17 October 2007

2073) 1911 Preliminary Moves Edited By Peter Dennis & Jeffrey Grey-2011 Chief Of Army History Conference

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  • Preface iv
  • Notes on Contributors v
  • Introduction vii
  • 1911: Prospects and prophecies of war William Mulligan 1
  • The Imperial Conference, the Committee of Imperial Defence and the Continental Commitment Keith Jeffery 20
  • Coronation conversations: The Dominions and military planning talks at the 1911 Imperial Conference John Connor 41
  • The Problem of ‘Greater Britain’ and Australia’s Strategic Crisis 1905-1914 Neville Meaney 56
  • Learning from Victory: The Japanese Imperial Army Redefines Itself Edward J. Drea 90
  • Should we ‘be drawn into a maelstrom of war’: New Zealand Military Policy on the Eve of the First World War John Crawford 106
  • Sibling Rivalry: Canadian Perspectives on Compulsory Military Training in Australia before the First World War James Wood 130
  • ‘Carefully selected, trained in his profession and scientifically educated’: The Royal
  • Military College, Duntroon, and the Professionalisation of the Officer Corps Dayton McCarthy 148
  • Ambition and adversity: developing an Australian military force, 1901-1914 Jean Bou 169
  • ‘The moment to act has arrived’: Italy’s Libyan War 1911-1912 John Gooch 184
  • In the Nick of Time: Transformation in the Ottoman Army, 1911 Edward J. Erickson 210
  • 1911: Austria-Hungary on the Precipice Graydon A. Tunstall 234
  • 1911: France’s Year of Living Dangerously? Michael Neiberg 264
  • The British Army and its approach to Continental warfare 1905-1914 J.P. Harris 283
  • Index 301


The papers in this collection centre loosely around the events of 1911, both before and after. As the centenary of the First World War grows inexorably closer the age-old question of inevitability invariably arises. While it is tempting to see the war as an unavoidable consequence of international developments in the preceding decade, it did not seem so at the time. True, many of the belligerents had anticipated a war, and made plans accordingly, but the circumstances and timing caught most by surprise. The gradual disintegration of the European system and the outbreak of war in 1914 needs to be balanced against the successful management of that system in the forty years preceding the summer of 1914.

Localised conflicts there were, but the Great Powers successfully managed to preserve the peace between themselves, even while jockeying for position and influence at the expense of others.

Italy’s invasion of Libyan abruptly ended the period of managed decline of the Ottoman Empire upon which the Great Powers had reached informal, if uneasy, agreement in the preceding decades. In a variety of ways, and often connected only by the most tenuous of links, the year 1911 became a pivotal year in the international system. It did not necessarily appear that way to the participants: as C.V. Wedgwood, author of many studies of the seventeenth century, noted decades ago, history is lived forward but recollected, analysed and understood in retrospect. I.B. Holley, an American historian of air power, puts it in a different, and sobering, way for contemporary participants: ‘Experience [or history] is a wonderful thing; it helps us recognise our mistakes when we repeat them.’

A conference such as this could not succeed without the help and cooperation of many organisations and individuals. We are, as always, indebted to our speakers for their participation and cooperation, both in the conference itself and in the publishing process.

The Army History Unit, especially Roger Lee and Andrew Richardson, undertook the essential administration with enthusiasm. We thank them, as we also thank the conference sponsors for their generous support. We especially thank the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the major conference sponsor and underwriter of the costs of this publication.

Once again we are grateful to our ever-reliable and patient typesetter, Margaret McNally, and to our indexer, Terry McCullagh.

Peter Dennis & Jeffrey Grey

Jean Bou is an historian currently working on the Official history of Australian peacekeeping, humanitarian and post–Cold War operations at the Australian War Memorial. He is the author of Light Horse: a history of Australia’s mounted arm (2009) and co-editor of the second edition of The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (2008).

Major General John Caligari is Head of Modernisation and Strategic Planning – Army. John Connor is senior lecturer in history at the University of New South Wales, Canberra campus. He is the author, most recently, of Anzac and Empire: George Foster Pearce and the Foundation of Australian Defence (2011), and will co-author a volume in the Army’s Centenary History of Australia and the Great War.

John Crawford is historian of the New Zealand Defence Force, located in Wellington and a well-known figure in military history circles in New Zealand. He has written or edited a number of books in the field, most recently including (with Ian McGibbon), New Zealand’s Great War: New Zealand, the Allies and the First World War (2007).

Peter Dennis is emeritus professor of history at the University of New South Wales, Canberra campus.

Edward J. Drea is one of the foremost authorities on the modern Japanese military and its activities between Meiji and 1945. In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army (2003) distilled several decades of scholarly work in the field, a process capped by the publication of Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853–1945 (2010). In 2006 he published the first of two volumes devoted to the study of Robert S. McNamara as Secretary of Defense – The McNamara Ascendancy 1961-65 ; the second volume is due to appear shortly.

Edward J. Erickson is currently a professor of history at Marine Corps University, Quantico, Virginia. A retired US Army officer who served in the Gulf War and Bosnia and in UN assignments in Turkey and Italy, he has written a number of books on the Ottoman military in the early twentieth century, including Gallipoli: The Ottoman Campaign (2010) and, with Mesut Uyar, A Military History of the Ottomans: From Osman to Atatürk (2009).

John Gooch is emeritus professor of history at the University of Leeds. Founding editor of the Journal of Strategic Studies, he has published variously and widely on British military history 1870-1945, Italian military history 1870-1943, and the Boer War. He is currently writing a book on Italy and the Great War following from his study Mussolini and his Generals (2008). In 2011 he was appointed Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella della Soldiarieta Italiana by the Italian Government in recognition of his significant contribution to the writing and understanding of modern Italian history.

Jeffrey Grey is professor of history at the University of New South Wales, Canberra campus. Paul Harris has been teaching in the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, for more than 20 years. A noted member of the generation of historians of the Great War sometimes dubbed ‘revisionist’, his publications include Men, Ideas and Tanks: British Military Thought and Armoured Forces 1903-1939 (1995) and (with Niall Barr) Amiens to the Armistice: The British Expeditionary Force and the Hundred Days’ Campaign, 8 August-11 November 1918 (1998). His Douglas Haig and the First World War (2009) is a major scholarly and critical analysis of a subject who frequently generates much heat and correspondingly less light.

Keith Jeffery is professor of British history at Queen’s University Belfast. Among the fourteen books he has authored or edited are an award-winning biography of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson (2006) and the ground-breaking official history, MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949 (2010).

Major Dayton McCarthy is an infantry officer on the staff at RMC Duntroon. He is the author of The Once and Future Army: A History of the Citizen Military Forces 1947-1974 (2003).

Neville Meaney is honorary associate professor in history at the University of Sydney, where he spent many years as an academic before retirement. He has a longstanding research interest in international history, especially concerning the way in which ideology, culture and geopolitics have interacted to shape the changing character of Australia’s relations with the world. He has published widely in the field, his most recent work being Australia and World Crisis 1914-1923 (2009).

William Mulligan is a lecturer in modern history at University College Dublin, where he is also one of the founding members of the UCD Centre for War Studies. He previously worked at the University of Glasgow, where he was also a member of the Scottish Centre for War Studies. He is the author, most recently, of The Origins of the First World War (2010).

Michael S. Neiberg recently accepted a professorship at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, after two years as the Harold K. Johnson visiting professor there. He was formerly professor of history and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of War and Society at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is the author of numerous works in French military history, including The Second Battle of the Marne (2008) and Dance of the furies: Europe and the outbreak of World War I (2011).

Graydon A. (Jack) Tunstall is professor of history at the University of South Florida. He is the author of Planning for war against Russia and Serbia: Austro-Hungarian and German military strategies, 1871-1914 (1993) and Blood on the snow: the Carpathian winter war, 1915 (2010).

James Wood is assistant professor and SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Victoria. His recent books include Militia Myths (2010), We Move Only Forward: Canada, the United States, and the First Special Service Force, 1942-44 (2006), and Army of the West: The Weekly Reports of German Army Group B from Normandy to the West Wall (2007). He is currently writing a history of the Swiss model of military organisation in Anglo-American military thought prior to the First World War. . .

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