Government Control in War

Government Control in War

Government Control in War

Government Control in War


The late Sir Lees Knowles, from whom these lectures take their name, was, like myself, an Old Rugbeian, and it was an especial pleasure for me to be the first lecturer to come from the same school as the founder.

It was also a privilege to deliver the lectures under the chairmanship of the Master of Trinity, who has made an inestimable contribution to our knowledge of history.

When first asked to choose a subject, my choice fell on 'Amphibious Warfare', in which, as a former officer of the Royal Marine Artillery, I had always taken a deep interest, and which has developed so remarkably during the present war. But here I found that my old friend Admiral of the Fleet Lord Keyes, who has much greater practical experience of the subject than I in this war and the last, had anticipated me in 1943.

I therefore fell back on a subject with which I have been identified since I became Assistant Secretary of the Committee of Imperial Defence in 1908 and Secretary in 1912.

The following chapters do not contain any sensational revelations. The facts are all to be found in published works. But they are widely scattered in official Blue Books, White Papers, Reports of Royal Commissions or Official Committees, Reports of debates in Parliament (Hansard), Official Histories, of which there must already be nearly fifty volumes, and, above all, in the Memoirs and personal diaries of the leading figures of the last war, at home and abroad. A list of the works actually consulted is given at the end of this book, but is only a fraction of the complete bibliography.

All that is attempted here is a brief synopsis of the development of Government Control from the establishment of the Committee of Imperial Defence at the beginning of the present century up to the date of the last lecture of the series (9th March 1945), to establish some basic principles, and to draw from the past some lessons for the future.

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