The Interest of America in International Conditions

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Little, Brown, 1915 - Europe - 212 pages
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.

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Page 9 - The evils produced by his wickedness were felt in lands where the name of Prussia was unknown ; and, in order that he might rob a neighbor whom he had promised to defend, black men fought on the coast of Coromandel, and red men scalped each other by the great lakes of North America.
Page 80 - It is as true now as when Washington penned the words, and will always be true, that it is vain to expect nations to act consistently from any motive other than that of interest.
Page 42 - The old predatory instinct that he should take who has the power survives . . . and moral force is not sufficient to determine issues unless supported by physical. Governments are corporations, and corporations have no souls ; Governments, moreover, are trustees, and as such must put first the lawful interests of their wards — their own people.
Page 158 - ... at the time, it could rightly be considered so only because the speaker was then on active duty. Captain Mahan, the spokesman for Sea Power and in more specific ways for the United States Navy, had pronounced himself several times before in the same sense, when for example in 1910 he declared that: "A German navy, supreme by the fall of Great Britain, with a supreme German Army able to spare readily a large expeditionary force for over-sea operations, is one of the possibilities of the future.
Page 209 - A book which may be regarded as founding a new school of naval historical writing. — Political Science Quarterly. SEA POWER IN ITS RELATIONS TO THE WAR OF 1812. With maps, battle plans, and 25 full-page plates. 2 vols. 8vo. $7.00 net. Captain Italian's latest contribution on the subject of " The Influence of Sea Power upon History.
Page 186 - The dilemma of Great Britain is that she cannot help commanding the approaches to Germany by the mere possession of the very means essential to her own existence as a state of the first order"- and, we may add, to her national independence.
Page 8 - Congress to a newly elected colleague, "to avoid service on a fancy committee like that of foreign affairs if he wished to retain his hold upon his constituents because they cared nothing about international questions." In the Alaskan boundary dispute Canadians felt that they had been exploited by the United States and Great Britain, with results that were shown in the emphatic rejection of the reciprocity proposals of the United States in 1911.
Page 83 - Such predominance forces a nation to seek markets, and, where possible, to control them to its own advantage by preponderant force, the ultimate expression of which is possession. . . . From this flow two results: the attempt to possess, and the organization of force by which to maintain possession already achieved.
Page 74 - The definitive aim, therefore, which Germany sets herself is not to acquire vast colonies, but to enforce such a position that German influence, German capital, German commerce, German engineering, and German intelligence can compete on equal terms with other nations in those countries and among those populations which are outside the pale of European civilization.
Page 42 - This unquestionably tells for much more than it once did; but still the old predatory instinct, that he should take who has the power, survives, in industry and commerce, as well as in war, and moral force is not sufficient to determine issues unless supported by physical.

About the author (1915)

Alfred Thayer Mahan was born on September 27, 1840 at West Point, New York, where his father was a professor of Civil and Military Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1859 and embarked on a nearly 40-year naval career seeing duty in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico against the Confederacy. He taught briefly at Annapolis, but spent most of his academic career at the newly founded Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where he eventually served as president. He wrote twenty books during his lifetime including The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783; The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793-1812; The Interest of America in Sea Power, Present and Future; The Life of Nelson; and The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence. He died on December 1, 1914.

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