If the Kaiser Comes

Defence Against a German Invasion of Britain in the First World War

Mike Osborne

For years, writers had been conditioning Britons to expect war with Germany and exciting their fear of invasion. By 1914, the military establishment was sceptical of total reliance on the Royal Navy. This book describes the measures taken to resist attack on the British Home Front, which included a large Home Army and stronger fixed defences.
Date Published :
June 2017
Publisher :
Fonthill Media
Illustration :
black and white photographs
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781781555750
Pages : 224
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6.15 inches
Stock Status : In stock


On the night of 20 November 1914, everything pointed to the likelihood of invasion by a German army, whisked across the North Sea on a fleet of fast transports. The Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet prepared to sail south from remote bases in Scotland; shallow-draught monitors were moored in the Wash; and 300,000 troops stood by to repel the enemy on the beaches. Fortunately, the night passed without incident. For thirty years prior to the First World War, writers, with a variety of motivations, had been forecasting such an invasion. Britain regarded the army as an imperial police force and, despite the experience gained in military exercises involving simulated invasions, the Royal Navy was still expected to fulfill its traditional role of intercepting and destroying enemy forces. However, as the technology of warfare developed, with the proliferation of ever more powerful warships, submarines, mines, and torpedoes, alongside the added promise of aerial assault, it became obvious that these long-established notions of the Navy’s invincibility might no longer be realistic. The perceived threat of invasion, whether justified or not, persisted throughout the First World War, and this book describes the measures taken to protect Britain against enemy attack by land, sea, or air.

About The Author

Dr Mike Osborne’s interest in fortification began with childhood visits to castles, and has developed over the years to include all aspects of the topic, from Iron-Age forts to Cold War bunkers. He was a volunteer-coordinator for the Defence of Britain Project, recording the military structures of the twentieth-century, and, after a thirty-year-career in education, took early retirement. Since then, he has produced nearly twenty books on topics that range from Civil War sieges and fortifications, to drill halls and twentieth-century military structures. He has also written a series of county surveys of defences, as well as the best-selling Defending Britain.

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