By Max Beloff
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Additional info for Britain’s Liberal Empire 1897–1921: Volume 1 of Imperial Sunset
The South African war, the first world war, the great depression, Munich, the battle of Britain - these are, as it were, the points of reference to which so many individuals recurred when asked to meet new problems or new crises. For this reason, alone, biography would be an essential component of a study of this kind. But it does not stand alone. There is also to be considered the impact of those parts of the outer world that Britain's leaders had seen for themselves. Evidence abounds for the view that personal acquaintance with another country or group of countries may powerfully affect political judgement - favourably or unfavourably as the case may be.
S The need for a powerful fleet if Germany was to claim her due position in the world had been strongly pressed in German naval circles since 1892 and the German Emperor had been converted to this view through his realization of Germany's inability to translate into action his sympathy with the Boers, and because of his belief that without a great fleet, Germany's colonial possessions would be at the mercy of Britain in any future conflict. The propagandists for a large navy deliberately fomented anti-British feeling.
Nevertheless it is convenient to divide the subject into broad chronological strata. This first volume, which takes the story to 1921 when the British Empire reached its maximum territorial extent, begins with a description of the position in 1897. Britain's rulers were conscious both of the loss of Britain's early lead in industrial strength, and of her consequent economic and political weakness in a world of competing great powers. The jealousies of foreign countries were largely directed against the Empire which was believed to be the source of Britain's strength.
Britain’s Liberal Empire 1897–1921: Volume 1 of Imperial Sunset by Max Beloff