The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783
Today, war is more complicated than it has ever been. When considering military strategy, a commander must be aware of several theaters of war. There's ground strength, air power, naval combat and even cyber warfare. In the late 19th century, however, the true military might of a nation rested primarily on the strength of its navy. In 1890, United States Navy Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan published a book titled "The Influence of Sea Power Upon History." The monumental text addressed the importance of both military and commercial fleets in the success of a nation in war and peacetime. Mahan begins with a discussion of the elements he considers to be the key to a nation's success on the seas. He theorizes that a ground force could not sustain the pressure of a naval blockade. Mahan then applies his principles to wars of the past. He analyzes the use of a navy in various engagements and considers the resulting influence on the outcome of the wars. The book was readily accepted by commanders and tacticians all over the world and his principles and theories were utilized throughout the 20th century. His arguments, along with technological advances, were influential in the strengthening of the United States Navy. Presently, Mahan's work is considered the most important work on naval strategy in history.
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Page 398 - If France delays a timely and powerful aid in the critical posture of our affairs, it will avail us nothing should she attempt it hereafter.
Page 275 - ... the Carnatic,* unless some very unforeseen event interpose in their favour. The superiority of our squadron, and the plenty of money and supplies of all kinds which our friends on the coast will be furnished with from this province, while the enemy are in total want of everything, without any visible means of redress, are such advantages as, if properly attended to, cannot fail of wholly effecting their. ruin in that as well as in every other part of India.
Page 25 - ... a wide common, over which men may pass in all directions, but on which some well-worn paths show that controlling reasons have led them to choose certain lines of travel rather than others.
Page 138 - It is not the taking of individual ships or convoys, be they few or many, that strikes down the money power of a nation ; it is the possession of that overbearing power on the sea which drives the enemy's flag from it, or allows it to appear only as a fugitive...
Page 1 - Therefore the history of sea power, while embracing in its broad sweep all that tends to make a people great upon the sea or by the sea, is largely a military history ; and it is in this aspect that it will be mainly, though not exclusively, regarded in the following pages.
Page iv - has there been witnessed the struggle of the highest individual genius against the resources and institutions of a great nation, and in both cases the nation has been victorious. For seventeen years Hannibal strove against Rome ; for sixteen years Napoleon Bonaparte strove against England : the efforts of the first ended in Zama ; those of the second in Waterloo.
Page 532 - I beg to inform your lordship, that the port of Toulon has never been blockaded by me : quite the reverse. Every opportunity has been offered the enemy to put to sea : for it is there that we hope to realize the hopes and expectations of our country.
Page iv - One point, however, of the similitude between the two wars has scarcely been adequately dwelt on ; that is, the remarkable parallel between the Roman general who finally defeated the great Carthaginian, and the English general who gave the last deadly overthrow to the French emperor. Scipio and Wellington both held for many years commands of high importance, tut distant from the main theatres of warfare.
Page 26 - The necessity of a navy, in the restricted sense of the word, springs, therefore, from the existence of a peaceful shipping, and disappears with it, except in the case of a nation which has aggressive tendencies, and keeps up a navy merely as a branch of the military establishment.