Power at Sea - Vol. 2

Power at Sea - Vol. 2

Power at Sea - Vol. 2

Power at Sea - Vol. 2

Excerpt

Between 1939 and 1945, a storm that had been gathering for twenty years broke across the world ocean with a force and violence that no one had adequately foreseen. Every form of naval warfare—carriers and convoys, invasions and intelligence, wolf packs, wireless, and so many others—was employed by four major sea powers fighting desperately for survival. For two decades, men of goodwill but often foolish minds had grappled with disarmament at sea, knowing full well that if it was not achieved and maintained, the aggressive appetites of nations laboring under economic stress and scarcity could not be contained. As with all wars, every potential participant condemned the resort to arms, but some would make war in the name of national survival and the others would accept war rather than perish. And the war came.

When the blizzard of blood and steel had at last blown itself out, the global landscape was transformed. In the spring of 1939, a geopolitician placing the point of his or her compass on the Rhine and drawing a circle some five hundred miles in diameter would have included within its circumference all of the historically great capitals of the modern world: London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, even Madrid and Lisbon. The early twentieth century had brought only modest changes to the global power equaton. Far-off Tokyo was busily engaged by fair means and foul in creating an imperial "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere," while on the European peripheries, governments in Moscow and Washington, D.C., struggled to master vast problems of political control (the USSR) and economic impoverishment (the USA).

Six years later all had changed. Europe and its great capitals lay more or less in ruins, its empires either gone forever or tottering toward extinction. Japan was defeated and devastated. In their place, the two formerly weak peripheral powers had, from Moscow and Washington, D.C., amassed unprecedented power. While the Soviet Union now dominated all but the western and southern edges . . .

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