Business as usual (policy)

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Business as usual was a policy followed by the British government, under Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, during the early years of the First World War.[1] Its fundamental belief was that in order to maintain a stable and functioning country, it was necessary to continue society in the same manner as before the war; in other words, that civilians should think of the war as "business as usual". The underlying assumption was that a morale-eroding change in behaviour equated to a victory for the enemy.

The maxim of the British people is
'Business as usual'.

Winston Churchill, speaking at
Guildhall, 9 November 1914.[2]

The term itself is attributed to Winston Churchill, then a prominent "New Liberal".[3] It is unclear whether Asquith, with whom the policy is also associated, himself supported it, or whether he merely felt obliged to. Certainly, he described it as "a detestable doctrine" in his memoirs.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cassar, George H. (1994). Asquith as war leader. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 235. ISBN 1-85285-117-1., as available from Google Books.
  2. ^ The Oxford Library of Words and Phrases. Oxford University Press. 1981. p. 71..
  3. ^ Rasor, Eugene L. (2000). Winston S. Churchill, 1874-1965: a comprehensive historiography and annotated bibliography. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 25. ISBN 0-313-30546-3., as available from Google Books.
  4. ^ Asquith, Herbert (2007). Moments of Memory - Recollections and Impressions. Read Books. p. 213. ISBN 1-4067-3854-9., as available from Google Books.