november / 29


29th November, 1933 : The Government today admitted its policy of cutting arms spending in the hope other nations will follow had failed. Now the forces will receive a boost aimed at bringing Britain up to match the strength of the other great powers. Lord Londonderry, the Air Minister, told the Lords: “We cannot continue in our present inferiority. Our Air Force must be as strong as that of any other nation.” In the Commons, Stanley Baldwin said defence of the country would, from now on, be treated as one, so that spending on the three services can be tailored to meet the potential threat. Britain could not continue to stand alone disarmed. Earlier this month the First Lord of Admiralty announced a new naval building programme, admitting that the policy of building small ships, in the hope other countries would follow the example, had failed.

[Under Labor, Australia’s defence spending as a share of the economy fell to 1.58 per cent – its lowest level since the 1930s.]

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