chapter  1
18 Pages

Destroying Prussian Militarism

ByLorna S. Jaffe

The Contemporary Review, a journal edited by the Liberal historian G. P. Gooch, while not as euphoric as the more Radical Nation, also found encouragement in the direction of Anglo-German relations. The first issue of the Nation published after British entry into the war declared, ‘The struggle must be carried on with the utmost energy, not indeed until Germany is crushed, but until a German aggression is defeated and German militarism broken.’ Having made the distinction and believing that the war’s ‘one salient good will be the early and complete destruction of German militarism’, Liberals felt justified in giving all-out support to the British war effort. In attributing responsibility for the war to Germany, British leaders blamed the dominance of the Prussian military class for Germany’s aggressive policy. This perception shaped their thinking about the purposes for which they were fighting, and the concept of the war as a crusade against Prussian militarism soon became official policy.