Advertisement

The Chiefs of Staff and the Higher Organisation for Defence in Britain, 1904–1984

  • John Gooch
Part of the St Antony's book series

Abstract

The British chiefs of staff system first came into existence as part of a package of reforms designed to create a higher organisation for defence. Governments of the late nineteenth century increasingly felt the need to provide their service ministers with a spectrum of expert professional advice. As the Great Powers jockeyed with one another around the globe, they also grew aware of the need for specialised government machinery with which to consider defence policy. In Britain the customary solution to problems of coordination and of providing information across departmental boundaries was to create a committee of the Cabinet.1 Thus, after some experimentation, the Committee of Imperial Defence (CID) was born in 1902: a cabinet committee presided over by the Prime Minister, with flexible membership, which could discuss pressing defence issues of the day.

Keywords

Prime Minister High Organisation General Staff Service Minister Military Policy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    J. P. Mackintosh, The British Cabinet (London, 1962) p. 274.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    S. W. Roskill, Hankey: Man of Secrets, 3 vols. (London, 1970–4), passim.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    J. Gooch, The Prospect of War: Studies in British Defence Policy 1847–1942 (London, 1981) pp. 73–9.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    J. S. Omond, Parliament and the Army 1642–1904 (Cambridge, 1933) p. 146Google Scholar
  5. O. Wheeler, The War Office Past and Present (London, 1914) pp. 255–7.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    N. H. Gibbs, The Origins of Imperial Defence (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955) pp. 2–9Google Scholar
  7. J. Gooch, The Plans of War: The General Staff and British Military Strategy c. 1900–1916 (London, 1974) pp. 32–59Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    N. d’Ombrain, War Machinery and High Policy: Defence administration in peacetime Britain, 1902–1914 (London, 1973) pp. 13, 99, 180, 211.Google Scholar
  9. See also Fisher to Tweedmouth, 9 July 1906, quoted in A. J. Marder (ed.), Fear God and Dread Nought, II (London, 1956) p. 83.Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    S. R. Williamson, The Politics of Grand Strategy: Britain and France Prepare for War, 1904–1914 (Harvard, 1969) p. 50.Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    S. R. Freemantle, My Naval Career, 1880–1928 (London, 1949) p. 151.Google Scholar
  12. 9.
    A. J. Marder, From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow, I (Oxford, 1961) p. 248.Google Scholar
  13. 10.
    P. Guinn, British Strategy and Politics 1914 to 1918 (Oxford, 1965) p. 115Google Scholar
  14. John Ehrman, Cabinet Government and War 1890–1940 (Cambridge, 1958) p. 61.Google Scholar
  15. 11.
    Crease to Jellicoe, 17 May 1915, quoted in A. Temple Patterson (ed.), The Jellicoe Papers, I, Navy Records Society 1966, p. 161.Google Scholar
  16. 12.
    A. J. Marder, From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow, II (Oxford, 1965) pp. 89–90, 196.Google Scholar
  17. 13.
    Admirals Oliver and Jackson were subsequently very vague as to what they had actually counselled at the Dardanelles Committee; and the CIGS, Wolfe Murray, admitted that he left meetings of the War Council and the Dardanelles Committee without having any idea that a decision had been reached at all: T. Higgins, Winston Churchill and the Dardanelles (London, 1963) p. 81; Gooch, Plans of War, pp. 303–4. See also Marder, From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow, II, p. 218.Google Scholar
  18. 15.
    D. R. Woodward, Lloyd George and the Generals (London, 1983) p. 176.Google Scholar
  19. 16.
    Jellicoe, Remarks attached to Carson to Jellicoe, 7 June 1917, quoted in A Temple Patterson (ed.), The Jellicoe Papers, II, Navy Records Society 1968, p. 167.Google Scholar
  20. 18.
    H. G. Welch, ‘The Origins and Development of the Chiefs of Staff Subcommittee of the Committee of Imperial Defence: 1923–1939’, unpublished PhD dissertation, University of London 1973, pp. 36–42.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Brian Bond, British Military Policy between the Two World Wars (Oxford, 1980) p. 93.Google Scholar
  22. 28.
    M. S. Smith, ‘Rearmament and Deterrence in Britain in the 1930s’, Journal of Strategic Studies, vol. I, no. 3 (London) December 1978, pp. 313–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 30.
    M. S. Smith, ‘The Development of British Strategic Air Power Doctrine and Policy in Period of Rearmament preceding the Second World War c. 1934–1939’, unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Lancaster 1975, p. 107.Google Scholar
  24. 32.
    Martin Gilbert, Finest Hour: Winston S. Churchill 1939–1941 (London, 1983) pp. 38–40.Google Scholar
  25. 33.
    John Colville, The Fringes of Power: Downing Street Diaries 1939–1955 (London, 1985) p. 108 (25 April 1940).Google Scholar
  26. 34.
    Colville, Fringes of Power, p. 232. (30 August 1940).Google Scholar
  27. 35.
    Alex Danchev, ‘“Dilly-Dally”, or Having the Last Word: Field Marshal Sir John Dill and Prime Minister Winston Churchill’, Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 22, no. 1, January 1987, pp. 21–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 36.
    Charles Eade (ed.), Secret Session Speeches by the Right Hon. Winston S. Churchill (London, 1946) p. 35 (26 June 1941).Google Scholar
  29. 40.
    Eade, Secret Session Speeches, p. 49 (13 April 1942).Google Scholar
  30. 42.
    Joan Beaumont, Comrades in Arms: British Aid to Russia 1941–1945 (London, 1980) p. 71.Google Scholar
  31. 44.
    D. Carlton, Anthony Eden: A Biography (London, 1981) pp. 168–9.Google Scholar
  32. 45.
    Quoted in Nigel Hamilton, Monty: The Field Marshal 1944–1976 (London, 1986) p. 646.Google Scholar
  33. 46.
    Vice-Admiral J. Hughes-Hallett, ‘The Central Organization for Defence’, Journal of the Royal United Services Institution, CIII, 1958, p. 490.Google Scholar
  34. 47.
    Harold Macmillan, Tides of Fortune (London, 1969) p. 561.Google Scholar
  35. 49.
    Vice-Chief of Naval Staff to Lord Louis Mountbatten, 31 October 1954, quoted in Philip Ziegler, Mountbatten: The Official Biography (London, 1985).Google Scholar
  36. 50.
    F. A. Johnson, Defence by Ministry: The British Ministry of Defence 1944–1974 (London, 1980) p. 42.Google Scholar
  37. 52.
    Harold Macmillan, Riding the Storm (London, 1971) p. 244.Google Scholar
  38. 55.
    Harold Macmillan, At the End of the Day (London, 1973) p. 411.Google Scholar
  39. 62.
    Lt. Gen. Sir Maurice Johnston, ‘More Power to the Centre: MOD Reorganization’, Journal of the Royal United Services Institution, vol. 128, no. 1, March 1983, p. 7.Google Scholar
  40. 63.
    Peter Nailor, ‘Denis Healey and rational decision-making in defence’, in I. F. W. Beckett and J. Gooch, Politicians and Defence: Studies in the Formulation of British Defence Policy 1845 (Manchester, 1981) p. 159.Google Scholar
  41. 66.
    Brian Taylor, ‘C2018oming of Age: A Study of the Evolution of the Ministry of Defence Headquarters’, Journal of the Royal United Services Institution, vol. 128, no. 3, September 1983, p. 46.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John B. Hattendorf and Robert S. Jordan 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Gooch

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations