The Dreadnought and the Edwardian Age  book cover
1st Edition

The Dreadnought and the Edwardian Age

ISBN 9780754663157
Published April 28, 2011 by Routledge
258 Pages

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Book Description

HMS Dreadnought (1906) is closely associated with the age of empire, the Anglo-German antagonism and the naval arms race before the First World War. Yet it was also linked with a range of other contexts - political and cultural, national and international - that were central to the Edwardian period. The chapters in this volume investigate these contexts and their intersection in this symbolically charged icon of the Edwardian age. In reassessing the most famous warship of the period, this collection not only considers the strategic and operational impact of this 'all big gun' battleship, but also explores the many meanings Dreadnought had in politics and culture, including national and imperial sentiment, gender relations and concepts of masculinity, public spectacle and images of technology, and ideas about modernity and decline. The volume brings together historians from different backgrounds, working on naval and technological history, politics and international relations, as well as culture and gender. This diverse approach to the subject ensures that the book offers a timely revision of the Dreadnought and the Edwardian Age.'

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface, Andrew Lambert and Jan Rüger; Introduction: the Dreadnought and the Edwardian age, Robert J. Blyth; Part I The Symbolism and Significance of Dreadnought: The symbolic value of the Dreadnought, Jan Rüger; The power of a name: tradition, technology and transformation, Andrew Lambert. Part II Political and Diplomatic Contexts: 'The greatest and richest sacrifice ever made on the altar of militarism': the finance of naval expansion, c. 1890-1914, Martin Daunton; Grey ambassador: the Dreadnought and British foreign policy, T.G. Otte; Dreadnought: a 'golden opportunity' for Germany's naval aspirations?, Michael Epkenhans. Part III Social and Cultural Contexts: The Woman's Dreadnought: maritime symbolism in Edwardian gender politics, Lucy Delap; 'The surest safeguard of peace': technology, the Navy and the nation in boys' papers, c. 1905-1907, Max Jones. Part IV Technological and Operational Contexts: Dreadnought science; the cultural construction of efficiency and effectiveness, Crosbie Smith; The battleship Dreadnought: technological, economic and strategic contexts, Eric Grove; Grand battle-fleet tactics: from the Edwardian age to Jutland, John Brooks; HMS Dreadnought and the tides of history, Paul Kennedy; Index.

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Robert J. Blyth is curator of imperial and maritime history at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK. Andrew Lambert is Laughton Professor of Naval History in the Department of War Studies at King's College, London, UK. Jan Rüger is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at Birkbeck College, University of London, UK.


’A first-rate collection, ably-edited and well-produced.’ Britain and the World '... this collection offers something for everyone interested in the great ship or the times which spawned it.' International Journal of Maritime History 'This book is strongly recommended, not just to those interested in the Royal Navy of the Edwardian period and the approach of the First World War, but modern British historians more generally.' The Mariner’s Mirror 'This slender volume has much to recommend it to a wide audience. Its broad scope and absence of jargon make it easily accessible to both specialists and generalists alike.' The Northern Mariner/Le Marin du Nord 'On balance [...] the scholarship is impressive, the diversity of viewpoints and methodical approaches more than compensates for any diffuseness, and the presentation and editing are of a high standard.' The Historian 'As a self-conscious attempt to bridge the gap between different subdisciplines of history, and to contribute to the growing literature on the ’historicisation of the ocean’, the book is a clear success... The various contributions are all well written and provide a lively, and sometimes unexpected, introduction to the topics covered. This book will appeal to anyone with an interest in the Edwardian period and not just to those with a naval focus. It deserves to be read widely.' English Historical Review