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Title: The British Mediterranean fleet and Malta c. 1900- 1914
Authors: Hamberger, James (2022)
Keywords: Malta -- History -- British occupation, 1800-1964
Malta -- History, Naval -- 19th century
Malta -- History, Naval -- 20th century
Great Britain. Royal Navy -- History -- 19th century
Great Britain. Royal Navy -- History -- 20th century
World War, 1914-1918 -- Malta
World War, 1914-1918 -- Naval operations
Issue Date: 2022
Citation: Hamberger, J. (2022). The British Mediterranean fleet and Malta c. 1900- 1914 (Master’s dissertation).
Abstract: So gorgeous was the spectacle on the May morning of 1910 when nine kings rode in the funeral of Edward VII of England that the crowd, waiting in hushed and blackclad awe, could not keep back gasps of admiration. In scarlet and blue and green and purple, three by three the sovereigns rode through the palace gates, with plumed helmets, gold braid, crimson sashes, and jewelled orders flashing in the sun. After them came five heirs apparent, forty more imperial or royal highnesses, seven queens - four dowager and three regnant - and a scattering of special ambassadors from uncrowned countries. Together they represented seventy nations in the greatest assemblage of royalty and rank ever gathered in one place and, of its kind, the last. The muffled tongue of Big Ben tolled nine by the clock as the cortege left the palace, but on history's clock it was sunset, and the sun of the old world was setting in a dying blaze of splendour never to be seen again. – Barbara Tuchman – The Guns of August, Chapter 1, page 1. The aim of this dissertation is to examine the history of Malta and the British Mediterranean Fleet from the turn of the twentieth century up until the outbreak of the First World War. In this examination, this dissertation will look at the reasons behind the sudden reduction of Royal Navy presence in the Mediterranean and how this would impact her island headquarters of Malta. This work will examine the revolutionary ideas, the giant men, and the confused plans that would dictate the manner by which Britain would attempt to secure her Mediterranean position, as well as how those same men, ideas, and plans would have a lasting impact on Malta. The relationship between Malta and the British Mediterranean Fleet is a deep one. It is a relationship that bore many fruits, however also produced equivalent ills. It is a relationship that was birthed during the Napoleonic wars and made famous during the Second World War. This relationship will be at the forefront of this study as it underwent drastic change. In terms of local history, this dissertation will attempt to provide a concise understanding on the impact the reduction of the British Mediterranean Fleet had on Malta’s economy. This dissertation will also provide insight into the defence of the island at the turn of the century and light political context. In terms of naval history, this dissertation will attempt to add to already established literature on the Royal Navy leading up to the First World War, however from a Mediterranean perspective. Whilst, of course, the Anglo-German naval arms race was the defining factor of British policy in the early twentieth century, this dissertation will examine how this arms race in British Home Waters would directly impact the British Mediterranean Fleet. The first chapter of this dissertation will act as an introduction to the study, providing the reader with the historical backdrop within which the main ideas of this dissertation will unfold. This introductory chapter will look at the rise of the German naval threat and the main personalities that would have a huge impact on British naval policy in the years to come. The first chapter will also provide a literature review of sources used to compile this work. The second chapter will examine Malta and the British Mediterranean Fleet at the turn of the century, focussing on how the Fleet operated at its numerical height in order to protect British interests within the region. In connection with British interests, this chapter will examine how heavily linked the defence of Malta was with the activities of the Fleet. Chapter 2 will also examine Malta’s economic and political standing at the turn of the century. Chapter 3 will look at the momentous and revolutionary events that would severely impact the British Mediterranean Fleet, and subsequently Malta. These revolutionary events were primarily the Entete with France and the launching of H.M.S. Dreadnought. In terms of the Anglo-French Entete, Chapter 3 will examine military conversations between Britain and France and highlight how, especially in terms of joint naval cooperation, the Admiralty was very cautious on how much she could depend on France for Mediterranean security, and if she did, what moral obligations would Britain then incur to come to the aid of France in the event of war. Chapter 4 examines Churchill’s time at the Admiralty and the direct consequences of the themes discussed in Chapter 3. This Chapter will examine Admiralty correspondence and meetings of the Committee of Imperial Defence (C.I.D.) in order to establish how the British Mediterranean Fleet would operate in the face of the ever-growing Anglo-German naval arms race. Ultimately, this chapter will examine the findings of the Royal Commission that was sent to Malta in 1911 to investigate the tremendous economic recession the island found herself in. Finally, this dissertation will end with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, briefly examining the events from a Mediterranean perspective.
Description: M.A.(Melit.)
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2022
Dissertations - FacArtHis - 2022

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