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The Great Naval Race: Anglo-German Naval Rivalry 1900-1914

By Peter Padfield

This is the dramatic story of the deadly competition in dreadnought battleship construction between Great Britain and Imperial Germany in the years before the First World War. It is a story of two great Empires set on a collision course, climaxing in the Armageddon of 1914.

But was 1914 the inevitable result of the armaments race? 

Historians have long argued the point, and now Peter Padfield – with the aid of documents from both British and German archives – argues forcibly that the major causes of the First World War were not the armaments themselves, but rather the personalities involved, especially Kaiser Wilhelm II, with his obsessive dreams of imperial destiny.

The Great Naval Race is a clear and compelling narrative of those fateful years and vividly portrays the leading protagonists in the drama. On the German side, Kaiser Wilhelm and Admiral Tirpitz, who launched the challenge to British naval supremacy; and on the British side, the statesmen who responded to that challenge – Admiral Fisher, who dragged the British Navy into the twentieth century, Edward Grey and Winston Churchill.

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