British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1899-1914

In This Review

British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1899-1914

By G. P. Gooch and Harold Temperley. Volume IV: the Anglo-Russi
H. M. S. O., 1929
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The entente between England and France of 1904 laid the basis for the moral obligations which involved England in the Franco-German antagonism, but the agreement with Russia of 1907 was to prove, if anything, more disastrous, because it brought England into the more acute Austro-Russian antagonism in the Balkans and put her to a certain degree at the mercy of a diplomacy which was at times unaccountable and unscrupulous. About the negotiations for this important agreement there has been little authentic information, apart from the fragments to be found in Grey's memoirs. This fourth volume of the British documents cannot be said to contain many revelations or even outstanding documents, but it does give a complete picture of the circumstances out of which the agreement grew, and of the difficulties in the way of successful negotiation. That the entente was formed under the direction of a Liberal government will continue to be a marvel, and that the agreement in its final form contained no provisions for the settlement of Near Eastern questions is one of its anomalies. The volume contains excellent chapters on the Thibetan, Persian and Afghan questions, together with interesting information on the English attitude towards the problem of the Straits. It is edited throughout with the same scrupulous care which characterized the earlier volumes.