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Title: Germany’s Ocean Greyhounds and the Royal Navy’s First Battle Cruisers: An Historiographical Problem
Authors: Seligmann, M
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Diplomacy and Statecraft, 27(1): pp. 162-182, (2016)
Abstract: Recently some revisionist historians have contested the evidential basis for the argument put forward by their post-revisionist colleagues that the growth of the German mercantile marine, most particularly ships capable of being transformed into armed commerce raiders, was viewed with alarm in the British Admiralty and played a significant part in shaping British naval policy before 1914. Looking in detail at their reasoning, this assessment demonstrates that the rejection of this argument finds basis upon a faulty and incomplete understanding of the documentary record. Moreover, it is driven by a desire to defend the thesis that they have previously articulated that the expansion of German maritime power played a limited role in British defence policy before 1914. However, their objections do not withstand detailed scrutiny. Whatever might have been the British view of the long-term threat posed by Russia and France, Germany’s growing strength, including in merchant shipping, loomed large as a security problem in the decade and one-half before 1914. The wartime activities of German commerce raiders, notably the Kronprinz Wilhelm, suggest that fears of a German commerce war were entirely rational.
ISSN: 1557-301X
Appears in Collections:Dept of Politics, History and Law Research Papers

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