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DÉTENTE 1914: SIR WILLIAM TYRRELL'S SECRET MISSION TO GERMANY*

  • T. G. OTTE (a1)
Abstract

Based on hitherto unused archival material, this article reconstructs the genesis of a clandestine mission to Germany by Sir Edward Grey's private secretary, Sir William Tyrrell, planned for the summer of 1914. The mission remained abortive, but it offers fresh insights into a growing sense of détente in Great Power relations on the eve of the First World War. Although the episode involved key officials in London and Berlin, the article emphasizes that, pace many recent scholars of the period, the Anglo-German antagonism was not the central concern of British policy-makers. Rather, relations between the two countries were a function of Anglo-Russian relations, and the revival of Russian power after 1912 provides the proper context to the attempts by British and German officials to place relations between their countries on a friendlier footing. The article thus also calls into question criticisms of the British foreign secretary as irrevocably ententiste, and provides an antidote to assumptions of the First World War as somehow inevitable.

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Corresponding author
School of History, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJt.otte@uea.ac.uk
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*

I am grateful to Zara Steiner and Keith Neilson for their constructive criticisms.

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References
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1 For recent surveys see Williamson, S. R. and May, E. R., ‘An identity of opinion: historians and July 1914’, Journal of Modern History, 79 (2007), pp. 335–87; and the thoughtful introduction by Mulligan, W., The origins of the First World War (Cambridge, 2010).

2 Steiner, Z. S., The Foreign Office and foreign policy, 1898–1914 (Cambridge, 1969), pp. 14 and 51–2; and Corp, E. T., ‘Sir William Tyrrell: the eminence grise of the British Foreign Office, 1912–1915’, Historical Journal, 25 (1982), pp. 697708.

3 For some thoughts on this see my The Foreign Office mind: the making of British foreign policy, 1865–1914 (Cambridge, 2011), pp. 21–2.

4 Crampton, R. J., The hollow détente: Anglo-German relations in the Balkans, 1911–1914 (London, 1979).

5 Langhorne, R. T. B., ‘Anglo-German negotiations concerning the future of the Portuguese colonies, 1911–1914’, Historical Journal, 16 (1973), pp. 361–87; Schöllgen, G., Imperialismus und Gleichgewicht: Deutschland, England und die orientalische Frage, 1871–1914 (Munich, 1992).

6 Kiessling, F., Gegen den ‘grossen Krieg’: Entspannung in den international Beziehungen, 1911–1914 (Munich, 2002). For the argument of the stabilizing function of the alliances see Mulligan, Origins, pp. 74–91; and Afflerbach, H., Der Dreibund: Europäische Grossmacht- und Allianzpolitik vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg (Vienna, 2002).

7 Kennedy's, PaulThe rise of the Anglo-German antagonism, 1860–1914 (London, 1980) has cast a long shadow over the scholarly debate. For a recent attempt to reassert the Kennedian interpretation see Rüger, J., ‘Revisiting the Anglo-German antagonism’, Journal of Modern History, 83 (2011), pp. 579617.

8 ‘Arms and the nation’, Daily News (1 Jan. 1914), copy in Lloyd George MSS, Parliamentary Archives, House of Lords, C/36/2/1; see also Fleuriau to Doumergue (no. 4), 2 Jan. 1914, Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, ed., Documents Diplomatiques Français (DDF), 3rd ser., ix, no. 5 (Paris, 1936).

9 Daniels, E., ‘Russland – Die Republik Nordepirus – Die innere Lage der Westmächte’, Preussische Jahrbücher, 156 (1914), p. 179.

10 Schiemann, T., Deutschland und die grosse Politik anno 1913 (Berlin, 1914), pp. 96 and 372.

11 Czernin to Berchtold (no. 26E), 23 May/5 June 1914, Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv, Vienna, Politisches Archiv x/140.

12 J. Cambon to Doumergue (no. 51), 4 Feb. 1914, DDF (3), ix, no. 220.

13 Sverbe'ev to Sazonov, 31 Jan./13 Feb. 1914, B. von Siebert, ed., Graf Benckendorffs Diplomatischer Schriftwechsel (BDS) (3 vols., Berlin, 1928), iii, no. 1036.

14 J. Cambon to Doumergue (no. 332), 8 June 1914, DDF (3), x, no. 341.

15 Nicolson, H., Sir Arthur Nicolson, Bart., First Lord Carnock: a study in the old diplomacy (London, 1930), pp. 327–8. Richard von Kühlmann offered a similar vignette of Tyrrell, whom he described as an ‘inveterate enemy of writing’, idem, Die Diplomaten (Berlin, 1939), p. 68.

16 H. Beaumont, ‘Diplomatic butterfly’, unpublished TS memoirs, Imperial War Museum, PP/MCR/113, fos. 39–40; also Kühlmann, R. von, Erinnerungen (Heidelberg, 1948), p. 240.

17 Beaumont, ‘Diplomatic butterfly’, fo. 40.

18 Radolinski to Hatzfeldt, 27 Mar. 1888, Tyrrell to Hatzfeldt, 28 Mar. 1888, and Hatzfeldt, to Empress Frederick, 27 Nov. 1888, in Ebel, G., ed., Botschafter Paul Graf von Hatzfeldt: Nachgelassene Papiere (HatzP) (2 vols., Boppard, 1976), ii, nos. 374, 375, and 403.

19 For instance during the Samoa negotiations to warn London that the Germans would break off the talks, see Holstein to Hermann Hatzfeldt, 12 Sept. 1899, ibid., ii, no. 781.

20 Blücher described it as an ‘intimes Freundschaftsverhältnis’, memo Blücher, 25 Jan. 1918, Nachlass Jagow, The National Archives (TNA) (Public Record Office (PRO)), Kew, GFM 25/15; and Blücher, E. Princess and Chapman-Houston, D., eds., Memoirs of Prince Blücher (London, 1932), pp. 116 and 201.

21 Blücher and Chapman-Houston, eds., Memoirs, p. 218. The whole episode is condensed here to one sentence.

22 Memo Blücher, 25 Jan. 1918, Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/15.

23 The letter has not been preserved, but its contents can be deduced from Jagow's reply of 15 Apr. 1914, ibid., GFM 25/16.

24 Cecil, L., The German diplomatic service, 1871–1914 (Princeton, NJ, 1976), p. 318; Philippi, H., ‘Das deutsche diplomatische Korps, 1871–1914’, in Schwabe, K., ed., Das Diplomatische Korps, 1871–1945 (Boppard, 1982), p. 67.

25 Wolff, T., Der Krieg des Pontius Pilatus (Zurich, 1934), p. 338. The book was written in exile, see Sösemann, B., ed., Theodor Wolff, der Journalist: Berichte und Leitartikel (Düsseldorf, 1992), pp. 1730.

26 See for instance Hammann, O., Zur Vorgeschichte des Weltkrieges: Erinnerungen aus den Jahren, 1897–1906 (Berlin, 1919), p. 1; Stolberg-Wernigerode, O. zu, Die unentschiedene Generation: Die konservativen Führungsschichten am Vorabend des Ersten Weltkriegs (Munich, 1968), pp. 15 and 382–3.

27 The Bülow connection did not save Jagow from the former chancellor's vituperation, see Bülow, B. von, Denkwüridgkeiten (4 vols., Berlin, 1931), iii, pp. 31–6 and 158–9; and Jagow's, riposte, ‘Die Anklage des Fürsten Bülow gegen “Die Staatsmänner von 1914” ’, in Thimme, F., ed., Front wider Bülow: Staatsmänner und Forscher zu seinen Denkwürdigkeiten (Munich, 1931), pp. 210–20.

28 Bertie to Grey (private), 30 Jan. 1913, Bertie MSS, British Library (BL), Add. MSS 63030 (reporting a conversation with Wilhelm von Stumm).

29 Müller, diary, 1 Feb. 1913, in Görlitz, W., ed., Der Kaiser: Aufzeichnungen des Chefs des Marinekabinetts Admiral Georg Alexander von Müller über die Ära Wilhelms II. (Göttingen, 1965), p. 202. For his reluctance to return to Berlin see Hammann, Erinnerungen, pp. 1–2.

30 F. W. Wile, Men around the Kaiser: the makers of modern Germany (repr., London, 1914; 1st edn, 1913), p. 216.

31 Rodd to Hardinge (private), 10 May 1909, Hardinge MSS, Cambridge University Library (CUL), vol. 16; also J. R. Rodd, Social and diplomatic memoirs (3 vols., London, 1922–5), iii, pp. 7 and 164–7.

32 Rodd to Grey (private), 6 Jan. 1913, Rodd MSS, Bodleian Library (Bodl.), Oxford, box 15. For Jagow's hopes for rapprochement see also Rheinbaben, W. von, Kaiser, Kanzler, Präsidenten (Mainz, 1968), pp. 109–10.

33 Jagow to Pourtalès (ganz geheim), 6 Feb. 1913, Nachlass Pourtalès, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/3. After the war, Jagow commented in more circumspect language on Habsburg belligerence, idem, ‘Richtigstellungen’, in E. von Steinitz, ed., Ring um Sasonow: Neue dokumentarische Darlegungen zum Ausbruch des grossen Krieges durch Kronzeugen (Berlin, 1928), pp. 135–6.

34 Nicolson to de Bunsen, 30 Mar. 1914, De Bunsen MSS, Bodl., box 11.

35 Jagow to Rodd, 1 Feb. 1913, Rodd MSS, Bodl., vol. 15. This view of Goschen was widely shared among German officials, see Eisendecher to Harcourt, 14 Apr. 1913, Harcourt MSS, Bodl., MS Harcourt dep. 443.

36 Jagow to Tschirschky, 17 Mar. 1913, J. Lepsius, A. Mendelssohn Bartholdy, and F. Thimme, eds., Die Grosse Politik der europäischen Kabinette, 1871–1914 (GP) (40 vols., Berlin, 1924–6), xxxiv/2, no. 12982; for some of the background see Crampton, Hollow détente, pp. 75–96.

37 Jagow to Lichnowsky, 31 May 1913, GP, xxxviii, no. 15317; also to Eisendecher, 24 July 1913, ibid., no. 15368, n.***, p. 115; idem, ‘Richtigstellungen’, p. 136.

38 Jagow to Pourtalès, 26 Sept. 1913, Nachlass Pourtalès, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/3.

39 ‘German-British Convention’, 15 June 1914, G. P. Gooch and H. W. V. Temperley, eds., British documents on the origins of the war, 1898–1914 (BD) (11 vols., London, 1928–38), x/2, no. 249 encl.; for some of the background see Schöllgen, Imperialismus, pp. 404–9; also R. P. Bobroff, Late imperial Russia and the Turkish straits: roads to glory (London, 2006), pp. 85–95.

40 Harcourt to Eisendecher, 10 Mar. 1913, Nachlass Eisendecher, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/10.

41 Jagow, G. von, Ursachen und Ausbruch des Weltkrieges (Berlin, 1919), p. 63; for the colonial talks see Vincent-Smith, J. D., ‘The Anglo-German negotiations over the Portuguese colonies in Africa, 1911–1914’, Historical Journal, 17 (1974), pp. 620–9.

42 Jagow to Blücher, 15 Apr. 1914 (TS copy), Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/16. For the invitation to Churchill to come to Berlin see Nicolson to Hardinge, 1 Feb. 1912, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 92.

43 Tyrrell to Blücher (private), 18 Apr. 1914 (TS copy), Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/16.

44 Grey to Rodd (private), 13 Jan. 1913, Grey MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/64; see also Robbins, K. R., Sir Edward Grey: a biography of Lord Grey of Fallodon (London, 1971), pp. 267–71. Grey's comments nevertheless also reflected widespread concerns about ‘who ruled at Berlin’.

45 Nicolson to Cartwright, 7 Jan. 1913, Nicolson MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/362.

46 Young, H. F., Prince Lichnowsky and the Great War (Athens, GA, 1977), pp. 3248.

47 Memo Bertie (on conversation with Grey), 25 June 1914, Bertie MSS, BL, Add. MSS 63033. Bertie's well-known leanings towards France may well have coloured some of Grey's explanations.

48 Tyrrell to Blücher (private), 18 Apr. 1914 (TS copy), Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/16.

49 Sir Oppenheimer, F., Stranger within (London, 1961), p. 206.

50 Chirol to Hardinge (private), 22 May 1914, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 93.

51 Strang, Lord, Home and abroad (London, 1956), p. 308; and Sir O'Malley, O., The phantom caravan (London, 1954), p. 45.

52 L. Namier, ‘The story of a German diplomatist’, in idem, Avenues of history (London, 1952), p. 87.

53 Rumbold to father, 15 Feb. and 10 Oct. 1908, Rumbold MSS, Bodl. Rumbold dep. 13 and dep. 14.

54 Grey to Hardinge (private), 16 May 1911, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 92.

55 Chirol to Hardinge (private), 22 May 1914, ibid., vol. 93. Lady Nicolson refused to admit Liberal politicians to her house in 1914, see Nicolson, H., The desire to please (London, 1943), pp. 118.

56 Cambon to Poincaré, 18 Apr. 1912, DDF (3), ii, no. 363.

57 See tel. Benckendorff to Sazonov (no. 68), 11 Mar./26 Feb. 1914, N. M. Pokrovski, ed., Internationale Beziehungen im Zeitalter des Imperialismus: Dokumente aus den Archiven der Zarischen und der Provisiorischen Regierung (IBZI), ser. i (5 vols., Berlin, 1931), i, no. 420.

58 Memo Blücher, 25 Jan. 1918, Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/15.

59 Hardinge to Chirol (private), 30 Apr. 1913, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 93.

60 MacDonald to Rumbold (personal), 5 Jan. 1912, Rumbold MSS, Bodl., MS Rumbold dep. 15.

61 Memo Blücher, 25 Jan. 1918, Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/15. This six-page dossier on Tyrrell is remarkably perceptive, and dovetails neatly with the findings of later historians.

62 Fürst von Lichnowsky, K. M., Auf dem Weg zum Abgrund: Londoner Berichte, Erinnerungen and sonstige Schriften (2 vols., Dresden, 1927), i, pp. 125–6 (much of the work was written during the war).

63 See Hermann Hatzfeldt to father, 4 Dec. 1900, HatzP, ii, no. 838, n. 1.

64 Tyrrell to Spring-Rice, 1 May 1906, Spring-Rice MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/241. Spring-Rice was one of Tyrrell's closest friends in the diplomatic service, and his letters to him provide some of the few insights into the thinking of this notoriously reluctant writer; see also Gwynn, S., ed., The letters and friendships of Sir Cecil Spring-Rice: a record (2 vols., London, 1929), ii, p. 18.

65 Quotes from Tyrrell to Spring-Rice (private), 15 May 1907 and 15 Apr. 1908, Spring-Rice MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/241.

66 Quotes from Tyrrell to Hardinge (private), 13 and 21 July 1911, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 92; also Corp, ‘Tyrrell’, p. 700.

67 Tyrrell to Spring-Rice (private), 1 Aug. 1911, Spring-Rice MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/241; see also Goschen diary, 22 Aug. 1911 (on conversation with Tyrrell), Howard, C. H. D., ed., The diary of Edward Goschen, 1900–1914 (London, 1980), p. 244.

68 Tyrrell to Howard (private), 28 Dec. 1912, Howard of Penrith MSS, Cumbria Record Office, Carlisle, DHW 5/33; also Otte, Foreign Office mind, pp. 381–2.

69 Chirol to Hardinge (private), 10 Apr. 1913, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 93.

70 Chirol to Hardinge, 18 Apr. 1913, ibid.

71 Chirol to Hardinge (private), 4 July 1913, ibid.

72 Corbett to de Bunsen (private), 20 Jan. 1914, De Bunsen MSS, Bodl., box 14; for the background see Gatrell, P., Government, industry and rearmament in Russia, 1907–1914: the last argument of tsarism (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 161–96; Stevenson, D., Armaments and the coming of the war, 1904–1914 (Oxford, 1996), pp. 329408; Herrmann, D. G., The arming of Europe and the making of the First World War (Princeton, NJ, 1996), pp. 180–91.

73 Min. Crowe, 17 Feb. 1913, TNA (PRO), FO 371/1649/7482; for some of the background see Otte, T. G., ‘Grey ambassador: the Dreadnought and British foreign policy’, in Blyth, R., Lambert, A., and Rüger, J., eds., The Dreadnought and the Edwardian age (London, 2011), pp. 74–6.

74 Crowe to Oppenheimer, 25 Feb. 1913, Oppenheimer MSS, Bodl., box 17.

75 Corbett to Grey (no. 8), 16 Jan. 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/1986/2529; memo Oppenheimer, ‘German government finances 1913’, 19 June 1913, Asquith MSS, Bodl., vol. 25. Intriguingly, Jagow saw matters in a very similar light: if ‘the good Theobald [i.e. chancellor von Bethmann Hollweg]’ were to fall, it would be ‘a further step towards a parliamentary regime’, Jagow to Pourtalès, 16 (continued 27) Jan. 1914, Nachlass Pourtalès, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/3.

76 Goschen to Grey (no. 48), 5 Feb. 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/1857/5608.

77 Quotes from Tyrrell to Spring-Rice, 1 May 1906 and 15 Apr. 1908, Spring-Rice MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/241.

78 Memo Blücher, 25 Jan. 1918, Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/15.

79 Tyrrell to Spring-Rice (private), 15 May 1907, Spring-Rice MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/241; also Neilson, K. and Otte, T. G., The office of the permanent under-secretary for foreign affairs, 1854–1946 (London, 2009), p. 190.

80 Tyrrell to Spring-Rice (private), 4 Jan. 1912, Spring-Rice MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/241; Corp, ‘Tyrrell’, p. 701.

81 Tyrrell to Chirol (private), 31 Jan. 1912, Grey MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/106; essential for the background to this Neilson, K., Britain and the last tsar: British policy and Russia, 1894–1917 (Oxford, 1995), pp. 320–8; also Siegel, J., Endgame: Britain, Russia and the final struggle for central Asia, 1907–1914 (London, 2002), pp. 117–74.

82 Chirol to Hardinge, 18 Apr. 1913, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 93.

83 Buchanan to Grey (no. 60), 4 Mar. 1914 (= Annual Report 1913), TNA (PRO), FO 371/2092/10333. French diplomats also commented on ‘la réelle divergence entre les tendances russes et les aspirations anglaises’, note Quai d'Orsay for Poincaré, 17 Apr. 1914, DDF (3), x, no. 111.

84 Buchanan to Nicolson, 21 Jan. 1914, Nicolson MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/372.

85 Tel. Lecomte to Doumergue (no. 6), 28 Feb. 1914, DDF (3), ix, no. 377. Indeed, Benckendorff, the Russian ambassador, reported that Townley had asked to be transferred because of the strained relations with Russia in Persia, tel. to Sazonov (no. 146), 27 May/9 June 1914, BDS, iii, no. 1058.

86 Min. Nicolson, n.d. [12 Feb. 1914], on tel. Buchanan to Grey (no. 46R), 11 Feb. 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/2091/6329; see also tel. Buchanan to Grey (no. 70R), 15 Mar. 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/2092/11456, reporting on a turf war between the minister of war and the foreign minister.

87 Min. Grey, n.d., on memo Nicolson (secret), 17 Apr. 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/2092/17370; see also similar comments by Crowe and Nicolson, mins. 8 Apr. 1914 and n.d., on Buchanan to Grey (no. 100, secret), 3 Apr. 1914, ibid./15312.

88 Grey to Bertie (no. 249, secret), 1 May 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/2092/19288. For German (mis-) perceptions, based on intelligence obtained from the Russian embassy in London, see Rauh, M., ‘Die britisch-russische Marinekonvention von 1914 und der Ausbruch des Ersten Weltkriegs’, Militärgeschichtliche Mitteilungen, 41 (1987), pp. 3762.

89 Harcourt cabinet notes, 13 May 1914, Harcourt MSS, no accession number.

90 Grey to Buchanan (no. 213), 25 June 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/2092/29293; see also Soroka, M., Britain, Russia and the road to the First World War: the fateful embassy of Count Aleksandr Benckendorff (1903–1916) (Farnborough and Burlington, VT, 2011), pp. 246–8.

91 Tyrrell to Spring-Rice, 2 June 1907, Spring-Rice MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/241.

92 Spring-Rice to Tyrrell, 2 Apr. 1912 (TS copy), ibid.

93 Spring-Rice to Oppenheimer, 22 Nov. 1912, Oppenheimer MSS, Bodl., box 18.

94 Tyrrell to Ponsonby, 10 Jan. 1913, Ponsonby MSS, Bodl., MS.Eng.his.c.659; see also to Spring-Rice, 13 Nov. 1912, Spring-Rice MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/241.

95 Russian concerns on this issue are well documented, see Grigorevich to Sazonov (no. 39/7), 6/19 Jan. 1914, and minutes of special conference, 21 Jan./8 Feb. 1914, IBZI, i, nos. 50 and 295. For some further discussion see also McMeekin, S., The Russian origins of the First World War (Cambridge, MA, 2011), pp. 35–8, though this author does not agree with the underlying argument advanced here.

96 Tel. Etter to Sazonov (no. 840), 23 Dec. 1913/5 Jan. 1914, and Volkov to chief of naval staff (no. 182, secret), 24 May/6 June 1914, BDS, iii, nos. 1025 and 1058. There had been a good deal of dissimulation on Russia's part, Sazonov, for instance, pretending that, if Russia's attempt to purchase the ships were successful, the vessels were meant for deployment in the Baltic, Buchanan to Nicolson (private), 16 Apr. 1914, BD, x/2, no. 538.

97 Chirol to Hardinge, 18 Apr. 1913, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 93.

98 Nicolson to Townley (private), 21 Oct. 1912, Nicolson MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/359; for Nicolson and his views on Russia the locus classicus remains K. Neilson, ‘ “My beloved Russians”: Sir Nicolson, Arthur and Russia, , 1906–1916’, International History Review, 9 (1987), pp. 521–54.

99 Nicolson to Buchanan (private), 11 Mar. 1913, Nicolson MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/364.

100 Nicolson to de Bunsen, 27 Apr. 1914, De Bunsen MSS, Bodl., box 15.

101 Chirol to Hardinge (private), 23 May 1913, also 4 July 1913, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 93; also P. Cambon to Doumergue (no. 115), 8 Mar. 1914, DDF (3), x, no. 414.

102 Steiner, Z. S., ‘The Old Foreign Office, 1898–1905’, Historical Journal, 6 (1963), pp. 5990; Otte, Foreign Office mind, pp. 240–59.

103 Mallet to Hardinge, 27 June 1912, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 93. Nicolson's hopes for Vienna are confirmed by Harold Nicolson to mother, 4 Feb. 1913, Sissinghurst MSS, box 1913–14; and Rennie to de Bunsen, 3 June 1913, De Bunsen MSS, Bodl., box 15.

104 Chirol to Hardinge (private), 14 June 1914, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 93; Otte, Foreign Office mind, pp. 384–8.

105 Memo Bertie (on conversation with Grey), 2 Dec. 1913, Bertie MSS, Add. MSS 63032. For relevant section in the civil service regulations see G. Hertslet, E. P., ed., The Foreign Office list and diplomatic and consular yearbook for 1914 (London, 1914), p. 65.

106 Chirol to Hardinge (private), 20 June 1913, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 93.

107 De Bunsen to Spring-Rice, 12 July 1898, Spring-Rice MSS, Churchill College Archive Centre, Cambridge, CASR 1/4.

108 Paget to Barclay (private and confidential), 13 Oct. 1912, Barclay MSS, London School of Economics Archive, 4/1. Paget's views were no secret in the service, see Paget to Nicolson (private), 7 Oct. 1912 (copy), Paget MSS, BL, Add. MSS 51253; also Steiner, Foreign Office, pp. 150–1.

109 Bertie to Hardinge (personal), 19 Feb. 1914, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 93; and memo Bertie, 19 July 1914, Bertie MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/188. It was, perhaps, no coincidence that, his anti-German sentiments notwithstanding, Bertie's preference had always been for a policy of ‘tertius gaudens’ in international politics, see Cranborne to Bertie (private), [12 Apr.] 1903, Bertie MSS, BL, Add. MSS 63015; and Bertie to Hardinge (private), 19 Jan. 1907, ibid., BL, Add. MSS 63021.

110 Min. Crowe, ? May 1914, on Townley to Grey (no. 123), 28 Apr. 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/2073/22510.

111 Min. Crowe, 2 June 1914, on Townley to Grey (no. 143, confidential), 13 May 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/2059/24443.

112 Min. Crowe, 23 July 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/2076/33484.

113 Crowe to Howard, 10 Aug. 1913, Howard of Penrith MSS, DHW 4/Personal/19; also min. Crowe, 9 Mar. 1914, on tel. Buchanan to Grey (no. 67, confidential), 8 Mar. 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/2092/10266.

114 Florence Spring-Rice to Chirol, 2 Sept. 1913, Spring-Rice MSS, CASR 1/24.

115 Spring-Rice to Grey (private), 29 Sept. 1913, Grey MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/83; Burton, D. H., Cecil Spring-Rice: a diplomat's life (London and Toronto, 1992), p. 149.

116 Chirol to Hardinge (private), 17 June 1914, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 93; Greene to Rumbold, 9 Sept. 1913, Rumbold MSS, Bodl., Rumbold dep. 16; ‘Sir W. Tyrrell's visit to Washington’, Times (26 Nov. 1913).

117 Tel. Spring-Rice to Grey (no. 123), 6 June 1913, TNA (PRO), FO 371/1859/26066; for some of the background see Spender, J. A., Weetman Pearson, First Viscount Cowdray, 1856–1917 (London, 1930), pp. 163204; and Calvert, P. A. R., ‘Great Britain and the New World, 1905–1914’, in Hinsley, F. H., ed., British foreign policy under Sir Edward Grey (Cambridge, 1977), pp. 390–3.

118 Spring-Rice to Haldane, 18 Sept. 1913, Haldane MSS, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, MS 5910. The bachelor Haldane and the widower Grey shared a house in Queen Anne's Gate, see Haldane, E., From one century to another: reminiscences (London, 1937), pp. 254–5. For House's visit to London see Hodgson, G., Woodrow Wilson's right hand: the life of Colonel Edward M. House (New Haven, CT, 2006), p. 89.

119 Grey to Spring-Rice (private), 28 Oct. 1913, Grey MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/83; Page to House, 26 Oct. 1913, in Hendrick, B. J., The life and letters of Walter H. Page (2 vols., London, 1923), pp. 201–2.

120 Blücher to Jagow, 17 Oct. [1917], Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/16.

121 Spring-Rice to Grey, n.d. [c. 20 Nov. 1913], Grey MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/83. Tyrrell went to some lengths to keep his meeting with Wilson a secret, given the latter's difficult relations with his secretary of state, William Jennings Bryan, Tyrrell to Grey, 18 Nov. 1913, ibid.; also House diary, 13 Nov. 1913, in C. Seymour, ed., The intimate papers of Colonel House (4 vols., London, 1926), i, pp. 206–7.

122 Spring-Rice to Grey, 2 Dec. 1913, Grey MSS, TNA (PRO), FO 800/83 (original emphasis); see also Bryan's fulsome tribute, to Tyrrell, 3 Dec. 1913, ibid.

123 House diary, 13 Nov. 1913, as quoted in Hodgson, Wilson 's right hand, p. 89.

124 Murray, A. C., Master and Brother: Murray of Elibank (London, 1945), p. 192.

125 House diary, 2 Dec. 1913, as quoted in Hodgson, Wilson right hand, p. 96.

126 Memo Blücher, 25 Jan. 1918, Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/15.

127 Blücher to Jagow, 17 Oct. [1917], ibid., TNA (PRO), GFM 25/16; also House to Page, 4 Nov. 1913, Hendrick, Life of Page, ii, p. 205. After the war, German diplomats came to the conclusion that Tyrrell's mission had the object of obtaining US assurances of ‘benevolent neutrality’ in the event of a European war, see Jagow to Bernstorff, 2 Sept. 1919, in Graf J. H. Bernstorff, Erinnerungen und Briefe (Zurich, 1936), pp. 116–19; and Jagow, Ursachen, p. 91.

128 Jagow to Blücher, 21 Apr. 1914, Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/16. On Salm see Gollwitzer, H., Die Standesherren: Die politische und gesellschaftliche Stellung der Mediatisierten, 1815–1918 (Stuttgart, 1957), p. 145.

129 Salm to Jagow, 18 May 1914, Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/15. Buchlau referred to the secret Austro-Russian meeting in Sept. 1908 which led to the Bosnian annexation crisis.

130 Salm to Blücher, 18 May and 20 July 1914, ibid.

131 Chirol to Hardinge (private), 22 May 1914, Hardinge MSS (CUL), vol. 93.

132 In Blücher's indelicate phrase, ‘Lady Tyrrell's were in feminine manner undated’, Blücher to Jagow, 6 July 1917, encl. Lady Tyrrell to Blücher, n.d., Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/16. For Tyrrell's absence, see memo Bertie, 18 July 1914, Bertie MSS, BL, Add. MSS 63033.

133 Lady Tyrrell to Blücher, n.d. [but before 2 July 1914], Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/16. The date can be deduced from her opening reference to the ‘ghastly time for [the] poor wonderful old emperor’ and the fact that Blücher informed Jagow on 2 July, see Jagow's reply, 6 July 1914, ibid.

134 Jagow to Blücher, 6 July 1914 (TS copy), ibid.

135 Fischer, F., Der Griff nach der Weltmacht: Die Kriegszielpolitik des kaiserlichen Deutschland, 1914–1918 (3rd edn, Düsseldorf, 1964), pp. 60–6.

136 Lady Tyrrell to Blücher, n.d., Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/16.

137 Temperley diary, 28 Mar. 1918, Temperley MSS, private; see also Tyrrell to Ponsonby, 31 July 1914, Ponsonby MSS, Bodl., MS.Eng.his.c.660.

138 Lambert's, N. A.Planning Armageddon: British economic warfare and the First World War (Cambridge, MA, 2012), esp. pp. 19184, offers by far the most sophisticated analysis of pre-war admiralty planning.

139 This is demonstrated in exemplary fashion for relations with Russia by Neilson, Last tsar, passim; for further thoughts see also my Foreign Office mind, pp. 4–9, and ‘“Chief of all office”: high politics, finance and foreign policy, 1865–1914’, in Simms, B. and Mulligan, W., eds., The primacy of foreign policy, 1660–2000: how strategic concerns shaped modern Britain (Basingstoke and New York, NY, 2010), pp. 232–48.

140 Oppenheimer diary, 8 Jan. 1918, Oppenheimer MSS, Bodl., box 5.

141 Tyrrell to Blücher, 18 Apr. 1914 (TS copy), Nachlass Jagow, TNA (PRO), GFM 25/16.

142 Grey to Bertie (no. 249, secret), 1 May 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/2092/19288.

143 For such fears see min. Nicolson, n.d., on Buchanan to Grey (no. 75), 23 Mar. 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/1988/12716. For the Anglo-Russian talks see Neilson, Last tsar, pp. 334–40; Siegel, Endgame, pp. 186–96. For irritation with France see min. Crowe, 23 July 1914, on A. Hardinge to Crowe, 20 July 1914, TNA (PRO), FO 371/2045/12291.

144 Oppenheimer diary, 8 Oct. 1914, Oppenheimer MSS, Bodl., box 5; also Oppenheimer, Stranger within, p. 243.

145 Charmley, J., ‘Traditions of Conservative foreign policy’, in Hicks, G., eds., Conservatism and British foreign policy, 1820–1920: the Derbys and the world (Farnham and Burlington, VA, 2011), p. 224, echoing Wilson, K. M., The policy of the ententes (Cambridge, 1982).

146 Blücher and Chapman-Houston, eds., Memoirs, p. 218.

* I am grateful to Zara Steiner and Keith Neilson for their constructive criticisms.

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The Historical Journal
  • ISSN: 0018-246X
  • EISSN: 1469-5103
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