British General Staff: Reform and Innovation by David French, Brian Holden Reid

By David French, Brian Holden Reid

The essays that contain this assortment learn the advance and impression of the British normal employees from the past due Victorian interval till the eve of global conflict II. They hint the adjustments within the employees that stimulated British army approach and next operations at the battlefield.

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The relationship between the Secretary of State and the permanent secretary of the CID, however, remained potentially difficult. Moreover, while the reorganisation had established a better machinery for discussion and debate, it could not guarantee that civil-military friction would cease. The The British general staff 38 success of the system would depend ‘upon the qualities of mind and character of the men’ chosen to administer it. 11 The ‘old lot’ were Roberts and his circle, who now dominated the War Office.

B. (from 1911 Viscount) Haldane at the War Office, the new staffs to some extent undermined the influence of the CID, which proved unable to counteract the centrifugal tendencies of the two services. 17 The British general staff 30 Once hostilities commenced, the CID became moribund. Direction of the British war effort was undertaken by a War Council (comprising political and military members), which gave way successively to the purely political Dardanelles Committee, the War Committee of the Cabinet and, after Lloyd George succeeded Asquith in December 1916, to a small War Cabinet.

Churchill’s pleas, which included emphasis on his father’s advocacy of the combined ministry, fell increasingly on deaf ears. Wilson believed that ‘Winston himself has killed the Ministry’ by his persistence. The claim by George Riddell early in November, of Lloyd George being impressed by Churchill’s arguments that a Ministry of Defence would bring greater triservice co-operation, does not undermine this contention. Churchill had not yet lived down the reputation of a political maverick acquired for crossing the floor before the war and responsibility for the Dardanelles disaster during it.

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