On returning to England in 1902 he was created Viscount Kitchener and was appointed commander in chief in India. In September 1911 he became the proconsul of Egypt, ruling there and in the Sudan until August 1914. When war broke out, Kitchener was on leave in England and reluctantly accepted an appointment to the cabinet as secretary of state for war. Flying in the face of popular opinion, he warned that the conflict would be decided by Britain's last 1,000,000 men. He rapidly enlisted and trained vast numbers of volunteers for a succession of entirely new 'Kitchener armies'. By the end of 1915 he was convinced of the need for military conscription, but never publicly advocated it, deferring to Prime Minister Asquith's belief that it was not yet politically practicable.
In his recruitment of soldiers, planning of strategy and mobilisation of industry, Kitchener was handicapped by bureaucracy and his own dislike for teamwork and delegation. His cabinet associates did not share the public's worship of Kitchener and gradually relieved him of his responsibilities for industrial mobilisation and then strategy. He was killed in 1916 when HMS Hampshire was sunk by a German mine while taking him to Russia.
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