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Much has been published about how Britain's ruling circle came to its decision for war in 1914 but little about what rank and file Members of Parliament thought and did as the continental 'Armageddon' drew closer. Fatal Fortnight tells the story of Arthur Ponsonby, and his backbench Liberal Foreign Affairs Committee. The book describes the suspense around Parliament as the skies darkened. It tells how, after the Foreign Secretary made his proposal that Britain should go in, Ponsonby's friend Philip Morrell stood up and called for a general debate, in the teeth of the fury of those who wanted Britain to get straight into the war. It describes how the neutralists, led by Ponsonby, made their passionate case in the fateful hours as Britain hung between peace and war.
The book looks at the concealment from Parliament of the military understanding with France, and the issues of war and democracy which are still with us today. It re-examines the arguments and reflects on how the world might have been had the 1914 decision gone a different way.
Alongside the political drama a human story emerges of how family support for Ponsonby and his allies sustained them as the world closed in.
As seen on BBC TV BOOKtalk, Derbyshire Times, Matlock Mercury and on BBC Radio Derby.
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