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Trenchardism describes the domestic and foreign policies associated in Britain with Air Marshal Hugh Trenchard in successive roles as Chief of the Air Staff from 1919–30 and Head of the Metropolitan Police from 1931–35.

Doctrine of Air Supremacy[edit]

Trenchard was a keen advocate of British airpower. A key figure in the development of the Royal Air Force, Trenchard advocated the use of aircraft to destroy an enemy's war making capacity, a view influential in developing Britain's strategic bombing of Germany during the Second World War.[1]

Trenchard also advocated a system of 'air control' to maintain order in Britain's colonial empire.[2]

Trenchardism in domestic policy[edit]

Campaigners on the Left in Britain resented what they deemed Trenchard's militarisation of policing in London and saw innovations such as the Metropolitan Police College not as the professionalisation Trenchard claimed but a deliberate assault on Britain's traditional style of consensus policing.[3]

This view of Trenchardism as an authoritarian doctrine was exacerbated by specific police tactics used against hunger marchers in London, including use of batons.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Smart, Nick. "British Strategy and Politics During the Phony War: Before the Balloon Went Up". Google Books. Greenwood Publishing Group. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Deer, Patrick. "Culture in Camouflage: War, Empire and Modern British Literature". Google Books. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Answer the Fascist challenge". MEPO 2/3074. The National Archives. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Hunger March speeches". HO 144/18186. The National Archives. Retrieved 11 October 2012.