The following is a book review of the classic work by Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, regarding the formation of an elite society of influential figures like policy makers, wealthy families and corporations within the British Empire, who formed a well-connected, close-knit group of secret organizations working together toward common agendas and ideals. The aims of the group were generally toward British Imperial Expansion and the implementation of their idea of moral obligation imposed on the rest of the world through global occupation. The group brought together their best in policy makers, banking firms, and able-minded intellectuals to carry out the vision of their group and its convergence of interests for the desired end.
This work is a shorter, yet more concentrated form of his much more voluminous work Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. As with my other book reviews, we will first present the content in a basic summarized form, and my thoughts on the work and its implications will come afterwards.
While this book review article is rather lengthy, it is because the summary section of the book review is giving those who don’t wish to read the book itself, a condensed but nicely crystalized version of the entire book in a more digestible form. The book reviews I do are meant to help those who find it difficult delving into books that are hundreds of pages, at highly academic levels of reading. My intention is to offer them the next-best thing. If you have already read the book in its entirety and wish to read the review only, please skip past the book contents and scroll to the section that says Review & Commentary, and you will have truly unique insight on this book, with reference to events that are relevant in today’s day and age.
The book contents are as follows:
The preface is a general summary of the contents within the book, Quigley’s journey and approach writing it, with the help of some insiders or men close to the Group. I can leave a few passages quoted from Quigley himself to best present the short Preface he lays out before starting the book:
The Rhodes Scholarships, established by the terms of Cecil Rhodes's seventh will, are known to everyone. What is not so widely known is that Rhodes in five previous wills left his fortune to form a secret society, which was to devote itself to the preservation and expansion of the British Empire. And what does not seem to be known to anyone is that this secret society was created by Rhodes and his principal trustee, Lord Milner, and continues to exist to this day...
...This society has been known at various times as Milner's Kindergarten, as the Round Table Group, as the Rhodes crowd, as The Times crowd, as the All Souls group, and as the Cliveden set. All of these terms are unsatisfactory, for one reason or another, and I have chosen to call it the Milner Group. Those persons who have used the other terms, or heard them used, have not generally been aware that all these various terms referred to the same Group...
...Nevertheless, it would have been very difficult to write this book if I had not received a certain amount of assistance of a personal nature from persons close to the Group. For obvious reasons, I cannot reveal the names of such persons, so I have not made reference to any information derived from them unless it was information readily available from other sources...
Chapter 01. Introduction
This chapter covers the summarized ideas regarding the Milner group and its progression through history, starting in the first preliminary period of the Milner Group, known by other names through different periods of the group's progression, such as "Milner's kindergarten," as well as "the Round Table Group," "The Toynbee Group," "the Cecil Bloc," the "Rhodes Secret Society," among others. Some are names of subgroups within the larger whole, such as "the Cliveden Set," "the Round Table Group," the "All-Souls Group," which were controlled by the "Society of the Elect," as the highest order within the Milner Group. “The Rhodes Secret Society” would be the correct name for the group from the group’s inception to the time Lord Alfred Milner took control of it. This first period lasted from 1891-1902, with Cecil Rhodes as its leader. After the first decade, the group was controlled by Lord Milner, and in this period we refer to the group as the Milner Group, though they are interchangeable names for the same group.
This chapter brings up many of the groups members and associates during the start, expansion, and continuance. Some names that come up in this chapter are Cecil Rhodes, William T. Stead, Reginald Baliol Brett, Alfred Milner, Lord Salisbury, Arthur Balfour, Sir Abe Bailey, Arnold Toynbee, George R. Parkin, George E. Buckle, Phillip Lyttleton Gell, among others. This chapter is a brief summary of the scope of the book and what is to come.
The groups main tenets were influenced by the ideas of Toynbee who established three ideas central to the group. They are:
1. A conviction that the history of the British Empire represents the unfolding of a great moral idea- the idea of freedom- and that the unity of the Empire could best be preserved by the cement of this idea.
2. A conviction that the first call on the attention of any man should be a sense of duty and obligation to serve the state; and
3. A feeling of the necessity to do social service work (especially educational work) among the working classes of English society.
Chapter 02. The Cecil Bloc
This chapter begins explaining how the Milner Era was able to greatly expand from the prior decade. It was structured by the methods or ideas of a man from the Cecil family, Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, otherwise known as Lord Salisbury. The emulation was as follows:
1. A triple-front penetration in politics, education, and journalism
2. The recruitment of men of ability (chiefly from All-Souls) and the linking of these men to the Cecil Bloc in positions of power; and
3. The influencing of public policy by placing members of the Cecil Bloc in positions of power shielded as much as possible from public attention.
Lord Salisbury practiced all of these methodologies, not to mention a rule of nepotism, defined as the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. The model Lord Salisbury set was the methodology for the Milner Group to follow. It goes further into Lord Salisbury life and the many children with different mothers he had throughout his life, which greatly aided and helped mask this practice of nepotism. These children would then marry into families of his associates and an intricate web resulted. Lord Sailsbury’s fourth son, Lord Edward Cecil (1867-1918), became Lord Milner’s closest alliance from the Cecil family, and in 1921, Milner married Edward Cecil’s widow.
Lord Salisbury’s children were all brought up in the same light, to follow his means and methods of a triple-front penetration, that is, taking control of government, education, and the press, and building an empire with close relatives and intermarriages with families of close associates. Mentioned are other families who followed suit, such as the Lyttleton and Wyndham families. It is said that the Milner era modeled Lord Salisbury’s methods to a much greater extent than Lord Salisbury, forming an even more intricate web of connections with far-reaching tentacles.
Oxford’s College of All Souls is mentioned, which the Milner Group dominated and controlled, and set endowments for talented people in public service and more or less groomed them into a position that could serve the needs of the Milner group. They had a shadowy presence in both the All Souls College and the press, dominating both. The Milner Group was so influential with their Salisbury model that they were able to become a formidable influence within the League of Nations, and mentioned here are the British drafts for the Covenant of the League of Nations and the Cecil Draft, a work done with the help of Milner group member Alfred Zimmern.
Two names should also be mentioned, Rowland E. Prothero and his brother George W. Prothero, perhaps the two most important links between the Cecil Bloc and the Milner Group, who grew up in close contact with Queen Victoria. Rowland became familiar with and served in government as a specialist in agriculture, first as a member on Milner’s Committee on Home Production of Food, later as the President on the Board of Agriculture. George was a lecturer of history at Cambridge University, later serving as editor of several publications within the press.
After Lord Salisbury’s death, the Cecil Bloc, or the pillar of power under the Cecil family, lost its traction and was eventually replaced by the Milner Group. Whereas the Cecil Bloc was more concerned with building and maintaining a strong group of friends and relatives, they were not as focused as the Milner Group, who had political ideals and were willing to do whatever it took to accomplish them. This political vision had as its tenets:
1. That the extension and integration of the Empire and the development of social welfare were essential to the continued existence of the British way of life; and that;
2. this British way of life was an instrument which unfolded all the best and highest capabilities of mankind.
Chapter 03. The Secret Society of Cecil Rhodes
This chapter recalls the deeper context of the first period of the Group, which before Milner took control in 1902, is more aptly named The Secret Society of Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes’ plan had been in motion for seventeen years before the group was made official in 1891. The first decade of its official existence has Rhodes as the central leader. Rhodes expressed the purpose of the Group best in his first will (1877) as the following:
The extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom and of colonization by British subjects of all lands wherein the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labour, and enterprise, … the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of a British Empire, the consolidation of the whole Empire, the inauguration of a system of Colonial Representation in the Imperial Parliament which may tend to wield together the disjointed members of the Empire, and finally the foundation of so great a power as to hereafter render wars impossible and promote the best interests of humanity.
Also, Rhodes sought to structure this Group to be modeled after the Jesuits of the Roman Catholic Church, but to replace the ‘Church’ with ‘British Empire’ as its foundation:
Men of ability and enthusiasm who find no suitable way to serve their country under the current political system; able youth recruited from the schools and universities; men of wealth with no aim in life; younger sons with high thoughts and great aspirations but without opportunity; rich men whose careers are blighted by some great disappointment. All must be men of ability and character. . . . Rhodes envisages a group of the ablest and the best, bound together by common unselfish ideals of service to what seems to him the greatest cause in the world. There is no mention of material rewards. This is to be a kind of religious brotherhood like the Jesuits, “a church for the extension of the British Empire.”
Much of this era finds significant activity in South Africa, during the Boer Wars, which brought Milner to South Africa in 1897. William T. Stead had been given significant funding by Rhodes, even after Stead’s stint in prison for publishing a set of controversial articles on organized vice, and had Stead continue the propagandizing in the press when he returned to literary work.
Rhodes drew up several additional wills before his death in 1902, and the last two were changed to keep the Group secret from the rest of the world, putting the intended funds toward scholarships which would be covers for the Group’s activity. Rhodes also drew up the structure of the Group in private communications with Milner, Brett, and Stead. This became as follows;
1. General Of the Society: Rhodes
2. Junta of Three: Stead, Brett, Milner
3. Circle of Initiates: Cardinal Manning, General Booth, Bramwell Booth, “Little” Johnston, Albert grey, Arthur Balfour
4. The Association of Helpers
5. A College, under Professor Seeley, to be established “to train people in the English-speaking idea.”
The list of initiates was a basic idea and would not necessarily mirror who would become the actual members of the Circle of Initiates, as some would be excluded and new names brought in.
Brett (Lord Esher) was offered to take prominent positions of public service, which he turned down, because he preferred to operate from behind the scenes and saw the taking up of these exoteric positions as a reduction in actual power, rather than a rise in apparent power.
Milner set up some friends with the society and especially those with ties to Australia and other areas which the Group could exert its influence in world occupation. Edmund Garrett was a Milner associate who was often used as a go-between to communicate with the other members of the Group, such as Rhodes. Lord Rothschild’s son-in-law, Lord Rosebury, may have become an initiate in the Group in this period.
Sir Abe Bailey was certainly an initiate, a diamond tycoon during the South African Boer Wars, helping to establish the Union of South Africa. Alfred Beit and Leander Starr Jameson are two additional names of Rhodes associates that were instrumental in the setup of further occupation in South Africa and Rhodesia.
When Milner took over after Rhodes’ death, the imperatives were still much the same, no changes in the overarching goals of the group, however, the two only slightly disagreed on the methodologies for attaining it. Rhodes sought the ends through accumulation of wealth, while Milner thought much emphasis on propaganda channels were more strategic. In the end, Rhodes left the fortunes to Milner to do as he wished and expand the aims and ideals of the Group.
Chapter 04. Milner's Kindergarten, 1897-1910
Through Rhodes' influence, Milner is appointed High Commissioner of South Africa, instead of Sir Harry Johnston. It is here that Milner builds up a body of assistants in South Africa known as "Milner's Kindergarten," the chief members of this group were as follows:
Patrick Duncan (later Sir Patrick) - Stayed in South Africa after the achievement of the Union. Milner’s assistant on the Board of Internal Revenue from 1894-1906, private secretary to Milner in South Africa. Treasurer of the Transvaal in 1901, Colonial Secretary of the Transvaal in 1903-1906, Acting Lieutenant Governor in 1906. Lieutenant to Jan Smuts, advocate of the Supreme Court, member of South African Parliament, Minister of Interior, Public Health, and Education (1921-1924), Minister of Mines (1933-1936), Governor General of South Africa (1936-1946)
Phillip Kerr (later Lord Lothian) - Robert H. Brand’s assistant in South Africa on the Intercolonial Council and on the Committee of the Central South African Railways from 1905-1908. He was the grandson of the 14th Duke of Norfolk. He originally went to South Africa as private secretary to Sir Arthur Lawley, Lieutenant Governor of the Transvaal in 1902. He was secretary to the Transvaal Indigency Commission from 1907-1908 and wrote a report on the poor white laborers in a colored country which was republished by the Union Government twenty years later.
He was a chief organizer of publicity favorable to the Union after 1908. He was secretary to the Round Table from 1910-1916. In 1914, he gave up his Roman Catholic Faith for Christian Science in the course of a near-fatal illness. He became secretary to Lloyd George from 1916-1922. He was manager of the Daily Chronicle in 1921. In 1923 he and Lionel Curtis published a book called The Prevention of War, consisting of lectures they had given at Williams College. He was secretary to the Rhodes trust from 1925-1939. He gained several government offices after the death of his cousin, the 10th Marquess of Lothian in 1930, giving him a title, 28,000 acres of land, and a seat in the House of Lords. He was Chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster in 1931, Parliamentary Under Secretary to the India Office from 1931-1932, member of the first and second Round Table Conferences on India, chairman of the Indian Franchise Committee, before finishing his life as Ambassador to the United States from 1939-1940. He never married and left his estate to be used as a residential college for adult education in Scotland, after his death.
Robert Henry Brand (later Lord Brand) - stands close to the top. Chiefly responsible for the Astor influence in the Milner Group. Went to South Africa in 1902 and was made secretary of the Intercolonial Council of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony and Secretary of the Railway Committee of the Central South African Railways with Philip Kerr. He was Secretary to the Transvaal Delegation at the South African National Convention from 1908-1909 and wrote The Union of South Africa. In the years after 1910 he was regarded as the economist of the Round Table Group, became a partner and managing director of Lazard Brothers and Company, a director of Lloyd ‘s Bank, and director of the Times all the way up to 1944 and 1945. He was a member of the Imperial Munitions Board of Canada from 1915-1918 and became deputy chairman of the British Mission in Washington from 1917-1918. Brand married Nancy Astor’s sister and daughter of Dabney Langhorne of Virginia.
Brand was an important name in international finance after 1918. He was financial advisor to Lord Robert Cecil, chairman of the Supreme Economic Council, at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. He was vice-president of the of the Brussels Conference of 1920, financial representative for South Africa at the Genoa Conference of 1922. In 1923, he was a member of the committee of experts on stabilization of the German mark, the committee which paved the way for the Dawes Plan. He was head of the British Food Mission to Washington from 1941-1944, chairman of the British Supply Council in North America from 1942-1946, and His Majesty’s Treasury Representative in Washington from 1944-1946. He helped negotiate a massive American loan to Britain for postwar reconstruction. Brand was one of the most central figures in the Milner Group.
Lionel Curtis – One of the most important members of the Milner Group, some claimed he was the fons et origo. He thought His Majesty’s dominions should be changed from “British Empire” to the “Commonwealth of Nations.” This was done in 1948. He decided that India should be given self-governance as soon as possible, this happened in 1947. Curtis thought that liberty, toleration, democracy, and the like, could only be accomplished and preserved within an integrated world political system. Curtis said the following in a work, The Problem of the Commonwealth, drawn up by the Round Table Group and published under his name:
Responsible government can only be realized for any body of citizens in so far as they are fit for the exercise of political power. In the Dependencies the great majority of the citizens are not as yet capable of governing themselves and for the path to freedom is primarily a problem of education. . . . The Commonwealth is a typical section of human society including every race and level of civilization organized in one state. In this world commonwealth the function of government is reserved to the European minority, for the unanswerable reason that for the present this portion of its citizens is alone capable of the task- civilized states are obliged to assume control of backward communities to protect them from exploitation by private adventurers from Europe. . . . The Commonwealth cannot, like despotisms, rest content with establishing order within and between communities it includes. It must by its nature prepare these communities first to maintain order within themselves. The rule of law must be rooted in the habits and wills of the peoples themselves. . . .
Curtis had been registered as an undergraduate at New College for fourteen years from 1891-1905, too busy to take time and get his degree. He was admitted to All Souls later. He fought in the Boer War, been a Town Clerk of Johannesburg, and an assistant secretary for local government in Transvaal. He resigned his official positions in 1906 to organize “Closer Union Groups” for a federation of South Africa. He then became a member of the Transvaal Legislative Council. From 1910-1912 he travelled about the world organizing Round Table Groups in the Dominions of India. He was chosen as a Beit Lecturer in Colonial History at Oxford, giving up in 1913 to serve preparatory work for the Government of India Act of 1919. He was secretary to the Irish Conference of 1921, advisor on Irish affairs to the Colonial Office for the following three years. He was one of the chief founders of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in 1919 and the following year towards the League of Nations. His influence in the Milner Group dwindled after 1922, as the failure to achieve federation within the Empire was a hit to his personal feeling and prestige within the Milner Group. His influence outside still remained great, however, and published many influential works within these circles.
Geoffrey Dawson (until 1917 Robinson) - One of the most innermost members of the Milner Group. A member of the Colonial Office under Chamberlain from 1898-1901, for five years he was private secretary to Lord Milner in South Africa from 1901-1905, became South African correspondent to The Times and editor of the Johannesburg Star in the critical years during the formation of the Union, 1905-1910. Was always a member of the Round Table Group and the Milner Group, held the offices of editor of The Times from 1912-1919, and 1922-1941, secretary to the Rhodes Trustees from 1921-1922. He was made estates bursar of All Souls college, director of Consolidated Gold Fields, Ltd., and of Trust Houses, Ltd. He was also secretary to the Rhodes Trust. Very close to Lord Milner. He was influential in both England and India, especially the appeasement policy. He retired from The Times in 1941, and served as editor of The Round Table for the final three years of his life.
John Buchan (later Lord Tweedsmuir) - Not a member of the inner core of the Milner Group but was close to it, was raised to a barony as Lord Tweedsmuir in 1935, and sent to Canada as Governor-General. Was a member of the inner circles of Milner Group, and one of the only members to have written about it in published work, in his autobiography, Pilgrim’s Way (Boston 1940). Went to South Africa in 1901 to be Lord Milner’s private secretary, staying only two years and took a position in the administration of Egypt but the appointment was cancelled by the time he got back to London, as he was too young. He practiced law for three years at this time, then became a partner in a publishing firm with an old classmate, Thomas A. Nelson from 1906-1916. In 190 he married Susan Grosvenor, whose family was allied to the Cavendishes, Lyttletons, Wyndhams, and Primroses. He wrote a memoir on Lord Rosebury and a book on the Grosvenor twins who were killed in the war.
During war, was a correspondent for The Times, wrote Nelson’s History of the Great War in 24 volumes. He was military intelligence in France from 1916-1917. He was Director of Information for the War Office from 1917-1918. Became writer of travel, historical, and adventure stories. Close friend of Lord Haldane and Lord Rosebury. He was representative of the Scottish universities in the House of Commons from 1927-1935. Lord High Commissioner for the Church of Scottland from 1933-1934, president of the Scottish Historical Society from 1929-1933, chancellor of Edinburgh University, and Governor-General of Canada from 1935-1940.
Dougal Orme Malcolm (later Sir Dougal) - Grandson of Lord Charles Wellesley, joined Colonial Office in 1900, went to South Africa in 1905 as private secretary to Lord Selborne, remaining there until the Union was formed. Secretary to Lord Grey, Governor-General of Canada from 1910-1911. He was an official of the British Treasury for one year. In 1913, he became director of the British South Africa Company and its President in 1938. He was Vice-President of the British North Borneo Company.
William Lionel Hichens – Graduate of New College, served as a cyclist messenger in Boer War, joined Egyptian Ministry of Finance in 1900 for nine months, then shifted by Milner to South Africa to join the Kindergarten as Treasurer of Johannesburg. In 1902 he was made Colonial Treasurer of the Transvaal and Treasurer of the Intercolonial Council and Acting Commissioner of Railways. In 1907, went to India as member of Royal Commission on Decentralization, and became chairman of the Board of Inquiry into Public Service in Southern Rhodesia in 1909. Went into Private Business in 1910, becoming chairman of a great steel firm, Cammell Laird and Company. Organized the munitions industry of Canada. Helped setup the Imperial Munitions Board of Canada. He became director of the Commonwealth Trust Company, the London Northwestern Railway and its successor, the London, Midlands and Scottish. Member of the Executive Committee of the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust from 1919-1940. He was a supporter of adult education programs with years of work on Birkbeck College, where he was chairman of the board of governors from 1927-1940. In December of 1940, he was killed by a German Bomb.
Richard Feetham - Stayed in South Africa after the achievement of the Union. High positions in Milner Group from their country. Deputy Town Clerk, Town Clerk of Johannesburg (1902-1905). Legal advisor to Lord Selborne. He was chairman of the Committee on Decentralization of Powers in India in 1918-1919, King’s Counsel in Transvaal in 1919-1923, judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa from 1923-1930. He was chairman of the Irish Boundary Commission from 1924-1925, a chairman of the Local Government Commission in Kenya Colony in 1926, advisor to the Shanghai Municipal Council from 1930-1931, chairman of the Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure Commission from 1930-1935, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 1938, judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa since 1939.
John Dove – Sent to Lord Milner in 1903 by Sir William Anson, Warden of All Souls. He was assistant Town Clerk and later became Clerk of Johannesburg from 1903-1907. From 1907-1909 he was chairman of the Transvaal Land Settlement Board. He took a trip with Lionel Curtis to Australia and India organizing Round Table Groups, he returned to London by 1911 and lived with Kindergarten members Brand and Kerr in the Cumberland Mansions. He travelled to South Africa with Earl Grey in 1912 to prese4nt the Rhodes Memorial. He served in the First World War with military intelligence in France. He became a traveling representative of financial houses starting in 1918. He was editor of The Round Table from 1921 to his death in 1934.
Basil Williams – Graduated from New College in 1891, became clerk in House of Commons for nine years before becoming soldier in Boer War. Became Secretary of the Transvaal Education Department, wrote Volume IV of The Times History of the South African War, and was special correspondent at the South African Convention of 1908-1919, for The Times. He became a major on the General Staff in 1909-1918 and was a Ford Lecturer at Oxford in 1921. He was Professor of History at McGill from 1921-1925, Professor at Edinburgh from 1925-1937. He wrote about Lord Milner in the Dictionary of National Biography and wrote numerous other works, including Cecil Rhodes (1921), The British Empire (1928), Volume XI of the Oxford History of England, and more.
Lord Basil Blackwood - Went to Balliol in 1891, but never graduated. He was taken to South Africa by Lord Milner and employed in the Judge Advocate’s Department from 1900-1901. He was an Assistant Colonial Secretary of Barbados in 1907, Assistant Secretary of the Land Development Commission in England in 1910. He was killed France in 1917, before he could become an important member of the Milner Group.
Hugh A. Wyndham - Stayed in South Africa after the achievement of the Union. Member of the Union Parliament from 1910-1920. As formerly a secretary to Milner. Member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and wrote book reviews for its Journal, later becoming chairman of its editorial board. Married to Maude Lyttleton, daughter of Viscount Cobham, brother of Sir Ivor Maxse (brother of Lady Milner), and nephew of Lord Rosebury.
George V. Fiddes (later Sir George) - Private secretary to the Earl of Onslow, father of Lady Halifax, before he was secretary to Lord Milner in South Africa from 1897-1900, and became political secretary to the Commander-in-chief in South Africa as well as secretary to the Transvaal administration from 1900-1902. He was Assistant Under Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1909-1916. He was Permanent Under Secretary for the Colonies from 1916-1921.
John Hanbury-Williams (later Sir John) - Was in army for 19 years, as aide to various colonial administrators. It was here that he was assigned to Milner as a military secretary in 1897-1900 and following this, went to London as secretary to the Secretary of State for War. He went to Canada as secretary and military secretary to the Governor-General, Earl Grey from 1904-1909. He became a brigadier general in charge of administration in Scotland from 1909-1914. He served on the General Staff in 1914, Chief of the British Military Mission to Russia from 1914-1917, was in charge of the British Prisoners of War Department at The Hague and Switzerland from 1917-1918. He was a major general, marshall of the diplomatic corps from 1920-1934 and extra equerry to the three Kings of England from 1934-1946.
Main S. O. Walrond – Was in the Ministry of Finance in Egypt from 1894-1897 before becoming Lord Milner’s private secretary for the entire period of his High Commissionership, from 1897-1905. He was appointed District Commissioner in Cyprus but declined the post. From 1917-1919 he was in the Arab Bureau in Cairo under the High Commissioner and acted as an unofficial advisor to Lord Milner’s mission to Egypt from 1919-1921, which led to Egyptian independence from Britain.
Fabian Ware (later Sir Fabian) - Was a reporter on The Morning Post from 1899-1901, Assistant Director and Director of Education in the Transvaal from 1901-1905, editor of The Morning Post from 1905-1911. Became special commissioner to the board the Rio Tinto Company where Milner was director. He was a major general in the First World War. Following the War, he became a permanent vice-chairman of the Imperial Heritage, The Work of the Imperial War graves Commission. In 1937, he authored a book, The Immortal Heritage, The Work of the Imperial War Graves Commission, which had been discussed on occasion in the Round Table. He was a member of the Imperial Committee on Economic Consultation and Cooperation in 1933 and a director-general in the War Office from 1939-1944.
William Flavelle Monypenny – Was assistant editor of The Times from 1894-1899, and following went to South Africa to become editor of The Johannesburg Star, leaving that position at the start of the Boer War. He served a short time as a lieutenant in the Imperial Light Horse from 1899-1902, Director of Civil Supplies under Lord Milner from 1900-1902, and then resumed his post as the editor of the Johannesburg Star. In 1903 he resigned that position to protest Lord Milner’s policy of importing Chinese laborers and walked across Africa from the Cape to Egypt to resume his position at The Times from 1903-1908 and became director of the firm for the last four years of his life, from 1908-1912.
An additional five names were brought up in this chapter, as members of the Milner Group, were down in South Africa between the Boer War and the creation of the Union, but were not part of Milner’s Kindergarten because they did not serve in Milner’s civil service. They were:
Leopold Amery – Well-acquainted with the Kindergarten members and was in South Africa in the time period of their service. He was a chief correspondent of the The Times for the Boer War and editor of The Times History of the South African War. Was a Fellow of All Souls for fourteen years. He was one of the inner core of the Milner Group. He began his career as private secretary to Leonard H. Courtney, Unionist Member of Parliament and Deputy Speaker in Lord Salisbury’s second government. He went into politics and earned a seat for Birmingham which he kept for thirty-four years. He held many additional high positions in government following this. He wrote heavily on the Empire and Imperial trade. He was a liberal M. P. from 1906-1922, and then a conservative M. P. from 1924-1929. He also involved himself as chairman of the board of directors at Dorman, Long, and Company, a giant English steel firm, and as president of the British Iron and Steel Federation from 1938-1939.
Edward W. M. Grigg (later Lord Altrincham) - Regarded as one of the most important members of the Milner Group. After graduating from New College he joined the staff of The Times from 1903-1913. He then became joint editor of The Round Table, but left to fight in the war. He served as a member of Parliament from 1922-1925 and from 1933-1945. Hee was governor of Kenya Colony from 1925-1931. He served many additional positions in his career. He also authored several books such as The Greatest Experiment in History (1924), The Faith of an Englishman (1931), The British Commonwealth (1943), and many more.
H. A. L. Fisher – Was in South Africa during the Kindergarten’s time, regarded as a founder of the Kindergarten and a member of the Milner Group from at least 1899. Fisher helped recruit the members of the Kindergarten. He graduated from New College in 1888. He went into the field of education, became a historian, organized educational systems, and wrote several books. He also lectured in South Africa during the Kindergarten years. Fisher was the primary means in which the Milner Group held access to the College of All Souls. Fisher selected potential prospects from All Souls to become members of Milner’s Kindergarten an sent to South Africa, based on merit rather than connections.
Edward F. L. Wood (later Lord Irwin and Lord Halifax) - member of All Souls, and future member of the Milner Group. He was second son of the second Viscount Halifax. He was able to move up in status based on his family connections. He went to South Africa twice, in 1904 and again in 1905, both times with his father, Viscount Halifax, who socialized with and impressed Lord Milner, also becoming Milner’s main defender in the House of Lords. He even defended Milner when he was receiving strong criticism for importing Chinese laborers. Wood was in Parliament for fifteen years from 1910-1925. He held posts as Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Colonies from 1921-1922, he was President of the Board of Education from 1922-1924, Minister of Agriculture before going to India as Viceroy. He accomplished many agendas for the Milner Group in the subcontinent, and returned to the Board of Education. He then went on to hold posts in a variety of government positions, until finally becoming ambassador to Washington, as the successor to Lord Lothian. While in Washington, he filled the embassy with members of All Souls.
Basil K. Long – Travelled from Brasnose to Cape Town to study law in 1902, and called to the bar within three years. He was elected Cape Parliament in 1908, succeeded Kerr as editor of The Times from 1909-1912. He succeeded Amery as the head of the Dominions Department of The Times. He returned to South Africa in 1921 to become editor of the Cape Times from 1921-1935. Regarded as one of the most important figures in the South African Institute of International Affairs. He took on liaison work during the Second World War, between South Africa and London.
The remainder of this chapter describes the progress the Milner Group was able to accomplish, with South Africa as a model for the larger picture. Some other names come up in relation to the Kindergarten, who also were not members of it, such as Jan C. Smuts, James S. Meston, William S. Marris, and Malcom Hailey. It talks about the Greater Good in which the Milner Group saw itself working towards. This chapter ends with a biographical sketch of the Milner Group published in the September 1935 edition of The Round Table.
Chapter 05. The Milner Group, Rhodes, and Oxford
This chapter takes a deeper look at the activities and influence the Milner Group had in the education systems, government, and public affairs of Britain and her many tentacles reaching to places far and wide, around the globe, such as India, South Africa, Canada, Russia, China, among others, This was possible through the British Expansion by controlling the press and much of the written history. Their approach was apolitical, operating in both sides of politics and foreign affairs. It states:
Milner, in his distaste for party politics and for the parliamentary system, and in his emphasis on administration for social welfare, national unity, and imperial federation, was an early example of what James Burnham called the “managerial revolution” - that is, the growth of a group managers, behind the scenes and beyond the control of public opinion, who seek efficiently to obtain what they regard as good for the people. To a considerable extent this point of view became part of the ideology of the Milner Group, although not of its most articulate members, like Lionel Curtis, who continued to regard democracy as a good in itself. [pp. 84]
The Milner Group controlled the Rhodes Trust and this group was able to fully penetrate or gain a foothold in several key universities where they further cemented their aims and agendas for the future. The Beit Railway Trust is also mentioned as a source of funding to the Milner Group’s agendas. With the amount of members inside the universities who wrote much of the historical literature, they were able to shape public opinion accordingly. The Milner Group strengthened their relationships with All Souls, New College, and Balliol.
Alfred Zimmern is mentioned, who disagreed with some of the inner core of the Milner Group as far as policy is concerned. R. S. Rait was described a member of the Milner Group who dealt with matters of union with Scotland as a model for Ireland. Reginald Coupland was a member who spent considerable time in foreign affairs and policy in regards to the Middle East, India, and Asia.
Quigley describes how integrated the Milner Group was with All Souls and vice versa. Many in the All Souls were more or less groomed into the Milner Group by the administration at All Souls, through their system of education and scouting for future members of the Group. Mentioned is a list of names who were in the second circle of the Milner Group. He mentions William George Stewart Adams, who worked in various universities specializing in everything from agriculture to political theory to munitions and war positions. Similar profiles were described in Reverend Kenneth Norman Bell, Harold Beresford Butler, H. W. C. Davis, Sir Maurice Linford Gwyer, William Keith Hancock, John Morley, James Arthur Salter, Donald B. Somervell, Sir Arthur Ramsay Steel-Maitland, and some of the deeper activities in Intelligence connections were described in Benedict H. Sumner, for example:
Benedict H. Sumner was a Fellow of All Souls for six years (1919-1928) and a Fellow of Balliol for twenty (1925-1944), before he became Warden of All Souls (1945). During the First World War, he was with Military Intelligence and afterwards with the British delegation at the Peace Conference. During the Second World War, he was attached to the Foreign Office (1939-1942). He is an authority on Russian affairs, and this probably played an important part in his selection as Warden of All Souls in 1945. [pp. 96]
Many additional names are similarly described with important positions in education, intelligence, war, history, policy, and economy. The group’s ability to root itself into the British system is apparent and described in detail to the remainder of this chapter.
Chapter 06. The Times
This chapter takes a more in-depth look at the ways in which the Milner Group dominated and took control of the press. Whereas last chapter we discussed the way in which the Milner Group penetrated and took control of key universities, the same is true for the press. Quigley opens the chapter with the following text:
Beyond the academic field, the Milner Group engaged in journalistic activities that sought to influence public opinion in directions which the Group desired. One of the earliest examples of this, and one of the few occasions on which the Group appeared as a group in the public eye, was in 1905, the year in which Milner returned from Africa. At the time the Group published a volume, The Empire and the Century, consisting of fifty articles on various aspects of the imperial problem...
He continues on the following page:
The Milner group did not own The Times before 1922, but clearly controlled it at least as far back as 1912. Even before this last date, members of the innermost circle of the Milner Group were swarming about the great newspaper. In fact, it would appear that The Times had been controlled by the Cecil Bloc since 1884 and was taken over by the Milner Group in the same way in which All Souls was taken over, quietly and without a struggle...
He begins to mention more names who had similar profiles as the previous chapter, working in a diverse field of influential positions, and helped the Milner Group proliferate through the government, media, and academic fields. He mentions the Astor family’s help in buying up and securing The Times for the Milner Group. He mentions that while very few members of the staff not already associated with the Group were ever admitted into it, aside from two members, Sir Arthur Willert and Lady Lugard. Lady Lugard may have been a member of the Rhodes Secret Society beforehand.
In fact, Lady Lugard, known formerly as Flora Shaw, had a long history of close activity with Rhodes and other members of his inner circle, and she travelled to South Africa and opened up lines of communication between Rhodes and Lugard, regarding the Boer activities. She was informed of a raid known as the Jameson Raid several weeks prior to its occurrence, and sent incriminating cables to Rhodes on several occasions. The details surrounding this led to a scandal in which Rhodes and several other members of the inner circle were investigated by a Select Committee, but the committee never decided to take anyone down, perhaps never intending to from the start. The scandal soon disappeared and Lady Lugar resigned from The Times.
There was a third member somewhat like the previous two, Valentine Chirol, who was The Times correspondent in Berlin. He was increasingly anti-German after 1895, and set accusations against the Germans of plans in South Africa to drive out the British. The influence The Times had on Germany’s position and what it reported during these times revealed that misleading, overly bias, and occasionally untrue reporting had been made in which painted Germany unfavorably. These sly tactics and heavy bias greatly exacerbated the tensions that arose in the buildup to the Fist World War between Germany and Britain using direct manipulation and antagonism.
Chapter 07. The Round Table
The Round Table was a publication and forum produced for influential figures by the Milner Group and its associates. The Round Table was a media blueprint from what was accomplished in South Africa, to be applied to the other targets of expansion and occupation, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India. This publication was a directed effort to agitate and win over the local groups within each of these targeted countries, to be favorable to and accept the British Empire as the right empire for all. It was not meant for the average reader, but those who would be persuading them. Quigley points out that the Group was not pro-German, they were anti-German before 1914. They took various sides or positions in later years but always remained pro-British Empire in all instances and years following. The editors of The Round Table were named from 1910 to the later years around the War:
Philip Kerr, (1910-1917), assisted by E. Grigg (from 1913-1915)
Reginald Coupland (1917-1919), (1939-1941)
Lionel Curtis (1919-1921)
John Dove (1921-1934)
Henry V. Hodson (1934-1939)
Vincent Todd Harlow (1938), as acting editor
Geofrey Dawson (1941-1944)
It is mentioned that some of the targets they had plans for, such as India, were not in favor of the British Empire taking over their countries, and they could not influence these dominions to assimilate. When all else failed, they moved to keep the current governments in their place, but to influence them to adopt similar outlooks and policies, in line with the British Empire. This would be a case in which the British Empire would be in operation through their domestic government, but only lacking its name. This formed some of the blueprints for the League of Nations. Although the Milner Group took a position of pro-Empire, they were in political ideologies, leaning more towards socialism. They understood the overt imperialism was not serving the objectives of the Group in the ways in which they hoped, even though they saw duty and allegiance to State as most paramount values. In their minds, they saw theocracy, rule by religious authority, as the evil systems in world history, while the federation of imperialism by the British example was the answer.
Quigley highlighted their comparisons to earlier empires and the failures that engulfed them. The stemming of Love and Freedom, or holding on to an Empire’s rule by tyrannical means was always destined for certain failure. The Group understood that in order to maintain their objectives, they had to understand and not restrain the common feelings and aspirations of the people. They had to find more organic ways of persuading them to sign on to the objectives of the Empire.
Lord Milner’s relevance to The Round Table is mentioned, as its founder, but also stated is that The Round Table was just another name for Milner’s Kindergarten. Once Lord Milner died the Group had lost its leader, and the highest-ranking members used his old connections to continue the objectives of the Group.
Chapter 08. War and Peace, 1915-1920
This chapter looks at the years following Germany’s defeat in the First World War, and while the Milner Group was out of power from 1906-1915, they were engaged in influential projects this entire time. The Milner Group was helping to antagonize the world against Germany with the end goal of regime change, disposing of the German Kaiser, which could pave way for the atmosphere of British acquisition and imperial assimilation. This was very much, like South Africa, an attempt at victorious regime change. In the years following the war, there would be sanctions imposed on Germany, Lord Milner being one of the signatories of the Versailles Treaty.
The Milner Group also managed to split and destroy the Liberal Party of British Parliament. Milner is mentioned as the second most important figure in government at this time, trailing behind George Lloyd. The Cecil Bloc and the Milner group were heavily rooted in the most essential and highest levels of British Government, not to mention inside the beginning phases of the League of Nations, and their occupied territories, new governments, and proxy movements working through the British Expansion. Especially notable are the positions within the war department, intelligence, and the agricultural spheres. Quigley mentions some of the ways in which the Milner Group’s plans were stifled due to George Lloyd’s failure to act in concert with the Group on various positions. He began to get out of hand, to the aims of the Milner Group, and this was due to the fact that they could not control Lloyd, even though he would occasionally use the Group for his own purposes when it suited him.
The Milner Group was next concerned with how to control the defeated Germany, because on the one hand, they did not want it to fall to the influence of Bolshevism, while equally they did not want Germany to take to “French militarism.” This was likely the reason for the Milner Group’s influence to impose the Treaty of Versailles. They were concerned that the Junkers could gain control of Germany and resurrect the same Germany they just defeated.
Chapter 09. The Creation of Commonwealth
The Creation of a Commonwealth of Nations was the work of the Milner Group, while they had originally sought a British Federation to become the world power, they were forced to realize that in the shorter-term sense it wasn’t possible to get the globe under British rule, so they began to settle, at least for the time being, on a commonwealth of Nations that thought the same way or lived the British way of life, or close to it as possible. This was not meant to be a permanent fixture, but a way to bridge the gap while they worked further towards the global system. The Commonwealth of Nations would be a chance to work toward implementing the same policies across the board, in a way that the name or what they called it mattered little if the policies and ideologies were the same as it would be under a unified system. They attended many conferences around the world, especially in Europe, with the ultimate goal of uniting the different nations under these similar blueprints. This is what the League of Nations became, and it was under this plan they would have their “League of Empire,” based on cooperation rather than “rigid constitutional plan.”
Milner had been the one to implement this approach, even though it was not the original vision he and the Group were going for, but knowing it was a pathway to his original vision, he concluded the following:
“The only possibility of a continuance of the British Empire is on a basis of absolute-out-and-out-equal partnership between the United Kingdom and the Dominions. I say that without any kind of reservation whatever.”
This set the path forward for the Milner group and the plan for their federation. It was to be the blueprint for the foreseeable future, because this idea of ‘British’ rule was too obvious, and resistance was beginning to mount in various Dominions and beyond. The Milner group was heavily involved in many of the Peace Conferences and those of a League of Nations or Commonwealth of Nations. They kept at their goals but in more modest terms.
This chapter also looks closer at Palestine, when there were early talks about Jews finding a patch of land or country in Palestine. Zionism sought to establish a Jewish State and the Milner Group became involved in talks and negotiations between the Jews and Arabs at many early conferences. The Milner Group however, was not for or against either Jewish or Arab causes, but rather they favored the outcomes that helped further their original plan of a federation or ‘League of Nations’ to move closer to the original aims set by the group. Lord Milner and the Milner Group helped to establish negotiations and wanted the two to work out something and co-exist, because this meant a closer step to their original plan. Quigley states that any appearance of the Group to favor one side or the other was only an apparent one, as the members of the Group were not predisposed to one side or the other. They only cared about their Plan for a unified federation or League of Nations with the same or similar policies and lifestyles. The agreements between the Jews and Arabs did not pan out the way Lord Milner or the Group had hoped, and bloody conflict would follow Palestine for the foreseeable future.
This chapter also looked at Ireland and the conflicts involved there just before the First World War and onward, as bloody conflict was unfolding there too. Lord Milner understood that it would do more harm to attempt to force the Irish into submission by illegal or forceful means, and that the Irish would work side by side with Britain’s enemies to weaken Great Britain if they did not support the Home Rule, or allowing Ireland to govern themselves. The Cecil Bloc was of the opposite stance, and willing to resort to force to impose British Rule on the Irish. Milner had more sense than this, and in the wake of the Irish Civil War helped to achieve the Irish Settlements of 1921-1923. The Milner Group thought that like other Dominions, Ireland could remain bound by the invisible ties to Britain if the visible ties were destroyed.
Chapter 10. The Royal Institute of International Affairs
The Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA), Quigley states, was a greatly expanded version of the Milner Group, and laid out according to the blueprint they had set down previously:
The Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) is nothing but the Milner Group “writ large.” It was founded by the Group, has been consistently controlled by the Group, and to this day is the Milner Group in its widest aspect. It is the legitimate child of the Round Table organization, just as the latter was the legitimate child of the “Closer Union” movement organized in South Africa in 1907. All three of these organizations were formed by the same small group of persons, all three received their initial financial backing from Sir Abe Bailey, and all three used the same methods for working out and propagating their ideas (the so-called Round Table method of discussion groups plus a journal). This similarity is not an accident. The new organization was intended to be a wider aspect of the Milner Group, the plan being to influence the leaders of thought through The Round Table and to influence a wider group through the RIIA.
Another interesting passage on the RIIA, comes in the paragraphs following, mentioning the American inclusion by J. P. Morgan associates, with close ties to the Milner Group. It states:
The Institute was organized at a joint conference of British and American experts at the Hotel Majestic on 30 May 1919. At the suggestion of Lord Robert Cecil, the chair was given to General Tasker Bliss of the American delegation. We have already indicated that the experts of the British delegation at the Peace Conference were almost exclusively from the Milner Group and Cecil Bloc. The American group of experts, "the Inquiry," was manned almost as completely by persons from institutions (including universities) dominated by J. P. Morgan and Company. This was not an accident. Moreover, the Milner Group has always had very close relationships with the associates of J. P. Morgan and with the various branches of the Carnegie Trust. These relationships, which are merely examples of the closely knit ramifications of international financial capitalism, were probably based on the financial holdings controlled by the Milner Group through the Rhodes Trust. The term "international financier" can be applied with full justice to several members of the Milner Group inner circle, such as Brand, Hichens, and above all, Milner himself.
All of the RIIA were Milner’s efforts put into a widescale platform, with close associates to expand their global vision, with America being a key part of the big picture. With a wider reach by the RIIA, they began to have more frequent gatherings or conferences to meet and discuss world problems or ideas of interest, and these conferences followed by correlating press and journal articles to promote their ideas. This was the format or blueprint which they were able to wield global influence, and expand on these problems over time. With donations from Canadian philanthropist R. W. Leonard, the RIIA set up an organization and headquarters known as The Chatham House in 1922.
Other American interests also worked in close coordination with the aims of the Group, such as the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Some close associates to the Milner Group, such as international banker Jerome Greene, was a close associate of J. D. Rockefeller. Greene was a trustee and secretary of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1913-1917, trustee of the Rockefeller Institute and the Rockefeller General Education Board from 1912-1939. In 1932, the Rockefeller Foundation granted the RIIA £8000 a year for five years for the advancement of the study-group method of research, with an extension for an additional five years after 1937.
The list of special interest and financers of the RIIA went far beyond that of R. W. Leonard, J. P. Morgan, and the Rockefellers. Quigley mentions a handful of interesting yet not so surprising groups funding the RIIA:
Among the other benefactors of the Institute, we might mention the following. In 1926 the Carnegie United Kingdom Trustees (Hichens and Dame Janet Courtney) gave £3000 for books; the Bank of England gave £600; J. D. Rockefeller gave £3000. In 1929 pledges were obtained from about a score of important banks and corporations, promising annual grants to the Institute. Most of these had one or more members of the Milner Croup on their boards of directors, Included in the group were the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company; the Bank of England; Barclay's Bank; Baring Brothers; the British American Tobacco Company; the British South Africa Company; Central Mining and Investment Corporation; Erlangers, Ltd; the Ford Motor Company; Hambros' Bank; Imperial Chemical Industries; Lazard Brothers; Lever Brothers; Lloyd's; Lloyd's Bank; the Mercantile and General Insurance Company; the Midland Bank; Reuters; Rothschild and Sons; Stern Brothers; Vickers-Armstrong; the Westminster Bank; and Whitehall Corporation.
From 1939 onward the principle benefactors of the Institute came from the Astor family and Sir Henry Price. The Chatham House also expanded to include a parallel organization in the United States, with headquarters in New York, which became the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The Council on Foreign Relations was started by the RIIA and taken over by American interests, which was assumed to be a mutual decision. Much of the Council on Foreign Relations was run by J. P. Morgan interests and associates, including Allen W. Dulles, and the CFR worked in close coordination with The Chatham House of the RIIA. The Chatham House also setup similar counterparts in the British Dominion countries, as well as those within the Pacific Ocean, known as the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR).
The Pacific Council, set up in 1927, had at least five out of seven members from the Milner Group, which formed the following:
The Pacific Council, 1930
Jerome D. Greene, United States of America (USA)
F. W. Eggleston, Australia
N. W. Rowell, Canada
D. Z. T. Yui, China
Lionel Curtis, United Kingdom (UK)
I. Nitobe, Japan
Sir James Allen (New Zealand)
The RIIA used the League of Nations to expand its influence to states outside of the Commonwealth, done through the Intellectual Cooperation Organization of the League of Nations, consisting of two parts: 1. The International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation, its advisory body, and 2. The International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation, acting as the executive organ of the Committee, located in Paris, France. The latter held annual conferences each year, to gain insight from national points of view on international problems. Many additional groups and think tanks were created in this light, all of which had heavy influence if not full control by the Milner Group. Following the Czech Crisis of 1938, in which the German Reich invaded Czechoslovakia, the RIIA began to act as an unofficial advisor to the Foreign Office. They soon set up a special organization within the RIIA to deal with the Foreign Office, called the Foreign Research and Press Service (FRPS). It was receiving funds from the Foreign Office and working together as a joint venture during the War, receiving £53,000 in the fiscal year of 1940-1941. It had some supervision from members of the Milner Group and those close to it. The organization was transferred to the government in 1943. It merged with the existing Political Intelligence Department of the Foreign Office to make the new Research Department of the Foreign Ministry, with Milner Group members Toynbee as director and Zimmern as deputy director.
The chapter closes with the obvious reality showing that this global influential body had been consolidated and controlled to such an extent by this one group- The Milner Group, and with that comes its very startling implications:
This brief sketch of the Royal Institute of International Affairs does not by any means indicate the very considerable influence which the organization exerts in English-speaking countries in the sphere to which it is devoted. The extent of that influence must be obvious. The purpose of this chapter has been something else: to show that the Milner Group controls the Institute. Once that is established, the picture changes. The influence of Chatham House appears in its true perspective, not as the influence of an autonomous body but as merely one of many instruments in the arsenal of another power. When the influence which the Institute wields is combined with that controlled by the Milner Group in other fields — in education, in administration, in newspapers and periodicals — a really terrifying picture begins to emerge. This picture is called terrifying not because the power of the Milner Group was used for evil ends. It was not. On the contrary, it was generally used with the best intentions in the world — even if those intentions were so idealistic as to be almost academic. The picture is terrifying because such power, whatever the goals at which it may be directed, is too much to be entrusted safely to any group. That it was too much to be safely entrusted to the Milner Group will appear quite clearly in Chapter 12. No country that values its safety should allow what the Milner Group accomplished in Britain — that is, that a small number of men should be able to wield such power in administration and politics, should be given almost complete control over the publication of the documents relating to their actions, should be able to exercise such influence over the avenues of information that create public opinion, and should be able to monopolize so completely the writing and the teaching of the history of their own period.
Chapter 11. India, 1911-1940
This chapter reviews a long and arduous struggle in India, from the start of British occupation to the fruitless efforts of the British Empire to spread their imposed version of “democracy” to a set of peoples with a different structure of life and society. The Milner Group played a major part in the setup and negotiations for “self-governance” for India, in what they termed a “reasonable” manner, but this idea of “reasonable” set the divide in motion between the Indian peoples and the British Empire occupants in their country. The main conflict that continuously derailed progress was that the British idea of “reasonable” was “unreasonable” to the people of India.
Quigley states that the history and overall attempt at The Milner Group’s strategy in India was a disaster from the very beginning. Many additional undesired and unexpected obstacles and debacles arose on a continual basis throughout its history. Once the British Empire had imposed itself and occupied India, they mainly attempted to work out negotiations and setup government through investigative committees and conferences. The result was always poor, and met with unceasing resistance from India, especially with the help of Gandhi. Gandhi helped the Indian people boycott and resist the changes suggested to resolve the differences and set itself up a government.
The British problem was a clash of ideologies and differences in lifestyle. The Milner Group eventually understood this and more often stated that the British model for the Indian people was not compatible and to continue trying would be fruitless. Indeed, it would never reach the idea or plan they had envisioned. They more or less backed off from this plan and after more fruitless attempts to find some kind of compromise they began to retreat and eventually give up and let them form their own system. They played a very passive role in Indian affairs but nonetheless kept a slight influence on them from that point forward, because after all, their vision was a global plan.
There was even some conflict between the British and the Milner Group, such as Winston Churchill and members of the group. The disagreements came from those like Churchill and the Cecil Bloc, wanting to do the old ways of doing things for British expansion and control, and the Milner Group’s proposal and advice that they could not win India. Overall, the Milner Group saw British occupation and attempt to win them over a failure and a lost cause.
Chapter 12. Foreign Policy, 1919-1940
This chapter reviews in greater depth the critical years from just after the First World War to the beginning of the Second World War. It explains in more detail the policies and approaches taken and opposed to by the Milner Group and its larger network of associates and the League of Nations. This chapter looks closely at the German problem, first at the details and attitudes surrounding the Treaty of Versailles. This Treaty was an imposition of sanctions and reparations on Germany in which some members of the Group thought were too harsh, setting Germany up for failure and for the world, further conflict.
The French had a different view, with the approach being one of firmness and force. They felt the Germans were set in their war-like ways and could not be bargained with. Some members of the Milner Group and its close associates shared this view of resentment and hatred for Germans. However, the majority of the Milner Group, as well as Lord Milner himself, sought to find a workable solution, based on the idea that Germany was split between the “good” and “bad” Germans.
The Milner Group falsely believed that these “bad” Germans were confined to a select and small group removed from office with the Kaiser at the end of the First World War. Yet, this was merely a concentration and small organ of four other groups: The Prussian Officers’ Corps, the Junker landlords, the governmental bureaucracy, including the great industrialists. To save themselves from the takedown of Germany’s defeat, the Kaiser and his concentrated inner circles became more or less an offering, like sacrificial lambs, to save or shield the larger hands at work from the same fate. They remained in position following the First Great War, and let the dust settle as it may, before setting the pretext for the Rise of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.
The Milner Group, while Milner and others signed the Treaty of Versailles, began to immediately move to revise it, and within long, working to sabotage it. They saw it as too harsh and antagonistic, not to mention, it violated the earlier Pre-Armistice Agreement that was made with Germany on several points, and much of the terms within the Treaty of Versailles were in direct opposition to this Pre-Armistice Agreement. The Milner Group began to advocate a policy of appeasement, and this was done in the hopes to push back on the growing threat of France and Russia. The Milner Group was more concerned about the balance of powers in the European world, and fell back on earlier patterns of their British model, which put primary importance in the economic positions and Britain’s financial dominance. They appeased to Germany to counter the force of Russian threat to the status quo of Britain’s centralized position as an economic and world empire. They became sympathetic to the Germans on this basis and attempted to maintain what they saw as a global balance of powers. Quigley points out some of the flaws that set upon the Milner Group’s tunnel vision from the start:
“...And by this date, certain members of the Milner Group and of the British Conservative government had reached the fantastic idea that they could kill two birds with one stone by setting Germany and Russia against one another in Eastern Europe. In this way they felt that the two enemies would stalemate one another, or that Germany would become satisfied with the oil of Rumania and the wheat of the Ukraine. It never occurred to anyone in a responsible position that Germany and Russia might make common cause, even temporarily, against the West. Even less did it occur to them that Russia might beat Germany and thus open all Central Europe to Bolshevism.”
This approach even went so far as to allow liquidation of Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland to Germany. They would leave Ethiopia to Italy to bring Italy in appeasement with England, to block Germany from moving Southward. This failed because Mussolini found more success in threats by the side of Germany. This caused Arnold J. Toynbee to break off from the Milner Group, as they did not always see eye to eye on every aim. Gone were the days of Lord Milner and the cohesion he brought to the Group, although they saw a massive expansion in the decades following the death of Lord Milner. The German appeasement continued up to the war, hoping Germany’s aggressiveness would serve their strategic plans for the balance of Europe in the hopes of putting Russia in check.
Things did not work out the way they had planned. Germany began to get more aggressive and without any restraint. They underestimated Hitler’s intentions, thinking that appeasement would bring cooperation, but instead it made Hitler more confident in Germany’s expansion. Eventually, Hitler began to outright ignore Britain, all the bribes and potential concessions they promised the Reich in return for cooperation. Hitler and the Reich had nothing but contempt and hatred for Britain.
When the Czechoslovakian crisis occurred in 1938, Britain’s leadership and press reporting, acting through the Chamberlain side (Parliament) and the Milner Group (of the press and secretive influence), not only allowed for Germany to overtake the Czechoslovakia, but they concocted a series of fabricated details about the event in order to make it digestible and less of an outcry from the British public. They fabricated the might of Reich forces and armaments to be much more powerful and numerous than they were, to promote the idea that if Britain entered the situation, they would be overpowered by the Germans. The British Government and Milner Group also helped to paint the Czechs in as unfavorable a light as possible, to claim this was a fight for conflicts that Britain had nothing to do with, and that the Czechs had acted in such a way to get themselves in the bind they found themselves in.
The Milner Group and its press channels worked to persuade everyone else that their failure to deal with the German problem was in no way a fault of Britain, and that the policy of appeasement was the only sound position to take.
This chapter also looked at the mechanics and political angles in which the League of Nations was beginning to find its true form, with the ugly threads of deceit interwoven into the structure of its direction. Some countries looked to it as a potential source for collective security and an organ of force. It is best illustrated in the following passage, which speaks many Truths about the League of Nations and its course for the future:
“These plans for the Covenant of the League of Nations were rudely shattered at the Peace Conference when the French demanded that the new organization be a "Super-state" with its own army and powers of action. The British were horrified, but with the help of the Americans were able to shelve this suggestion. However, to satisfy the demand from their own delegations as well as the French, they spread a camouflage of sham world government over the structure they had planned. This was done by Cecil Hurst. Hurst visited David Hunter Miller, the American legal expert, one night and persuaded him to replace the vital clauses 10 to 16 with drafts drawn up by Hurst. These drafts were deliberately drawn with loopholes so that no aggressor need ever be driven to the point where sanctions would have to be applied. This was done by presenting alternative paths of action leading toward sanctions, some of them leading to economic sanctions, but one path, which could be freely chosen by the aggressor, always available, leading to a loophole where no collective action would be possible. The whole procedure was concealed beneath a veil of legalistic terminology so that the Covenant could be presented to the public as a watertight document, but Britain could always escape from the necessity to apply sanctions through a loophole.”
Chapter 13. The Second World War, 1939-1945
The Milner Group focused considerable efforts during the Second World War, this time in more concentrated fashion using four main channels, which were 1.) the Research and Intelligence Department of the Foreign office, in both official and unofficial capacities. 2.) The British Embassy in Washington. 3.) The Ministry of Information, 4.) associated agencies concerned with economic mobilization and reconstruction.
Their agenda in America was the goal of closer union to the United States, and seeing that the American inclusion in the war on the side of Britain was essential to British victory, the importance was clear. It is clear to see why they sought channels like the Ministry of Information and the Research and Intelligence Department of the Foreign Office, which was the earlier joint-venture with the Chatham House, handed to the Foreign Office leading up to the war. The Group was aiming to keep an influence and spin on public opinion, as that was the main organ of building their agendas into form. Here the Group makes a declaration of more need to control and bring the world to order than in the years after the First World War. Toynbee wrote at the start of the Second World War:
“If we get through this present crisis and are given a further chance to try and put the world in order, we shall then feel a need to take a broader and deeper view of our problems than we were inclined to take after the War of 1914-1918. . . . I believe this possibility has been in Mr. Lionel Curtis’s mind since the time when he first conceived the idea of the institute; his Civitas Dei and my Study of History are two reconnaissances of this historical background to the study of contemporary international affairs.
Their plan to impose the new order on the postwar period was suddenly cut short with a political twist of fate, as Quigley states:
These tentative plans to dominate the postwar reconstruction efforts received a rude jolt in August 1945, when the General Election removed the Conservative government from power and brought to office a Labour government. The influence of the Group in Labour circles has always been rather slight.
Since this blow, the Milner Group has been in eclipse, and it is not clear what has been happening.(3) Its control of The Times, of The Round Table, of Chatham House, of the Rhodes Trust, of All Souls, and of Oxford generally has continued but has been used without centralized purpose or conviction. Most of the original members of the Group have retired from active affairs; the newer recruits have not the experience or the intellectual conviction, or the social contacts, which allowed the older members to wield such great power. The disasters into which the Group directed British policy in the years before 1940 are not such as to allow their prestige to continue undiminished. In imperial affairs, their policies have been largely a failure, with Ireland gone, India divided and going, Burma drifting away, and even South Africa more distant than at any time since 1910. In foreign policy their actions almost destroyed western civilization, or at least the European center of it. The Times has lost its influence; The Round Table seems lifeless. Far worse than this, those parts of Oxford where the Group's influence was strongest have suffered a disastrous decline...
Quigley ends the book with the following conclusion:
...It would seem that the great idealistic adventure which began with Toynbee and Milner in 1875 had slowly ground its way to a finish of bitterness and ashes.
Appendix: A Tentative Roster of the Milner Group
A. The Society of the Elect
Cecil John Rhodes
Nathan Rothschild, Baron Rothschild
Sir Harry Johnston
William T. Stead
Reginald Brett, Viscount Esher
Alfred Milner, Viscount Milner
B. F. Hawksley
Thomas Brassey, Lord Brassey
[Sir Edward Cook]
Sir Abe Bailey
Albert Grey, Earl Grey
Archibald Primrose, Earl of Rosebery
Arthur James Balfour
Sir George R. Parkin
Philip Lyttelton Gell
Sir Henry Birchenough
Sir Reginald Sothern Holland
Arthur Lionel Smith
Herbert A. L. Fisher
William Waldegrave Palmer, Earl of Selborne
[Sir Alfred Lyttelton]
Sir Patrick Duncan
Robert Henry Brand, Baron Brand
Philip Kerr, Marquess of Lothian
Edward Grigg, Baron Altrincham
Jan C. Smuts
Waldorf Astor, Viscount Astor
Nancy Astor, Lady Astor