Naval War College Review


Phillip Pattee, a retired naval officer and professor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, examines British efforts before the First World War to craft a global maritime strategy to deal with threats that were expected to arise during a war with Germany. In doing so, he makes a compelling case that British naval thinkers were not completely fixated on the German High Seas Fleet, nor were they unconscious of the critical need to keep the sea-lanes of commerce and communication open for their merchant navy and England’s national economy. Threats included the inevitability of impossibly high insurance rates during times of war, the combat capability of the overseas German East Asia squadron, and the possibility of persistent predations by German raiders. British leaders also understood that, despite the size of the Royal Navy, British assets would initially be stretched thin, as most British capital ships would be kept in home waters to respond to potential action by their German counterparts.