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War Secretaries And Their Commanders-In-Chief: South Africa, Professional Rivalries, And The Politics Of Reform

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Chapter Summary

When Great Britain went to war with the South African Republics in October 1899, the War Office and the government were certain that they knew what they were getting the country into. The British had a century of experience in dealing with the Boers, and only two decades before they had fought a war against Transvaal commandos. The two Commanders-in-Chief during this period, Lords Wolseley and Roberts, made a concerted effort to convince the government of the need for an alteration in the administrative structure. Britain's war in South Africa did indeed result in a re-shaping of the administrative system into a model truly designed to operate in a major international conflict. The war forced civilian and military reformers to make a fresh analysis of the army's role in national and imperial defense.

Keywords: Commanders-in-Chief; Great Britain; Lords Wolseley; military reformers; South Africa



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