In view of the considerable disparity in the effect of World War II on national social policy, it is not surprising that British and American writers have viewed the relationship of war and social policy so differently. While these differences in part reflect the serious neglect of the importance of World War II for American social policy developments, they also reflect real variations of historical experience. I have attempted to develop a framework within which both national experiences can be understood. The framework takes account both of the nature of the war and the demands it makes upon the state (in particular, the MPR), and also the nature of the society (that is, the balance of class forces at a particular historical conjuncture) upon which the war impacts.

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