Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. John L. Gordon, Jr.

Second Advisor

Dr. John D. Treadway

Third Advisor

Dr. Ernest C. Bolt, Jr.


This study analyzes the letter Lord Lansdowne published in the 29 November 1917 Daily Telegraph and the varied reactions to it. The letter and his Cabinet Memorandum, which preceded it by a year, give no evidence of the traitorous, cowardly, sick, or tired old man his detractors portrayed. The detractors naturally included his political opponents, but also Americans such as Theodore Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan. Interestingly, most abuse came from those of his own party with whom he had served his country in a variety of offices. This thesis explores the mystery of how a statesman could, by the publication of a single column of newsprint, turn into the vilest traitor. Sources include the Parliamentary Debates and a wide variety of newspaper and periodical reports and monographs and biographies. The conclusion of this research is that Lansdowne believed there was an alternative to waging a war which no one was winning. Lansdowne, perhaps, was the final bloom of Victorian reason in an Edwardian world gone mad.

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