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Robert Blake and Wm. Roger Louis

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206262

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206262.001.0001

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Churchill and the First World War

Churchill and the First World War

Chapter:
(p.129) 8 Churchill and the First World War
Source:
Churchill
Author(s):

Michael Howard

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206262.003.0009

Winston Churchill showed a passionate interest in and commitment to the First World War. On August 1, 1914, on learning of Germany's declaration of war against Russia and entirely on his own responsibility, Churchill ordered the mobilization of the fleet — a measure ratified by the Cabinet only the following day. On August 3, when the news came through of the German ultimatum to Belgium, he ordered the implementation of the contingency plans made with the French navy to protect the English Channel. On August 19, without even consulting Lord Kitchener at the War Office or his own naval staff, Churchill proposed to the Russian High Command that Britain should provide troop transports to land Russian forces on the German coast. Further, he created what was virtually a private army based on surplus naval reserve manpower, the Royal Naval Division. Churchill ended the war as he had begun it, a happy and fulfilled man.

Keywords:   Winston Churchill, Britain, First World War, Germany, Russia, Belgium, navy, army, Royal Naval Division

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