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The Royal Navy and the German Threat, 1901-1914Admiralty Plans to Protect British Trade in a War Against Germany$
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Matthew S. Seligmann

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199574032

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574032.001.0001

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Uncovering the Plan

Uncovering the Plan

British Intelligence on German Intentions

(p.25) 2 Uncovering the Plan
The Royal Navy and the German Threat, 1901-1914

Matthew S. Seligmann

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines British intelligence on German intentions to attack British commerce in the event of an Anglo-German war. It shows how the first suspicions were aroused in 1901 while Admiral Custance was Director of Naval Intelligence and how these built up over time as more and more information came in to substantiate these early fears. While there were many sources at the navy's disposal, including consuls and naval attachés, particularly significant in this respect were the reports from secret agents that began to be received from about 1911, two years after the British Secret Service Bureau was established. As a result of this intelligence material, the majority of the senior officers of the Royal Navy were convinced that, come war, an attack by armed German liners on British merchant vessels was to be expected.

Keywords:   naval intelligence, Secret Service, Admiral Custance

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