By Matthew S. Seligmann

Why did the British executive claim struggle on Germany in August 1914? was once it simply because Germany posed a risk to British nationwide safety? this present day many favorite historians might argue that this used to be now not the case and million British voters died needlessly for a erroneous reason. This publication counters such revisionist arguments. Matthew Seligmann disputes the recommendation that the British executive both obtained its proof incorrect concerning the German risk or perhaps, as a few have claimed, intentionally 'invented' it to be able to justify an another way pointless alignment with France and Russia. by way of interpreting the army and naval intelligence checks forwarded from Germany to London via Britain's provider attach?s in Berlin, its 'men at the spot', Spying at the Kaiser truly demonstrates that the British professionals had each cause to be alarmed. From those the most important intelligence records, formerly proposal to were misplaced, Dr Seligmann indicates that during the last decade sooner than the 1st global battle, the British govt was once saved good knowledgeable approximately army and naval advancements within the Reich. specifically, the attach?s continually warned that German goals to problem Britain posed a true and coming near near threat to nationwide protection. consequently, the booklet concludes that the British government's conception of a German probability prior to 1914, faraway from being incorrect or invented, used to be rooted in not easy and credible intelligence.

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Brade to the Secretary of the Treasury, 26 May 1908, ibid. Macgregor to the Secretary of the Treasury, 13 May 1903, T 1/9993B. Undated minutes on docket to Treasury file 8804, ibid. , probably Jan. 1912], CAB 1/31, fo. 327. Introduction 19 SERVICE AT TACHÉS, THE ARCHIVES, AND THE HISTORIAN Given the evident importance of the service attachés to the intelligence-gathering of both services, surprisingly little has been written about their activities, with only two historians attempting in-depth studies of their work.

1950, PRO 17/15. Introduction 23 Much the same could be said in respect of the military records. Although the War Office’s archival policies and practices are not as well documented as the Admiralty’s, it seems that the army was no more diligent than the navy when it came to document preservation. Indeed, so heavy handed was the weeding process in the 1920s that it actually aroused complaints from within the War Office establishment. The official responsible for organizing the coronation of George V, for example, composed a vitriolic minute in July 1934 upon discovering that 90 per cent of the documentary record he had so carefully created for posterity had been destroyed.

However, such information is now available and can be assessed. Will Ferguson’s judgement stand up to scrutiny in the face of what the attachés reported or will the attaché reports show that the government was receiving intelligence about an aggressive, even Napoleonic, German design? This, too, is a question that can be posed now that the documentary evidence of the service attachés is available. In summary, the new information on service attachés raises several important questions. These centre on the role of threat perception in defence policy and the role of intelligence in generating and sustaining this.

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