The sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse, and the contribution of airplanes to the destruction of the Bismark in the early days of World War II threw much doubt on the viability of the battleship. The succeeding naval engagements in the Pacific fully established the aircraft carrier as the core of the battle fleet and, as a result of this recognition, the US Navy had about a hundred carriers by the end of the war.
Platzer, M. F.
"The Future of Naval Aviation—A Third Approach,"
Naval War College Review: Vol. 35
, Article 6.
Available at: http://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review/vol35/iss6/6