The Navy's War

The Navy's War

The Navy's War

The Navy's War

Excerpt

This is not an attempt to write the history of the American navy in the Second World War. No true war history, however partisan, can be written without some information from both sides, some glimpse into the opposing concepts and how they modified each other in action. As this is written the Japanese concepts are invisible except in their effects; and thanks to the extraordinary censorship policy of the navy, the concepts that guided our forces and indeed many of their actions, are not printable.

Yet there is one service which can be performed by the observer fairly close to the date; one thing seldom done by the later, professional historian or usually done by him only under duress. That observer close to the moment can catch the mood of the men in battle, what they thought about and talked about and he can throw it into its proper relation to what they did.

It strikes the present observer, for instance, as far more important that a navy chaplain whose name is in dispute could say "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition" than that it was against regulations; it strikes him as more interesting that the crew of U.S.S. Wasp could name their ship The Swoose after the tag-line of an off-color joke than that she was a vessel of 23,000 tons. Napoleon remarked that God was on the side of the big battalions but that was because he did not have to worry about the emotional content of his big battalions. It had been provided for him by the French Revolution. Wars, in the long run, are fought by emotions; there is no atmosphere, not even love, so emotional as that of combat.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.