Britain and the Last Tsar: British Policy and Russia, 1894-1917


Britain and the Last Tsar is a fundamental re-interpretation of British foreign and defense policy before the First World War. The currect orthodoxy asserts that the rise of an aggressive and powerful Germany forced Britain--a declining power--to abandon her traditional policy of avoiding alliances and to enter into alliance with Japan (1902), France (1904), and Russia (1907) in order to contain the German menace. In a controversial rejection of this theory, Keith Neilson argues that Britain was the pre-eminent world power in 1914 and that Russia, not Germany, was the principal long-term threat to Britain's global position. This original and important study shows that only by examining Anglo-Russian relations and eliminating an undue emphasis on Anglo-German affairs can an accurate picture of Britain's foreign and defense policy before 1914 be gained.