Intelligence Operations of the Offensive and Espionage in Naval Warfare of World War I

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With the onset of WWI came advancements in several facets of warfare. With new advancements came new opportunities for schemers to flex their muscles in the world of espionage and offensive action. This research will focus on the relevant intelligence operations of the offensive and espionage in naval warfare of WWI. It will concentrate primarily on the German and British naval initiatives, but will not overlook those of Russia, France, and the United States. Any and all conjectures made throughout will be made with the consideration of a given party’s incentives to misrepresent as well as the anticipated payoffs ascribed with each initiated action. The First World War produced a vast increase in the flow of diplomatic as well as military and naval intelligence. Perhaps more interesting, is how little attention the Foreign Office paid to it. The greatest intelligence advance of the war was the revival of British code breaking after a gap of seventy years —a revival with which the Foreign Office had nothing to do. The initiative came from the Director if Naval intelligence, Admiral Reginal ‘Blinker’ Hall, who founded a diplomatic annex to the wartime Admiralty sigint unit, Room 40, under personal control in the summer of 1915. During the Dardanelles campaign in 1915 he sent secret emissaries to Constantinople with authority to offer up to £4 million to secure the passage of the British Fleet. Hall’s actions surrounding the Irish Easter Rising in 1916 prove to be something worth a second look. Hall learned of Germanys plans to land both German arms and The Irish nationalist sir roger casement on the west coast of Ireland. Hall failed to inform wither the foreign office or the Irish government. Dublin castle acquired the knowledge ... ... middle of paper ... ...ed submarine warfare also came with the recognition that such actions would probably being the United States into the war. Arthur Zimmermann thought he would distract America by getting Mexico to wage war on her. He was confidant Mexico would comply under the offer of the return of territories lost in the Mexican-American war of 1846. However, the British intercepted the message, Room 40 deciphered it, and Woodrow Wilson was promptly informed. Wilson gave it to the press and five weeks later, America declared war on Germany. World War I changed the way wars were fought. Espionage in particular made huge advancements toward becoming an integral part of warfare. From submarines to sabotage, from telegrams to minefields, naval warfare shaped the course of the war. Had codes not been cracked, and messages not intercepted, the world would look very different today.

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