1st Edition

Naval Intelligence from Germany
The Reports of the British Naval Attachés in Berlin, 1906–1914

ISBN 9781911423812
Published March 5, 2020 by Routledge
610 Pages

USD $54.95

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Book Description

During the course of the Anglo-German naval race, the British Admiralty found a regular flow of information on Germany's naval policy, on her warship construction and on the technical progress of her fleet to be absolutely vital. It was only on the basis of accurate calculations of Germany's maritime development that the framers of British naval policy could formulate a coherent response to this alarming challenge to the Royal Navy's long-standing supremacy at sea. While numerous sources were available to the Admiralty on the development of the German navy the most important, was the information provided by the British naval attaché in Berlin. From his meetings with German officials, conversations at social occasions, visits to naval facilities and shipyards, and personal observations of German naval politics, the British naval attaché was able to supply a regular stream of high-grade intelligence to his superiors in Whitehall. This volume examines and illustrates the work of the last four officers to hold the post of naval attaché in Berlin before the cataclysm of 1914, Captains Dumas, Heath, Watson and Henderson. By providing examples of their reporting on such crucial matters as the expansion of the German battle fleet, the goals of Admiral von Tirpitz, the development of German naval materiel, including Dreadnoughts, U-boats and airships, this volume of attaché correspondence illustrates a fundamental, but neglected, dimension of the Anglo-German naval race before the First World War: namely, the role of the navy's 'man on the spot' in Berlin.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: The rivalry takes root: Anglo-German naval relations in the aftermath of the Dreadnought; The rivalry deepens: Anglo-German naval relations and the 1908 naval Novelle; The height of the German challenge: Tirpitz, the acceleration crisis and the breakdown of Anglo-German naval relations; Pulling away from the precipice: naval negotiations and airpower; Germany's last throw of the dice: Tirpitz, the large navy party and the 1912 Novelle; Britannia victorious? The naval race in the aftermath of the 1912 Novelle; The calm before the storm: Anglo-German naval relations in the run up to the First World War; Documents and sources; Index.

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Matthew S. Seligmann is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Northampton, UK


’This impressive collection is the result of prodigious labor in various British archives... This, then, is an extremely useful collection of primary documents meant to provide insight into British thinking about Germany and its navy during the Anglo-German naval arms race before World War I... The scholarly value of the documents collected in this volume is enormous.’ H-Net ’Any naval historian must be grateful to the editor for this volume, for he has enlarged our knowledge of an important period in Anglo-German relations before the Great War.’ International Journal of Maritime History ’The scholarly value of the documents collected in this volume is enormous.’ geschichte.transnational ’By recovering these documents, Seligmann has added a major strand to our ability to understand the Anglo-German Naval Race. By publishing such a large sample (over 200 separate reports), the Navy Records Society has once again demonstrated the value of a specialist academic society, and the critical role of naval issues in British history. This will be an essential resource for all scholars dealing with Anglo-German relations in the Dreadnought era.’ English Historical Review