Four years before the outbreak of the First World War, the world famous naval historian and strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan warned of the approaching conflict. In The Interest of America in International Conditions, Mahan recognized that Germany's effort to add a strong navy to its already powerful land army threatened to upset the balance of power that had prevented a major war in Europe since 1815. He understood that American security could be endangered if Germany dominated the European continent.
Mahan, A.T. Armaments and Arbitration or The Place of Force in the International Relations of States. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1912. 260 pp. Reprinted 2004 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. LCCN 2003056439. ISBN 1-58477-389-8. Cloth. $85. * A collection of influential essays, some originally published in The North American Review from 1911 to 1912, offer an examination of the factors involved in the use of force vs. the use of law in international disputes. Mahan argues "that neither arbitration in the more specific form of judicial decision based upon a code of law, can always take the place, either practically or beneficially, of the processes and results obtained by the free play of natural forces" (Preface). With particular attention to maritime forces and navies, he also discusses the role of sea power in the Pacific, the Panama Canal, the Naval War College, and questions whether Panama was "a chapter of national dishonor" (218).
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