of the First World War if we can learn nothing from it?

Seldom, in all this commemoration do we ever ask the question, What can we learn from this human catastrophe?

So let us not talk falsely now

the hour is getting late.

[Bob Dylan.]


Wars are always full of lies, deception, and self deception.

All wars are racist wars fought against the evil them by the self-righteous us.

[David Roberts]


Teachers have misled children using First World War poetry Wilfred Owen said that “the true poet must be truthful.” Yet his truth is called into question by some modern historians,  For example, Lynn McDonald and Dan Todman. They suggest that generations of young people have formed their opinions about the First World War based on selective information provided by the war poets and this information has misled and distorted their view of the war.  

Historians maintain that there were positive aspects of the war which are not recognised by modern readers. Also, that the response of the war poets that are best known to us today was not typical of the feelings and experience of the majority of the British  people.


Where does the truth lie? What’s wrong with the popular view?

How did the people of 1918 really view the end of the First World War?

As we look back at the First World War we tend to think of it as a disaster, a monstrous failure, with generals mindlessly throwing away the lives of tens of thousands of men in futile attacks which achieved nothing or less than nothing.

Siegfried Sassoon’s  poem, The General, is a succinct summary of this point of view.

THE GENERAL

Good morning, good morning! The General said

When we met him last week on our way to the line.

Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of them dead,

And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine.

He’s a cheery old card, grunted Harry to Jack

As they slogged  up to Arras with rifle and pack.

But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

[Siegfried Sassoon]


Two ideas in this poem come through in the most studied war poems of the First World War. 

1. The incompetence of Generals. 2. The idea that most of the soldiers who fought were killed.

Not only poets promoted this point of view.

David Lloyd George, the Prime Minister, in his war memoirs was scathing about the conduct of his generals and in particular  Field Marshal Douglas Haig.

Writing about the Battle of the Somme he said, “The volunteers of 1914 and 1915 …. 500,000 of these men …  were thrown away on a stubborn and unintelligent hammering away at what was then an impenetrable barrier.” The Battle of the Somme ran from 1st July till 18th November 1916.

But the British people in 1918 did not see the First World War as a disaster conducted by incompetent generals. On November 11th 1918 the principal initial reaction to victory was jubilation.

and the man given the credit for the achievement of victory was not Lloyd George, the Prime Minister, but Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig.  He was feted in the press as the conquering hero.

Soon he was made an Earl, and such was the high regard of the newspapers and the mass of the public for him that Parliament voted a gift to him from the public purse of £100,000.

Government wanted a victory parade The government  mood was all for celebration. It planned a victory parade which took place on July 19th 1919 15,000 able bodied servicemen marched down Whitehall. At the new hastily constructed temporary cenotaph soldiers saluted it as a mark of respect for the dead.

Celebrating in ignorance

Celebrating military achievement is easiest when you don’t know the scale of the suffering and losses.

Today we can have a fairly accurate idea of the scale of casualties in the First World War, but the people of 1918 had no such information. Censorship and press lies combined to keep the British people in childlike ignorance of the unfolding horror.

British people were propaganda victims

How were the people of 1918 mis-informed about the First World War? They probably believed they were reading trustworthy newspapers.

Times publicity leaflet 2018

So, today, publicity for The Times claims 233 years of quality journalism.

And that it is Britain’s most trusted newspaper.

As an example of how the misinformation system worked let’s look at The Times’ report on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

This was the worst day in British military history. 20,000 men were killed and a further 40,000 were injured.

The Times on the Battle of the Somme

The Times headline FIRST DAYS RESULTS.

The report read,

“It is now possible to get something like an accurate picture of the results of the first days fighting in the battle which is now raging here; and the essential fact that stands out is that on the main part of the offensive both we and the French won complete success.”

There’s quite a bit more describing the complete success of the day.

So people back home in Britain could feel pretty pleased with the progress of the war - even on the worst day in British military history.

Popular press teamed up with politicians

So the popular press powerfully influenced, even molded, public opinion and the influence of the press came about because the owners were friends with, and worked closely with, politicians.


Press encouraged hatred

It was the popular papers that helped to stir up hatred of Germany before, during, and after the First World War when they fostered a spirit of revenge in Britain.

The poet, Siegfried Sassoon, had come across the spirit of revenge on the 6th of November 1918 when he went to see Winston Churchill in untypical mood. He wrote in his diary that day, “saw Winston Churchill for a few minutes at the ministry. Full of Victory talk . . .   one feels that England is going to increase in power enormously. They mean to skin Germany alive. ‘A peace to end peace!’ “

The very harsh terms of the Versailles Treaty which concluded the First World War were predicted by Lloyd George to cause immense anger in Germany and be the cause of another war.

No press monopoly on knowledge about the war

The press did not hold a monopoly on the sources of information. Although the people of Britain could not know the casualty statistics of the war, huge numbers knew of their personal losses and those of friends and neighbours. Their mood was not for celebrating the peace.

On the day of the victory parade no sooner had the troops passed the Cenotaph than members of the public rushed forward with flowers and  wreaths to place at the foot of the temporary memorial.

The following year, when the new Cenotaph, now constructed of Portland stone, was in place, so many people came to lay wreaths that the whole of Whitehall was blocked and remained closed to traffic for five days.

The Balance Sheet -  celebration versus distress and anger

So, in simple terms the mass of the population at the end of the First World War was celebrating victory OR wracked with grief and distress at the loss of loved ones and the crippling of others.

How should we view The Peace of 1918?

Should we celebrate our victory and the peace that was achieved?

November 1918 found Europe reeling from the greatest self-inflicted catastrophe ever experienced by mankind up to that time.

The total war dead for the  First World War is now estimated to be around 15 million people. Ten million combattants and about 5 million civilians.

UK Deaths and seriously disabled

British losses were 740,000 men killed.

But it is not true that most British men who went to fight were killed. Whilst  some front line regiments were practically wiped out, in the British army as a whole nearly 90% of the British soldiers who fought came home alive.

“Being alive” is a relative term. Vast numbers, nearly half of British combattants (2.4 million) were seriously disabled by the war.

Trauma, grief, and the loss of “breadwinners” and the creation of hundreds of thousands of disabled dependents brought distress and poverty to hundreds of thousands of homes across the country  - distress which was to last for many years.

Wilfred Owen’s poem Mental Cases, his poem Disability and Sassoon’s poem,Does it matter?  Does it matter, losing your legs? give just a small insight into the nature of the suffering but not the scale of it..

In Germany and Austria/Hungary the British blockade had led to immense suffering with hundreds of thousands of people dying of starvation in the last half of the war and in the following year. The British blockade of German ports, which prevented food getting into Germany, was maintained into 1919 in spite of the war having ended.

This picture was taken in Vienna shortly after the end of the First World War

There were vast numbers of responses to the end o f the war, mostly reflecting on individual experiences. My anthology, Minds at War, contains 250 poems of the war. Thirty three of these express a wide variety of responses to the end of the war. also included are Wilfred Owen's poems, The End, and Imperial Elegy. Though written long before the end of the war they envisage the scale of the disaster.

Can any aspects of the war be counted a success?

To judge the success of a war we must know the British aims in entering this war. What were the British government and the British people trying to achieve? What were the reasons given for war?

  • To save Britain from a German invasion.

  • to save poor little Belgium from the German invasion and expel the invader.

  • To save France from German occupation and honour our agreement to support them if attacked

  • To save Europe from German domination

  • To prove that might is not right.

  • To smash militarism forever - a war to end war.

  • To fight a war for civilised values.

  • To set back Germany's growing strength in international trade

  • To preserve or expand the British Empire.

  • To secure the Suez Canal To take control of Palestine

  • To secure the oil fields of Iraq (then known as Mesopotamia)

Not all these aims were declared at the start of the war, but very early on in the war troops were dispatched to places which were nothing to do with the defence of Belgium, France or Britain. 1.5 million Indians fought and many of these fought to win Iraq for Britain.

Let’s examine just a few of these.

1 A land invasion by Germany was prevented. People in Britain had truly feared a German invasion so for British people this may have been the most significant success. There was immense relief. But did the Germans ever plan such an invasion? Probably not.

2. But from the British point of view the immediate stimulus for going to war in 1914 was Germany's occupation of Belgium. And this must have been coupled in the minds of many with the realisation that the enemy was very close to British shores.

Save poor little Belgium had been the cry in 1914.



Was Belgium saved?

Although German troops were expelled at the end of the war Belgium suffered horrendously.

Within weeks of marching into this neutral country the German army carried out savage reprisals against civilians who had attempted to harass the German forces by tearing up railway lines. Scores of civilians including children, teenagers and old people had been rounded up for being in the vicinity of the sabotage and killed by firing squads. For example, on the 23rd of August 1914 in the town of Dinant 612 men, women and children were executed.

Villages, including churches, were totally destroyed.

700,000 Belgian men had been deported to Germany as slave labourers.

Famine had broken out. The birth rate fell by 75%.

The university city of Louvain had been set on fire.

Art treasures had been looted and shipped to Germany. Machinery from factories was taken to Germany and what could not be moved had been destroyed. Blast furnaces had been blown up. Coal mines had been flooded.

In the Imperial War Museum today you can see a film, taken from an aircraft flying over the villages and towns in Belgium and Northern France, showing them in ruins. Scenes like this.



Towns like Ypres had been blasted to rubble.

Vast areas of farmlands were ruined by trenches and shells.

British action did not save Belgium. British action did not establish humanitarian principles. It played a part in a prolonged catastrophic humanitarian disaster.


France Saving France Yes, undoubtedly the French felt immense relief at the end of the war. France was saved from conquest by Germany, and a major gain for the French was the return of their provinces of Alsace and Lorraine. But the French paid a terrible price - worse than the suffering of Belgium, and with far greater human losses than Britain. Unlike Britain the French also had to cope with vast areas of devastation. Through Belgium and France the 250 mile Western Front saw almost 1,700 towns and villages destroyed.

Preventing the German domination of Europe

That aim was achieved in 1919 but it was to be contested again 20 years later so it was a staving off, rather than a saving. And some would argue that Germany's dominant role in The European Union means that by peaceful means Germany has achieved what it twice failed to achieve by war.

A war for civilised values

This is an important claim because it is a claim often made in support of contemporary wars. Nowadays it is expressed as humanitarian intervention.

On the 7th of August 1914, Herbert Asquith the Prime Minister, said in Parliament that the war was “in defence of principles, the maintenance of which is vital to the civilisation of the world.” It was ironic that a British government that ruled a quarter of the world by force, and with a record of often using great brutality, should be preaching about moral principles on this occasion.

Britain in 1914 was only an emerging democracy. Just 8 million men had the vote, and when the war was over conscientious objectors, as a punishment, were deprived of the vote for 5 years.

We had a free press which gave freedom to rich newspaper owners to promote the arms industry, continually make the case for war and deliberately create fear and hatred of Germany.

The humanitarian crisis developed in Belgium within a matter of days of the war starting. but what is principled, what is humanitarian in the obscenity of a war which killed 15 million people? Nothing is less principled, nothing is less civilised than warfare.

Today we might ask what sort of British values are represented by our bombing of Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Lessons from the First World War Can we learn anything from this war - about how wars start - or how they may be avoided?

It is often said that no one expected, in the beautiful peaceful summer of 1914, that a European war would break out and that everyone was taken by surprise.

It was as if the war had started by mere chance. But wars cannot start by mere chance. It takes years to prepare for a war.

There are clear steps to war and European Nations then, as now, had taken all the steps in readiness for war.

Steps to a war

1. MOTIVE

Wars start with an idea, a motive. The commonest motives are

  • fear of attack by another country

  • desire to expand territory

  • desire to promote an ideology or expand influence and control

  • revenge

  • wars may be motivated by the dreams of deranged leaders - men with personality and mental disorders - maybe psychopathic, narcissistic, delusional megalomaniacs.

2. PREPARING THEIR POPULATIONS

Populations must be led to fear an enemy and so be willing to support massive arms spending. This is done using the media.

3. PHYSICAL PREPARATIONS

Weapons are manufactured, armies and technocrats are trained; strategies and timetables are prepared.

By 1914 several nations had been expecting war in Europe for a long time.

Talk of a war in Europe had started over half a century earlier, even before the creation of the German state in 1871. Before the end of the 19th century politicians and newspapers were discussing the “inevitability” of an armed conflict between Britain and Germany.

There were press campaigns, all bolstered by the created fear of Germany, for the expansion of Britain's army and more and more weapons, particularly battleships.

As part of this campaign a great deal of popular fiction was created telling the story of the German invasion of Britain or the British invasion of Germany.

For example, in 1905 Lord Northcliffe who used his papers to develop in the British people a fear of a German invasion, commissioned a story of such an invasion from the author William Le Queux. The story was serialised in the Daily Mail and was very popular. The story was then turned into a book and became the best seller of 1906. The clear purpose of the story was to build up fear of Germany and justify arms spending.



A friend of Lord Northcliffe (Earl Roberts, no relation) was quoted at the start of the preface. This began, “I sometimes despair of the country ever becoming alive to the danger of the unpreparedness of our present position until too late to prevent some fatal catastrophe.”

Fear and alarm

Fear and alarm were developed in the German press too.

Fear of Britain in Germany was increased, not only by the stories in the British press, but also by some of the statements of leading figures. One of these was Sir John Fisher, First Sea Lord.

He made a public statement urging a strike against the German navy, blowing it up while it was still in port. He talked publicly of “Smashing the German Fleet.” He urged a preemptive war.

Talk of a preemptive war naturally alarmed German politicians and encouraged their military expansion.

Minds prepared for war

So this is a key point: in essence, the minds of whole populations had been conditioned to fear the aggression of another nation and this was used to justify exceptional spending on armaments. The nations were ready for war.

When Germany made an aggressive move by marching into Belgium this instantly set alarm bells ringing in everyone's head. All the talk about Germany being an aggressor was suddenly proved to be true and this galvanized the British nation into action.

Today

So what is happening today? In a short space of time we can only look at a few key aspects of war in our times and see what lessons we may learn from the experience of the First World War.


America You don't need to be a student of international relations to notice that one country is involved in modern conflicts more than any other. This is America. It is crucial that we understand what America is doing as we are tied militarily to this country by being part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) and by proclaiming ourselves to be America’s best friend and ally, come what may.

Since 1945 America has attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments and has bombed more than 25 countries. [ Killing Hope page 392]

Why? Two reasons. The first is ideological. The second reason is that America is driven by its arms industry.

ideology

The ideology is anti-communism. The American government's hostility to communism and anything which looks like state control of anything is well known. We will all be familiar with America’s hostility to state provided health services like those found in European countries. The American government sees the state control of anything as an infringement of individual liberty.

Expressed another way, America wants the economies of all countries to run on principles of capitalism and free enterprise - so that American corporations can buy up and profit from the raw materials and resources of these countries and buy up or buy into lucrative enterprises. There is the clearest possible evidence that this was part of what was behind the horrendous bombing of Kosovo in 1999, and Iraq in 2003 - For evidence please see the introduction to my pamphlet, Lessons from Iraq, the UN must be reformed.



Pressure of the arms industry

The other factor driving US foreign policy is their arms industry. America has by far the largest arms industry in the world which is largely supported by its own defence or one might say war budget.


It is difficult to imagine any country wanting to invade America. Which country is this colossal arms spending aimed at keeping out? In order to justify this budget and sustain the American arms industries America needs both wars and enemies. If it has enemies then that justifies spending on weapons to defend itself whether there is a war or not.

Therefore America sets out to create enemies.

One method of creating an enemy is to use the media and describe a country as evil, as a threat, and to suggest that in the words of Sir John Fisher, it needs smashing. Any country that hears US leaders talking in this way is bound to feel that it needs to build up its own defences against a possible American attack.

America's war talk provokes arms manufacture, military expansion and anti-Americanism. America then points out that country x is building up weapons and is therefore a threat “ to the civilised world”. This talk helps to create fear in America and the West and to justify the spending on weapons allegedly for self defence.

This process follows the pattern of what Britain and Germany did before the First World War, a tit for tat slanging match that built up mutual fear.

You may recall President Bush referring to certain countries in the Middle East as “an Axis of Evil”.

Today we have the US quarrelling with a number of countries including Iran and Russia.


The Russian Threat Let's look at Russia and the Russian threat. For most of my life, over 40 years, I lived with the words “the Russian threat” ringing in my ears. Russia being the inaccurate and popular name for the Soviet Union. This alleged threat was used to justify billions of pounds of spending on nuclear weapons. After decades of this immoral nuclear arms race and shameful waste of money the Soviet threat disappeared suddenly.



On 31st March 1991 the satellite states of the Soviet Union, the members of the Warsaw Pact, ceased to take orders from the Soviet Union. The Warsaw Pact ceased to exist.

Soviet Union military commanders had then announced that they had relinquished control of Warsaw pact forces.

Then, on the 26th of December 1991 The Soviet Union itself dissolved. The constituent Republics were declared independent.



The Soviet Union, rather than being a threat couldn't even hold itself together. An alleged threat for over 40 years had been a deception.

Russia today

Today Russia is being provoked into posing a threat to the west.

Over the last few decades we can see that Russia lost influence and control over countries which it regarded as its own. But for a Russian leader things must seem a lot worse than a simple loss of control.



A number of these lost countries have been invited to join the European Union. Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and so on are now members.

Ten countries which were members of the Warsaw pact have changed sides to become members of NATO.

Russia might well consider its western border to be crumbling with countries which are not friendly towards it ranged along it.

Today we have British troops deployed as part of Nato in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. These forces provocatively carry out military exercises close to the Russian border.

In 1999, in a blatant flouting of international law, and its own treaty, Nato indulged in a war of aggression and bombed Kosovo which was a province of Yugoslavia. This communist country was firmly in the Russian sphere of influence. Such an action by Nato can only be experienced by Russia as a threat and make it fear that Nato might dare to use military force against it. Today Russia is suffering from western sanctions imposed after its action in the Crimea.

This is all quite humiliating for Vladimir Putin. He can’t simply ignore Nato’s behaviour. So what does he do? He has to look tough. He tries to make a great show of Russia’s military strength, flexing his military prowess in Syria, invading NATO airspace, harassing Nato’s submarines.



and on 29th August this year holding the biggest Russian military exercise since the days of the cold war.

Details of his military actions are fed to our media which quite reasonably interpret them as a threat to Britain. But media coverage goes beyond this. Since I planned this talk in August there has been an increasing attempt by the media to build up fear of Russia. Huge coverage was given in the Sunday Times on the 7th of October 2018. This was about a recent British military training exercise where British soldiers in the Omani desert practised fighting “Russians”.


Notice heading "troops have one enemy in mind: Russia"


NEWS ARTICLE IN SUNDAY TIMES 7 OCT - THREAT TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS

A “senior source” is even quoted as suggesting that Britain might use nuclear weapons against Russia. Reckless, outrageous and irresponsible. Such a statement is not going to encourage Russia to reduce its military strength! A threat not so very different from Sir John Fisher’s threat to smash the German fleet.



Then we are treated to a chart showing how our military hardware cannot match Russia’s Oh Dear! It would seem we are being encouraged to think that we need a ten-fold increase in military hardware in order to be able to fight Russia. This is a crazy idea. The alternative is obvious. We’d better make friends with Russia. On 23nd October (2018) President Trump announced that he was going to build more nuclear weapons in response to the alleged build up of Russian nuclear weapons.


Aims to justify increased arms spending Whilst we as a people feel we are suffering from threats from other countries, however unrealistic these may be, we may be persuaded to think that our billions spent on defence is well spent.

Only this Monday, 29 October 2018, an extra £2 billion was added to the defence budget. [£1 billion this year, £1billion for next year. Nothing for police and prisons. £400 million for schools.]

How does peace break out?

For centuries Britain fought France, Spain and Holland. How do we defend ourselves against potential attacks from these countries today? Surely an attack by one of these countries is unthinkable. We have planned no defence against attacks by these countries.

To put the question another way how is it that our former enemies whom we fought for centuries are now our friends and trading partners? At some point and in some way we began to move from enmity to friendship. It all begins with having the idea, followed by making overtures. It begins with goodwill on one side.

If we can understand how peace has broken out with these former enemies then surely we can turn current enemies into friends.

Can we avoid the mistakes of European countries before the First World War and tone down and then counter a buildup of fear? Can we not foster friendly relations with Iran and Russia, for example?

Running out of money In 1914 HG Wells observed that “ All Europe has for more than half a century bent more and more wearily under a perpetually increasing burden of armaments. . . with the fear of war universally poisoning its life . . . with everything pinched but its equipment for war.”

Is life in Britain pinched? It appears that although we are one of the richest countries in the world we are running out of money and cannot adequately finance policing, prisons, healthcare and education. Yet, at the same time, we have found huge sums of money for recent wars, and increased arms spending for future wars.

We have just purchased two new aircraft carriers at a cost of £7 billion and are planning to spend over £60 billion pounds on nuclear weapons. We spent maybe £60 billion on wars against Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.


Spending in £billions not including extra costs of specific wars. According to the MOD website Brain is the 5th largest arms spender in the world.

Britain’s actual defence needs

What are Britain’s real defence needs?

Your opportunity to make an assessment.

For example, do our needs include two new aircraft carriers at a cost of 7 billion pounds? By 2021 the first one is expected to have 12 aircraft. How could such ships defend Britain? Where would you place them? This ship has a crew of 700 which means that there is a considerable ongoing cost. It has been suggested that such a ship would be an easy target for a modern day missile.


Is it right and does it make military sense to invest huge sums of money in more nuclear weapons which will cost upward of £60 billion? These are weapons of mass extermination. Which cities might we feel it right to destroy with nuclear weapons? Which countries might attack us in the foreseeable future? And what could their motives be?

Did we need to spend more than £50 billion on our wars against Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq?

It is difficult to identify any country that is likely to attack us in the next 5 or 10 years. There are no countries that we will need to invade in the foreseeable future. There are no major cities anywhere in the world that we are likely to feel the need to destroy utterly using nuclear weapons. - Just my opinion.

If there is truth in these suggestions then Britain can drastically cut its defence spending and transfer it to socially useful purposes. We do not need to be caught up in the lethal war games of the United States of America, Or follow the pattern of threat and counter-threat that Britain and Germany indulged in before the First World War.

We have to recognise that peaceful cooperation and mutual assistance are the keys to security and the only sure form of defence.


Cover of this tiny but truly important little book.

The most important peace document ever written was the Charter of the United Nations. This should be our guide. It should be studied in every secondary school and college in the world. Key sections of this are quoted in my booklet on the Iraq War and the UN, and my book of remembrance poems and readings.

Poets and poems can’t solve the problems of international relations, but they can identify what is needed. The cruel irony of war is that when we kill others we are killing people just like ourselves.

There will be no peace Till enemies become fellow human beings.

And Wilfred Owen wrote in Strange Meeting the story of his ghost meeting the ghost of a German soldier. He pointed to the problem. He said,

I am the enemy you killed, my friend.


END OF TALK

--------------------

I'd like to recommend two books. The first is Killing Hope by Lionel Blum. This gives you the details of America's horrendous record of military intervention since the Second World War.

The second book is Lawless World by Philippe Sands. This is a fascinating account of how international law and the United Nations are breaking down and failing the world.

David Roberts, 3 November 2018


[NB This is the text of a talk given to an audience in the library of Southwark Cathedral on 3 November 2018. Original title: At the end of the First World War came “The Peace to End Peace” (Siegfried Sassoon) What had been achieved? What are the lessons? -  The poetry, the politics, the facts. A talk by David Roberts.

The limited time available for dealing with this large topic led to a certain amount of oversimplification and sometimes an absence of supporting evidence. Nevertheless, in essence I think the talk raises important ideas and tells a fair story.  -  DR.]

Cost of Keeping Nuclear Weapons (details) Manufacturing four submarines to replace our current Trident nuclear submarines – £31 billion

Contingency fund in anticipation of cost over-run – £10 billion

Missile life extension programme to keep our current nuclear missiles working longer – £350 million

Replacement warheads – £4 billion

Infrastructure capital costs – £4 billion

Decommissioning existing nuclear submarines and warheads– £13 billion Total more than £62 billion




teachingthefirstworldwar# lessonsoftheFirstWorldWar# aftermathFirstWorldWar#

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Remembrance Poems and Readings is published by Saxon Books (UK)