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Edward Cardwell, later Viscount Cardwell, Secretary of State for War from 1868 to 1874; architect of the <a href="/content/Cardwell_Reforms" style="color:blue">Cardwell Reforms</a>
Edward Cardwell, later Viscount Cardwell, Secretary of State for War from 1868 to 1874; architect of the Cardwell Reforms

The position of Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, was a British cabinet-level position which existed from 1794 to 1801 and from 1854 to 1964. The Secretary of State for War headed the War Office and was assisted by a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War, a Parliamentary Private Secretary who was also a Member of Parliament, and a Military Secretary, who was a general.

History


The position of Secretary of State for War was first held by Henry Dundas who was appointed in 1794. In 1801 the post became that of Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The position of Secretary of State for War was re-instated in 1854. In 1946, the three posts of Secretary of State for War, First Lord of the Admiralty, and Secretary of State for Air became formally subordinated to that of Minister of Defence, which had itself been created in 1940 for the co-ordination of defence and security issues.

On 1 April 1964, with the creation of a new united Ministry of Defence headed by the Secretary of State for Defence, the three service ministries as well as the post of Minister of Defence as created in 1940 were abolished.

Secretaries of State for War, 1794–1801


For 1801–1854 see Secretary of State for War and the Colonies.

Secretaries of State for War, 1854–1964


See also


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