The Royal Navy and the German Threat 1901-1914: Admiralty Plans to Protect British Trade in a War Against Germany
With never before published information on Colonel Geehl's mine laying operation, which won the battle for the Germans, The Dardanelles Disaster is essential reading for everyone interested in great naval history, Churchill's early career, and World War I.
These essays explore the link between the naval strength and global power of Great Britain and the United States from 1815 to the present. The British Way of Warfare assumed that the country with control of the sea could ensure safe and rapid communications for its commerce. The American theory of naval strategy, on the other hand, assumed that one had to engage the enemy in order to assure command of the sea. These case studies illustrate once again that naval history must include cultural, economic, political, and social contexts.
The struggle between the primacy of international law and military expediency lasted for nearly two years, as the British tried to reconcile their pre-war stance as champion of neutral rights with measures necessary for a successful blockade. Not until 1916 did the operation have the potential to be a decisive factor in the defeat of Germany, when pressure from France, the Royal Navy, Parliament, British popular opinion, and the Admiralty forced the British government to abandon its defence of neutral rights over the interests of the state.
The arrival of the United States as an ally in April 1917 initiated the final evolution of the blockade. The Entente and the United States tightened the blockade with crushing effect on Germany, and by November 1918, it was evidently one of the chief factors behind the victory. This knowledge reinforced the decision to retain the blockade in the months following the armistice in order to force favourable terms from Germany. In both the war and in the peace, the economic blockade performed a critical role in World War I.
The History of World War I series recounts the battles and campaigns that took place during the 'Great War'. From the Falkland Islands to the lakes of Africa, across the Eastern and Western Fronts, to the former German colonies in the Pacific, the World War I series provides a six-volume history of the battles and campaigns that raged on land, at sea and in the air.
The struggle for naval supremacy helped create the conditions for the outbreak of World War I. After the coronation of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Germany's ambitions for its 'place in the sun' – in other words a greater influence in world affairs – sidelined the traditional and familiar rivalry between France and the British Empire.
The naval arms race inspired by HMS Dreadnought may have captured the headlines, but the opening stages of the naval war were dominated by the threat from German cruisers stationed outside European waters, until they were hunted down and sunk by the Royal Navy, notably at the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914.
Germany switched its focus to the U-boat, seeing it as a weapon capable of winning the war by starving Britain into surrender. Unrestricted submarine warfare led to the sinking of millions of tons of shipping, but it would also force the USA to enter the war on the Allied side in 1917.
In the Mediterranean, the French fleet took the lead, while Austria-Hungary supported German actions. The Allied attempt in 1915 to use maritime power to break the strategic deadlock with an amphibious operation in the Dardanelles ultimately failed, although Allied sea power helped sustain the successful campaigns against the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East.
What would prove to be the decisive naval engagement of the war took place in 1916 at the Battle of Jutland. Whilst the clash itself was inconclusive, the German High Seas Fleet would be all but confined to port for the rest of the war, handing the initiative to the Royal Navy. The resultant command of the seas allowed the Allies to carry fresh American armies and much-needed supplies to Europe in 1917.
However, victory for the Allies was ultimately delivered by the naval economic blockade. By preventing the import of war materials and food, the fighting power and morale of the German armed forces was weakened. It was the mutiny of the High Seas Fleet in October 1918 that prompted the German Revolution and the subsequent abdication of the Kaiser.
With the aid of over 300 black and white and colour photographs, complemented by full-colour maps, Naval Warfare provides a detailed guide to the background and conduct of World War I naval operations, describing the struggle to win control of the high seas around the globe.
What was accomplished at London, of course, did not prove lasting; nor did it lead to additional meaningful arms control and prevent future wars. Instead, London proved a dead end in the evolution of interwar international relations. The London Treaty marked the high point of interwar arms control. When measured against the magnitude of the international catastrophe that would unfold over the next decade, this achievement in arms control now appears practically meaningless at best and dangerous at worst. Critics of interwar arms control argue that, by weakening of American and British naval power, as well as stirring up extremist nationalism in Japanese internal politics, the London agreement represents a case study in political folly that contributed to the awful events leading to the war. The London Conference of 1930 thus represents a watershed, a turning point in the history of the interwar period.
In this volume, leading naval historians tackle the question of how to assess the role played by naval arms control in the history of the interwar period. In addressing this important question, the authors uncover new evidence about the role of intelligence and behind-the-scenes political deal making that adds much to our knowledge of the international and naval history of this important era. This volume’s authors provide the first complete account of the strategic calculations and negotiations that shaped the outcome at the London Conference. No one interested in twentieth-century naval history, international relations and the rivalries of rising and declining great powers, and the origins of the Second World War can afford to miss this important new history.
Abandoning American Neutrality: Woodrow Wilson and the Beginning of the Great War, August 1914 – December 1915
During the first twelve months of World War I President Woodrow Wilson had a sincere desire to maintain American neutrality. The president, however, soon found this position unsustainable. As Wilson sought to mediate an end to the European conflict he realized that the war presented an irresistible opportunity to strengthen the US economy though expanded trade with the Allies. As this carefully argued study shows, the contradiction between Wilson's idealistic and pragmatic aims ultimately drove him to abandon neutrality in late 1915 - helping to pave the way for America's entrance into the war.