In This Review

British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898-1914
British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898-1914
By G. P. Gooch and Harold Temperley
H. M. S. O., British Library of Information, 1927, 355430 pp

These first two volumes of the great publication of the British pre-war correspondence cover the period from 1898 to 1904. Needless to say, there is a wealth of information which has not been available hitherto, though in some respects the student of pre-war diplomacy is bound to be disappointed. There is, for example, hardly a reference to the negotiations for an alliance with Germany prior to 1901, and the reports published almost all lack the brilliance and general grasp so characteristic of a good many of the documents in the German collection. The outstanding problems here dealt with are those of the Far East, beginning with the occupation of Kiao-Chow and Port Arthur, running through the Boxer troubles and the Yangste Agreement of 1900 and following the course of events through the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and the negotiations preceding the Russo-Japanese War. Much light is thrown upon the exceedingly complicated international relations of the period, and this alone would make the collection indispensable. The other major problem dealt with is that of the Franco-English Entente of 1904, the documents showing that the initiative was taken by the French throughout. The information presented may be said to equal in importance, or even to exceed, all the data we have had up to the present time, and will serve to dispel many current illusions as to the ultimate aims of British policy. It should be remarked that the editing is admirable throughout, and that no effort has been spared to refer the reader to supplementary material.