Naval War College Review


James R. Holmes


Sea power analysts surveying the “rise” of China commonly compare this emerging Asian titan to imperial Germany, whose unification upset the European great- power concert ushered in after Waterloo, and for good reason. Naval enthusiasts like Kaiser Wilhelm II and Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, their imaginations fired by the works of Alfred Thayer Mahan, hurled Germany into naval competition with Great Britain, the dominant naval power of the day, with fateful results. References to Mahan are now routine among Chinese strategic thinkers. Will China’s Mahanians prod Beijing onto a similar path to sea power, and will similar results ensue?