Bargaining for Supremacy: Anglo-American Naval Collaboration, 1937-1941

Bargaining for Supremacy: Anglo-American Naval Collaboration, 1937-1941

Bargaining for Supremacy: Anglo-American Naval Collaboration, 1937-1941

Bargaining for Supremacy: Anglo-American Naval Collaboration, 1937-1941

Excerpt

This is the story of Anglo-American naval strategy and its development between 1937 and 1941. The Clausewitzean principle that war is a continuation of state policy by other means, whether accepted or not, is usually applied only to periods of actual hostilities and then only to relations between the combatants. My intention is to show that periods of strain begin before war and relations between friendly powers, especially when only one is engaged in hostilities, provide the best example of Clausewitz's principle. Naval relations between England and America ideally exemplify this thesis, for wrapped within the convoluted folds of those relations one can discern the clear outlines of England's and America's broader policies.

For England those policies were animated by a desire to survive and while doing so to maintain as much of her vigor and influence as possible. America's policies were directed toward assisting the British defeat the aggressors, but assisting in such a ashion that America would emerge from the conflict as the leading power in the Western world.

Much valuable work has already been done on the interwar period. In his authoritative two-volume work Naval Policy between the Wars , Captain Stephen Roskill characterizes the 1920s as The Period of Anglo-American Antagonism and suggests that during the pre-World War II period antagonism was overtaken by cooperation. While demonstrating that naval affairs provide a study in microcosm of how wars and rumors of war can give . . .

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