This study analysed the opinions and attitudes of Britons towards issues such as the likelihood of a global conflict in the coming years, the possibility of a nuclear war or nuclear weapons being used and under which circumstances Britain should go to war. It also covered the views of Britons about the role of the United Nations and NATO, and the impact military alliances and nuclear weapons have on peace in the world.
We looked at the attitudes of Britons towards joining the military and taking up arms, and when people should be allowed to join the forces and see active combat. The final part of the study analysed whether toy guns should be banned and if children should be discouraged from playing war games.
The study was conducted between 14-18 April 2022, with a sample of 2,219 adults aged 16 and above. It should be noted for posterity that this research took place during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The study is divided into the following parts:
Here are the top 13 things we found in the study:
- Six in ten Britons (61%) think that a major world conflict is likely in the next five years
- Just over half (54%) think it is likely that the UK will be directly involved in a war in the next five years
- Four in ten Britons (39%) think the UK should go to war only if directly threatened, but 38% say the UK should get involved in a war if its interests are threatened around the world
- Just under one in five Britons (17%) think that taking military action is never the right thing to do
- A quarter of Britons (27%) say they don’t feel very confident in the ability of the British army to defend the UK from an attack by another power
- Britons are split on whether they would or would not personally ever go to war: four in ten (38%) say they would but slightly more – 44% – say there are no circumstances in which they would be willing to do so
- Britons under the age of 40 (32-36%) are significantly more likely than over-40s (18-19%) to say that even in the case the UK was facing a military invasion they would not join the military or get involved in any way
- Just one in eight Britons (12%) think that nuclear weapons are making the world a safer place and seven in ten (72%) think that countries with nuclear weapons should get rid of them
- A third (34%) say they feel safer because the UK has nuclear weapons, while one in five (18%) say this makes them feel less safe
- A quarter of Britons think nuclear war is likely in the next five (27%) or ten (26%) years, while three in ten (29%) say it’s likely in the next 20 years
- Six in ten Britons (60%) think NATO should only act if a member nation is attacked but 15% think the alliance should be used also to attack countries that it considers a threat
- Just one in ten (10%) Britons think the world will be a more peaceful place in 50 years from today, while a third (35%) say it won’t
- One in ten Britons (10%) think that one day there will be no wars in the world