Defence and Economic Adjustment


    THE recent debate in the House of Commons on the second reading of the Air Raid Precautions Bill brought into clear prominence the close contact between the work of chemists and other men of science and protection from its devastating consequences under the conditions of modern warfare. Mr. G. Lloyd, Under-Secretary of the Home Office, made a comprehensive survey of the measures taken by the Government, and in course of development, to provide the civilian population with whatever means of defence is practicable against effects of air raids. The object of his Department is to make the community as a whole, as well as individual citizens, aware of the dangers of high explosives, toxic gases and incendiary bombs set free from enemy aircraft, and to institute reasonable precautionary measures against them. Possibly some of these anticipated dangers are exaggerated, especially that from gas, but it would be folly to disregard them; but for psychological reasons the people of the country must be given a certain amount of confidence in protective measures in order to prevent them from becoming panic-stricken. Even although it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the necessity of expenditure upon increased armaments and that of defence programmes, it is in the interest of everyone that whatever precautionary measures are planned or contemplated should be as efficient as science can make them.

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    Defence and Economic Adjustment. Nature 140, 907–908 (1937).

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