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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The Barracks (Moderators: Delmonico, Pitspitr)  |  Topic: A Fundemental Shift 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: A Fundemental Shift  (Read 390 times)
Drydock
MA1 USN ret. GAF #19, Colonel, Chief of Staff. BC, CC, SoM. SASS 1248 Life
American Plainsmen Society
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« on: May 31, 2018, 08:47:01 pm »


People forget that the relationship between the US and Great Britain for the first 120 years was both difficult and adversarial.  Deweys victory at Manila Bay, over one of Britain's oldest enemy's, caused a sudden and dramatic reevaluation of this relationship, culminating in a single paragraph, in the midst of a major speech given by Mr. Joseph Chamberlin, Colonial Secretary to Her Majesty, given at an assembly in Birmingham, on May 13 1898.

"What is our next duty?  It is to establish and maintain bonds of permanent amity with our kinsman across the Atlantic.  They are a powerful and generous nation.  They speak our language, they are bred of our race.  Their laws, their literature, their standpoint on every question are the same as ours;  their feeling, their interest in the cause of humanity and the peaceful development of the world are identical with ours.  I do not know what the future has in store for us, I do not know what arrangements may be possible with us, but this I know and feel--- that the closer, the more cordial, the fuller, and the more definite these arrangements are with the consent of both peoples, the better it will be for both and for the world.  And I even go so far as to say that, as terrible as war may be, even war itself would be cheaply purchased if in a great and noble cause the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack should wave together over an Anglo-American alliance. "

On May 24th, at a joint gathering in England, to celebrate Queen Victoria's 79th birthday, a British Regimental Surgeon stood up and proposed a toast to the 2 flags displayed side by side.

"Their colors never run."
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Civilize them with a Krag . . .
RattlesnakeJack
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2018, 10:25:07 pm »

A "late" instance of the oft-strained relations between the UK and USA was the Venezuela/British Guiana Border Crisis which began in 1895 - https://history.state.gov/milestones/1866-1898/venezuela - that actually led to a fairly serious risk of war between the United States (strongly supporting Venezuela, under the Monroe Doctrine) and the United Kingdom. 

Directly related to this issue ... especially in view of the likelihood of American attacks on Canada if war ensued ... was the rearming of Canada's Militia forces in 1895/96, the decision having been made to finally replace their hopelessly outdated Snider-Enfield rifles.   Canada had actually ordered, 40,000 single-shot Martini-Metford rifles (or, if available, Martini-Enfield rifles) ... neither of which, arguably were significantly more up-to-date, although at least they were chambered in the current .303 British military cartridge.  Britain strongly encouraged Canada (... including financial encouragement, I firmly suspect ...) to instead acquire the current Magazine rifle, and in early 1896 the order was changed to 40,000 Magazine Lee-Enfield rifles (just adopted that year with the improved rifling developed at Royal Small Arms Factory Enfield.)

As a result, during the 2nd Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, Canada's infantry and mounted infantry contingents were literally the only "British" troops in the conflict exclusively armed with the "state-of-the-art" Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle, since many of the UK's troops were still carrying the Magazine Lee-Metford, and many of the troops from other British Dominions (e.g. the various Australian Colonies and New Zealand) were armed with single-shot Martini-action rifles of various kinds ...
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Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
Old West ClipArt & History Website:  http://rattlesnakejacks.com/
S. Quentin Quale, Esq.
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2018, 10:16:15 pm »

There is an excellent book entitled Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War (1991) by Robert K. Massie.  It begins with the birth of Queen Victoria and chronicles the ebb and flow of British political, diplomatic, and military decisions up to the day before WWI beings.  Particularly appropriate to this discussion is the evolution of British policy towards the U.S. and France.

In short, beginning with the period of the Boer War and the rise of Imperial Germany at the opening of the 20th Century the foreign policy of Great Britain became much more accommodating to their ancient enemy, France, and towards the U.S., where relations had been frosty since the Revolution but became worse after the ACW and rise of American industry.  The quick victory of the U.S. over Spain was jolt to Britain and all of Continental Europe.  The Roosevelt Administration functionally abandoned previous isolationist policies and decided that the Monroe Doctrine would become more than just a political statement.  Faced with this the British did two things to turn this to their advantage and allow them to both put more assets facing a rising Germany and preempt any German diplomatic moves to ally itself with the U.S. (which at that time had a large and growing German population).  With the French they entered into formal and informal agreements where Britain would assume responsibility for defense of French Channel ports and France would support Britain's interests in the Mediterranean.  This allowed significant forces to be transferred from that theater to the Home Fleet.  In the Americas Britain formally recognized the Monroe Doctrine (the first foreign state ever to do so) and would look to the USN to watch over certain British interests in the Americas, reducing the need to maintain strong North and South Atlantic squadrons.  This allowed additional units to be added to the Home Fleet.  It also meant that the U.S. was no longer an active threat to Canada as our national energy was directed southwards towards Panama (and Mexico).  This did not mean that there would not be issues but that issues that arose were settled in a more amicable fashion.  The cooperation between the U.S. and Britain (and France and Britain) would grow over time and eventually evolve into a genuine alliance that would convince the American public to go to war against Germany.

The book is fascinating and if you take it on you will learn more about German and British court politics than you think you will ever need to know!  But personal relationships at this time were very much key to the evolution of the competition, and ultimate conflict, between Britain and Germany.

I really do HIGHLY recommend this book for those interested in the period from roughly the establishment of the German Reich under the leadership of Prussia and the opening of the First World War (an era where many here have a keen interest).  What happened in the drawing rooms of Berlin and London did affect what happened on the American Great Plains.  The effect was often indirect, but was real. 

SQQ
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RattlesnakeJack
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2018, 11:08:49 pm »

Yes, "Dreadnought" is a great read, indeed - I still have my copy around here somewhere.   

HMS Dreadnought (launched 1906) was the first of the modern battleships ... and many others soon followed. The massive arms race at the close of the 19th century and early 20th century - primarily naval - was the subject of this 1909 Puck cover cartoon, entitled "No Limit" -

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Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
Old West ClipArt & History Website:  http://rattlesnakejacks.com/
S. Quentin Quale, Esq.
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2018, 02:45:43 pm »

That cover has it about right!!!

This period really was utterly pivotal to world history and sadly it's not taught at all, or if it is it's just an endless repetition of slogans of dubious value.

After the Roosevelt Administration the U.S. would retreat back into its former "isolationist" mode and remain there until the entry into WWI.  And then do it again after Versailles until December, 1941 (save for the Washington Naval Conference).  Even after WWII there was pressure to fall back behind the moats of the Atlantic and Pacific.  Only the gross aggressions of the Soviets prevented that.  And even unto today we have an "isolationist" lobby that appears from time to time, living in the fantasy world that pretends we can "go it alone" due to our geography and economic strength.  For better of for worse the world has become "stitched together" and if that stitching fails the consequences will be beyond unthinkable.

SQQ
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The Barracks (Moderators: Delmonico, Pitspitr)  |  Topic: A Fundemental Shift « previous next »
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