Tom Stearn

The Case for Conscription

Many who supported the campaign for compulsory military service in Edwardian Britain saw it as a necessary measure against the threat of invasion and the shadow of German militarism. Others identified it as a valuable counter to ‘softness, indiscipline and unmanliness’ in young men of the period. Detractors, meanwhile, feared it could be used to overthrow the state. Tom Stearn describes the campaign, how it was received and what it achieved in the run up to the First World War.