• A Great and Urgent Imperial Service: British Strategy for Imperial Defense During the Great War, 1914-1918

      Urwin, Gregory J. W., 1955-; Immerman, Richard H.; Lockenour, Jay, 1966-; Newland, Samuel J. (Temple University. Libraries, 2010)
      This dissertation investigates the reasons behind combined military and naval offensive expeditions that Great Britain conducted outside of Europe during the Great War. It argues that they were not unnecessary adjuncts to the war in Europe, but they fulfilled an important strategic purpose by protecting British trade where it was most vulnerable. Trade was not a luxury for the British; it was essential for maintaining the island nation's way of life, a vital interest and a matter of national survival. Great Britain required freedom of the seas in order to maintain its global trade. A general war in Europe threatened Great Britain's economic independence with the potential of losing its continental trading partners. The German High Seas Fleet constituted a serious threat that also placed the British coast at grave risk forcing the Royal Navy to concentrate in home waters. This dissertation argues that the several combined military and naval operations against overseas territories constituted parts of an overarching strategy designed to facilitate the Royal Navy's gaining command of the seas. Using documents from the Cabinet, the Foreign and Colonial Offices, the War Office, and the Admiralty, plus personal correspondence and papers of high-ranking government officials, this dissertation demonstrates that the Offensive Sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defense drafted the campaign plan. Subsequently, the plan received Cabinet approval, and then the Foreign Office, the Admiralty, and the Colonial Office coordinated with allies and colonies to execute the operations necessary to prosecute the campaign. In Mesopotamia, overseas expeditions directed against the Ottoman Empire protected communications with India and British oil concessions in Persia. The combined operations against German territories exterminated the logistics and intelligence hubs that supported Germany's commerce raiders thereby protecting Britain's world-wide trade and its overseas possessions.