Reform of the front-line forces of the regular army in the United Kingdom, 1895-1914
Spiers, Edward M.
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This thesis argues that although the need for Amy Reform is often revealed by wartime disaster, the content and purpose of that Reform Is determined by a more complicated process than simply 'learning the lessons' of a previous defeat. To examine that process, the first section of the thesis recounts the shortcomings of the late Victorian Army - the exclusive focus on structural reform, the neglect of modem weapons in tactical thought and the complacency derived from continual success in mail colonial wars. The second section analyses the reaction of the Army, Government, and Opposition to the reverses in South Africa and maintains that their spokesmen were highly selective in interpreting these events. The third section reviews the post-war structural reforms and claims that economic and imperial considerations were as important in reform as the requirements of Continental strategy. The fourth and fifth sections describe the social origins of the officers and the rank-and-file in the dwardian Amy and argue that there was little interest, especially at Governmental level, in altering the traditional patterns of social recruitment. Finally, the sixth section claims that the essence of post-v/ar reform was the perfection of basic military skills by the Front-Line Forces, which enabled them to exploit, in attack and defence, the advantages of recent developments in modem weaponry.