From the very earliest days of the First World War, the Secret Elite in London set about fabricating history in order to conceal their guilt and heap responsibility on Germany. Their version is still presented as truth in the present day and regurgitated by generations of undergraduates for the simple reason that it was written by professors at Oxford University, reputedly the greatest academic institution in the world. Professor Carroll Quigley revealed, however, that Alfred Milner (the most influential leader within the Secret Elite) and his faction had such power and control over Oxford University that it was able to completely monopolise the writing and the teaching of the history of their own period. [1]

Oxford High Street and University Colleges

It is a brave man indeed who questions the veracity of history as recorded by the eminent men within Oxford’s ivory towers. One courageous historian who attacked their myths and worked wholeheartedly on behalf of the truth, Professor Harry Elmer Barnes, was ostracised from academic circles and saw his life’s work trashed. It was a harsh lesson that has been heeded since by those intent on academic careers in modern history. Professor Barnes died before the term ‘conspiracy theory’ was invented as a term of contempt for critical thinkers who examined explanations other than those presented by the establishment. Coined in the 1960’s by the CIA, it was a means to discredit independent researchers like the New Orleans District Attorney, Jim Garrison, who bravely questioned the official narrative of the Kennedy assassination. Indeed our own book which challenged and frequently dismissed establishment accounts of WW1 has been subjected to this abusive term but, as the American author Peter Hof succinctly responded: ‘the conspiracy theory pejorative is a favourite refuge for the misinformed’.

Professor James Tracy of the Florida Atlantic University stated that ‘conspiracy theory’ is a term that strikes fear and anxiety in the hearts of almost every public figure, particularly journalists and academics. Since the 1960s the label has become a disciplinary device that has been overwhelmingly effective in defining certain events off limits to inquiry or debate. [2]

Fearing for their livelihoods, historians have place themselves in academic straitjackets while, much to the discomfort of the powers that be, a new breed of independent investigator has pushed the boundaries in revealing the truth. Prof. Tracy added that research carried out by the hoi polloi and independent researcher ‘is a clear danger to those who wish to wield uncontested political authority. Indeed, the capacity to freely disseminate and discuss knowledge of government malfeasance is the foremost counterbalance to tyranny. Since this ability cannot be readily confiscated or suppressed, it must be ridiculed, marginalized, even diagnosed as a psychiatric condition. [3] Knowing that the establishment would ridicule their work with the tired ‘conspiracy theory’ label, dismiss them as cranks and ruin their careers, most historians have failed to challenge the Oxford accounts of the First World War. The problem that they will always face is caused by their inability to accept justified reason unless they have the documented evidence. This means that in stealing, shredding and otherwise destroying the evidence about the First World War, the establishment view is all that they can accept. It is surely a most uncomfortable straight-jacket.

Secret Elite control of Oxford was firmly established long before the outbreak of war. In 1905, Alfred Milner had returned from South Africa and constructed a ‘propaganda and patronage machine’ at the university [4] where he was a Fellow of New College. Oxford had long been the spiritual home of the cabal, and from the 1890s its central power-base was All Souls College which comprised well-to-do, upper-class and frequently titled men, many of whom were educated at Eton and Harrow, schools at the hub of the English ruling class. Professor Quigley had no hesitation in stating that by the mid twentieth century the secret cabal (we term them the Secret Elite) had been the most powerful single influence in All Souls, Balliol, and New College at Oxford for more than fifty years. [5]


All Souls, unlike Balliol and the other Oxford Colleges, had no undergraduates, and its members were rarely there to study for a higher degree. It had been founded in 1437 by a substantial endowment from Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury, but by the nineteenth century it had established itself as a very select club of like minded individuals from, or acceptable to, the English ruling class. Entrance was strictly limited and tightly controlled. The College gathered information about candidates from a variety of ‘distant sources’ and election of ‘fellows’ was decided in an informal meeting in the Common Room. The discussion focussed not so much on the results of examinations but on personal habits and social connections. Did the candidate dress well? Did he possess friend in high places? Did he have impeccable manners? Was he an agreeable companion? In short, would he make a suitable member of a refined and aristocratic society? [6] It is safe to assert that that the Fellow of All Souls was a man marked out for a position of authority in public life. Many had common undergraduate associations, close personal relationships, similar interests and ideas, and surprisingly similar biographical experiences. By 1900, the Milner group was the chief, if not the controlling influence at All Souls [7] abetted by its warden, the influential Sir William Anson.

The aristocratic Anson was educated at Eton and Balliol, where he gained a double first in Classics and had himself been elected as a Fellowship of All Souls. Elected Warden of All Souls from 1881 until his death in 1914, Anson was the most influential figure in the management of its fortune and selection of its members. Now widely acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent public figures of Edwardian England, Anson also served as Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor. During his tenure he transformed All Souls ‘from an inert academic backwater into a valuable mediator between the university and the outside world, and a recognised citadel for studies of History and Law.’ [8] All Souls was a relatively poor college, and during the 1880’s a lack of funds prevented it from fully implementing an earlier promise to promote higher scholarship. Suddenly circumstances changed. Co-incident with the Milner Group takeover, All Souls grew rich. The official version of events was that  ‘good fortune’ struck. The College had long owned large estates which, over a century of extended suburban growth, had turned into north-west London. Unlike all of the other colleges at Oxford, its income rose markedly between 1889 and 1909.  [9]

In reality, the ‘good fortune’ arrived at All Souls door when the Secret Elite saw in this academic backwater a means through which they could take control of Oxford University. They rapidly converted it to a ‘citadel’ of ‘academic excellence’ through which they could turn their long-term plans into action and control the writing and teaching of history. Through considerable investment and active self-promotion the college was presented as a national institution of enormous prestige. When the Secret Elite began planning their great war to destroy Germany, Sir William Anson set about providing the means through which the college would control the writing and teaching of the history of the war. All Souls had enjoyed no great reputation over the previous 400 years and had been considered irrelevant by many Oxford academics. Once Milner and the Secret Elite took control, money poured into its coffers and professorial chairs were established for hand-picked trusted historians who would write the war’s history, and others who would lend them academic credence. Few, if any, academics would ever dare challenge the veracity of such allegedly ’eminent’ professors who had instant access to the Oxford University Press and guaranteed approval from the Times Literary Supplement.

Rand Millionaire Alfred Beit 1905

The ‘gift’ of new chairs in history at that time offers a perfect example of Milner’s men in action. Alfred Beit, South African millionaire and inner core member of the Secret Elite [10] set the pace by establishing the Beit Trust which paid for the Beit Professorship and Beit Lectureships. The first Beit Professor of Colonial History at Oxford was Hugh Egerton (1905-1920). A contemporary of Milner’s at Oxford, Egerton was a member of the Secret Elite and their Round Table Group. He constantly supported Milner in his professional work and remained committed to the cause until his death in 1927. [11]

Just how far reaching their power over Oxford extended can be gleaned from the following list of Chancellors of the University: Lord Salisbury (1869-1903), Lord Goschen (1903-1907), Lord Curzon (1907-1925) Lord Milner (1925), Lord Grey of Fallodon (1928-33) and Lord Halifax (1933). All were very senior members of the Secret Elite’s inner core. [12]

According to professor Quigley, ‘the Beit Chairs at Oxford had been controlled by the Milner Group from the beginning,’ and ‘both have interlocking membership with the Rhodes Trust and the College of All Souls’. (likewise controlled by the secret Elite) By controlling All Souls and the two professorships, the Milner Group included five out of seven electors to the Beit professorship.’ [13] Quigley added, ‘the Milner group never intended to influence events by acting through any instruments of mass propaganda, but rather to work on opinions of the small group of ‘important people’ who in turn could influence wider and wider circles of persons. This was the basis on which the Milner group itself was constructed; it was the theory behind the Rhodes scholarships; it was the theory behind the Round Table and the Royal Institute of International Affairs; it was the theory behind the efforts to control All Souls, new College, and Balliol, and through these three to control Oxford University…’ [14] This was also the theory behind their ownership of the Times. What mattered to them was the influence they commanded over ‘important people’ and by controlling Oxford, the Secret Elite were able to control the writing and teaching of history. They had achieved that already in the official Times History of the Boer War. In 1914 they began the assault on truth through the immediate publication of the Oxford Pamphlets.

[1] Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, p.197.
[2] James F Tracy, “Conspiracy Theory”: Foundations of a Weaponized Term. Subtle and Deceptive Tactics to Discredit Truth in Media and Research.
[4] Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, p.84.
[5] Ibid., pp.5-6.
[6] S.J.D. Green and Peregrine Horden,  All Souls and the Wider World, pp.14-15.
[7] Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, pp.21-22.
[8] Green and Horden,  All Souls and the Wider World, edited by pp.1-2.
[9] Ibid., p.7.
[10] Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, p.313.
[11] Ibid., p.87.
[12] Ibid., p.99.
[13] Ibid., p.88.
[14] Ibid., p.113.