||John B. Hattendorf
||Frank Cass Publishers
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Among the most exciting scholarly developments within the discipline of history in recent times has been the return of interest in maritime affairs, in navies and in seapower. One hundred years ago, during the 'golden age' of Mahan-ism and European imperialism, such an interest in naval matters would have been axiomatic—indeed, the fate of some governments occasionally hung upon how well or poorly they were judged to be carrying out a national maritime policy. Generations later, during a period in which Western navies (apart from the formidable US Navy) were much reduced in size and no longer possessed overseas bases, with the fate of the world apparently depending upon whether Washington and Moscow might one day decide to use intercontinental ballistic missiles, and with the focus of shipbuilding, merchant fleets and maritime trade having moved to the east, naval affairs—and therefore teaching about the history and present utility of navies—occupied a diminished importance. Yet even in that era of relative neglect, prescient observers could appreciate that sea power had not declined so much as become transformed. Dependence upon transport at sea never really diminished, although the 'containerization' revolution made such goods much less visible to the ordinary citizen. The sate carrying of fuel oils, especially petroleum, remained vital to the economic prospects of the world, and in particular to modern industrialized societies. The Cold War may have focused public attention upon nuclear missiles, but it was also accompanied by a serious naval race and a sustained effort by the Red Navy to challenge the West's maritime predominance. Control of sea-routes was still deemed critical...