British and American Naval Power: Politics and Policy, 1900-1936

British and American Naval Power: Politics and Policy, 1900-1936

British and American Naval Power: Politics and Policy, 1900-1936

British and American Naval Power: Politics and Policy, 1900-1936

Synopsis

U. S. and British naval power developed in quite different ways in the early 20th century before the Second World War. This study compares, contrasts, and evaluates both British and American naval power as well as the politics that led to the development of each. Naval power was the single greatest manifestation of national power for both countries. Their armies were small and their air forces only existed for part of the period covered. For Great Britain, naval power was vital to her very existence, and for the U. S., naval power was far and away the most effective tool the country could use to exercise armed influence around the world. Therefore, the decisions made about the relative strengths of the two navies were in many ways the most important strategic choices the British and American governments ever made. An important book for military historians and those interested in the exercise and the extension of power.

Excerpt

The year 1897 is one that historians just love. It was that rare kind of year that contained both evocative and subtle premonitions of upcoming changes in the balance of national power. From the pageantry of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee to the almost unnoticed arrival of Theodore Roosevelt at the Navy Department, 1897 served notice that one great era was ending, and another was poised to open up. For both the United States and Royal Navies it marked the end of decades of convenient assumptions and comfortable procedures. In Great Britain it saw the final as well as the most lavish celebration of the Pax Britannica. On 20 June all of London seemed to turn out to pay their respects to the longest serving monarch in English history. Six days later, in what must have been one of the great spectacles of the age, the Royal Navy paraded in front of Queen Victoria at Spithead. Lined up in five columns that stretched for almost thirty miles were 165 of the most modern and powerful warships in the world. Yet, this enormous force represented only part of the Royal Navy, drawn, as it was, predominantly from ships stationed in home waters. The overseas squadrons remained at their far-flung posts silently and remorselessly standing guard over the vast shipping lanes of the British Empire.

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