The Oxford History of the British Empire - Vol. 4

By Judith M. Brown; Wm. Roger Louis et al. | Go to book overview

5

The British Empire and the Great War, 1914-1918

ROBERT HOLLAND

'The truth is,' Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman wrote in 1903, 'that we cannot provide for a fighting empire, and nothing will give us the power. A peaceful empire of the old type we are quite fit for.' 1 This classic Liberal statement of Imperial belief touched on the dominant question embedded in British political culture at the outset of the twentieth century. During the Great War of 1914-18 that question was reopened and its implications pursued more rigorously than during the localized South African conflict, which had formed the basis of Campbell‐ Bannerman's judgement. Could the vast but disaggregated resources of the Empire be brought to bear on the single, compelling objective of victory? Or would the pressures lead to its constituent parts flying off at tangents from the main goal? This chapter will trace the impact of the wartime experience on the British Empire as a system of power, and suggest where between these two extremes the Imperial or colonial outcome of the war came to rest.

In 1904 War Office planners in London predicted that a conflict between Germany and Britain would be 'a struggle between an elephant and a whale in which each, although supreme in its own element, would find it difficult to bring its strength to bear on its antagonist'. Whether Britain could transform itself into a continental elephant, instead of being constrained into an Imperial and aquatic role, was also profoundly at issue between 1914 and 1918. Meanwhile, it was significant that the first British shots on land were fired by a small British West African Force on 12 August as it closed in on the German wireless station at Kamina in Togoland. The rash of six colonial campaigns in Togoland, Cameroon, East Africa, South-West Africa, New Guinea, and Samoa marking the early phases of war has been attributed to the need to disrupt Germany's far-flung cable communications on which the effectiveness of her commerce-destroyers depended. The ensuing destruction of the Emden (sunk by HMAS Sydney, which came directly under Admiralty control on the outbreak of war) in the Indian Ocean on 9 November 1914, of Admiral Graf von Spee's elusive squadron

____________________
1
Quoted in A. J. Spender, The Life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, 2 vols. (London, 1923), II, p. 88.

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Oxford History of the British Empire - Vol. 4
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 773

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.