It was during these years that British statesmen first came to appreciate that her international and economic position was under threat. The growth of German and American economic power exposed the fragility of Britain's hitherto unquestioned pre-eminence. Imperialism was the first response to decline, social reform the second. It was these years that saw the first stirrings of a new collectivism in the 'New Liberalism'. 1905-1914.