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The Fear of Invasion: Strategy, Politics, and British War Planning, 1880-1914 (Paperback)
  • The Fear of Invasion: Strategy, Politics, and British War Planning, 1880-1914 (Paperback)
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The Fear of Invasion: Strategy, Politics, and British War Planning, 1880-1914 (Paperback)

(author)
£24.99
Paperback 272 Pages / Published: 01/04/2021
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The Fear of Invasion presents a new interpretation of British preparation for War before 1914. It argues that protecting the British Isles from invasion was the foundation upon which all other plans for the defence of the Empire were built up. Home defence determined the amount of resources available for other tasks and the relative focus of the Army and Navy, as both played an important role in preventing an invasion. As politicians were reluctant to prepare for offensive British participation in a future war, home defence became the means by which the government contributed to an ill-defined British 'grand' strategy. The Royal Navy formed the backbone of British defensive preparations. However, after 1905 the Navy came to view the threat of a German invasion of the British Isles as a far more credible threat than is commonly realised. As the Army became more closely associated with operations in France, the Navy thus devoted an ever-greater amount of time and effort to safeguarding the vulnerable east coast. In this manner preventing an invasion came to exert a 'very insidious' effect on the Navy by the outbreak of War in 1914. This book explains how and why this came to pass, and what it can tell us about the role of government in forming strategy.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198862321
Number of pages: 272
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Morgan-Owen's outstanding book emphasises the failure of well-meaning, but ignorant, and ideologically constrained ministers to settle national strategy ... This landmark text has re-set the debate. * Andrew Lambert, Journal of Strategic Studies *
Morgan-Owen has brought out more clearly, and in much greater detail than previous authors, the chaotic and unmanaged interaction between the two services when they contemplated how to deter an invader. * David French, Journal of Modern History *
thought provoking and puts forward a high persuasive case... Morgan-Owen's work represents a major contribution to the historiography * Prof Ian Beckett, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research *
The Fear of Invasion is a landmark study... These are paradigm-changing conclusions. * Prof Matthew Seligmann, War in History *
Occasionally a book comes along that offers important new insights into a supposedly familiar subject. David G Morgan-Owen's masterly The Fear of Invasion is such a work. * Prof Gary Sheffield, Stand to! *
an impressive debut monograph which finds a fresh approach...and establishes him as an historian to watch * Dr Jonathan Boff, English Historical Review *
this book represents a major correction to the orthodox interpretation of British naval policy presented in Arthur Marder's seminal works on the Royal Navy. It also demolishes the central arguments of the controversial 'revisionist' school of naval historians. Given the volume of scholarly attention lavished on the problem of British strategy on the eve of the First World War, this is an impressive achievement. * Professor Christoper Bell, Twentieth Century British History *
a brilliantly argued and impressively well-researched monograph. Morgan-Owen's book will doubtless become a key reference alongside existing works on pre-Great War British war planning, and offers important new insight into the workings of the political and military leadership who tried to decide how to pursue an offensive military policy while also defending the heart of the empire itself. * Christian Melby, Reviews in History *
There is a wealth of detail in The Fear of Invasion, which takes the reader through a tale of Victorian and Edwardian inter-service rivalry, febrile national politics, huge defence budgets but a painful lack of readily available cash, seemingly unending overseas commitments and a global scene that was at best confusing and at worse downright dangerous. Delete the words 'Victorian and Edwardian' and the thoughtful reader could easily start to draw parallels to today. That is one of the joys of well-written history: without necessarily setting out to do so, it allows us to take stock of our own woes and, if we are lucky, start to see a way through them. Unfortunately, a century ago the conglomeration of strategy, politics and military planning throughout Europe led to catastrophic war. We must hope that the many similarities to evident to contemporary events in this book end short of full replication. * Commander Kevin Rowlands RN, The Naval Review *
Morgan-Owen's important book reminds us of the fundamental importance of civilian political leadership to strategy making and war-planning. He offers a study of the failure of this leadership in the years leading up to World War I, and a timely lesson about the dangers of a strategy based on fear of new threats, rather than on an appreciation of one's own strengths. * Professor John Bew, War on the Rocks *
This is a fundamentally new way of looking at the position of Britain in 1914. Most historians have assumed that what happened to the BEF had to happen. Morgan-Owen suggests otherwise, and his arguments will be required reading for anyone dealing with British policy on the outbreak of war. Was there an alternative to the Western Front? Did the incapacity of the navy condemn Britain to the killing fields of France and Flanders? Raising questions such as these will have a profound effect on the intellectual approach to the entire field. Few books manage such a feat. David Morgan-Owen has achieved a great deal with this first book. I look forward to his subsequent work, which might help settle some of the uncertainties he has now raised. * Professor Robin Prior, Wartime *

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