The British involvement in the war of 1739-1748 has been generally neglected. Standing between the great victories of Marlborough in the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1713) and the even greater victories of the Seven Years War (1756-1763), it has been dismissed as inconclusive and incompetently managed. For the first time this book brings together the political and operational conduct of the war to explore its contribution to a critical development in British history during the eighteenth century - the emergence of Britain as the paramount global naval power. The war posed a unique set of problems for British politicians, statesmen and servicemen. They had to overcome domestic and diplomatic crises, culminating in the rebellion of 1745 and the threat of French invasion. Yet, far from being incompetent, these people handled the crises and learned a great deal about the conduct of global warfare. The changes they made and decisions they took prepared Britain for the decisive Anglo-French clash of arms in the Seven Years War. In this misunderstood war lie some of the key factors that made Britain the greatest naval power for the next one hundred and fifty years. RICHARD HARDING is Professor of Organisational History and Head of the Department of Leadership and Development at the University of Westminster. He is the author of numerous articles and books on naval history and is currently Chairman of the Society for Nautical Research.
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