For more information, please see the full notice. Mahan and some leading American politicians believed that these lessons could be applied to U. The s were marked by social and economic unrest throughout the United States, which culminated in the onset of an economic depression between and
Mahan's middle name honors "the father of West Point", Sylvanus Thayer. He then studied at Columbia for two years, where he was a member of the Philolexian Society debating club.
Against the better judgment of his father, Mahan then entered the Naval Academywhere he graduated second in his class in Inhe was promoted to lieutenant commanderand then to commanderand captain Mahan as a captain While in actual command of a ship, his skills were Mahan thesis exemplary; and a number of vessels under his command were involved in collisions, with both moving and stationary objects.
He had an Mahan thesis for old square-rigged vessels rather than the smoky, noisy steamships of his time; and he tried to avoid active sea duty. Luce pointed Mahan in the direction of writing his future studies on the influence of sea power.
During his first year on the faculty, he remained at his home in New York City researching and writing his lectures. Though he was prepared to become a professor inLuce was given command of the North Atlantic Squadronand Mahan became President of the Naval War College by default June 22, — January 12,July 22, — May 10, Mahan stressed the importance of the Mahan thesis in shaping history and extolled the traditional values of loyalty, courage, and service to the state.
Mahan sought to resurrect Horatio Nelson as a national hero in Britain and used his biography as a platform for expressing his views on naval strategy and tactics. Mahan was criticized for so strongly condemning Nelson's love affair with Lady Emma Hamiltonbut it remained the standard biography until the appearance of Carola Oman 's Nelson, 50 years later.
Mahan was later described as a "disciple" of Laughton, but the two were at pains to distinguish between each other's line of work.
Laughton saw Mahan as Mahan thesis theorist while Mahan called Laughton "the historian". British naval superiority eventually defeated France, consistently preventing invasion and an effective blockade. Mahan emphasized that naval operations were chiefly to be won by decisive battles and blockades.
Mahan's emphasis on sea power as the most important cause of Britain's rise to world power neglected diplomacy and land arms. Furthermore, theories of sea power do not explain the rise of land empires, such as Bismarck's Germany or the Russian Empire.
Mahan's framework derived from Antoine-Henri Jominiand emphasized strategic locations such as choke pointscanals, and coaling stationsas well as quantifiable levels of fighting power in a fleet. Mahan also believed that in peacetime, states should increase production and shipping capacities and acquire overseas possessions, though he stressed that the number of coal fueling stations and strategic bases should be limited to avoid draining too many resources from the mother country.
Control of the sea could be achieved not by destruction of commerce but only by destroying or neutralizing the enemy fleet. Such a strategy called for the concentration of naval forces composed of capital ships, not too large but numerous, well-manned with crews thoroughly trained, and operating under the principle that the best defense is an aggressive offense.
He also believed that naval supremacy could be exercised by a transnational consortium acting in defense of a multinational system of free trade. His theories, expounded before the submarine became a serious factor in warfare, delayed the introduction of convoys as a defense against German U-boats during World War I.
By the s, the US Navy had built long-range submarines to raid Japanese shipping; but in World War II, the Japanese, still tied to Mahan, designed their submarines as ancillaries to the fleet and failed to attack American supply lines in the Pacific. Mahan believed first, that good political and naval leadership was no less important than geography when it came to the development of sea power.
Second, Mahan's unit of political analysis insofar as sea power was concerned was a transnational consortium, rather than a single nation state. Third, his economic ideal was free trade rather than autarchy. Fourth, his recognition of the influence of geography on strategy was tempered by a strong appreciation of the power of contingency to affect outcomes.
Mahan believed that if the British blockaded the eastern ports, the US Navy should be concentrated in one of them, preferably New York, with its two widely separated exits, and employ torpedo boats to defend the other harbors.
This concentration of the US fleet would force the British to tie down such a large proportion of their navy to watch the New York exits that other American ports would be relatively safe. Detached American cruisers should wage "constant offensive action" against the enemy's exposed positions; and if the British were to weaken their blockade force off New York to attack another American port, the concentrated US fleet could capture British coaling ports in Nova Scotiathereby seriously weakening British ability to engage in naval operations off the American coast.
This contingency plan was a clear example of Mahan's application of his principles of naval war, with a clear reliance on Jomini's principle of controlling strategic points.
Although his history was relatively thin, based as it was on secondary sourceshis vigorous style, and clear theory won widespread acceptance of navalists and supporters of the New Imperialism in Africa and Asia. Given the rapid technological changes underway in propulsion from coal to oil and from reciprocating engines to turbinesordnance with better fire directors, and new high explosivesand armor and the emergence of new craft such as destroyers and submarines, Mahan's emphasis on the capital ship and the command of the sea came at an opportune moment.
Mahan argued for a universal principle of concentration of powerful ships in home waters with minimized strength in distant seas. Fisher instead decided to use submarines to defend home waters and mobile battlecruisers to protect imperial interests.
The refusal of the German fleet to engage in a decisive battle, the Dardanelles expedition ofthe development of submarine warfare, and the organization of convoys all showed the Navy's new role in combined operations with the army.
He reversed Mahan's theory that command of the sea precedes maritime communications and foresaw the enlarged roles of aircraft and submarines in naval warfare. United States[ edit ] Mahan believed that if the United States were to build an Isthmian canal, it would become a Pacific power, and therefore it should take possession of Hawaii to protect the West Coast.
He returned to lecture at the War College and then, inhe retired from active service, returning briefly to duty in to consult on naval strategy during the Spanish—American War.Mahan argued that British control of the seas, combined with a corresponding decline in the naval strength of its major European rivals, paved the way for Great Britain’s emergence as the world’s dominant military, political, and economic power.
Jan 18, · According to "The Influence of Sea Power upon History )" by Alfred Thayer ashio-midori.com: Resolved. Mahan formulated his concept of sea power while reading a history book in Lima, Peru.   The book was published by Mahan while president of the US Naval War College, and was a culmination of his ideas regarding naval warfare.
Crowl, Philip A. "Alfred Thayer Mahan: The Naval Historian" in Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age, ed.
Peter Paret (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ) Hattendorf, John B., ed. The Influence of History on Mahan. Mahan argued that British control of the seas, combined with a corresponding decline in the naval strength of its major European rivals, paved the way for Great Britain’s emergence as the world’s dominant military, political, and economic power.
It was a United States naval officer/ historian, also known to be a propagandist to expansion, named Alfred Thayer Mahan who wanted to expand the extent of capacity of the United States and its navy. He wrote “The Influence of Sea Power upon History”/5(4).