The Secret Elite held immense power at Oxford University, and through that, control of the writing and teaching of history. [1] Prior to their takeover of All Souls, the Oxford School of History was dominated by medieval and early modern studies and the Oxford historians, like their colleagues in other British universities, were ill equipped for the role ahead. This all changed. Secret Elite investment in the university, All Souls in particular, reaped rich dividends when it came to writing the historical accounts of the First World War. The Secret Elite’s role in the origins of the war and the means by which they deliberately prolonged it beyond 1915 were airbrushed from history. The man they placed in charge of All Souls, Sir William Anson, was steeped in English ruling-class traditions and a close and dedicated friend of the Secret Elite. Sir William Anson, Warden of All Souls

Anson oversaw the election of the Prize Fellows, young men drawn overwhelmingly from a small number of elite English private schools and prestigious Oxford Colleges, Eton and Balliol in particular. They dominated the field between 1860 and 1914 at All Souls with thirty-nine Fellows from Balliol and twenty-six from Eton. In addition, Milner’s New College provided ten, and the other highly privileged private school, Harrow, eleven. [2] Important members of the Secret Elite included George Buckle, elected a fellow around 1880, Leo Amery elected in 1897, Geoffrey Dawson,1898, Dougal Malcolm,1899 and Robert Brand in 1901. All Souls Fellows formed the hard core of the college’s Empire builders, ‘a tightly knit coterie, friends from their school undergraduate days who had been elected to All Souls within a year or two of each other and remained close throughout their lives.’ [3] In 1904 Leo Amery persuaded Alfred Beit, both members of the inner core of the Secret Elite, [4] to provide an endowment for a chair of colonial history, together with two supportive lectureships. He had no difficulty in persuading Warden Anson to house the new chair in All Souls. The following year Amery persuaded the college to endow a readership in military history. This was converted to a professorship four years later. [5] So, by 1905, when they had already decided on war with Germany, the Secret Elite had built All Souls into a powerful, well funded institution, and began recruiting modern historians. A significant number of All Souls Fellows became academic historians who wrote and taught history which concealed the deeply sinister secrets of their sponsors, secrets that have endured for a hundred years.

The following list demonstrates clearly how the Secret Elite directed the writing and teaching of their own time through the appointment of All Souls Fellows to senior academic posts. In addition, many became so trusted and valuable that they were inducted into the Secret Elite. The reader will quickly realise that the influence of Oxford spread into the major universities in Britain.

Henry William Carless Davis, a Balliol graduate, was elected to a Fellowship of All Souls in 1895, became a member of the Secret Elite [6] and went on to hold the Regius Professorship of Modern History at Oxford. He was appointed curator of the Bodleian Library in 1914 and was editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB). This authoritative reference book published the biographies of famous politicians, statesmen, financiers, historic families, the aristocracy, literary figures, scientists, churchmen, academics and artists. By controlling the ODNB, they guaranteed that the ‘official’ record of all the individuals within the Secret Elite were written and approved by fellow members, thus ensuring that nothing about their secret activities ever entered the public domain. When war broke out in 1914, Davis played a significant role in the production of the Oxford Pamphlets, the justification for war that was basically academic propaganda. He assumed responsibility as its general editor [7] and wrote the following pamphlets; French Policy since 1871, The Retreat from Mons, The Battle of the Marne and Aisne;  What Europe owes to Belgium, and The Battle of Ypres-Armentieres. Davis later became vice chairman of the Ministry of Blockade under the auspices of the Foreign Office. He also wrote The History of the Blockade which concealed the truth of what actually happened out in the Atlantic, and sections of The History of the Peace Conference, which omitted to mention its domination by Secret Elite members.

Charles Oman, the British military historian at Oxford, was elected a Fellow of All Souls College in 1881 and remained there for his entire career. From 1905 he was Chichele Professor of modern history, president of the Royal Historical Society and Fellow of the British Academy. During the First World War he served in the government’s propaganda Press Bureau and the Foreign Office. He became Conservative MP for the university constituency in 1919 and was awarded a knighthood the following year.

Charles Grant Robertson, educated at Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College from 1893, became a distinguished and influential historian at the university. He wrote the Oxford Pamphlet Germany: The Economic Problem. and went on to become Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham university and Chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of the United Kingdom universities.

William G Adams, a Balliol graduate, was a member of the Secret Elite [8] and Fellow of All Souls from 1910. He was Gladstone Professor of Political Theory and Institutions, Oxford (1912-1933) and wrote the Oxford Pamphlet, Why we are at War. He worked in the Ministry of Munitions in 1915, was Secretary to Prime Minister Lloyd George, 1916-1919 and edited the War Cabinet Reports. In a future blog we will show that Adams was only one of the Secret Elite’s men who dominated Lloyd George’s War Cabinet, organised the agendas, wrote the reports, made the crucial decisions and represented Britain at the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. Adams was later rewarded for his loyalty and commitment to the cause with the Wardenship of All Souls and so continued the Secret elite’s control of Oxford deep into the twentieth century.

Lionel Curtis, founder of the Round Table Group

Hugh Edward Egerton, a contemporary of Milner’s at Oxford and a member of the Secret Elite [9], was given the Beit chair of Colonial History and a Fellowship of All Souls in 1905. Among other works he wrote British Colonial Policy in the Twentieth Century, and the Oxford Pamphlets, The British Dominions and the War and The British Empire the Result of Wholesale Robbery?

Lionel Curtis, New College, spent his first decade as a Fellow of All Souls writing his magnum opus, Civitas Dei. Itcharted the onward march of self-government from the Anglo-Saxons through the British Constitution and the British Commonwealth to a New World Order that would effectively be the Kingdom of God on Earth.’  [10] Curtis had served as secretary to Milner during the Boer War, founded the Secret Elite’s magazine The Round Table in 1910 and was appointed Beit Lecturer in Colonial History at Oxford in 1912. He became a highly influential member of the Secret Elite’s inner core [11] and eventually its leader when Alfred Milner died in 1925.

Sir Reginald Coupland, who studied at New College and became a Fellow of All Souls, was a member of the Secret Elite [12] who went on to become one of the British Empire’s most prominent historians. His career was transformed by his coming into contact with Lionel Curtis at Oxford. Curtis persuaded Coupland to succeed him as Beit lecturer, and to join the Round Table. Coupland subsequently maintained a lifelong connection with the group, editing its journal from 1917 to 1919 and 1939 to 1941, and contributing many anonymous articles. On the eve of the First World War he was employed by Curtis to write the volume of Round Table Studies relating to Canada. In 1920 Coupland was elected to succeed H.E. Egerton as Beit professor and professorial fellow of All Souls College. Under his direction, Oxford became the world centre of Commonwealth history. [13] H A L Fisher British historian and Cabinet Minister

H A L Fisher, New College, was a close friend of Sir William Anson, Warden of All Souls and one of the founders of Milner’s Kindergarten. He was an important member of the Secret Elite’s inner core and instrumental, with Milner and Anson, in giving the Secret Elite its powerful hold over All Souls. [14] Fisher decided who would be presented for membership of All Souls and Anson sealed the matter. Awarded the Chichele Lectureship in Foreign History, Fisher wrote the Oxford Pamphlet, The Value of Small States, and other works. He became Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield University in 1912. Like Milner himself, H A L Fisher was appointed to Lloyd George’s coalition government in 1916 as President of the Board of Education.

Spenser Wilkinson, Merton College, Oxford, was elected the first Chichele Professor of Military History at Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls in 1909. A close friend of Lord Roberts of the Secret Elite, he was instrumental in forming the Navy League which demanded more battleships and a stronger navy in preparation for war with Germany. [15] He wrote Oxford Pamphlet no 4, Great Britain and Germany.

C R L Fletcher, Eton, Magdalene College, Oxford and Fellow of All Souls, was a tutor and lecturer in History at Oxford where he refused to allow women entry to his lectures. Together with Rudyard Kipling, a man whom we place inside the Secret Elite, he wrote a school text book, A History of England , which was described by the Manchester Guardian as having a ‘most pernicious influence on the minds of children’. He wrote the Oxford Pamphlets, The Germans: Their Empire and How They Have Made It, and The Germans; What they covet.

Keith Grahame Fieling, Marlborough College, Balliol, and Fellow of All Souls. He was a tutor and lecturer in history at Oxford, then later Chichele Professor of Modern History at Oxford. He wrote the Oxford Pamphlet, Italian Policy since 1870.

A L Smith, a contemporary of Milner’s at Balliol, a Fellow of All Souls, and an inner-core member of the Secret Elite, [16] became the prestigious Master of Balliol in 1916. During the war Smith lectured on The Empire and the Future at the University of London under the sponsorship of the Royal Colonial Institute. His biographical sketch in the ODNB was written by K N Bell.

Kenneth Norman Bell, a tutor and Fellow of Balliol and All Souls (1907), was a member of the Secret Elite [17] who became Beit lecturer in Colonial History. He served on the committee for supervision for the selection of candidates for the colonial administrative service, and co-edited the Selected Documents on British Colonial History. [18] His family controlled the publishing house of G Bell and Sons.

Sir Lewis Bernstein Namier, a man of Jewish descent who emigrated from Russia to England in 1907, became a British citizen and studied at Balliol from 1908. He held the post of Professor of Modern History at Manchester University for 22 years. During the war he served in the Propaganda Department, the Department of Information and in Political Intelligence at the Foreign Office.

Sir Robert Sangster Rait, was educated at Aberdeen University and moved to New College in 1896. He became a tutor at Oxford in 1903. He was a Fellow of New College, as was Alfred Milner, and joined the Secret Elite. [19] He worked closely with A V Dicey and C H Firth, both Fellows of All Souls, in intelligence at the War Office from 1915 to 1918. He was made Professor of Scottish History at the University of Glasgow and later became Historiographer Royal of Scotland and Principal of Glasgow University.

Sir Alfred Zimmern, the man who exposed the Secret Elite to Quigley Sir Alfred Zimmern, New College, was an ‘able and courageous’ member of Milner’s Secret Elite [20] He lectured in Ancient History at Oxford and became a Fellow and tutor at New College. Subsequently he was staff inspector at the Board of Education and a member of the Political Intelligence Department at the Foreign Office. He became the Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at Oxford. Zimmern was the member of the Secret Elite who, although sworn to secrecy, divulged much about the cabal to Professor Quigley. [21]

W. Seton-Watson, New College Oxford was a historian who served on the Intelligence Bureau of the War Cabinet, and was responsible for British propaganda against the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He became Professor of Central European Studies at University of London and Professor of Czechoslovak Studies at Oxford.

C R M Crutwell, Queens College Oxford, and member of the Milner Group of the Secret Elite [22] was also a Fellow of All Souls. He was a noted Modern European historian and served as Dean, then principal of Hertford College, Oxford. In 1936, Crutwell wrote a popular A History of the Great War 1914-1918. which followed the usual narrow establishment-approved account.

Sir Llewellyn Woodward, Corpus Christi, Oxford, and Fellow of All Souls. He was a member of the Secret Elite, [23]  and was chosen as the Montague Burton Professor of International Relations. When the decision was made to publish an extensive selection of Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919-1923, Woodward was chosen as general editor of the series. Amongst other works he wrote Great Britain and the War of 1914-18, Great Britain and the German Navy and Volume XIII of Oxford History of England.

Professor Carroll Quigley

As Carroll Quigley pointed out in his seminal work, The Anglo-American Establishment, almost every important member of the Secret Elite which was dominated by Alfred Milner from 1902-1925 was a Fellow of Balliol, New College or All Souls. In addition to their control of the writing and teaching of history, they also dominated Law and Public Affairs. [24.] The triple front penetration of politics, history and the press has been expanded by us to include the powerbrokers in finance and industry, and as the group extended its membership, other important drivers came into play. Inside the Secret Elite’s inner core, All Souls Fellows like Leo Amery progressed into mainstream politics, where in a glittering career, he became First Lord of the Admiralty then Colonial Secretary. Others like Robert Brand enjoyed profitable careers in banking and finance.

Like an octopus, the Secret Elite extended its all-embracing arms out from Oxford into all important departments of government.  Every one of the men listed above, mainly historians, lecturers and professors played additional roles during the war in key government offices. As can be seen from the information above, they served in the Press Bureau, wrote the war pamphlets, were given posts in the Ministry of the Blockade, the Ministry of Munitions, the War Cabinet, the Propaganda Department, in Intelligence departments for the War Office, the Foreign Office and the War Cabinet itself. They controlled the Dictionary of National Biography, and edited and censored official documents so that the history that has been passed down is based on the information they permitted us to have. Through their writings and the kudos of All Souls, they extended their influence into other universities like Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow, Birmingham and Edinburgh. They were the high priests of British history and God help anyone who questioned them.

[1] Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, p.197.
[2] S. J. Green and Peregrine Horden, All Souls and the Wider World, p.32.
[3] Ibid., p.161.
[4] Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, p.312.
[5] Green and Horden, All Souls and the Wider World, pp 35-36.
[6] Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, p.313.
[7] Green and Horden, All Souls and the Wider World, p.172.
[8] Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, p.313.
[9] Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, p.87.
[10] Green and Horden, All Souls and the Wider World, p.164.
[11] Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, p.312.
[12] Ibid., p. 313.
[13] Green and Horden, All Souls and the Wider World, p.162.
[14] Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, pp 68-9.
[15] A J A Morris on  Spencer Wilkinson, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
[16] Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, p.312.
[17] Ibid., p.314.
[18] Ibid., p.93.
[19] Ibid., p.90.
[20] Ibid., p.89.
[21] Gerry Docherty and Jim Macgregor, Hidden History,  p.16.
[22] Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, p.195.
[23] Ibid., p.313.
[24] Ibid., p.98.