Supplementing the Home Army

  • K. W. Mitchinson
Part of the Studies in Military and Strategic History book series (SMSH)


The Edwardian public knew little of the extent of military planning or of the petulant and irascible relations between the two armed forces. The press and regular squabbles within the House of Commons drew attention to the political, and to some degree the strategic differences, but the detail remained a mystery. Since it had come to power in 1905, apart from a small cabal within the Cabinet, the Liberal Party had little knowledge of how far Britain’s military resources were earmarked for use on the Continent. Had it known, Herbert Asquith’s administration might well have fallen.1 Preferring to keep his party largely ignorant of a likely Continental commitment, the Prime Minister nevertheless regularly and publicly expressed his confidence in Haldane, in the necessity of his reforms and in the ability of the home army to defend the shores. Haldane harboured no doubts about the indispensability of his work, but as accusations of his Germophilia grew increasingly frequent and as criticism about his reforms’ creations mounted, Asquith’s confident support became essential.


Territorial Unit Hague Convention National Reserve Commanding Officer Army Reserve 
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  1. 1.
    Asquith succeeded Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman as PM in 1908. The policies pursued by Asquith, Sir Edward Grey, the Foreign Secretary and Haldane were ‘unknown and probably unacceptable to the majority of his administration as well as of their parliamentary support’, N.W. Summerton, The Development of British Military Planning for a War Against Germany, p. 473. See also J.W. Coogan and P.F. Coogan, ‘The British Cabinet and the Anglo-French Staff Talks: Who Knew What?’, Journal of British Studies, 24, 1985, pp. 110–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 58.
    G.P. Gooch, ‘Imperialism’ in C.F. Masterman (ed.), The Heart of the Empire, 1901, p. 319, cited in J. Gooch, The Prospect of War, p. 46.Google Scholar

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© K.W. Mitchinson 2005

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