British Grand Strategy in 1914

I’m going out on a limb here and say that the idea that BEF deployment was planned long before 1914.



Historians seeking the origins of what would become a full-scale ‘continental commitment’ in 1916 have dissected pre-war British strategic planning in search of the decisions which led to the deployment of the BEF to France. Perhaps the most often cited precursor to the ultimate decision to send British troops to the Continent occurred three years before the outbreak of War, during the Agadir Crisis of 1911. The summer of that year witnessed Europe edge towards the brink of war, as Franco-German tensions over Morocco reached fever pitch. During the tense days of mid-August, the British government convened a meeting of senior ministers and service chiefs to discuss the military and naval options available in the event of war.

At this meeting the military representatives presented an altogether more coherent series of propositions than their naval counterparts. In the morning session, Brigadier General Henry Wilson unfurled a series…

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