Coalition Strategy and the End of the First World War: The Supreme War Council and War Planning, 1917-1918

The interior of a large room at Versailles in which a meeting of the Supreme War Council is taking place. Senior military officers sit at a large rectangular table littered with papers.

Event details

SDSC War Studies Seminar

Date & time

Monday 11 February 2019


APCD Lecture Theatre, Ground floor, Hedley Bull Building #130, corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU


Dr Meighen McCrae


Mitch Clyne

November 1917 was a bleak month for the Allies; the Italians had suffered a crushing defeat at Caporetto; the British were concluding their infamous Passchendaele campaign; the French Army seemed spent; revolution was taking Russia out of the war; and American reinforcements were arriving too slowly for their allies and were mostly unready to fight. It was also in this month that the British, French, American and Italian governments created the Supreme War Council (SWC) to better co-ordinate their coalition’s war effort. This talk will investigate the depth of Allied planning for a campaign in 1919 through the mechanism of the SWC. It compares the perspectives of the British, French, American and Italian representatives and their willingness (or otherwise) to coordinate national needs with alliance imperatives.

Dr Meighen McCrae is a Lecturer in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at ANU. She recently joined SDSC from Aberystwyth University and before that was in the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London. A graduate of the University of Oxford, her areas of specialisation are the First World War, how coalitions fight wars and create peace, and notions of ‘victory’. Her forthcoming monograph, Coalition Strategy and the End of the First World War: The Supreme War Council and War Planning, 1917–1918 (Cambridge University Press) is the basis for this seminar.

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