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Title: War planning and strategic development in the Royal Navy, 1887-1918
Author: Grimes, Shawn
ISNI:       0000 0004 3269 2806
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2004
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This dissertation examines the Royal Navy's war planning and strategic evolution from the late Victorian era into the First World War. It demonstrates that a definitive planning trend existed throughout the period which was consistently legitimised by several factors: the study of naval history. manoeuvres, European power politics, procurement, and individual talent. The technological/strategic challenges posed by a perceived Franco-Russian naval threat during the late nineteenth century led to the evolution of a strategy entailing the observational blockade of an enemy's ports and offensive operations between 1888-1905. Based in the Naval Intell igence Department (NID), planning was influenced by the historical revitalisation of Britain's naval past and its application to contemporary technical/strategic dilemmas. As de facto planning staff until 1909, the NID modified this dual observational/offensive strategy for war against Wilhelmine Germany. Under Admiral Sir John Fisher, planning aimed at Germany's naval and commercial assets in the Baltic intensified and was utilised as a deterrent to counter aggressive German foreign policy after 1904. Conversely, the Scandinavian neutrality dilemma, 1905-1908, exerted a strong influence on the Admiralty'S strategic policy. Responding to the potential closure of the Baltic entrances, Fisher initiated the Admiralty's first "official" war plans in 1907-08. The primary contingencies involved a distant/observational blockade or an offensive Baltic descent which ensured the Navy could still pursue a direct campaign against Germany's economic and naval assets. Despite internal dissension, external probes into Admiralty policy, and increased centralisation in strategic matters after 1908. this dual strategy remained in place into the First World War. During the war, operational realities associated with the North Sea stalemate and German submarine depredations, ironically, rejuvenated offensive designs from the 1904-1908 period alongside the stable economic pressure exerted by the distant blockade until 1918.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available