The Establishment of the Committee of Imperial Defence and the British-Dominion Relations, 1904–1911
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This contribution is focused on the analysis of the establishment of the Committee of Imperial Defence and the British-Dominion relations from 1904 to 1911. The formation of the first dominions by linking the until-then Self-governing Colonies together raised the question of what the position of the new Dominions to their mother country and the other parts of the Empire was. Before the outbreak of the First World War, matters related to the Dominion status were discussed at several Colonial, from 1907 Imperial Conferences; however, neither British nor Dominion politicians managed to reach an agreement or a complex solution. In fact, only partial solutions were adopted. At the turn of the 19th and 20th century, the British Government began to pursue defence matters intensively. A lot of foreign-policy issues, and in particular fear of German naval armaments, had a profound influence on the debate; indeed, this was the case to the extent that the significance of the second influential imperial institution, i.e. the Imperial Defence Committee, rose. Even though the system of imperial conferences, that served as a forum where crucial questions dealing with imperial, foreign, defence and economic policies were decided, was institutionalised and firmly “anchored” in the imperial structure, it had to compete with the powerful Imperial Defence Committee.
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