Eardley-Wilmot, S.M. (1913) The battle of the North Sea in 1914

battle north sea 1914Rear Admiral Sir S. Eardley-Wilmot (1913) The battle of the North Sea in 1914, London, Hugh Ress Ltd

A description of a future naval war between Britain and Germany written by a respected naval writer and historian.

Extracts: Twenty years ago the idea of war between Great Britain and Germany seemed impossible.  Indeed our whole concern then was to guard against a possible struggle with France and Russia, countries which might legitimately have felt aggrieved against us. We had fought against both, and not been worsted; supported Turkey against one, and, having opposed the construction of the Suez Canal when de Lesseps sought our help, we gradually became predominant in Egypt. With Germany, on the other hand, we were allied by memories of mutual help against aggression….

What a change in twenty years! England, France, and Russia, no longer viewing each other with scarcely veiled hostility, now on the best of terms, all sources of difference between them removed ; while the old friend is the enemy of to-day….

What actually brought about a conflict between Great Britain and Germany in the autumn of 1914 may now appear trivial—the arrest and imprisonment of innocent people on a charge of espionage. This had little foundation beyond the use of a camera in certain places, for the benefit of an enterprising journal. For some time, however, there had been a recurrence of these incidents, until the indignation of the British people forced the Government to energetic action. A temperate but firm demand for redress was met by a decided refusal, while certain movements of the German Fleet for a short time previously gave clear indication that Germany fully realised the position. It was her selected moment, and when our Ambassador, acting under instructions, informed the Emperor that, failing to obtain satisfaction, our naval and military forces had been directed to operate against His Majesty’s Fleet and commerce, his calm reception of the intimation indicated no alarm. On the Contrary he could claim a first success—a diplomatic one—that the declaration of war had not emanated from his country.  The policy of Bismarck had survived its great exponent.

Available online at: https://archive.org/details/battleofnorthsea00eardrich