Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.737822
Title: Soldier-diplomat : a reassessment of Sir Henry Wilson's influence on British strategy in the last 18 months of the Great War
Author: Spencer, John
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 9868
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2018
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Abstract:
Sir Henry Wilson remains one of the most controversial British Army generals of the Great War. A colourful character in life, he attracted admirers and detractors in equal measure; in death, his reputation was ruined by a biography based on his personal diaries. The Wilson of the historiography is, at best, a politician rather than a soldier, at worst an ambitious Francophile intriguer. This thesis looks beyond this accepted characterisation, reassessing his role in the formation of British and Allied strategy in the final months of the war. Wilson attained influence, and subsequently power, when Lloyd George consulted him after failing to persuade Britain’s leading generals to change their strategic focus. The thesis re-examines Wilson’s policy critique, which led to the creation of the Supreme War Council, and negated plans for a major Allied offensive on the Western Front in 1918. This thesis aims to shine new light on Wilson’s work on the Council, with an analysis of its policy recommendations. The research will also explore the manpower crisis, the key issue for the entente in this period, and Wilson’s contribution to the establishment of Allied unity of command. The diplomatic skills Wilson deployed to defuse serious strains between the entente powers will be examined, with particular reference to his time as Chief of the Imperial General Staff. His contribution to the debate on Britain’s post-war imperial grand strategy will also be evaluated. The thesis will refute the long-established onedimensional view of Wilson and suggest that he played a more influential role in British strategic development than has hitherto been acknowledged.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.737822  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Wilson ; Great War ; SWC ; CIGS ; BEF ; Lloyd George ; strategy ; Haig ; Robertson
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