The Lurch Into War

In May of 1588, Spain's great Armada set sail, bent on the invasion and conquest of Elizabethan England. Simon Adams re-examines the strategic considerations that underpinned the actions of both England and Spain before and after the Armada.

Early in the present century the American historian Conyers Read drew attention to the prolonged debate in the Elizabethan Privy Council over the Revolt of the Netherlands in the late 1570s and early 1580s. The debate, he discovered, split the councillors into distinct 'war' and 'peace' parties. Both were ostensibly Protestant, but one was radical, the other conservative.

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