BMMHS Evening Meeting: Creating a British Way of War
Creating a British Way of War
Speaker: Prof Andrew Lambert
Wednesday 10th April 2024 7:30pm
BMMHS Meeting Venue
Woodcote Village Hall, Reading Road, Woodcote, RG8 0QY
'Creating a British Way of War' (pre-1914 strategic debates, Lord Fisher's Baltic plan, and the Official History Project).
How a strategist’s ideas were catastrophically ignored in 1914-but shaped Britain’s success in the Second World War and beyond
Leading historian Andrew Lambert will describe how, as a lawyer, civilian, and Liberal, Julian Corbett (1854-1922) brought a new level of logic, advocacy, and intellectual precision to the development of strategy.
Corbett skilfully integrated classical strategic theory, British history, and emerging trends in technology, geopolitics, and conflict to prepare the British state for war. He emphasised that strategy is a unique national construct, rather than a set of universal principles, and recognised the importance of domestic social reform and the evolving British Commonwealth. Corbett’s concept of a maritime strategy, dominated by the control of global communications and economic war, survived the debacle of 1914-18, when Britain used the German “way of war” at unprecedented cost in lives and resources. It proved critical in the Second World War, shaping Churchill’s conduct of the conflict from the Fall of France to D-Day. And as Prof Lambert will show, Corbett’s ideas continue to influence British thinking.
“The British Way of War…is a blockbuster but it is beautifully written in peerless prose. It is keenly argued and easily takes its place in the pantheon of great naval literature. It is also timely, coming as the UK attempts to shape itself as ‘Global Britain’.” – Peter Hore, Warships International Fleet Review
“This is quite simply a wonderful book, rich in understanding and knowledge. It is, in many ways, the culmination of Lambert’s work on the development of British naval and strategic thinking through the 19th century. It is warmly recommended.” – Robin Brodhurst, BMMHS & Western Front Association
About the speaker - Andrew Lambert
Andrew Lambert is Laughton Professor of Naval History at King’s College, London, and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is the author of Seapower States.
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