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Kitchener - Architect of Victory ?

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  • Kitchener - Architect of Victory ?

    Would you agree that Kitchener as Secretary of War was the single most influential reason that Britain was to become a major partner of the Entente? Would there have been a 'lesser' BEF without him and could the Entente have achieved victory in 1918 as such?

    The New Army would be the most obvious factor in this achievement, but I also think his role in preventing J. French post-Mons from pulling the BEF out of the line (perhaps avoiding a collapse of the front?), as well as evacuating the troops from Gallipoli before it was too late, could be considered as game savers.

    From a military viewpoint he sounded top notch, but it’s a shame he just didn’t know how to play the political game.

    12
    Yes - most important to BEF
    50.00%
    6
    No - others were more important
    41.67%
    5
    Somewhat - shared importance (please identify)
    8.33%
    1

  • #2
    He was "gone" by 1916...Drowned at sea...so would he realy have influenced anything that occured after his demise????

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    • #3
      I guess Canuckster is aksing about Kitchener because he organized a massive enlargement of the British army, for a period the new guys were called Kitchener's army IIRC.
      Reaction to the 2016 Munich shootings:
      Europe: "We are shocked and support you in these harsh times, we stand by you."
      USA: "We will check people from Germany extra-hard and it is your own damn fault for being so stupid."

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bow View Post
        He was "gone" by 1916...Drowned at sea...so would he realy have influenced anything that occured after his demise????
        If you consider the act of creating the New Army as laying the foundation for victory in the future, then yes imho it could be said he influenced the war after his demise.

        At the start of the war 1914, Kitchener was one of the very few who saw it lasting a lot longer than the 3-6 months that most were predicting. His foresight ensured that the mechanism was put in place for a massive expansion of the BEF (a volunteer one no less), one that would be in place just in time when the French would need some sort of reprieve from 2-3 years of slaughter and carrying the burden.

        If the New Army wasn't there in 1916, what would have been there instead and what would have happened?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Acheron View Post
          I guess Canuckster is aksing about Kitchener because he organized a massive enlargement of the British army, for a period the new guys were called Kitchener's army IIRC.
          It is the enlargement on a massive scale which is key. In an industrial war such as WW1, quantity definately had a quality of its own.

          I believe it was initially called the New Army, but probably came to be known as Kitchener's Army through common usage.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Canuckster View Post
            Would you agree that Kitchener as Secretary of War was the single most influential reason that Britain was to become a major partner of the Entente? Would there have been a 'lesser' BEF without him and could the Entente have achieved victory in 1918 as such?

            The New Army would be the most obvious factor in this achievement, but I also think his role in preventing J. French post-Mons from pulling the BEF out of the line (perhaps avoiding a collapse of the front?), as well as evacuating the troops from Gallipoli before it was too late, could be considered as game savers.

            From a military viewpoint he sounded top notch, but it’s a shame he just didn’t know how to play the political game.

            The army expansion was crucial. Missing out, the retardation of a British army big enough to properly fight WWI, could well have seriously jeopardized the French ability to carry on the war. At least someone else would have had to initiate the kind of expansion Kitchener did.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Johan Banér View Post
              The army expansion was crucial. Missing out, the retardation of a British army big enough to properly fight WWI, could well have seriously jeopardized the French ability to carry on the war.
              Perhaps it could be stated that Kitchener was the single most important influence on the outcome of the war PERIOD?

              At least someone else would have had to initiate the kind of expansion Kitchener did.
              The only other person I have heard of that felt the war would go well beyond "Xmas 1914" was Haig. I doubt he was senior enough at that time though to have any real influence.

              Are you familiar with anyone in a position of influence at that stage of the war with the viewpoint that the BEF needed to expand beyond its initial establishment?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Canuckster View Post
                Perhaps it could be stated that Kitchener was the single most important influence on the outcome of the war PERIOD?
                Perhaps not. Trying to assign that kind of exclusivity to something as massive as WWI quickly becomes a tad daft. Without the French pre-war army reforms, Germany would have walked all over them in 1914, etc., etc., but I won't nominate the then French minister of defense for such an honour regardless.
                Originally posted by Canuckster View Post
                The only other person I have heard of that felt the war would go well beyond "Xmas 1914" was Haig. I doubt he was senior enough at that time though to have any real influence.

                Are you familiar with anyone in a position of influence at that stage of the war with the viewpoint that the BEF needed to expand beyond its initial establishment?
                Well, afaik the "Kitchener mob" was recruited parallel with a general army expansion. Eventually they just merged the army recruits with the Kitchener ones. Kitchener might have got the drop on his countrymen in this, but it really boils down to whether the UK would have decided to create a British army capable of fighting a war like WWI, or not. It seems highly doubtful to me that somehow the UK, after the events of 1914, would just have refrained from this, Kitchener or no.

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                • #9
                  No. Kitchener was England's Hindenburg. Pure figureheads. Kitchener's army was the result of millions joining to get into the fight nothing more or less. It might sound harsh but he probably did the Brits a favour by getting killed.
                  Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

                  That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

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                  • #10
                    Kitchner was Britains most famous general at the start of the war, he was viewed as the wisest, most ablest general in the army. He was right on a number of things, the lenght of the war and about it being an slaughter on an industrial scale, but he had no time for politicians, and his downfall was the scandal over shells.

                    The mission to russia was to get him out of the way so that they could replace him in his absence, not very kind. But his death rekindled the admiration for the man and his shortcomings were forgotten. Was he the architect of victory no, he had some clarity over some aspects but the truth is that the war was won when the allies decided to work together under one command structure and stopped trying to achieve each countries own individual goals.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Johan Banér View Post
                      Perhaps not. Trying to assign that kind of exclusivity to something as massive as WWI quickly becomes a tad daft. Without the French pre-war army reforms, Germany would have walked all over them in 1914, etc., etc., but I won't nominate the then French minister of defense for such an honour regardless.
                      Ok I may over gone overboard just a little bit in my praise but I am trying to get a sense from anyone who wishes to offer an opinion on this: how important was the New Army in the overall scheme of things for the BEF?

                      Well, afaik the "Kitchener mob" was recruited parallel with a general army expansion. Eventually they just merged the army recruits with the Kitchener ones. Kitchener might have got the drop on his countrymen in this, but it really boils down to whether the UK would have decided to create a British army capable of fighting a war like WWI, or not. It seems highly doubtful to me that somehow the UK, after the events of 1914, would just have refrained from this, Kitchener or no.
                      I'm not challenging your statement but hoping to get an expansion of the idea of whether or not the New Army made any difference over normal conscription procedures. Where I believe it made a big difference is that it was voluntary, and it was able to bring in entire strata of the population, from those living in the slums to those enrolled at places like Cambridge and Oxford.

                      It committed the entire country to the cause.

                      Perhaps there can be a small link from this to the fact that the BEF was able to avoid the level of mutiny seen by the French Army.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Rojik View Post
                        No. Kitchener was England's Hindenburg. Pure figureheads. Kitchener's army was the result of millions joining to get into the fight nothing more or less.
                        If it wasn't the New Army, then it probably would have been through conscription. But one way or the other, I am sure they would be getting the numer of bodies they would need.

                        You can't blame Kitchener for the level of the slaughter. He even predicted it.

                        It might sound harsh but he probably did the Brits a favour by getting killed
                        Personally, I think they had a few that saw the end of the war who I would consider a lot worse than Kitchener.

                        Is it mainly because of the New Army you say that or other factors, perhaps Gallipolli?

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