Attitudes in Britain towards its Armed Forces and war 1960-2000

Lamonte, Jon (2011). Attitudes in Britain towards its Armed Forces and war 1960-2000. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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From the aftermath of Suez to the Kosovo campaign, Britain lost most of its colonies and ended up taking a moral interventionist stance on the world stage with the US its major ally. Against that contextual background, this thesis considers the attitudes in Britain towards its Armed Forces and war from 1960 to 2000. Using a range of lenses, the paper highlights the complexity of change. Homosexuality was a scandalous issue for society in the 1960s, such that the 1967 Act which decriminalised it was not really widely accepted. For the Armed Forces, searches for homosexuals increased on grounds of security. The Act of Remembrance, as recorded in churches, shows the mixed approach of the clergy to war, particularly dependent on their own experience, and also the change in mood from a religious service to a secular one. In the notable campaigns that did take place over the period, Borneo, the Falklands, Bosnia, Kosovo and the Gulf War, a methodical view is taken of opinion polls, press coverage, and letters pages to establish trends at the political, elite and public levels. The media has been used as a reference throughout the thesis as a measure of opinion, but here is analysed for its own biases and approaches, since it has a clear effect on people’s opinions, both from fiction and fact. Overall, the thesis paints a complex web of declining interest in defence issues, greater self-interest amongst many, increasing secularisation, and greater tolerance, yet conversely, points to underlying themes of pride in individual servicemen and the institution of the Armed Forces.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of History
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain


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