World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Demobilisation of the British Armed Forces after the Second World War

Article Id: WHEBN0022787587
Reproduction Date:

Title: Demobilisation of the British Armed Forces after the Second World War  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Conscription in the United Kingdom, 1945 in the United Kingdom, Norman Collier, British Armed Forces, Demobilization of United States armed forces after World War II
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Demobilisation of the British Armed Forces after the Second World War

At the end of the Second World War, there were approximately five million servicemen and servicewomen in the British armed forces.[1] The demobilisation and reassimilation of this vast force back into civilian life was one of the first and greatest challenges facing the postwar British government.

Demobilisation plan

The wartime Minister of Labour and National Service, Ernest Bevin, was the chief architect of the demobilisation plan, which was unveiled to the public on September 22, 1944. Most servicemen and servicewomen were to be released from the armed forces according to their 'age-and-service number', which, as its name suggests, was calculated from their age and the months they had served in uniform. A small number of so-called 'key men' whose occupational skills were vital to postwar reconstruction were to be released ahead of their turn. Married women and men aged fifty or more were also given immediate priority.[2]

Release process

The release process began on June 18, 1945, about six weeks after V-E Day.[3] During the next eighteen months about 4.3 million men and women returned to 'civvy street'.[4] The process was not without controversy. Frustration at the allegedly slow pace of release led to a number of disciplinary incidents in all branches of the armed services in the winter of 1945-6, most famously the so-called RAF 'strikes' in India and South East Asia.

Personal challenges

Aside from the institutional problems of release, returning service-men and -women faced all kinds of personal challenges on their return to civilian life. Britain had undergone six years of bombardment and blockade, and there was a shortage of many of the basic essentials of living, including food, clothing, and housing. Husbands and wives also had to adjust to living together again after many years apart. One indicator of the social problems this caused was the postwar divorce rate; over 60,000 applications were processed in 1947 alone, a figure that would not be reached again until the 1960s.[5]

See also

References and sources

  1. ^ Allport (2009), p. 3
  2. ^ Allport (2009), p. 23-4
  3. ^ Allport (2009), p. 26
  4. ^ Allport (2009), p. 43
  5. ^ Allport (2009), p. 87
  • Alan Allport, Demobbed: Coming Home After the Second World War, Yale University Press, 2009, ISBN 0-300-14043-6

Further reading

  • Barry Turner & Tony Rennell, When Daddy Came Home: How Family Life Changed Forever in 1945, Pimlico, 1995, ISBN 0-7126-7469-1
  • Roger Broad, "The Radical General: Sir Ronald Adam and Britain's New Model Army 1941-46", The History Press, 201,ISBN 978-0-7524-6559-3

External links

  • Post-Blogging the British Demobilisation Experience: June 1945 - June 1946
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.