Kitchener appeared unnamed in that iconic “Britons – [his picture] Wants You” WWI recruitment poster, with the result that more people today may be familiar with his face than with his name.
Another behind-the-times general was Vladimir Sukhomlinov, who served as Russia’s Minister of War until 1915. I’ve heard that, while he held that post, he believed that he had learned everything there was to know about war in a cavalry charge he had led against the Turks during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, and that he was allegedly proud of the fact that he had not read a military textbook in 25 years.
I can’t recall the details, but Peter Perla’s book The Art of Wargaming decribes a professional wargaming exercise conducted by the British army a few years (about five or ten, I think) before WWI.Â The scenario included a German violation of Belgian neutrality and a British expeditionary force being sent to the Continent.Â The exercise apparently revealed that Britain had an inadequate military transportation capacity to deal with such a situation in a satisfactory amount of time.Â Perla speculates that the British officer who played the role of Britain in the wargame must subsequently have experienced a disconcerting sense of deja vu in 1914 when he saw a very similar scenario being played out in real life.
The Officer was Henry Wilson, a future Field Marshal and Director of Military Operations. He was capable of looking at a map, and thus saw that clearly the Germans would come through Belgium (though he, like the entire French High Command, assumed it would just be through the Ardennes instead of the whole on flanking attempt that it was).
After the initial Moroccan Crisis and increasing tensions with Germany, Wilson was probably THE key figure in organizing Anglo-French military cooperation. Wilson eventually had plans to move the entire BEF (all six divisions, plus the cav) to France and be fully ready for combat by no latter than M-15 (the Germans expected them on M-12). The organization was essentially flawless, however political dithering and fears of German invasion eventually screwed it all up and we had the 4 divisions plus the cavalry moved over that we all know about.
As to the question: Britain was not going to sit back and let Germany assume hegemony over the continent, just like she hadn’t let France assume hegemony over the continent 100 years earlier. The Liberals would dither, and it could take awhile, but with men such as Churchill in charge of their military, Britain was going to war.
Also, MANY people don’t seem to know, that regardless of the government, the British military and foreign offices took war with Germany as a matter of fact, to the point where they had a treaty with the French (kept secret from the government) that the Royal Navy would assume responsibility over the entire French Atlantic coast in the event of war with Germany, allowing the French to concentrate their fleet in the Med. Lord Grey had the wonderful task of informing Parliament that they were duty bound to guard the French coast from any German excursion. Needless to say the liberals took it well
Politically correct sarcasm(an oxymoron[no comments , please!]) carried to the extreme.
Yet I find it odd that no one had a joke or serious comment such as is going around…
A map of the United States of Canada(Canada, East and Left coast US,and the Upper Midwest US) has been circulated. Jesusland (the remainder of the US) is located directly south of the USC.