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Thread: 1914-1924 'British interests; British honour; British obligations'

  1. #1
    Custom User Title Allenby's Avatar

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    Part I - Apex of Empire



    1897-1914
    1914
    1915
    1916
    1917
    1918

    1897-1914
    ~~~~~~
    Part I - Apex of Empire
    Part II - Away from Isolation
    Part III - Dreadnoughts
    Part IV - Failed Negotiations


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    In 1897, the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria was held amidst a flurry of imperial pomp and ceremony for an empire upon which the sun never set. It was 22nd June and the public had descended upon the imperial capital to witness a grand procession of imperial glamour. Fifty thousand soldiers, led by Field Marshal Lord Roberts of Kandahar, marched in two columns towards St. Paul’s Cathedral for a thanksgiving service, composed of contingents from across the Empire: cavalry from New South Wales, camel riders from Bikaner, hussars from Canada, police from Hong Kong, troops from Niger, Jamaica, Malaya and Guiana, Cypriot Zaptiehs and Indian Lancers. ‘How many millions of years has the sun stood in heaven?’ asked the Daily Mail. ‘But the sun never looked down until yesterday upon the embodiment of so much energy and power’. ‘Rome’ Le Figaro declared ‘has been equalled, if not surpassed, by the power which in Canada, Australia, India, in the China Seas, in Egypt, Central and Southern Africa, in the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean rules the peoples and governs their interests’. The procession continued with the survivors of Balaclava and the 1857 Indian Mutiny as well as a succession of a crown prince, twenty-three princesses, a grand duke, three grand duchesses, four duchesses and forty Indian potentates on horse back while guns fired and bells tolled. Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India and ruler of a quarter of the globe followed and arrived at St. Paul’s under a small white parasol, to be greeted by her son, the Prince of Wales.


    British Empire: 1897


    Four days later, the force that held the empire together was displayed in the Solent in all its majesty. The British Empire was built and maintained by sea power, and on a dull weekday afternoon, one hundred and sixty five black hulled ships of the Royal Navy lay in five lines, stretching for a total of thirty miles, with forty thousand crew and three thousand naval guns, in the most formidable assembly of ships in the history of the world. More than half of the entire world’s shipping belonged to the British merchant navy, and to protect this vast web of world wide trade, Britain had scattered the globe with coaling stations and a force with which to hold together the considerable collection of Britain’s imperial possessions. For Britain, naval supremacy held the balance between worldwide supremacy and destitute ruin. Without the protection of her vast navy, the British Isles would be open to invasion; the empire stripped away, merchant shipping swept from the seas and profitable trade broken inexorably. Yet with the navy strong, no continental power, even with a large army, could even seriously consider invading Britain, and the Empire beyond the reach of the continental powers continued to prosper and flourish behind a wall of battleships and cruisers.


    HMS Majestic: one of the finest ships in the Royal Navy


    The zenith of Empire was at Omdurman, in the Sudan on 2nd September 1898, when the 20,000 strong Anglo-Egyptian army of the Sirdar, Major-General Kitchener destroyed a 52,000 strong army of Muslim fanatics – the Ansar, commanded by the Khalifa. In a battle of civilisations, the modern army of Maxim guns, artillery and Lee-Metford rifles faced an army from another age, armed with clubs, sticks, swords and spears. Crying ‘There is one God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God’, they were mown down by the product of British modernity and industry. Thousands of square miles had been added to an already glorious Empire. Gordon had been avenged. The next time the army went into battle, the results would be very different.


    The 21st Lancers charge at Omdurman


    The Boer War began a protracted era of imperial doubt – that is, concern that the glory and power of the Empire may not be what it seemed. The outcome of a century of antipathy between Briton and Afrikaner/Boer in South Africa was the war that began in 1899, nominally over the status of British ‘uitlanders’ in the Transvaal and what the Boers saw as an aggressive forward policy on Britain’s part to promote their rights. However, South Africa’s mineral wealth – diamonds and gold – gave the country greater value and helped crystallise the collision course that the British and Boers had relentlessly set upon since Cecil Rhodes’ clumsy private invasion in 1896. The war began with the usual enthusiasm, with General Sir Redvers Buller being sent to South Africa to tumultuous acclaim. Early optimism waned and gave way to fatalism – the towns of Ladysmith, Kimberley and most prominently, Mafeking were quickly besieged, and the British Army suffered three ‘reverses’ during the ‘Black Week’ of December. The hero of the Second Afghan War, Lord Roberts was despatched to shore up the situation, and swiftly brought about the relief of the three towns, with Mafeking’s relief particularly welcomed after the country’s intent following of Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Baden-Powell’s gentlemanly defence. Within a few months, Roberts had occupied the Transvaal and Orange Free State, announced victory, and departed for home, leaving his Chief of Staff, Kitchener in charge.


    The dead at Spion Kop


    Meanwhile, Britain’s diplomatic detachment – ‘splendid isolation’ – as it was called, became all the more pronounced as Europe queued up to criticise perfidious Albion. Britain’s traditional enemies were France and Russia. France was Britain’s greatest rival in the colonial sphere, with the two nations nearly coming to blows over squabbles resulting from the scramble for Africa. Generally accepted as the world’s second great naval power, the French had always looked at new ways to undercut the Royal Navy’s strength and thereby challenge Britain in the wider world. A great panoply of differences separated the two countries: Egypt, Tunis, Morocco, Siam, Newfoundland, the Upper Niger, Uganda. The Anglo-French antagonism culminated at Fashoda in 1898, when French and British forces came to a standoff over possession of a Sudanese mud fort. With Salisbury’s threat of war, France backed down, but her divided population remained indignant, and when the British army came to difficulty in South Africa, the French press were quick to carp. The threat to Britain from Russia came from her seemingly ceaseless movement south, pressuring the Balkans, Constantinople, Persia, Afghanistan and China. The Bear had been engaged by Britain in the ‘Great Game’ in Asia, in a contest of strategy, influence and power. With all British eyes on the protection of India, Russia’s annexation of the decrepit Khanates of Central Asia throughout the 1870s appeared an aggressive move. Similarly, Britain was quick to offset ambitious Russian moves against Turkey in 1877, when the Russian army had been on the brink of capturing Constantinople. With the recent Russian challenge in Manchuria and the ongoing construction of the Trans Siberian railway, Britain’s strategic concerns for the defence of her empire in the face of Russia expansion remained pronounced. Enemies of both, British strategists had long considered serious the possibility of having to fight both France and Russia at the same time.

    This may have been acceptable to the British had it not been for the inclusion of one more crucial ingredient into the European balance of power: Germany. In the 1850s, Prussia was an agrarian, simple nation. Yet by 1870, Chancellor von Bismarck had welded together the most powerful military nation in Europe after vanquishing Denmark, Austria and France in 1864, 1866 and 1870 respectively. Fortunately for Britain, Bismarck was a relatively benign influence on Europe, and kept the continent in check by a series entangling intrigues that ensured that France, eager for revanche after the defeat 1870 were kept isolated. Britain was happy to acquiesce in Bismarck’s new system in the realisation that his diplomacy worked for the preservation – not expansion – of Germany. Yet the fiery new Kaiser of Germany, Wilhelm II, who came to the throne in 1889 had a different agenda. In 1890, he ‘dropped the pilot’ – sacked Bismarck and appointed a series of more subservient Chancellors. Seeking a ‘place in the sun’, Wilhelm set out to expand the power and influence of Germany, firstly by expanding its colonial possessions and then, upon reading Captain Mahan’s Influence of Sea Power Upon History to set about the building of a large navy. For this goal, he was aided by his extravagantly bearded Navy Minister Admiral Tirpitz, who had a long service with the German navy and witnessed its shameful performance in 1870, and in their analysis, concluded that the key to world power of the scale and magnitude of that enjoyed by Great Britain was the creation of a great navy, by which the German Empire could project its power across the globe. In the Navy Laws of 1897, Tirpitz called for the building of nineteen battleships as well accompanying vessels in order to render it impossible for the largest naval power (obviously referring to Britain) to engage the German fleet in battle without suffering such attrition so as to render their supremacy at sea under grave risk. To accompany Germany’s new fleet building schemes, Kaiser Wilhelm chose to flex his country’s muscle concerning a number of issues: sending a congratulatory telegram to Transvaal President Paul Kruger upon the repulse of the Jameson Raid upset British sentiment, whilst his 1898 proclamation to be ‘protector’ of all Muslims, in Damascus did more to infringe upon British and Russian sensitivities. To Britain, Germany wasn’t just speaking as if she were making a power bid, but her new navy suggested that she was actively setting about to do so. With relations between Britain and Germany strained, the German press was not reluctant to look with satisfaction as the British army in South Africa floundered.


    Kaiser Wilhelm II: sought to expand German power in the world whether the world liked it or not


    The Boer War underpinned Britain’s strategic and diplomatic difficulties. Disliked by Russia, France and Germany, she was, to quote the Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain, ‘friendless’. With Japan’s growing power in the Far East and the United States achieving local hegemony in the Americas, Britain appeared to be threatened on all sides. If war came, it was feared, then Britain may be crushed under the collective weight of all those who envied her. Suddenly, a sense of gloom pervaded British thinking – the glory of the Diamond Jubilee seemed a distant memory, and the glitter and ceremony of the army’s procession had supposedly been revealed as a sham after the army’s poor performance before the arrival of Roberts. Britain’s ‘splendid isolation’, that status of detached aloofness now looked to be dangerous folly. Underlying pessimism came to the surface in Kipling’s Recessional:

    Far-call'd our navies melt away—
    On dune and headland sinks the fire—
    Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
    Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
    Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
    Lest we forget, lest we forget!


    Eventually, the Boer War was won, but at great cost to Britain and greater cost to the Boers. The war that had begun with a lack of fighting on a Sunday in reverence of God’s day of rest had ended with a scorched earth policy, atrocities committed by both sides, and ‘concentration’ camps designed to accommodate civilians, whose appalling conditions helped create a popular backlash against the new imperialism, a blow from which it never quite recovered.

    Many Britons would have agreed with the sentiment of Cecil Rhodes’ statement that he ‘would annex the planets’ if he could. Yet by the end of the Boer War, Queen Victoria was dead and Rhodes dying. With the glitter of empire stained, and Britain strategically vulnerable amidst the antipathy of France, Russia and Germany, it was clear that Britain needed a new foreign policy and a new defence policy.

    Between 1902 and 1914, Britain would seek to alter her situation in the world in order to guard against new threats to her security.
    Last edited by Allenby; 02-06-2007 at 17:17.

  2. #2
    Captain poppy7143's Avatar

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    Wow, this aar looks great nice backround info and beggining. Nice use of pic and good choice dont think anyones done and TGW england one before but this looks like it will set the bar pretty high for anyone who tries.

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    Liberté, egalité, fraternité StephenT's Avatar
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    So, Allenby, for 1.05b have you moved the start date back to 1897?

    Watch out for that fleet of German invasion barges being built in secret behind the sandbanks of the Frisian coast, or before you know it von Kluck will be marching his troops down Whitehall...

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    Sayonara Zetsubou Robusuta
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    What an approriate new AAR this Victoria Day weekend (in Canada). God save the Queen!

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    Custom User Title: Mr.G 24's Avatar

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    Who better to make an TGW AAR then the maker of TGW himself?

    I'll be reading this one

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.G 24
    Who better to make an TGW AAR then the maker of TGW himself?

    I'll be reading this one
    Amen to that
    "Politics. As exciting as war. Definitely as dangerous... Though in war, you can only get killed once. In politics it can happen over and over."

  7. #7
    Colonel Killerjes's Avatar
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    Great start!
    Now - let's see some action

  8. #8
    Custom User Title Allenby's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenT
    So, Allenby, for 1.05b have you moved the start date back to 1897?
    Who else would start an AAR in 1897 for a game that begins in 1914?

    You mention river barges, but I think the bigger threat may come from the 40,000 German army officers/waiters who live in the London suburbs



    Thank you, gentlemen!

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    Now, let´s fight germany, destroy her, rape her(unless you do not feel like it today/exessive use of bromide) and finally stomp on her...

  10. #10
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    yay. a British AAR in TGW. Perfect.

    Nice background
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  11. #11
    Major A trooper's Avatar

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    Excellent intro. What options are avaliable for starting in 1897?
    'Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility; But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger: Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.' -William Shakespeare, King Henry V.'

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  12. #12
    Custom User Title Allenby's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by A trooper
    Excellent intro. What options are avaliable for starting in 1897?
    None. I am simply enlightening the uninformed masses about pre-1914 Britain. The mod begins in 1914

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    Which bersion are you using, Allenby. If you say 1.05 I will do something really nasty to you, you do not really want to know, but it involves some big scissors...

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    Major A trooper's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allenby
    None. I am simply enlightening the uninformed masses about pre-1914 Britain. The mod begins in 1914
    Oh, okay. I think itwould be quite cool to start a Mod in 1897 though, dont you?
    'Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility; But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger: Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.' -William Shakespeare, King Henry V.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by A trooper
    Oh, okay. I think itwould be quite cool to start a Mod in 1897 though, dont you?
    That way, in 9 cases of 10, the AI would become totaly erratic and for the most unusual alliances, so it won´t be, but it is a cool thought (dribbles at the amount of events that I can put in)

  16. #16
    Custom User Title Allenby's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zuckergußgebäck
    Which bersion are you using, Allenby. If you say 1.05 I will do something really nasty to you, you do not really want to know, but it involves some big scissors...
    1.05b


    Quote Originally Posted by A trooper
    Oh, okay. I think itwould be quite cool to start a Mod in 1897 though, dont you?
    It would, but it wouldn't be a Great War mod. It would end up as a late-Victorian/Edwardian mod.

  17. #17
    Custom User Title Allenby's Avatar

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    Part II - Away from Isolation

    Dangerously isolated, Britain sought friends. To secure her possessions in the Far East from the possibility of French or Russian attack – or more worryingly – a Japanese attack, Britain secured an alliance with Japan in which the other power in the alliance would remain neutral if one other power (probably Russia) were to make war. In the event of two powers acting in such a way, the other would come to its active support. To the relief of British strategists, the Japanese alliance ensured that the Far East could be adequately protected by Japan, while forces used to defend the region could be brought to Europe so as to protect against the threat from France, Russia or Germany.

    In finding support in Europe, Britain’s first attempt, strangely enough, was to seek the friendship of Germany. Lord Salisbury was suspicious of formal alliances, believing that a calamitous war in Europe might entangle Britain and cause her irreparable damage in a situation she might have avoided. However, the sagacious statesmen that had dominated the European diplomatic scene in the 1880s and 1890s, was now a weary shadow of his former self. When France and Russia appeared to remain antagonistic towards Britain, Salisbury was only willing to accept when his charismatic Colonial Secretary, Joseph Chamberlain, offered to approach Germany and begin negotiations for a formal alliance. However, Chancellor von Bülow seemed to misunderstand the British bargaining position: he correctly assumed that Britain yearned friendship, yet also assumed that they would never seek it with France or Russia. The logical conclusion of von Bülow’s thinking was that if Britain would only seek friendship with Germany, then she could be put off until a later date when Germany had more diplomatic leverage. Chamberlain spoke enthusiastically of the solidarity of the Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic peoples and raised the possibility of the alliance eventually being extended to the United States of America. If Germany had blundered by spurning the British offer, then Chamberlain had committed no less a mistake by assuming that a German alliance would be in the best interests of Britain. Chamberlain’s alliance was based, not on the wise principles laid down by the likes of Castlereagh, Palmerston and Salisbury, but of fanciful talk of racial solidarity. Negotiations broke down with Germany because an alliance agreement would effectively put the stronger power, Britain in a subservient role, while an emboldened Germany would be encouraged to take more aggressive action and might dominate the continent at Britain’s expense. It was effectively necessary for Britain to neutralise the threat of Germany, not by aligning with her, but by lending support to the two weaker powers who already opposed her: France and Russia.


    von Bülow: turned down Chamberlain’s alliance offer


    Relations between the France and Britain, despite the Boer War, began to improve immediately after the two had nearly gone to the brink of war over Fashoda in 1898. Eager for allies with which to oppose Germany, France looked on in consternation as Britain and Germany began alliance negotiations, in realisation that winning back Alsace-Lorraine would be nearly impossible if she were threatened from both across the English Channel and the Rhine. Negotiations between Chamberlain and Paul Cambon began almost as soon as the talks with Germany broke down, with the German ambassador warning Berlin that the seemingly impossible was about to occur. Yet given the situation at the time, the impossible looked not probable but likely. Both France and Britain were threatened by a common foe, and thus it was prudent to put aside petty differences for the sake of self-preservation. In 1903, King Edward VII visited Paris and was accepted by a hostile crowd who jeered and shouted “Vive les Boers!” at the reigning monarch. Unperturbed, Edward sought to win over the French public’s favour and acted magnanimously throughout his visit, by the end of which, shouts of “Vive le bon Eduard!” could be heard as the King made his journey home. By April 1904, the Entente Cordiale had been signed by Britain and France – an understanding, not an alliance – that put aside the two powers’ differences in Egypt, Siam, Morocco and Newfoundland. For Britain, one rivalry had been laid to rest – her next target was Russia.


    Edward VII: popular in France and the precursor to Entente


    Domestically, events had already taken an interesting twist. Lord Salisbury retired in 1902 and left the premiership to his nephew, Arthur Balfour, amidst cries of nepotism and the coining of the phrase “Bob’s your uncle”. However, the cabinet was dominated by the monocled figure of Joseph Chamberlain, whose origins lie in the Birmingham screw manufacturing industry. A fervent imperialist, Chamberlain once declared that “the future lie in the great empires: and there is no greater empire than the British Empire”. With Britain vulnerable to the economic and military challenge of Germany and the United States, Chamberlain made no secret of his desire to see an imperial federation formed on the model of Bismarckian Germany. With the Empire solidified as a single entity, Chamberlain reasoned, Britain would automatically remain one of the world’s great powers, able to punch its weight in a world where the United States, Germany and Russia were expected to dominate. Crucial for this goal was to have preferential trade with the Empire, which necessitated tariffs on foreign imports into the Empire. In effect, Chamberlain was breaking the free trade consensus and pushing for imperial preference for the sake of what he saw as Britain’s Imperial destiny. Having thought he had gained the agreement of the cabinet, Chamberlain went to tour South Africa, but returned to find that the Treasury, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, C.T. Ritchie, and the Prime Minister, Arthur Balfour, against him, advocates of Free Trade. Finding it impossible to promote his cause inside the cabinet, Chamberlain resigned agreeing with Balfour that his son, Austen should become Chancellor of the Exchequer. Yet Balfour misjudged the situation, and lost the services of the veteran Duke of Devonshire as well – in a matter of days, his administration had lost its most popular public figure, its Chancellor and a politician of the Duke’s experience. With the party split between free traders and tariff reformers, the Liberal Party sensed an opportunity of government, and vigorously opposed Chamberlain’s tariff reform proposals. ‘Radical Joe’ hurled himself into his last crusade, addressing vast crowds and preaching the gospel of Empire and imperial preference. With the Conservatives unpopular, divided and their administration visibly lightweight, the Liberal Party won the 1906 election by a landslide on a free trade ticket. Ultimately, the British people linked tariff reform with more expensive food, and decided to put their stomachs before the Union Jack at the general election. Chamberlain continued to campaign for tariff reform with a zeal and energy that was astounding for a man of seventy – he eventually suffered a stroke, and the tariff reform movement looked to Austen for leadership, while the shattered Conservative Party, which had dominated British politics since the mid 1880s was reduced to just 157 seats in the House of Commons. With the decline of Chamberlain, and the election of an anti-imperialist Prime Minister in the shape of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the last burst of imperialist sentiment died away.


    Joseph Chamberlain: legendary imperial statesman. Unfortunately for him, the British people did not share his outlook for the Empire


    The first testing of the Entente Cordiale came in March 1906 during the Moroccan crisis, when Kaiser Wilhelm II visited Tangiers in a typically inept manner, with declared intentions to uphold Germany’s rights in an independent state which had strong ties with France. The first serious attempt by Germany to break the Entente succeeded only in driving Britain and France closer together, as the British leant the French unqualified diplomatic support in the face of Germany’s aggressive gesturing towards France. Naturally, as the Entente Cordiale itself had assured France of a ‘free hand’ in Morocco, Britain had no other choice but to support France. Yet Germany’s belligerent attitude over the affair convinced the British that the Germans were looking for war with France, and endeavoured to show the Kaiser that Britain would not tolerate France being dealt with in such a forceful way. At the ensuing Algeciras Conference, Germany’s only supporter came from a half-hearted Austria-Hungary, forcing Berlin into an embarrassing climb down, having achieved little in Morocco, and having pushed France and Britain closer than ever before.

    In May 1905, the Russian Baltic Fleet of Admiral Rodzhestvensky was annihilated by Admiral Togo at the battle of Tsushima, in what was the greatest victory at sea since Nelson’s triumph at Trafalgar. It had been a troubled year for Russia: in January a massacre of demonstrators had ensued at the Winter Palace, while revolution broke out, most notably amongst the Russian Black Sea fleet at Odessa. In Manchuria, the Russian army was defeated at Mukden in March sustaining 100,000 casualties. September saw the Treaty of Portsmouth signed between Japan and Russia, and in October, Tsar Nicholas II agreed to grant Russia’s first constitution and giving a national assembly – the Duma – limited powers. With Russia greatly weakened by the events of this tumultuous year, Britain found itself in a strong bargaining position with which to negotiate an Entente with St. Petersburg. No longer was Russia the great bear that eyed India from over the Hindu Kush or sought Persia for her domain – in British eyes, she was bedraggled and broken. Negotiations began in 1906, and by 1907, the two powers had come to an agreement with regards to Persia, Afghanistan and Tibet.


    Togo’s flagship Mikasa, which lead the Japanese fleet to victory at Tsushima.


    In January 1907, Foreign Office official Eyre Crowe warned that if Germany managed to achieve command of the North Sea, the British Empire would be doomed. Not long after the Anglo-Russian Entente, Admiral Tirpitz announced additions to his original Navy Laws that would allow the German Fleet to expand still further. The question of maritime supremacy goes a long way to explain the worsening Anglo-German relationship after the failed alliance negotiations.

  18. #18
    Can't wait until the next post, and the Daily Telegraph Affair! My favorite pre-war blunder of Germany's.

    Here's some encouraging music to Britain's supremacy


    This is going to be a good AAR!
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  19. #19
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    Allenby, you mean that you actually have 1.05b FINISHED?

    You great dirty !¤%¤#/&/%/¤¤%¤#)(%&(% (censored, this is a family friendly forum)

    Why do you not share this wonderful version with us players, who worship you to the best of our capabilities(not much)...



    Anyway, when will you actually begin playing?(and writing about it)

  20. #20
    Custom User Title Allenby's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zuckergußgebäck
    Allenby, you mean that you actually have 1.05b FINISHED?
    Not quite


    Quote Originally Posted by Zuckergußgebäck
    Anyway, when will you actually begin playing?(and writing about it)
    When the background information is complete

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