Lord Roberts: Koningin Victoria se "ander generaal"
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In the course of the 64 years that Queen Victoria reigned over the British Empire, from 1837 to 1901, her army was involved in no fewer than 230 wars, punitive expeditions and other military campaigns. This afforded many British officers the opportunity to build “heroic” careers. Lord Roberts of Kandahar (and later, inter alia, also of Pretoria) was probably Victoria’s most famous and most beloved field marshal. In this article, his career is critically analysed, with special reference to the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880), in an effort to better understand how and why he became so famous, and to ascertain to what extent his success can be attributed to his own abilities and decisions; or rather, to luck. His earlier campaigns will also be compared with his role during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), before – in the concluding sections – his role as Commander-in-Chief at the War Office and career until his death in 1914 will be discussed. Throughout, mention will also be made of his “competition” with Sir Garnet Wolseley – regarded by some as Victoria’s “only general”, while Roberts’ supporters referred to their champion as Victoria’s “other general”.