David Morgan-OwenDec 5, 2017
The Fear of Invasion
Strategy, Politics, and British War Planning, 1880-1914
Oxford University Press 2017
David Morgan-Owen's The Fear of Invasion: Strategy, Politics, and British War Planning, 1880-1914 (Oxford University Press, 2017) tells a complex story clearly and concisely. In the decades prior to the Great War, British preparations for defense of its commercial and imperial interests were warped by fears of an invasion of the home islands. The specter of a French, or after 1905, a German invasion prevented British officials in the Cabinet, the War Office, and the Admiralty from thinking clearly about how to prosecute a European war. Planning to prevent or defeat an enemy landing kept the Royal Navy in a defensive mindset and kept the British Army from thinking clearly about sending an expedition to the continent. Ironically, whether or not the French or Germans themselves had any clear plans to invade Britain went largely undiscussed. As Morgan-Owen makes clear in the interview, even those who consider themselves well-read on the subject of British grand strategy will learn much.