In 1905, British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey agreed to speak secretly with his French counterparts about sending a British expeditionary force to France in the event of a German attack. Neither Parliament nor the rest of the Cabinet was informed. The Hidden Perspective takes readers back to these tense years leading up to World War I and re-creates the stormy Cabinet meetings in the fall of 1911 when the details of the military conversations were finally revealed.
Using contemporary historical documents, David Owen, himself a former foreign secretary, shows how the foreign office’s underlying belief in Britain’s moral obligation to send troops to the Continent influenced political decision-making and helped create the impression that war was inevitable. Had Britain’s diplomatic and naval strategy been handled more skillfully during these years, Owen contends, the carnage of World War I might have been prevented altogether.
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About the Author
David Owen has served as a member of Parliament, minister for the Navy, health minister, and foreign secretary. He is now an Independent Social Democrat in the House of Lords.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: From Balance of Power to Entente
Chapter Two: The Military Conversations
Chapter Three: The Cabinet Asserts Itself in 1911
Chapter Four: Last Chances for Peace – the Haldane and Tyrrell Missions
Appendix: Memorandum on the Present State of British Relations with France and Germany, 1907, written by Eyre Crowe