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One Hundred Years of Sea Power : US Navy 1890-1990

One Hundred Years of Sea Power : US Navy 1890-1990

Counter Winner of the Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize and the Bonnot Award for Naval History, this powerfully argued and objective history of the modern US Navy explains how the Navy defined its purpose in the century after 1890.

It relates in detail how, over the years, the Navy formed and reformed its doctrine of naval force and operations around a concept of offensive sea control by a battleship fleet, and, new to America, the need to build and maintain an offensive battle fleet in peacetime.

The author shows how this war-fighting organization responded to radical changes in political circumstance, technological innovation, and national needs and expectations.

Publisher's Note

This powerfully argued, objective history of the modern U.S. Navy explains how the Navy defined its purpose in the century after 1890. It relates in detail how the Navy formed and reformed its doctrine of naval force and operations around a concept articulated by Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan - a concept of offensive sea control by a battleship fleet, and, new to America, the need to build and maintain an offensive battle fleet in peacetime.

However, there were many years, notably in the 1920's and after World War II, when there was no enemy at sea, when the country turned inward, when the Navy could not count on support for an expensive peacetime battle fleet. After 1945, especially, the inappropriateness of Mahanian principles strained a service that had taken them for granted, as did the centralization of the military establishment and the introduction of new weapons.

What, then, did the Navy do? It shrewdly adapted old ideas to new technology. To reclaim its position in a general war, and avoid being transformed into a mere transport service, the Navy (with the Marine Corps) proved it was capable of power projection onto the land through seaborne bombers armed with nuclear weapons and by building a ballistic missile-launching submarine force.

The growth of a Soviet sea force in the 1970's and 1980's revived the moribund sea power doctrine, but the Navy's bid for strategic leadership failed in the face of the war-avoidance policy of the Cold War. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Navy finally retired Mahan's doctrine that the defeat of the enemy fleet was the Navy's primary objective.

Having proven itself in the course of the century as ever adaptable, the service movedback from sea control to a doctrine of expeditionary littoral warfare. This volume, then, is a history of how a war-fighting organization responded - in doctrine, strategy, operations, preparedness, self-awareness, and force structure - to radical changes in political circumstance, technological innovation, and national needs and expectations.

Contents

Introduction

PART ONE: ON THE SEA

  • 1. Sea Power and the Fleet Navy, 1890-1910
  • 2. The New Navy, 1898-1913
  • 3. Neutrality or Readiness? 1913-1917
  • 4. War Without Mahan, 1917-1918
  • 5. Parity and Proportion, 1919-1922
  • 6. Treaty Navy, 1922-1930
  • 7. Adapt and Innovate, 1931-1938
  • 8. Are We Ready? 1938-1940
  • 9. Sea Control, 1941-1942
  • 10. Strategic Offensives, 1943-1944
  • 11. Victory Drives, 1944-1945

PART TWO: FROM THE SEA

  • 12. Why Do We Need a Navy? 1945-1949
  • 13. Naval Strategy, 1950-1954
  • 14. Containment and the Navy, 1952-1960
  • 15. The McNamara Years, 1961-1970
  • 16. Disarray, 1970-1980
  • 17. High Tide, 1980-1990
  • Conclusion 445

Notes 455
Index 543

Stanford University Press
Stanford, California
CD 1993 by the Board of Trustees
of the Leland Stanford Junior University Printed in the United States of America
CIP data appear at the end of the book
Original printing 1994
Last figure below indicates year of this printing: 05 04
GEORGE W. BAER
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SEA POWER
The U.S. Navy, 1890-1990
STANFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS STANFORD, CALIFORNIA

From the Back Cover

One Hundred Years of Sea Power
The U.S. Navy, 1890-1990
GEORGE W. BAER

  • Winner: 1996 DISTINGUISHED 1300K AWARD, SOCIETY FOR MILITARY HISTORY
    Winner: THEODORE ROOSEVELT AND FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT NAVAL HISTORY PRIZE
  • Winner: BONNOT AWARD FOR NAVAL HISTORY

This powerfully argued, objective history of the modern U.S. Navy explains how over the years the Navy defined and redefined its purpose in the century after 1890.

"This is clearly one of the two or three most important works in American naval history published in the last decade; it has the potential to become a classic in the field. Well researched and carefully nuanced, it provides a distinctive perspective on the evolving historical relationship between national interest and national politics on the one hand and naval power on the other. Not only is this a significant contribution to scholarship—one that will critically influence how historians and political scientists think about American naval power—it is an enormously readable work. Baer writes beautifully, and he has organized his material effectively. The book is fully accessible to anyone interested in naval history." —Edward Rhodes, Rutgers University
"A valuable book that stimulates reflection, reconsideration, and debate."

— International History Review

"Policy makers will benefit greatly from reading Baer's erudite review of the navy's previous successes and failures in developing strategy. . . . In seeking to educate both the naval and the non-naval communities, Baer admirably fulfills the special obligation of a public historian to convey to several audiences his special understanding of the institution he serves." — The Public Historian

George W. Baer is Chairman of the Department of Strategy and Policy, and Alfred Thayer Mahan Professor of Maritime Strategy, at the U.S. Naval War College.
STANFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS www.sup.org
ISBN 08047-2794-5

Library of Congress Catalog Listing

LC Control No.: 94002595
LCCN Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/94002595
Type of Material: Book (Print, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Personal Name: Baer, George W.
Main Title: One hundred years of sea power : the U.S. Navy, 1890-1990 / George W. Baer.
Published/Created: Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1994.
Description: 553 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN: 0804722730 (alk. paper) : $42.50
Notes: Includes bibliographical references (p. [455]-541) and index.
Subjects: United States. Navy --History --19th century.
United States. Navy --History --20th century.
Sea-power --United States --History --19th century.
Sea-power --United States --History --20th century.
United States --History, Naval.
LC Classification: VA58 .B283 1994
Dewey Class No.: 359/.00973 20
Geographic Area Code: n-us---


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