Lord Kitchener’s Appointment as Secretary of State for War in 1914

  • John W Young University of Nottingham, UK


Lord Kitchener was a popular choice as Britain’s Secretary for War in 1914, but many facts about his selection are contested, including why he was recalled to London and who did most to urge the appointment. While some have argued that the decision was forced on the Liberal government by the Conservative opposition and the Press, this interpretation was dismissed as a ‘silly figment’ by the Prime Minister, H. H. Asquith. This article provides a detailed consideration of the appointment, considers possible reasons for Asquith’s action, seeks to resolve ambiguities in the evidence, but also raises doubts about widely-accepted details.