|The State Induced Agricultural Revolution: case study of Britain 1939-55|
|The paper investigates the wartime achievements of British agriculture with particular regard to the increase in agricultural output, the structural transformation of farming with the enforced switch from pastoral to arable farming and the role the state played in directing the farming community. It seeks to challenge the conventional wisdom that these changes constitute an 'unqualified success story'.
In particular, it will show that the need for such draconian wartime controls were the ineviable result of Britain's prewar abnormal dependence on imported food. By the late l930s when vitually all other European countries were characterised by a high level of self sufficiency Britain remained heavily dependent on imported food and continued to ignore the benefits of stockpiling cereals.
The paper will show that the prevailing wesdom about the success of the wartime controls is flawed in a number of key respects such as the extent to which British food production increased during this crucial period, the effectiveness of directing the farming community through decentralised county based committees and the way it affected the farming community.
The long term legacy of wartime controls in terms of establishing the state directed control of agriculture in peacetime will be also be evaluated.|