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It seems that a writer named "Nickadie" or "Nipadie" (I did not quite understand the pronunciation) suggested that had the German Empire never built such a navy to challenge the British, and focused more of their economy on the land army instead, they would, or could, have won the First World War.

Did any historian ever publish such a theory, and if so, who?

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    Would you believe, virtually all of them. This is hardly a novel idea. – Pieter Geerkens Oct 4 '15 at 18:50
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Holder Herwig's book "'Luxury' Fleet: The Imperial German Navy 1888-1918" (1980) is very often cited.

The term "luxury fleet" comes from Churchill, then First Sea Lord.

The British Navy is to us a necessity, whilst the German Navy is more in the nature of a luxury.

There is a lot of hindsight in this historical judgement based on the failure of either fleet to gain a decisive victory. At the time, the build up of the Imperial German Navy was viewed as a very serious threat to British security and drove much of the political tension between Germany and Britain in the decade prior to the war. Geoffrey Bennett's book "The Battle Of Jutland" (1964) quotes Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary:

Our Navy is to us what [the German] Army is to them. No superiority of the British Navy could ever put us in a position to affect the independence or integrity of Germany, because our Army is not maintained on a scale which, unaided, could do anything on German territory. But if the German Navy were superior to ours, our independence, our very existence would be at stake.

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