By Kenneth G. Munson
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Extra info for Aircraft of World War I
107 Because it deﬁned the British state’s obligations to its citizens, the question of employment for badly disabled ex-servicemen became one of the more contentious social issues that the government faced in the immediate postwar years. The problem rested on an assessment of responsibility. What were the state’s obligations to the victims of the war? Was a pension fair compensation for permanent disability even if, as in the majority of cases, the rates paid were not sufﬁcient to support a man and his family?
Not only were the civil servants there completely unprepared to carry out the task, but those disabled men who had found jobs in the ﬂush im- Cohen_001_192 6/28/01 2:37 PM Page 27 A Voluntary Peace 27 mediate postwar economy were reportedly reluctant to abandon steady work for an uncertain course of rehabilitation. 57 In comparison with the Continental states, the British government did not rate as a priority the return of disabled men to the workforce. Acting on the assumption of a postwar labor surplus, ofﬁcials delayed the establishment of training programs and looked to private enterprise to provide employment.
14 This chapter explores the making of social peace in the Great War’s aftermath. An analysis of the symbolic politics of gratitude, it assesses the signiﬁcance of voluntarism for the course of the British veterans’ movement and, by extension, the stability of interwar Britain. The ﬁrst section of this chapter examines how the state’s neglect of the disabled scandalized a society mobilized for war, considering especially the importance of public opinion in forcing Lloyd George’s government to acknowledge full responsibility for pensions.
Aircraft of World War I by Kenneth G. Munson