“Vox clamantis in deserto?” The evolution of Britain’s foreign intelligence and security structures, 1870-1914

Gordon, Adam (2022) “Vox clamantis in deserto?” The evolution of Britain’s foreign intelligence and security structures, 1870-1914. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis examines the evolutionary process of Britain’s foreign intelligence organisations from 1870 to 1914. There were three main drivers behind the development of British foreign intelligence through this period. These were: the influence of political and administrative culture; the apathy of the military establishment; and the involvement of intelligence officers within policymaking. These latter two steps were guided by the effect of British political and administrative culture. These twin cultural influences informed the character of Britain’s foreign intelligence structures, along with Britain’s nascent intelligence culture, as they adopted state governance principles. Inter-departmentalism, involvement within the ‘committee system’, cooperation, and achieving consensus were, to varying degrees, the defining principles of Britain’s burgeoning intelligence machinery. These principles served to impel the animosity of the military establishment, while facilitating the intelligence institutions’ involvement with the civilian sphere and policymaking. By 1914 Britain’s foreign intelligence structures had become incorporated into the civilian sphere, acting as bridges between the civilian and military spheres of the British state facilitating the flow of information in both directions. This thesis will illustrate how important an influence a nation’s political and administrative culture can be upon the evolution of its intelligence agencies. The period from 1870 to 1914 laid the foundations for the shape and character of Britain’s modern intelligence community, establishing principles and an intelligence culture that persist to this day.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Funder's Name: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Supervisor's Name: Jackson, Professor Peter and von Bulow, Dr. Mathilde
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-82755
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2022 13:50
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 16:38
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82755
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82755

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