WI no dreadnought race between Britain and Germany?

Or to be more accurate, WI Germany does not make a major effort to compete with the Royal Navy?

Maybe Tirpitz isn't around to be the master lobbyist. Or Tirpitz personally offends Willy, causing Willy to reject all naval plans. Well, not all naval plans, but he sneers at anything beyond a few battleships for the Baltic and wants the money spent on the army. And the Germans in general don't see any reason to build a large navy. They can't attack France at sea, nor vice versa.

The big knock-on for this is the effect on British thinking. Obviously there is no dreadnought panic and British battleship production is much reduced and slowed down. With no serious German threat in the North Sea, does the Mediterranean Fleet remain Britain's chief naval commitment?

OTOH the US and Japan will continue their considerable developments. France, Italy, and Russia aren't going away. But the first two are physically remote threats, and unlikely to be actively hostile.

There's also the question of how British-Germans relations develop without the naval race aggravating tensions. Books like The Riddle of the Sands or When William Came aren't going be as popular. This in turn might mean Britain does not (informally) ally with France. Also, British suspicions may still focus on the US as the new major rival at sea.

Beyond that, I can't see.
 
Without a couple of decades of Anglo German naval rivalry and paranoia Britain is not getting involved in the 2nd Franco-Prussian war or supporting Serbian state sponsored terrorists and a Russia that only 9 years earlier murdered British fishermen.
 
Fundamentally speaking the Germans will still need a decent Battlefleet to counter the French and Russian navies and the UK still needs the mightiest fleet on the planet to secure communication lines with her empire. The size of the Fleets of the two nations will probably be smaller though and probably more balanced than they ended up being
 
Could mark an improvement in UK-German relations but the geopolitical realities remain in place, the German Empire is too strong a potential enemy to change UK's thinking significantly. Though you're right in that Mediterranean Fleet would in all likelihood remain RN's priority, plus UK can allow herself to be more vigilant of USA's advances. Apart from that I could see this undermining Germany's colonial efforts because of weaker ultra maritime projection not to mention the quite obvious increased emphasis in submarine development later on
 
It seems that in naval matters, it is always Germany that should give ground...
But what, if the British react with less sensationalist fearmongering in the Press and RN, the later did it for the money, so that the Germans are not "pressed" to go over the first itteration (the 1898 Naval Law). Maybe also a bit more restrained by the British in regards to German matters, ie. the search of German Mail Ships of Africa in the Boer War, and I think the whole thing could run at a much lower level.

But in some way, the Germans and British were at odds, as the rising German industry demanded maritime trade and Germany as such needed a fleet. Add that the more likely adverseries, France and Russia, are relatively nearby and the short ranged fleet does make sense.

That is not to say the Germans did not make mistakes, but at the same time, Britain tried to claim a position that was fast becoming unteneble for them. Not only because of German fleet size, but also because the other powers were also arming navaly.

 
It seems that in naval matters, it is always Germany that should give ground...
But what, if the British react with less sensationalist fearmongering in the Press and RN, the later did it for the money, so that the Germans are not "pressed" to go over the first itteration (the 1898 Naval Law). Maybe also a bit more restrained by the British in regards to German matters, ie. the search of German Mail Ships of Africa in the Boer War, and I think the whole thing could run at a much lower level.

But in some way, the Germans and British were at odds, as the rising German industry demanded maritime trade and Germany as such needed a fleet. Add that the more likely adverseries, France and Russia, are relatively nearby and the short ranged fleet does make sense.

That is not to say the Germans did not make mistakes, but at the same time, Britain tried to claim a position that was fast becoming unteneble for them. Not only because of German fleet size, but also because the other powers were also arming
The issue is that a German Fleet powerful enough to carry out the tasking German leaders believe they need (protect German maritime SLOCs against the British) is also big enough, in concert with the German Army, to be an existential threat to Britain. This is because any German Fleet that can gain control of the North Sea against the Home Fleet for a period of time can deliver the best Army in the world onto British soil, pretty much immediately winning any war.

Britain’s military policy is to have a small, imperial constabulary Army & depend only on the RN for home defence and so reacts naturally to any threat to the RNs preeminence - by making the RN stronger. Any attempt to prevent the naval arms race of the 1900s has to either change this policy or prevent German HSF from looking like a threat to the RN.
 
Any attempt to prevent the naval arms race of the 1900s has to either change this policy or prevent German HSF from looking like a threat to the RN.
Or the RN has to eat crow and acknowlage that the times have changed and they have to live with many more powerful navies world round... like the Russians, still a credible force prior to the Russo-Japanese War, the Germans, French, USA and Japan.

I am not saying that one side was right or wrong, but the focus of "Germany has to change" is Imo a product of the two lost wars. So maybe a RN and British public that is more accepting of the change in power the world over may be a factor in reducing the tensions.
 
Basically, Germany could build railways and huge marshalling yards in the middle of nowhere to deposit troops at the border to threaten any of it's neighbors. It couldn't do this with GB so it built the HSF.

Memo Tirpitz to Kaiser.​
Very Secret June 1897
General considerations on the construction of our fleet according to ship classes and designs:​
1. In the distinction between one class and another, and in the choice among ship designs within the various classes, the most difficult situation in war into which our fleet can come must be used as a basis​
2. For Germany the most dangerous enemy at the present time is England. She is also the enemy against whom we must have a certain measure of Fleet Power as a political power factor.
~. Commerce raiding and transatlantic war against England is so hopeless because of the shortage of fleet bases on our side and the excess on England’s that we must ignore this type of warfare against England...​
~. Our fleet is to be so constructed that it can unfold its highest battle function between Heligoland and the Thames
~. The military situation against England demands battleships in as great a number as possible

The memorandum went on to establish the basic principles that even vessels for overseas service should be designed according to the specification for the home fleet. For:

16. Only the main theatre of war will be decisive. In this sense the selection of a ship design in peacetime is applied naval strategy.

SEE PAUL KENNEDY; Tirpitz, England and the Secoud Navy Law of 1900; Militärgeschichtliche Mitteilungen 2, 1970 for fascinating evidence of Wilhelm’s and Tirpitz’s grand design from the very beginning.
 
The issue is that a German Fleet powerful enough to carry out the tasking German leaders believe they need (protect German maritime SLOCs against the British) is also big enough, in concert with the German Army, to be an existential threat to Britain. This is because any German Fleet that can gain control of the North Sea against the Home Fleet for a period of time can deliver the best Army in the world onto British soil, pretty much immediately winning any war.

Britain’s military policy is to have a small, imperial constabulary Army & depend only on the RN for home defence and so reacts naturally to any threat to the RNs preeminence - by making the RN stronger. Any attempt to prevent the naval arms race of the 1900s has to either change this policy or prevent German HSF from looking like a threat to the RN.
Which kind of suggests a different PoD. What if Bismarck gets his way and Germany doesn't go into colonies (focuses on Eastern Europe and Berlin-Baghdad railway) then Germany doesn't need a fleet other than to secure vital raw materials. The analysis of which pushes the development of the Haber-Bosch process even faster.
 

Deleted member 94680

Which kind of suggests a different PoD. What if Bismarck gets his way and Germany doesn't go into colonies (focuses on Eastern Europe and Berlin-Baghdad railway) then Germany doesn't need a fleet other than to secure vital raw materials.

Or... Germany goes full in on colonies and decides that the Fleet needs to be built for colonial duties and generally ignores the North Sea?
 
Or... Germany goes full in on colonies and decides that the Fleet needs to be built for colonial duties and generally ignores the North Sea?
Geography. Germany would need to get this colonial fleet out on the sea lanes and to her colonies *somehow*, hard to do without at least passing through the North Sea :)
 
Could mark an improvement in UK-German relations but the geopolitical realities remain in place, the German Empire is too strong a potential enemy to change UK's thinking significantly. Though you're right in that Mediterranean Fleet would in all likelihood remain RN's priority, plus UK can allow herself to be more vigilant of USA's advances. Apart from that I could see this undermining Germany's colonial efforts because of weaker ultra maritime projection not to mention the quite obvious increased emphasis in submarine development later on

Yes geopolitical realities remain in place - though I completly disagree with you on what those realities are.
1. How is germany any threat to the british? Especially when the POD is that they didnt build a strong fleet. They cant tuch the british on their island, they have no way to get at the british colonies, they can do nothing and are no threat to London. They only could become a threat if they build a fleet that can at leas t challenge the RN. And if they try that - building a fleet takes a lot of time - the british will have more than enough time to react.

2. France and Russia OTOH could in a war attack the british in China, India (as the british feared), Afghanistan, Persia, SE Asia and all over Africa. They are by far the biggest threat to the Britsh Empire. It was in reaction to this threat that London gave up on splendid isolation. And as it turned out that Germany will not fight Russia and France for british colonial interests an alliance between the 2 were impractical. So they went with the last option: to ally/make an entente with the russians and french to make sure such a war doesnt come about and the Empire is secure.

So the geopolitical realities are that the british joined the franco-russian side to secure their empire - but not from the germans who were never a serious threat to them - but from the french and russians who were posing a huge challenge.
 
Yes geopolitical realities remain in place - though I completly disagree with you on what those realities are.
<snip>

So the geopolitical realities are that the british joined the franco-russian side to secure their empire - but not from the germans who were never a serious threat to them - but from the french and russians who were posing a huge challenge.
I agree with the analysis I've snipped

The joke being that this alliance dragged them into a war in Europe that left them too weakened to fend off the real treat to their global financial, naval and commercial interests. The USA

Of course, without concessions on both sides to these realities, an Anglo-German Alliance was impossible. Even though British aid for Germany would have deterred a Franco-Russian willingness to go to war in 1914 (or other crises). While France and Russia would not have attacked Britain's colonial interests if Germany had been its ally.

Given the pre-1900 attitudes of both Westminster (or the City and Whitehall) and Berlin an alliance was almost ASB.
 
The German fleet was about a third too big. During its peak building time it was building 3 or 4 dreadnought class ship per year, 2 per year would do.
The excess drove just Britain into building more, increasing paranoia without getting much in return, with the Germans just eventually being unable to compete.

A mid size fleet makes a lot of sense.
a) Leverage against France and Russia, (and Japan)
b) Economic and political considerations at home, jobs and business interests.
c) Its the "Germany" service, vs. Prussian, Bavarian armies, so patriotism and a unifying force. (Officer roles for non Junkers class peoples)
c) The "risk theory" can work. (imagine if no war, after 1916 when the Russian fleet starts to get really robust, Britain may see different enemies, seek different allies.

The money saved by building 1 or 2 less dreadnoughts a year, could go into things like reserve corps artillery upgrades.
 
The thing is that Bismarck had done a great job in isolating France. Fashoda was not conducive to warm feelings in UK either.

Germany and UK were working very well together - also because it was all family

And then the Kaizer got into it. That it where the problem comes in.

IF Germany had continued its policy of no interest in colonies and therefore no interest in a strong navy, France would still have been isolated. Germany would not have been a threat. France was viewed as the main threat to UK's interest, not Germany. The navy and the kaizer's buffonry changed it.

So, no navy = Kaizer not being Kaizer
 

Deleted member 94680

Geography. Germany would need to get this colonial fleet out on the sea lanes and to her colonies *somehow*, hard to do without at least passing through the North Sea :)
Really? The African and Pacific colonies of Germany are accessed through the North Sea? Wow. Didn’t realise that. Thanks for the heads up ;)

Clearly I was talking about a) pre-war, so transit isn’t an issue b) design, so they have “longer legs” and aren’t just glorified coastal ships and c) strategic goals, so the fleet isn’t so obviously targeted at Britain.
 
Really? The African and Pacific colonies of Germany are accessed through the North Sea? Wow. Didn’t realise that. Thanks for the heads up ;)

Clearly I was talking about a) pre-war, so transit isn’t an issue b) design, so they have “longer legs” and aren’t just glorified coastal ships and c) strategic goals, so the fleet isn’t so obviously targeted at Britain.
Sarcasm accepted/expected, and appreciated :)
Just saying that, as far as naval power is concerned, Germany's physical location was always an unfortunate one, with the world's hall monitor lying right offshore.
Design - Yes! The Germans could've concentrated on ships built specifically for colonial duties, rather like the Dutch did for the East Indies - light cruisers, relatively lightly armed but strong enough to fend for themselves, built for range at cruising speed...
Strategic goals - see above. In addition to the "Dutch-style" Pacific cruisers, a strong Baltic flotilla, specifically designed to counter the impending Russian buildup/rebuilding of its Navy... hard to see how the Brits would take issue with that, considering that they still harbored considerable distrust for their newfound Entente partner...
 

Deleted member 94680

The "risk theory" can work. (imagine if no war, after 1916 when the Russian fleet starts to get really robust, Britain may see different enemies, seek different allies.

I pretty much agree with everything you've written, but IMHO the "risk theory" is and was horseshit.

Risk means a threat and a threat will illicit a response. Barring a complete British capitulation - which was never going to happen - Britain was always going to respond somehow. That may have been to finance a continental proxy to challenge the threat, build an Alliance to balance the Alliance of the aggressor, ramp up their own military capacity or utilise the Empire to divert the threat's attention around the globe.

As it was, Britain chose all the routes available to them.
 
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