WERE we to ask a citizen of Germany, the Soviet Union or Japan if he perceived much change in our society over the period from 1914, and were he to use his own society as a yardstick, he would surely reply that he did not. The actual social changes which Titmuss can unequivocally attribute to the wars are neither very numerous nor very impressive: the free treatment of venereal disease, free immunisation against diphtheria, an increase in the number of children provided with milk and meals at school, part of which provision has since been withdrawn, and the abolition of the household means test for social security provision, a test which has in any case tended to creep back in various disguises. On the other hand it is clear that, in a more general way, the Second World War did have an important influence on the transformation of the social security system into something much more comprehensive which took a much higher share of government expenditure.
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Alan S. Milward
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