chapter  3
19 Pages

The Future of German Military Power

ByLorna S. Jaffe

Australian Premier William Morris Hughes, urging the necessity of a decisive victory, might tell a cheering audience of Conservative businessmen that ‘Germany’s military power must be utterly crushed’, but Lord Cromer, who was in close touch with both official and influential outside opinion, more accurately reflected government policy. Maintenance of the balance of power in Europe was a basic principle of British foreign and defence policy. As L. S. Amery noted in a 1917 memorandum on peace terms, historically Britain had always based its intervention on the Continent on its desire to prevent any one power’s gaining military control there and then being able to attain control of the seas, thereby threatening Britain’s island empire. Concern about maintaining the balance of power after the war motivated some British officials to argue the necessity of preserving Germany as a strong military power.