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World War to Cold War: formative episodes in the development of the British aircraft industry, 1943-1965

Nahum, Andrew (2002) World War to Cold War: formative episodes in the development of the British aircraft industry, 1943-1965. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.5j0qccuoa3j7


This thesis studies the evolution of the aircraft industry as it emerged from the Second World War and its relationship with the State, running through to the re-evaluation of this State-industry relationship from the late 1950s and into the 1960s. It takes, for this purpose, major formative events which, it is argued, had a defining influence on the shape of industry and its relationship with government, beginning with the reconstruction plans for the huge war-time industry, formulated within the Ministry of Aircraft Production with a powerful input from Sir Stafford Cripps. Thus considerable attention is given to the development of the Whittle jet engine and its effect on British aviation. A new assessment stresses the importance of the jet to hopes in Britain for the capability of the industry, but also discusses and uncovers the reasons for the strains in the war-time relationship between Whittle and the MAP which nearly proved fatal to the project. The role of the government research at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, which was crucial to the industry during the competitive contest of Cold War aeronautical development, is also examined. Detailed case studies of the progress of civil and military engine and aircraft programmes are used in this period to examine the nature of the government/industry relationship and its changing pattern over time. This study takes the position that the progress of the British aircraft industry in the post-war period must be explained not only in terms of evolving national defence objectives and technological developments, but also in terms of day-today institutionalised government policy and episodic major political shifts. This analysis therefore represents the intersection of a history of technology with a socio-cultural and political account.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2002 Andrew Lionel Nahum
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Supervisor: Howlett, Peter and Baines, Dudley

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