HMS Dreadnought and HMS Victory

This picture from 1907 by Henry J. Morgan was very much designed to show that the baton of naval superiority had been passed on to a new generation with the construction of HMS Dreadnought in 1906. HMS Victory symbolised the dominance of the Royal Navy since the victory at Trafalgar in 1805. However, although the Dreadnought showed that Britain's naval planners were still at the cutting edge of naval architecture and technological improvements its construction actually undermined the power of the Royal Navy. The radical new design made its existing fleet all but obsolescent and so would make it easier for the Germans to catch up with the fleet size and power of the Royal Navy. It was an inevitable by-product of the arms race developing between the Germans and British.

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by Stephen Luscombe