Martel, "The meaning of Power: re-thinking the decline and fall of Great Britain" International History Review 1991 (vol. 13 no.4).
K. Nielson, "Greatly exaggerated: the myth of the decline of Great Britain before 1914" ibid.
K. Wilson, Chapter 14, "Problems and Possibilities. Exercises in Statesmanship 1814- 1918" (2003).
In comparing these three articles, it is important to examine the main themes raised in them and consider how they agree and disagree. The most important issue on which they all concur is Great Britain and her empire had not begun its decline before the beginning of the First World War in 1914, but was actually still a great power and even, "the pre-eminent great power" . The change in British foreign policy is investigated by the articles and the same conclusion drawn, that it was based in strength not weakness. Many reasons are given in the articles for the beginning of British decline, from the idea of strategic overextension of the empire due to having to become a hybrid nation of naval and army strength to the idea of natural decline due to having completed a historical mission. Nielson only hints that Britain is guilty of overextension, he, instead spends a lot of his article trying to prove that Britain had not begun to decline. .
The fact that Great Britain was a still a great power when the First World War began in 1914 is universally agreed upon by the three articles. However, the ideas about what constitutes power in the international system are different in the articles. Nielson spends a lot of the article writing about Great Britain's naval strengths and weaknesses as a gauge of her power. This view is echoed by Lord Selbourne who argues that Britain's navy seems to be one of "the two main pillars on which the strength of this country (Great Britain) rests" , the other being her credit. Britain had long used the numerical formula of the "two power standard" as a guide to the size of its navy to ensure supremacy at sea.