In this talk (or discussion), Jim explores the role that the Royal Navy played in bringing victory in WW1, and why this has been neglected.
Looking at the profile of the services during and since the war, he explores the way in which public perceptions are dominated by the raising of the huge Kitchener armies, the monstrous battles in which they were involved, the huge numbers of casualties, and the apparent futility of these sacrifices. By comparison, the Royal Navy – by far the largest, most expensive and highest profile of the services in 1914 – was overshadowed. It failed to do what England expected: deliver a second Trafalgar; it succeeded in suffering much higher losses of ships and men than the Kaiserliche Marine at Jutland.
Yet despite this image, the Navy played a pivotal role in bringing victory. Once the Western Front was established, the nature of the war changed. It became a slogging match in which victory would fall to the powers that were able find the resources to continue to feed their populations and fight the war. Blockade became the essential strategy. The Navy not only defeated the U-boat blockade of GB, but prosecuted its own blockade of the Central Powers that brought them to their knees. The Army – and the Americans - did the rest.