Massie, Robert K.


1st.ed., 1992. xxi + 1,007 pp., 44 photo-plates + map e.p’s. D.j., 24 x 16cm. Nr. FINE. A monumental study by an American historian amounting to over a thousand pages and 46 chapters, graphically chronicling the personal and national rivalries between Great Britain and Germany that led to war in 1914. Throughout the 19th century following Britain’s emergence from the Napoleonic Wars as the world’s foremost naval power, Pax Britannica enabled her to rule supreme at sea and maintain a policy of ‘Splendid Isolation’. However, in 1871 Bismarck created a rival German Empire which England observed but maintained friendly diplomatic and royal family relations with Germany. In 1890 Bismarck was forcibly retired and the Kaiser initiated a policy of Weltmacht (World Power) and began to construct a powerful fleet to challenge the Royal Navy, a task assigned to Admiral von Tirpitz. In this detailed book the author describes day by day, year by year, Britain’s slow awakening to the ominous threat from across the North Sea. British diplomacy began to shift from ‘Splendid Isolation’ to closer ties with former antagonists, France and Russia, who were equally concerned about the Kaiser’s military ambitions. This Triple Entente became the anti-German alliance in World War I. The author describes the role of all the major players : royalty, admirals, politicians, diplomats, and even wives and mistresses. There is much of interest regarding the Fisher and Beresford era and the part played by the young Winston Churchill. The book is divided into five parts : The German Challenge. The End of Splendid Isolation. The Navy. Britain and Germany : Politics and Growing Tension 1906-1910. And The Road to Armageddon.

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