This is the first comprehensive account of how intelligence
influenced and sustained British naval power from the mid
nineteenth century, when the Admiralty first created a dedicated
intelligence department, through to the end of the Cold War. It
brings a critical new dimension to our understanding of British
naval history in this period while setting naval intelligence in a
wider context and emphasising the many parts of the British state
that contributed to naval requirements. It is also a fascinating
study of how naval needs and personalities shaped the British
intelligence community that exists today and the concepts and
values that underpin it. The author explains why and how
intelligence was collected and assesses its real impact on policy
and operations. It confirms that naval intelligence was critical to
Britain's survival and ultimate victory in the two World Wars but
significantly reappraises its role, highlighting the importance of
communications intelligence to an effective blockade in the First,
and according Ultra less dominance compared to other sources in the
Second. It reveals that coverage of Germany before 1914 and of the
three Axis powers in the interwar period was more comprehensive and
effective than previously suggested; and while British power
declined rapidly after 1945, the book shows how intelligence helped
the Royal Navy to remain a significant global force for the rest of
the twentieth century, and in submarine warfare, especially in the
second half of the Cold War, to achieve influence and impact for
Britain far exceeding resources expended. This compelling new
history will have wide appeal to all readers interested in
intelligence and its crucial impact on naval policy and operations.
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