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It is argued in this book that, from the 1880s there was a widely shared, but largely unwritten, strategic acceptance in British naval thinking that in a war with a major power the response would be to attack enemy trade. In line with the current view that seapower depends upon free communications, the book concludes by asserting that the primary role of the Grand Fleet in the First World War was to guarantee the ability of the Northern Blockade to interdict German maritime trade, rather than to engage in large set-piece battles.
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Table of ContentsContents: Foreword, Andrew Lambert; Preface; Strategy, planning and culture; The Naval Intelligence department; Economic warfare; Cruiser warfare; Professional debate; The provision of armed merchant cruisers, 1876-1900; The provision of armed merchant cruisers, 1900-1905; The 1906 ’grand manoeuvres’; The provision of armed merchant cruisers, 1906-1914; How did the experience of 1914-18 bear out war planning?; Appendices; Bibliography and sources; Index.