The Naval Strategy of Alfred Thayer Mahan

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Published at : 13 Jan 2021
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"[Chapter 1 of The Influence of Sea Power Upon History] has received far more attention from commentators than it deserves - probably because Mahan is more systematic here than in most of his writings." - Philip Crowl, Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Modern Age

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An overview of the strategic thought of Alfred Thayer Mahan, a late-19thC American naval strategist most famous for his advocacy of a big fleet and the idea of 'decisive battle'. This video shows that these 2 elements form only a part of Mahan's thinking, with the key element being the use of 'sea control' to strangle an enemy's economic power. This allows us to assess the value of Mahanian thinking beyond WWI and WWII-era battleship obsessions.

All errors are my own.

SOURCES:
Mahan A. The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. Dover Publications. 1987.
Mahan A. Mahan on Naval Warfare. Dover Publications. 2011.
Mahan A. The Interest of America in Sea Power. Waldo Specthrie Press. 2014.

Holmes J. 'Air Power Meets Alfred Thayer Mahan', The Diplomat. 05/08/2012.
Paret P, Craig G et al. Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Modern Age. Princeton University Press. 1986.
US Government. Guide to the Career and Work of Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan. Progressive Management. 2016.

Symonds C. The US Navy: A Concise History. Oxford University Press. 2015.
Higham R, Harris S (eds). Why Air Forces Fail. The University Press of Kentucky. 2006.

ATTRIBUTIONS:

BTU/Ton-mile comparison: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_efficiency_in_transport
UK Maritime Economy: https://www.maritimeuk.org/value/
U-Boat Warfare: Faulkner M. War at Sea: A Naval Atlas 1939-1945. Naval Institute Press. 2012. pp.32-33
Wikipedia for basic fact-checking, map references

Made using Powerpoint 2013, Audacity and Adobe Premiere Pro.
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