David Singeisen

Department: History
Discipline: History

Project Summary

 Title: The Liberal Party, British politics and the Haldane Army Reforms, 1905-1914.  

My research is on the army reform package put forward by Richard Haldane, Liberal Secretary of State for War between 1905 and 1912. This was a defining transformational moment in British military history. Haldane’s major innovations included the Territorial Army, Officer Training Corps and the creation of the Expeditionary Force that went off to war in the autumn of 1914.  

Research on this reform scheme has justifiably tended to focus on the operational development of the army – especially important given our knowledge of what would happen next. What I’m interested in however is viewing this package as a political act. Haldane required primary legislation, cabinet approval and wider societal support in order to get his reforms enacted. What he proposed challenged not only existing military orthodoxy in several areas. Haldane’s alterations to the existing military structure were revolutionary for the age, and what he proposed challenged not only Britain’s previous defence policy but also the place of the army in wider society. At various times his scheme had societal, economic, diplomatic and political implications.

Supervisory Team

Supervisor: Professor Richard Toye

Second Supervisor: Professor Jeremy Black

Mentor: Dr. Justin Jones.

Wider Research Interests

I am interested at the moment in early 20th century Britain, primarily between 1900 and 1914. My main research topics are British politics, British defence policy and British foreign policy, especially relations with the other major 'powers' before World War I.

I want to expand my research interests on two fronts. Firstly temporaly - to encompass more of the mid-to-late Victorian period (1865-1900). This is necessary as I believe that one must look at the 1865-1914 era as a collective whole to gain a better understanding of this crucial time in modern British history.

Secondly, having concentrated mainly on defence and defence affairs, I would like to branch out from those topics to look more at social issues. Education especially interests me, alongside factors such as religion, early 'feminist' movements and the interaction between defence policy and social affairs. I would also like to look more into the cultural interaction between Britain and her Empire.

Authored Publications/Reports

David Singeisen (1st September 2011) Liberals and armaments 1900-1918., Les Cahiers du MIMMOC, Number 7, Published online at: http://cahiersdumimmoc.edel.univ-poitiers.fr/index.php?id=734

David Singeisen (2nd February 2011) Review of Thomas Pakenham's 'The Boer War', Ex Historia (History Department journal, Exeter University), 2041-0824, 115-117