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BRITISH NAVAL SUPREMACY AND ANGLO-AMERICAN ANTAGONISMS, 1914-1930

British Naval Supremacy and Anglo-American Antagonisms, 1914-1930

Author(s)                 Donald J. Lisio
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Date 2014
Pages 348
Format pdf
Size 3.3 Mb

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   This is a study of British insistence on preserving its naval supremacy during the 1920s and the resulting resurgence of Anglo-American naval and diplomatic antagonisms leading up to, including, and following the climactic Geneva Naval Conference of 1927. Following the end of the Great War in 1918, as Germany's mighty warships lay at the bottom of the sea and France and Italy-recovered from devastating invasions, three great Allied naval powers engaged in a naval arms race to ensure supremacy in the ocean regions vital to their national security and prosperity. Japan's modern navy and its Twenty-One Demands on China challenged America's Open Door policies while its occupation of the Marshall, Caroline, and Marianas island chains threatened the ability of the United States to defend the Philippines. Much more immediate, however, was the renewed clash with Great Britain over America's doctrine of "freedom of the seas'. During World War I, but before Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare and the United States consequently joined the Allied Powers in 1917, the vital interests of the United States and Great Britain collided repeatedly over differing interpretations of the complex issue of neutral rights at sea. Having declared neutrality, American leaders believed that British naval blockades, interdiction of American cargoes, lengthening contraband lists, and blacklisting of American firms accused of trading with the Central Powers threatened the prosperity of the United States. British resistance to President Woodrow Wilson's interpretation of freedom of the seas eventually convinced Wilson that only a navy "second to none" could enforce America's neutral rights, and in 1916 Congress authorized the creation of the world's most powerful navy.

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