GREAT BRITAIN: Forward, Bang!

Ever since the fateful year 1939 Britain's National Service has implacably drafted young Britons into Her Majesty's forces. Last week, committed to trimming its army down to a thin 165,000 professional soldiers, Britain became the first NATO nation to abandon conscription since the establishment of the alliance.* To reassure its friends, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's government cheerily explained that it was merely replacing the tramp, tramp, tramp of conventional forces (which NATO sorely lacks) with the more economical nuclear bang (which NATO Commander Lauris Norstad already has at his disposal).

* Canada has never had peacetime conscription, and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!