American writers on social policy usually treat war as a diversion or interruption of progress towards a welfare state. The progressive era was cut off by World War I, the New Deal was liquidated as a hostile Congress and indifferent President turned their attention to World War II , and the War on rove-ty gave way to the war on Vietnam. "War," Max Lerner said in 1940, ''generally puts an end to any period of social reform." British writers, however, see it differently.

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