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By John H. Maurer

Ahead of Michael I. Handel died his colleagues and scholars compiled this choice of essays that have been written for a convention on method held in the course of 2001. The papers handle Churchill's perspectives and ideas on battle, technique and realpolitik.

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Additional resources for Churchill and the Strategic Dilemmas Before the World Wars: Essays in Honor of Michael I. Handel (British Foreign & Colonial Policy)

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The German leadership did not possess ‘the personal goodwill or mutual respect’ that Churchill imagined. Churchill, along with other leaders of Britain’s Liberal government, such as Grey, Haldane, and Lloyd George, thought that a ‘peace party’ existed in Berlin. St Loe Strachey, editor of the Spectator, recalled that British leaders ‘believed that there was a powerful peace party in Germany, or rather, that a party which called itself a peace party would remain in being, would grow in strength, and would ultimately control the situation if we refrained from upsetting the pacific applecart’.

To Churchill’s dismay, his opponents within the Liberal Party exhibited a marked determination to force him from the government, and the struggle within the government over naval spending was a close-run contest. Only Asquith’s fabled political skills, as well as Lloyd George’s reluctance to push the controversy to the point of actual resignations, prevented the government from breaking up on the issue of the navy’s spending. Churchill’s ability to occupy the middle ground on the debate about naval preparedness—placating (while not completely satisfying) both the Conservatives and the Liberals—is a testament to his political skills in forging a consensus on a critically important and potentially divisive policy issue.

Arms-control negotiations with Germany, the Foreign Office feared, might weaken Britain’s standing with France. In the view of the Foreign Office, Britain should move arms control to the sidelines in Anglo-German relations. Despite the objections raised on all sides to the holiday proposal, Churchill remained committed to finding a way to moderate the naval rivalry. He asserted that Britain ‘ought never to allow the discussion of this vital question to be stifled just because it is unwelcome to the ruling classes in Germany, or still less because France for obvious reasons wants the naval strain to continue’.

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