At War in Distant Waters
British Colonial Defense in the Great War
Phillip G. Pattee
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A Great and Urgent Imperial Service investigates the reasons behind Great Britain’s combined military and naval offensive expeditions of Europe during the Great War. These campaigns have been branded by various historians as unnecessary sideshows to the conflict waged on the European continent. Pattee argues that the various campaigns were necessary adjuncts to the war in Europe, and fulfilled an important strategic purpose by protecting British trade where it was most vulnerable. Since international trade was essential for maintaining the island nation’s way of life, Great Britain required freedom of the seas in order to maintain its global trade. While the German High Seas Fleet constituted a serious threat that placed the British coast at grave risk, forcing the Royal Navy to concentrate in home waters, the importance of the island empire’s global trade made it a valuable and vulnerable target to Germany’s various commerce raidersas Admiral Tirpitz’s risk theory had anticipated.