Kitchener's War: British Strategy from 1914-1916 [Cassar]
Author: George H. Cassar
Without the advantage of birth or social connections, Horatio Herbert Kitchener rose rapidly in the Army, from obscure subaltern to the most acclaimed soldier in Britain. In August 1914, in the hour of his country’s greatest need, he dutifully responded to the call to serve as secretary for war.
George Cassar’s study focuses on Kitchener’s role in recognizing and framing the larger issues of the war facing his countrymen and the Allies. From the beginning he appreciated the complexities and demands of the global conflict, understanding that it would last at least three years and require the deployment of a mass army. His recruiting campaign, highlighted by the famous poster “Your Country Needs You,” brought in nearly three million volunteers, a feat that no other belligerent nation came close to matching. Kitchener’s strategy was twofold. First, to defeat Germany and preserve Britain’s independence, Kitchener understood that the key to victory was to treat the western and eastern fronts as one. Thus he worked closely with and supplied armaments to, the Russian army while pursuing careful attrition in France. His second aim was to enhance the security of Britain and its empire in a postwar world, not just against enemies but also against allies.
Drawing upon a variety of unpublished sources, ranging from government documents to the private papers of leading generals and politicians, the author sheds new light on Kitchener’s controversial role in the Dardanelles campaign and the munitions crisis, his efforts to organize an Arab revolt against Turkey, his supervision of operations in Africa, and his relations with colleagues and Allied leaders. This highly readable book refutes many myths about Kitchener, which his detractors circulated after his death in 1916, and makes a powerful case that without his leadership the Entente would not have won the war.