Imperialism at Sea: Naval Strategic Thought, the Ideology of Sea Power, and the Tirpitz Plan, 1875-1914

Imperialism at Sea: Naval Strategic Thought, the Ideology of Sea Power, and the Tirpitz Plan, 1875-1914

Imperialism at Sea: Naval Strategic Thought, the Ideology of Sea Power, and the Tirpitz Plan, 1875-1914

Imperialism at Sea: Naval Strategic Thought, the Ideology of Sea Power, and the Tirpitz Plan, 1875-1914

Synopsis

Was Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz plan for naval expansion and the development of a risk fleet" as a way to position Wilhelmine Germany as a world power to rival Britain so unique? This comparative study of the modern naval strategy of Germany, Britain, France, and the United States seeks to answer that question. First, Hobson is the only naval scholar to simultaneously compare the "Tirpitz Plan" with plans of the other leading nations of that time. Second, Hobson also interacts with how other scholars have assessed the complex interplay between naval history--both in and outside Germany--maritime law, and naval strategy. Hobson offers a unique interpretation of the causes and objectives of the German Imperial Navy at the end of the nineteenth century, forces that ultimately led to the First World War."

Excerpt

While working on this study for more years than I care to remember, I have incurred many debts of gratitude that it is a pleasure to recall.

T o begin with bread and butter, I have been generously supported by two employers, the Historical-Philosophical Faculty of the University of Trondheim (now NTNU) and the Norwegian Institute of Defense Studies (IFS) in Oslo. I have also at various points in time received additional grants from the Norwegian Research Council (NFR) and the Ruhrgas Foundation.

I owe academic debts of gratitude to innumerable people. First I must thank my tutor at the Historical Institute of the NTNU in Trondheim, Professor Per Maurseth, for his patience, attention to analytical detail, and the high quality of his comments. Professor Jarle Simensen, also of the NTNU, has been consistently encouraging, as has Professor Helge Pharo of the Historical Institute of the University of Oslo. Pharo was the first person to whom I put my rather hazy idea of a study in this field and who wrote the first letters of recommendation. I am very grateful to Professor Wolfgang Mommsen for taking me up on my vague notions and inviting me to come and pursue my studies at what, during my years in Germany, became the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf. On my return to Norway Professors Olav Riste and Rolf Tamnes, the previous and present directors of IFS, allowed me time and freedom to pursue my research, without which I doubt whether it could have been satisfactorily concluded. I have benefited from the many comments of my colleague at IFS, To m Kristiansen, who has read most recent drafts of chapters. Dirk Bönker, at present at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, very kindly wrote a detailed commentary of the penultimate draft. Professor Avner Offer of Nuffield College, Oxford, sent me some very useful comments on a condensed version, comments which I value the more for their frank criticism. Other detailed comments came from Professor John Hattendorf at the United States Naval War College at Newport and Frank Nägler at the Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt in Potsdam. Last but certainly not least, Professor Roger Chickering was a great help in preparing the final version.

Versions of chapters have been presented as papers to various audiences down the years. I would especially like to thank the participants at Wolfgang Mommsen's Oberseminar in Düsseldorf, Stig Förster's Oberseminar in Bern, the Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt, and the seminar of the Historical Institute in Trondheim. I would particularly like to thank Keith Bird, Tobias Philbin, Gary Weir, and Andrew Lambert for their encouragement during the Twelfth Naval History Symposium at Annapolis.

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