Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener, KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, ADC, PC (24 June 1850 – 5 June 1916) was a British Field Marshal who played a central role in the early part of the First World War. Kitchener won fame in 1898 for winning the Battle of Omdurman and securing control of the Sudan; as Chief of Staff (1900–02) in the Second Boer War he set the winning strategy. His term as Commander-in-Chief (1902–09) of the Army in India was uneventful. In 1914 at the start of the First World War he became Secretary of State for War, in charge of organising the large volunteer army that fought Germany on the Western Front. His commanding image appeared on recruiting posters demanding "Your country needs you!" He went down when the warship taking him to negotiations in Russia was sunk by a German mine.
After his death at sea in the darkest hour of the Great War, Kitchener was often dismissed as a great poster but not a great leader. His successes were appropriated by Lloyd George and others, while he became a convenient scapegoat for strategic blunders. Kitchener made it worse by his secretive methods and unwillingness to explain his actions to his colleagues. For decades historians followed Lloyd George's War Memoirs in attacking Kitchener's strategy and management, while minimising his achievement in munitions production. His reputation plunged from great hero to one of the bunglers who mismanaged the First World War. However after 1970, new records have opened and historians have taken a fresh look, rehabilitating Kitchener's reputation. He now stands tall. His strategic vision in the World War now is praised and especially his central role in the raising of the British army in 1914 and 1915. Historians now agree that his greatest achievement was, having inherited a continental commitment, to provide an army capable of meeting it. Kitchener's faults, such as a lack of organisation and a tendency to attempt to do too much on his own, remain clear enough. His strengths, especially his foresight, his industry, and his strength of character, are now better appreciated. Kitchener, with his many warts, has been recognised as among the greatest of Victorian imperial soldiers, and as the architect of Britain's victory in the First World War.