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The Hidden Perspective

December 1905: Foreign Minister Edward Grey enters into secret talks with the French about sending British forces to their aid in the event of a German attack. The details were only revealed to the Cabinet and Prime Minister in 1911, by which point the ‘hidden perspective’ was firmly entrenched, and Britain all but obliged to stand by France in the event of a war. Yet dissenting voices remained, and diplomatic missions to Germany were still underway as late as August 1914.

In this scholarly and eloquent work, former Foreign Secretary David Owen argues that the outbreak of war in 1914 was far from inevitable, instead representing eight years of failed diplomacy. The importance of transparent government is particularly relevant in a year in which Sir John Chilcot’s Iraq Inquiry is published.

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