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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Apr-2009 at 18:32
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

WW1 undoubtedly symbolises the beginning of the end for Britain's economic dominance, but in 1918 it was still a wealthy country compared to pretty well anyone else including the US, and it still was come 1939.
 
The end of the era is probably best marked by the Bretton Woods agreements of 1944, in which only dollars and gold - not sterling - played specific roles as world currencies.
 
Britain's situation at Bretton Woods is reflective of the bankruptcy of the realm (perhaps not of the commonwealth nations), and the abandonment of the UK currency standard cannot be seen as anything other than an admission of that.  From all that I have read, the scarcity of so many necessities in Austerity Britain (up into early 1950s?) should not have occurred had the country been in better financial condition.  A victorious nation, with access to overseas resources, that could not afford to import pork from Denmark or enough leather for children's shoes is not in any way a healthy economy. 
 
I know there were a lot of social issues and labor problems, but still, even if it can be statistically shown that the UK was solvent, the travails of the population say otherwise.
 
It's my opinion only.
 
  


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 15-Apr-2009 at 18:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Apr-2009 at 19:15
Funnily enough it wasn't the pork from Denmark that was a problem - at least I don't recall it being one. (Denmark was pretty dependent on exports to the UK). The more important emotional symbols were the rationing of bread (grain cost hard currency, not kronor) which had never been rationed during the war, and the great coal shortage and power shutdowns of 1947 (for instance cinemas were only allowed to open in the evening, not in the morning). The latter wasn't due to lack of ability to pay for imports, since Britain has always had plenty of coal.
 
There were always plenty of potatos too, and potatos were rationed post-war even though they had never been rationed during it and they didn't have to be imported. As with bread, this was because domestic supplies were being diverted to the areas of Europe under the control (and responsibility) of Britain.
 
However, the situation shouldn't be exaggerated: Britain was in less trouble than most of Europe, which is why it got to host the 1948 Olympics.
 
Trivia point: Rationing in Britain ended on my twenty-first birthday.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Apr-2009 at 19:42
Originally posted by Temujin Temujin wrote:

the Washington Naval Conference was of course only attended by Naval Powers, and even if the Soviet Union had been one it wasn't invited for being evil Communist. the Polish victory is significantly overplayed considdering the Soviet Union/Russia was still in it's own Civil War at the time and fought numerous other independence movements all over the place with a completely new untrained army short of experienced officers. however it was the Soviet Union who had second most tanks, ACs and ATs behind Britain but ahead of Italy in the inter-war period.
 
Again the question was not about the 'inter-war period' but the immediate aftermath of ww1. Germany became a power agin in the 'inter-war period' but it wasn't in 1918-21. The Soviet Union wasn't invited to Washington because nobody was seriously worried about it - at that time, quite justifiably, given the way Russia had collapsed in the war.
 
Generally speaking countries that have just been comprehensively beaten in a war, like the German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires, aren't usually considered serious powers any more in the immediate aftermath. In 1918 the same went for the Ottoman Empire too at least until Ataturk sorted out Turkey.
 
As for Soviet tanks in the '20s, that's not the impression one gets from http://www.irvania.com/downloads/TBOTRus1.pdf
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Apr-2009 at 21:02
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
As for Soviet tanks in the '20s, that's not the impression one gets from http://www.irvania.com/downloads/TBOTRus1.pdf
 


i have it from the books Armoured units of the Russian Civil War (volumes 1 + 2) and it was actually Britain herself (and France) that contributed to this ranking. other than tanks, armoured cars and armoured trains are also counted to the total number of armoured vehicle assets posessed by the Soviet Union. Italy under Mussolini concentrated strongly on tanks even more so than France and at the eve of ww2 they had more tanks (mostly tankettes though) than Britain. you're right the inter-war period is long and i basically mixed both facts together i think. Germany didn't increased the standing army until 1935 when the Wehrmacht was created.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote winningstad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 15:48
I wonder,
 
Did the naval disarmament conference lead to the end to British naval supremacy?
 
I just read an essay in which the author argued along those lines...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 16:03
It weakened it slightly. On the other hand it recognised that Britain should continue to have the world's most powerful navy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 16:27
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

It weakened it slightly. On the other hand it recognised that Britain should continue to have the world's most powerful navy.
 
Are you thinking in terms of total tonnage or the fact that the RN still had far more cruisers than anyone else?  In terms of capital ship and carrier tonnage the RN, as of course you know, was roughly equal to the US.  The Washington agreement limits actually eliminated Britain from any realistic presence east of Singapore.  Britain retained the most powerful navy between Norfolk, Virginia and the Straits.  Anywhere else, not so.
 
 
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 19-Apr-2009 at 16:28
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Apr-2009 at 22:06
Not al all actually Pike, Germany was no longer a threat in the Naval department (and never really was again) and from 1919 to 1936 the RN IIRC considered the Japanese to be its main threat, in the event of war, the RN would be dispatched en mass there. The RN could no longer dominate every ocean at the same time, but it could dominate any ocean it chose to.
The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Apr-2009 at 22:25
Unfortunately the RN could not pick and choose it's main threat in the event of war.  For all sorts of reasons (many of them financial), Home Fleet remained in home waters after 1919, not deployed in the far East.  The only other large fleet org was in the Med. 
 
Singapore may, or may not, have had the facilities to handle a fleet that could contest the IJN.  Trincomalee may have, but was too far from Britain to move the entire fleet there in time to prevent what the Japs were able to do in Singapore in 1941 (I know it was not anticipated, but you see the point).
 
As far as the Pacific went, the RN knew full well that the US navy had war plans for Japan as early as 1919, when the entire battle fleet and most of it's destroyers were moved to San Diego and San Pedro in southern Califirnia.  I do not know if there was consultation between the two navies, and I do not know what the exact nature of RN planning for the Pacific was to be, but US navy "Plan Orange," and all the revisions, was directed at Japan from the beginning of that fleet relocation.  The Brits knew that.
 
   


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 21-Apr-2009 at 00:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Apr-2009 at 20:04

You are looking at the situation from a US-Centric position. The US did not have dozens of bases world over which could be activated at a moments notice, as opposed to the US which needed its fleets physically near the center of the action. Pretty standard operation for the RN (and indeed the British Army), during the second world war, the British routinely moved formations between the theatres, un,ike the US.

The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Apr-2009 at 20:53
Originally posted by Sparten Sparten wrote:

 Pretty standard operation for the RN (and indeed the British Army), during the second world war, the British routinely moved formations between the theatres, un,ike the US.
Good point. The British deployment strategy was also due to their horrendous WWI casualties. In WWII, the British were determined not to engage in anything remotely resembling attrition warfare.
 
This meant that only formations of either volunteers or picked conscripts would be used. These divisions would fight a strategic level mobile war on enemy flanks. The same proven formations were used when ever and where ever needed.  This form of limited involvement kept British casualties down and eliminated the need for large numbers of divisions staffed by reluctant conscripts whose front line deployments could lead to social unrest.


Edited by Cryptic - 21-Apr-2009 at 21:06
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Apr-2009 at 23:07
Originally posted by Sparten Sparten wrote:

You are looking at the situation from a US-Centric position. The US did not have dozens of bases world over which could be activated at a moments notice, as opposed to the US which needed its fleets physically near the center of the action. Pretty standard operation for the RN (and indeed the British Army), during the second world war, the British routinely moved formations between the theatres, un,ike the US.

 
I must disagree.  This is obviously the view of a man with an army background.  Wink
 
1)  The dockyards capable of handling large fleet formations for the RN were:
 
Portsmouth for the Channel.
 
Plymouth for the western approaches to Britain.
 
Scapa Flow for the North Sea....with some forces based on Rosyth.
 
2)  Dockyards away from Britain were numerous, but most of those were only capable of handling squadron size formations of capital ships and cruisers, and light forces (destroyers/submarines) of 10-20 ships.  The most important, and best defended were:
 
Gibraltar and Alexandria in the Med.  The fleet force had to be separated for strategic reasons, BUT also in order to accomodate it.
 
Trincomalee in Ceylon.  This base lacked extensive modern facilities and also lacked local infrastructure support. 
 
Singapore.  No extensive fleet forces could be based there due to older facilities and mostly undersized dock areas.  
 
3)  There were many other secondary naval bases and anchorages, but none that could accomodate large fleet formations, OR were placed so they might contest the compact support structure and interior maritime Lines of the IJN.  It is important to understand that many of these were located in places where the local infrastructure was deficient for modern requirements, OR the geography too restricted:
 
Malta, Bermuda, Halifax in Canada, Mombasa, Hong Kong and others.
 
Realistically, the British Empire (without saying so; perhaps without realizing it) had abandoned the Pacific to Japan in 1902.  In a generation, the RN had gone from ruling the waves to making a treaty with Japan, and to encouraging the US to see that her strategic interests mostly coincided with the British Empire's. 
 
The US Navy Dept. and War Dept. recognized that the Philippines were not defensible in case of war with Japan - a major reason for projected independence for the islands.  Plan Orange envisioned (after many changes) a drive across the central Pacific based on Pearl Harbor, and on secure lines to Australia - important for support and supply.  I don't think Plan Orange envisioned fighting on two sides of the world, and WWII complicated things enormously. 
 
The new reality of naval strategy was that Britain could not relocate it's fleet away from home waters after about 1900.  The new ships were too large to be accomodated away from home in any numbers; the dockyard facilities that were required too extensive and too costly to be replicated, especially in the financial aftermath, and treaty realities, of the 1920s and 30s.  (After all, the topic at hand is British debt from WW I.)
 
Had the RN been able to move half it's fleet to the far East, Japan would have been out of the treaty sooner than she was.
 
 
 
    


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 21-Apr-2009 at 23:43
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 10:36
Your points about the dockyard facilities are generally correct (apart from quibbles - Chatham? Simonstown?) if a bit exaggerated. If you have to have simultaneous dockyard failities for an entire fleet at the same time then you're in deep deep trouble already. The RN didn't need that even after Jutland. Also the concept of fleet actions was in 1918 a bit outmoded - how many fleet actions were there in ww1? For that matter how many fleet actions were there in the entire period from 1805 on? The Royal Navy only fought one between Trafalgar and Jutland.
 
(Which is partly also an answer to your earlier question about cruisers.)
 
Moreover, none of the other navies were any better off for bases: in fact they were all worse off, and what we are talking about is relative strength.
 
Also, dragging us back to where this side-issue started, it was in response to a question of how much Britain's military position had been changed by world war I. The situation with bases was not greatly different after the war from what it had been before it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 15:30
Graham,
 
The point I was making was in response to Sparten's post.
 
Chatham dockyard certainly has it's place in history, but in the 20th century was no longer a major fleet base.  Simonstown was on the fringes of the Empire, of course a necessity for British interests, but not a major base.  There was no naval threat to British interests at the Cape.
 
Sparten's contention that the RN could move fleets to dozens of places at a moment's notice is incorrect, but he may have meant it as hyperbole.  No big deal.
 
Other navies' situations were not part of the point except as far as the IJN was affected.  The RN wound up rather "stuck" with it's major (and new) dockyard facilities after WW I because they had been built, and some tailored, for the German threat, and they were as they were - in Britain.  That was where they had been needed.  And fleet actions were still anticipated by the major navies. 
 
When the RN ruled the waves, naturally, naval presence was an effective statement.  Cruisers, and "Asiatic" or "South American" sqaudrons, did not need huge dockyard facilities, and might even use commercial docks with local agreement in some places.
 
As that changed, and, as Sparten feels, if the RN had it's eye on Japan as the major threat (which I don't think it did), the fleet could not just be moved around like so many chess pieces.  Folks who may not have been in a navy yard might not appreciate all that has to be there, especially for a big force.
 
Just as an aside, I do not want anyone to think the US navy was some colossus in the 1920s and 30s.  The battleships were adequate, and not too different from everyone else's; the gunnery was well drilled and efficient.  We were woefully deficient in cruisers, and what we had were either old or already obsolescent.  We had been behind the curve in destroyer design, and there were no where near enough of them.  Our torpedoes were lousy (well up into WW II), and Congress would not appropriate funds for adequate dockyard facilities on the southern California coast - where the battle fleet was stationed. 
 
Those ships often rolled, and were exposed to the open sea, moored outside breakwaters in Long Beach and San Pedro pretty much up til the fleet sailed for Pearl Harbor.  For major drydock facilities, they had to go to Bremerton, Washington!
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 23-Apr-2009 at 14:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 20:40
In terms of what was to turn out to be important later, even if it wasn't considered so at the time, was the situation with aircraft carriers. The US seemed to cotton on to that faster than anyone, as I recall.
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