Chapter 3

The defence town

DEFENDED TOWNS AND DEFENCE TOWNS

The previous chapter has considered the effects of the long history of urban fortification on the form and functioning of towns: this chapter will survey a number of towns in which the defence function is so significant that they can be collectively labelled ‘defence towns’. The two categories overlap, in that some of the fortified towns already described were also ‘fortresses’ in that they formed part of defensive strategies far wider than the protection of the town itself, and it is clear from many of the examples that some towns possessed defensive systems far more elaborate, as well as costly, than could be justified by their defence alone. Equally, some of the ‘defence towns’ described in this chapter were themselves fortified, but many others were not. The distinction is that while defence, in one form or another, is a factor in almost all towns, there are some in which it assumes such an importance—either relative to other local urban functions or in relation to wider regional, national and international considerations—as to justify their consideration as a distinct category. Lotchin (1984) coined the term ‘martial metropolis’ for a town so ‘moulded by its alliance with the military’, in its origin, character or functioning, as to need separate treatment.


DEFENCE INDUSTRY TOWNS

The discovery of the existence of the military-industrial complex was soon followed by the definition of its urban component, the metropolitan-military complex. Both were initially traced as responses to the growth of defence-equipment-procurement spending in the United States—between 1941 and 1945 (‘the arsenal of the democracies’) and from 1950 (Korean War rearmament) through until the 1980s (the arms race with the Soviet Union). Studies of the distribution of military spending at the national scale have been produced for, among others: the United States (Stein 1985); the United Kingdom (Short 1981); and West Germany (Kunzmann 1985). The role that such spending plays in regional economies—and (consciously or not) in

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