chapter  2
21 Pages

British War Aims and German Disarmament

ByLorna S. Jaffe

The American emphasis on navalism and militarism as twin evils to be eradicated therefore raises the question of whether Henry Wilson and House’s stand influenced the British position on German disarmament. It might be thought that British officials would have considered the disarming of Germany to be a logical means of assuring the destruction of Prussian militarism and that therefore German disarmament would have been a British war aim. All British officials regarded Britain’s naval supremacy as essential to the country’s existence. Since the 1890s the German navy had challenged that supremacy, posing a danger to the British Empire and the world trade upon which the British Isles depended. Even after British entry into the war, ardent navalists doubted the wisdom of Britain’s wholehearted commitment to a land war in Europe, while imperialists like Amery were interested in protecting and expanding Britain’s overseas empire and deprecated the idea of postwar interest in Continental affairs.