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Civil-Military Relations under the Pre-War Liberal Governments

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Abstract

In 1902 the Italian historian and peace campaigner Guglielmo Ferrero published a lengthy treatise on the subject of militarism. After surveying the historical origins of the phenomenon, Ferrero devoted individual chapters of his book to the analysis of militarism as a contemporary problem in the Ottoman Empire, in France, and in Italy. The ninth chapter of his work, however, examined the cases of England and Germany together. This juxtaposition was intended to emphasize what was, for Ferrero, a profound contrast between two fundamentally different types of political society: the ‘military’ empire of Germany, and the civilian-constitutional polity of England. This distinction was framed in terms of the political position of the armed forces. In the German Reich, soldiers formed a powerful caste: ‘The military class is a class apart’ and ‘soldiers occupy the most important positions in the official world’. In Britain, the soldiers ‘no longer form a caste, but a special branch of the bureaucracy that is entirely in the service of the civil authorities: a class that does not give orders but receives them, which follows the policy of the civil Government but does not direct it’.1

Keywords

  • Military Officer
  • Liberal Party
  • Liberal Government
  • Military Experience
  • General Staff

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Notes

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© 2013 Matthew Johnson

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Johnson, M. (2013). Civil-Military Relations under the Pre-War Liberal Governments. In: Militarism and the British Left, 1902–1914. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137274137_3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137274137_3

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-44551-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-137-27413-7

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