Important Military Organizations: United States Navy

Figure 1.--

The American Navy appered during the Revolutionary War. Although it could not begin to compete with the vast Royal Navy, it did help to raise the cost of the War to the British. It was also the only naval force able to gain victories against the British in individual naval combat, a record it repeated in the War of 1812. The American Navy disapeared after the Revolutionary War and was not revived again until the war with the Barbary pirates at the turn of the 19th century. America did not begin to build a professional force until the Naval Academy in Anapolis was founded (18??). The Navy played a role in the Mexican War and the opening of Japan. The Navy's primary accomplishment in the 19th century was its part in blocakading the Confederacy as part of the Federal Anaconda Plan during the Civil War. It was the American Navy that first deployed a modern iron vessel--the Monitor. American did not, however, begin building a modern navy until President Cleveland's Administration, a process subsequemtly furthered by President T. Roosevelt. After World War I, the British Royal Navy was no longer able to play its traditional role in controling the seas. With Pearl Harbor (1941), a new vastly expanded American Navy took on that role and played a major role in the defeat of Japanese militarism and European Fascism.

American Merchant Marine

Britain's American colonies before the Revolutionary War had a very substantial merchant marine and ship building industry. It had one great advantage--an almost inexautable supply of timber from the great forrests of the still only minimally touched native forrests. This at a time that Europe, especially Britain was beginning o deplete its forrests. America lacked the ability to produce some important elements such as high-qualty sail and copper sheahing, but at the time of the Revolutionary War, the American colonies had a combined merchant marine lrger than almost all of the great European powers. Of course Britain had by fr the largest merchant marines, but the American merchant marine was on a par with the other great European powers such as France and Spain. American merchants chafed under rectrictions imposed by the British. Pamletteers like David Ramsey and Thomas Paine spread the idea that American merchants would benefit from being freed from the British Empire and free to trade with other countries. There was little recognition at the time as to the befnefits of access to British markets, especially the British Caribbean islands. Nor were the benefits of sailing under the British flag and protection of the Royal Navy fully understood. About two-thirds of American commerce was conducted with the British Caribbean colonies. Here the island economies were geard to produce sugar and other export products, not food. The islands imported food to feed the large slave populations. [Toll, p. 19.]

Continental Navy

The American Navy appered during the Revolutionary War. Although it could not begin to compete with the vast Royal Navy, in the sence of conducting fleet engagements, the Continental Navy did have some inpact on the War. Its achievements and performance, however, was mixed. The Continental Congress established a naval committe. One of its promient members was John Adams. The Continental Congress in terms of the funds available made very substantial investsments in a Continental Navy. Those finds proved to be largely wasted. The Continental Navy proved not to be a professional force in the sence of the Continental Army, but largely a privateer force. The basic problem was that there was no secure naval base in the Colonies. The British Royal Navy had absolute mastery of the Sea abnd thus could attack American vessels in any port at will. The Navy pleaded with Washington to protect its vessels in port. Washington understandably argued that the whole point of having a navy was to support the Continental Army, not visa versa. The Continental Navy, primarily theough privateers It helped to raise the cost of the War to the British by raising insurance rates, an important accomplishment given the influence of merchants on the British Government. The Continental Navy was also the only naval force able to gain victories against the British in individual naval combat, something the French and Spanish rarely mastered. This was a matter of some embarassment to the British. Ironically the greatest successes came not in American waters, but in European waters. Here American ships could sally forth from protected French ports and attack British shipping and then return to French ports where harbor guns prevented Royal Navy ships from pursuing them. There were no such protected American ports.

Articles of Confederation (1881-89)

The Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation (1777), although it was not ratified by all 13 states until 4 years later (1881). Thus after the the Revolutionary War, the Articles becane the constitution of the independent United States. The Artticles created a weak association of essentially soverign states. There was no execurive or judiciary. The central givernment rested with Coingress which was aind of legislatve committe with delagates from each state. A navy more than the army at the time was a costly undertaking. The Articles of Confederation gave the national government the authority to create a navy, but no power to raise the needed funds through taxation. It could request money from the states, but could not compel payment. Under such a system, there was no way of financing an American Navy. Thus for a decade after the Revolution there was no American navy. And without the protection of the Royal Navy, America's substantial merchant marine soon found itself vulnerable to all manner of foreign preditors.

Marine Commerce

British control of the sea during the Revolutionry War played havoc with American shipping during the Revolutionary War. The end of the War and merican Independence did not immediately bring the benefits that the propnents of independence had anticipated. The British Government issued an Order in Council barred American ships from British Caribbean ports (1783). This had a devestating impact on American shippers and merchants. Prices of the products formely shipped to the Caribbean plunged. And ship sailings to the Caribbean sharply declined. And it was not long before it was noted that American ships no longer had the protection of the Royal Navy. The most notable problem here at first was in the Mediterranean where the Barbary Privates began to seize American ships and ransom the crews. They were not the only group to prey on American shipping, but they were the first and lurid tales of the treatment of caotive Americans, especially the women, began appearing in American newspapers. Conditions improved withthe out break of the French Revolution (1789) and the outbreak of war in Europe. The demand for American exports began to increase and the American merchant marine began to expand once again. But also problem escalated for a neutral nation without a navy to orotect its merchnt marine.

The Constitution (1789)

The problems associated with the Aricles of Confederation resulting in a Constitutional Convention (1787). The Convention produced a new constitution with a far stronger national government. The prposed constitution was hotly debated. Americans split over what was to become future party lines. The group to be called Federalist led by Alexander Hamilton stroingly supported the Constitution. The future Republicans led by Jefferson were profoudly suspicious of a strong central government. There was, however, cosiderable flexibility. The stroingest figure in drafting the constitution and securing ratification was Jefferson's cloest political ally--James Madison. The strongest combination of Hamilton and Madison worked together to secure ratificatin after an rancerous national debate. The Constitution as ratified created a Federal Government that was able to create and fund a navy. And a navy was mentioned in the dicument, but not with any specificity. Article I included a provision giving Congress the authority to "povide and maintain a navy." Congress was also given the authority to "make rules for the Government and Regukation of the land and naval Forces". Article II made the president "Commander in Chief of tge Army and Navy of the United States". With such provisions it might have been expected that a navy would be created quickly after Congress convented. This did not prove to be the case and in fact the creation of a navy proved to be the most divisive issue faced by the early Congrress.

Foundation (1794)

The founding of the United States Navy occurred when President George Wasgington signed the Act to Provide Naval Armament (March 27, 1794). Te justification was attacks in American shipping by the Barbary Pirates. Even so it was perhaps the most contentious issue considered by Congress during the Washington Administration and was an early issue upon which the emerging Federalist and Republican Partoesxsplit. The Federalists wanted a Navy to protect American merchant shipping, much of it operated from New England and to protect affonts to the hnor of the new nation. The Republicans saw a standing military as a threat to the Republic ahd were opposed to the very substantial outlays which they saw farmers havung to pat to finance the investments of wealthy merchants. Later after the signing of the Jay Treatty reduced incidents with the British, French drepedtions on American shipping emerged as the major threat to American commerce. This further heightened the Federalist/Republican split because of ideological differences in the French Revolution. After an extended debate, Congress authorized nearly $0.7 million to build or purchase six frigates. This was an enormous sum at the time for the new American Republic. Building and outfitting the shis was a huge undertaking and it would be 4 years before the first of the frigates were ready for service. At the time America was at peace, although being provoked at sea by both the French and British. The frigates were enormous tourist attractions in the United States with guards even charging admission which they apparently used to buy liquor. [Toll] A Treaty with Algiers temprarily reduced the immediate needs for the frigates. The Republicans as a result pressed to cancel the frigate project. President Adams championed the cause of the frigates and is thus seen as the father of the U.S. Navy. An compormise was reached to finish the first three. The incendiary XYZ Affair (1798) eventually convinced Congress to finish the remining three and outfit a number of smaller ships. Outfitting the frigates as well as the Quasi War with France was beyound the capabilities of the War Department which was composed primarily of men with aemy backgrounds. As a result, President adams moved to create the Navy Department. It would be the first new ministry and Benjamin Stoddert was selected as the first Secretary of the Navy (1798). Stoddart was aevolutionary War veteran. The six frigates would go on to play an important role in the early history of the Republic. The ininital impetus was to deal with the Barbary Pirates, but they were first employed in the Quasi War with France, primarily in the Caribbean. Ironically although Republican leaders Jefferesin and Madison led the fight against the frigates, as presidents both they would make the greatest use of them.

The Quasi War (1798-1800)

The Quasi War was the independent American Republic's first military confrontation. It was fought with France, America's ally in the Revolutionary War. It was an undeclared naval war. he dates are a little ambiguous. While actual fighting began only after the U.S. Navy's frigates came on line (1798). The War actually began several years earlier. The United States even before the Constitution was ratified had signed an alliance with France (1788). While the American Republic had no navy, it did have a very substantial merchant marine and with the French Revolution (1789) and war in Europe, very substantial profits were to be had. The Royal Naby and the Frebch Navy began interdicting American trade. The issue of neutral rights soon bcame a major issue. The problems with Britain were temporarily resolved with the Jay Treary (1794). The Treaty while preventing a disasterous war with Britain was very controversial in America. While it was essentially a commercial treaty, the French took issue with the Treaty, seeing it as a violation of the 1788 Treaty and tatamount to an alliance with Britain and an act of betrayal given the aid that France had given to America during the Revolutionary War. French authorities began issuing letters of marque to French privateers who qlong with French naval vessels proceeded to take hundreds of American ships. Thus when President Adams assumed office, he inherited a very dangerus situation that could have easily led to war with France. The revelvations of the XYZ affair and the shipping losses changed many minds in America about the benefuts of a navy. The six frigates authorized by Congress were rushed to completion along with several smaller vessels. The War was fought entirely at sea, mostly in the Caribbean. The Quasi War proved to be a signal success for the fledgling U.S. Navy and its new frigates. The U.S. Navy captured numerous French privateers and defeated French warships, only losing one vessel. The Adams Administration pursued a policy of vigorosly wageing the underclared war while diplomatically seeking peace with France. The dating of the Wat to 1798 is rather amisnomer. The French began seizing large numbers of American ships (1794). There was no war at this time ecause there was no Ameriv=can Navy. The 1798 date is when the first of the six frigates began coming on line and the United States had aavy to resoind to the French deoredations. Many Federalists influenced by Hamilton wanted an open war. The Republicans felt that the undeclared war made peace unobtainable. In the end, President Adams was priven correct. The new Navy effectively protected American shipping and helped to change minds in the French Goivernment. The French were locked in a major war with the Royal Navy and were already outnumbered. Losing ships to the Americans was not helpful in the more important struggle with Britain. In addittion, American merchant ships were needed to keep the French Caribbean islands supplied. The issues were resolved peacefully by the Treaty of Mortefontaine (1800).

Barbary Pirates

The American Navy disapeared after the Revolutionary War and was not revived again until Washington built the six frigates. They were first tested with the Barbary pirates at the turn of the 19th century. The Barbary pirates began seizing American merchsant vessels after independence. After the Revolution, the Americans had lost the protection of the Royal Navy. The pasha and his emisaries aserted that the Holy Koran not only allowed, but made it the 'right and duty' of Muslims 'to make war" upon the infidels that 'they could find and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners". Of course it helped that there were profits to be made in these attacks. All three early presidents were apauled by these attacks. President Washington was furious, and swore,"would to Heaven we had a navy to reform those enemies to mankind, or crush them into non-existence." [Oren] This was one reason Congress created the Navy so that it could protect merican merchants and missionaries. and it was President Jefferson who is often depicted as an idealist and pacifist that ordered the new Navy into the Mediterranen. America at first without a navy had to handle the problem with diplomacy and tribute. As a result of these demands and than the Quasi War, Ameriva had a navy. And wgen the Bashaw of Tripoli mande outrageous demands followed up with attacks on American shipping, President Jefferson decided to use it..

War of 1812 (1812-15)

The U.S. Navy during the War of 1812 was not avle to conduct fleet engagements with the Royal Navy, but it repeated its Revolutionary War experience of some successful individual engagements. The Boyal Navy was central to the British war plan. The Duke of Wellington advised a three prong strategy in which British forces could rely on support from the Royal Navy.

Ending the Slave Trade

Slavery was an issue that could not be resolved at the Constitution Convention (1787). There was agreement on a provision to end the slave trade. The new Constitution declared a provision to end the slave trade after a 20-year period. Congress did 20 years later passed the Slave Importation Act (1807). The Act prohibited the further importation of slaves. The British Parliament approve an even more restrictive act in the same year. At the time tens of thousands of slaves were being transported annually, many on British ships. These decesions did not end the slave trade. At the time the U,S. Navy was miniscule and President Jefferson saw no need to expand it. The Royal Navy for its part was fully engaged in the Napoleonic Wars. Nor was there any possibity of cooperation between Britain and America. The British were impressing America sailors, a practice that would eventually lead to the War of 1812. After the Napoleonic Wars, other countries also abolished the slave trade, including France, Spain, and Portugal. The slave continued because of the cintinued demand for slaves in the United States, the Caribbean, and Brazil and the high prices that could be obtained for slaves. The British deployed ships to patrol the African coast (1811). There was some support for the slave trade by sugar merchants, cotton mill ownwrs, Liverpool slavers, and some politicians, but the British public strongly supported the effort. [Vogel] Cooperation with the United States did not occur, even after the War of 1812. Many Americans believed that the British demand of the right of search was nothing more than a disguised effort to disrupt trade with Africa. This impaired cooperative efforts until the Civil War (1861-65). It was not much the cooperation of the fledgeling American Navy that was needed. It was the cooperation of port authorities in the United States, especially the souhern ports, that was needed. And support for slavery in the South was not declining, the profitability of cotton was creating an increased demand for slaves and political support for slavery.

Naval Academy

America did not begin to build a professional force until the Naval Academy in Anapolis was founded (18??).

Mexican War (1846-48)

The Navy played a role in the Mexican War.

Opening of Japan (1853)

Commodore Perry during the Filmore Administration opened Japan with what the Japanese called the Black Fleet.

The Civil War (1861-65)

The U.S. Navy's primary accomplishment in the 19th century was its part in blocakading the Confederacy as part of the Federal Anaconda Plan during the Civil War. It was the American Navy that first deployed a modern iron vessel--the Monitor. President Lincoln on April 19, 1861 proclaimed a naval blockade of southern ports. It became known as the Anaconda Plan. Although not immedaitely emplemented by 1862 an expanding American Navy had virtualy cut the Confederacy off from foreign markets for its cotton and other agrcultural products and from foreign military supplies. This was critical because the South did not have the industrial capacity to match the North's manufacturing capacity. It also cut Briatain and France off from supplies of raw cotton.

Cleveland Administration

The Unites States emerged in the late 19th century as a great industrial power. American did not, however, begin building a modern navy until President Cleveland's Administration.

Spanish American War (1898)

The first combat tet of America's new highseas fleet was combat with thge Spanish Navy in the Spanish American War.

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy as Anerica moved towad War with Spain. Hecresigned to form a regiment that fought in Cuba as the Rough Riders. His exploits there led him to be chosen as President McKinnely's vice president. And after McKinnely was assasinated to the presidency. As president he was a strong proponent of naval power. The construction of the Panama Canal helped wirh America's strategic need to buold a two-ocean navy.

Naval Construction Act (1916)

As Europe exploded into war, the United States made little effort to expand its very small army. The Navy was an entirely different matter. The U.S. Navy was one of the world's most powerful navies and on the brink of becoming the first navy to challenge the Royal Navy's dominnce in more than a century. Naval analysts rank it third or fourth, behand Britain, France, and perhaps Germny. The Wilson Administration backed plans to significantly expand the Navy. There were several reasons for this. America was now the world's industrial powers with extensive foreign trade. The British Royal Navy blockade of Germany restricted the rights of neutral shipping to which the United states objected. The German dinking of the Luisitania had shocked Americans. And the Japanrse declartion of 21 Points were a direct challenge to America's Open Door Policy. The U.S. Navy had 17 dreadnought and 23 pre-dreadnought battleships. The Naval Construction pAct of 1916 provided for a massive expansion of the Navy. It authorized the construction of 156 new ships. This included 16 capital ships (10 battleships and 6 battle cruisers). There were also to be numerous new cruisers. All of these new vessels were to be laid down (construction began) by mid-1919. The actual numberous are less significant than the fact ghat these would be modern vessels. This would have meant that by the early 20s that the United States would have the most modern navy in the world. The British even if they won the War would not be able to afford such a massive building program. As the United Sates was still not involved in the War, American naval planning ficused on a war in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean.

World War I (1917-18)

America's entry into World war I was the deciding factor in the War. Here it was the American infantry that brike the dead lock on the Western Front. The Royal Navy and French blockade of Germany played a major role in undermining the German and Autrian economies and civilian morale. This was largely accomplished before America entered the War. America had the third largest navy in the world, second only to the British and German navies. The 300 warships of the American Navy only added to the effectiveness of the Allied blockade, but were primarily deployed in the North Atlantic to guard the sea lanes between America and the Britain and France. Especially important was guarding the troopships that delivered the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) to France. A few Navy vessels were deployed in the Mediterranean, but the bulk of the Navy was deploted in the North Atlantics. Only a few Navy vessels were sunk during the War. The cruiser San Diego sunk by mines set by a German U-boat off New York. Two Navy destroyers protecting convoys were sunk by U-boats. It was German U-boats and the German decesion to resume unrestricted sunmarine warfare that brought America into the War. The German U-boat campaign proved unsuccessful because of the convoy system imnplemented by the Royal Navy and the invention of ASDAC (SONAR). The United States had a small sunmarine force of 30 ships. The U.S. Navy established its Submarine School at the main Submarine Base in New London, Connecticut (January 19, 1917). The American submarines would play little role in World War I, but the force would play a major role in World war II.

Command of the Sea

The naval arms race between Germany and Britain was a factor contributing to World War I. Germany swas not the only industrial power capable of contesting control of the seas in the early 20th century. The other was the United States. And the British were concerned about growing American power. There was a serious confrontation between America anfd Britain over Venezuela (1890s). America for its part retained a historic objection to British empire building. It is not impossible that condlict could have occurred between America and Britain in the 20th century. When World War I broke out in Europe there were disputes between Britain which established a blockade on Germany and the other Central Powers and America which insisted on the rights of neutral shipping. This was an issue that had developed between America and Britain from the very foundation of the Republic (1790s). President Wilson's closest advisor, Col. House, advised him not to challenge Britain on the issue. This was a factor in President Wilson's decesion to support a naval building peogram (1916). Incredibly recklass German policy with U-boats had the affect of overwealming disputes with the British. Afer the War, President Wilson wanted to raise the issue of neutral shipping rights at the Versailles Peace Conference. The British managed to persuade thenm not to. Wilson who was primarily focused on the League of Nations reluctabntky agreed. The Americans had not, however, forgotten about the issue. This led to a major decesion by Britain. Britain during the 19th and early 20th century was the the domibnant world naval power. World War I had brought Britain close to bankruptsy. The British could ill aford a naval building race with America. The United States not only had a larger industrial base, but it emerged from the War economically more prosperous than Britain. Thus the British had to decide whether to contest b=naval dominance with America are accept a rival naval power. This decession was addressed by the Committee of Naval Defence (winter 1920-21). Prime Minister Lloyd George later wrote that it was the most important and difficult that the Committee had ever considered. The conclusion tghey reached was difficult, but obvious, Britain no longer had the capability to control the seas. It could not outbuild the United States. This with little fanfare or publicity command of the seas began to shift from Britain to America. The British decided that rather than try to outbuild America, they would seek to negotiate arms control agreements.

Washington Naval Conference (1921-22)

The United States had anted to sponsor a general arms control agreement. The failire of the Senate to approve ratification of the Versailles Treaty, meant that France was left without American and British guarantees. The French Government thus made it clear that it would not support any limnitations on its army. The United States thus decided to focus on naval arms limitations. After World War I, the British Royal Navy was no longer able to play its traditional role in controling the seas. The German Navy was dismantled. The United States was concerned about the rising power of Japan, a World War I ally. American officials were especially concerned with Jpan's desiigns on China. As part of the World War I settlement, Japan received several Pacific Island territoiries, former German bases. To prevent a nabal arms race the United STates sponsored the Washington Naval Conference. The resulting treaties were strongly resented by Japanese nationalists and the military.

Inter-War Era (1920s-30s)

The U.S. Navy was affected by the end of World War I and the ovrall political and economic trends of the inter-War era. The American people turned away from the Democrats and Wilsonian Idealism. The vast majority of Americans not only wanred a return to peacetime pursuits, but were less interested in the progressive reform movement pf the early-20th century. There were a range of issues that America needed to address, almost all of which were domestic matters: adjusting to demobilization, farm problems, labor issues, immigration, prohibition, and arange of other issues. The eurphoria of the World War I victory soon sissolved into disillusionment and rejection of war. Many Americans came to regret participation in World War I. Many were objected to the treaty-making process that followed the War. There was not only a rejection of the War, but a growing feeling that industrilists (arms makers which began to be referred to as the 'merchahts of death') had drawn America into the War. The result was a rapid growth in isolationism with substantial pacifist overtones, Americans attempted to withdraw from international commitments. Wilson attempted to make the League of Nations the center piece of post-War policy. The U.S. Senate rejected the League and as a result the Treary of Versailles (March 1920). Americans wanted no part of the responsibilities associated with world leadership. Republican Senator Warren G. Harding and Republican presidential candidate encapsulated what was on the minds of most voter called for 'a return to normalcy'. It was not even a word, but most Americans liked the sound of it. It would only later become all too paarent that try as it might to isolate itself, the United STates would not be able to isolate itself from the world. The U.S. Navy like the Royal Navy decommisioned many vessels in the inter-War years as part of the Washington Naval Arms Limitation Treaties. Thus the U.S. Navy had the task of meeting its responsibilities with a much smaller force. In contrast to the Army, the Congress approved substantial appropriations for naval contruction, especially after Japan failed to accept continued limits on naval construction. Most naval strategists before the War believed that the backbone of the fleet was the big-gun battleships, but an increasing number of vissionary thinkers began to see air power as the future.

Undeclared Naval War (1941)

The British often talk about standing against Hitler alone for over a year (1940-41). While true, they were in fact not entirely alone. President Roosevelt was inagurated within weeks of Hitler becoming Chancelor and he was a sharp critic of the NAZIs from the beginning of his Administration. The primary interest of most Americans was to stay out of another European war. President Roosevelt understood that a NZI victory in Europe impreriledthe United States. Thus he pesued policies aimed at supporting the Allies (Britain and France) at the onset of the War and the British after the fall of France. America sold the British war material and when the British approached bankruptsy, he conceived Lend Lease to continue supplying them. The President turne over surplus World War I destroyers to help fight the griwing U-boat meanace. And finally the President committed the United States Navy to an undeclared war in the North Atlantic. This was domne with out Congressional approval and without the full knwledge of the American people. Historians can only speculate about his reasoning. Surely part of it was the straight military objective of protecting the convoys. But many historians believe that he was trying to spark a war. The strength of isolationist thinking made it impossible for the President to get a declaration of war from Congress and even if he had, America would have entered the war a severly divided country. The President may have thought he could goad Hitler into declarung war. (In fact this did actually come about.) Or he may have thought German attacks on American ships would cause a national outrage leading to war. In fact the public respmse to the sinking of American ships was muted, probably reflecting the desire to avoid war.

Pearl Harbor (1941)

Isolationist sentiment in America disappeared over night when Japnese carrier-based aircraft struck the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Parl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The United States declared war against Japan in on December 8. FDR was not sure how to proceed against the NAZIs which he considered a greater danger. This dilema was solved by Hitler when on December 11 he declared war on the United States--incredibly the only country on which he ever bothered to formally declare war. The Japanese attack was a stunning tactical victory. It may have been the greatest strategic error in the history of warfare. With one stroke the Japanese had turned a deeply divided country into a unified nation with one purpose, to defeat Japan and her Axis partners. America had an industrial capacity that was not fully appreciate in either Tokyo or Berlin. America was now infused with a burning capacity to wage war to even the most remote spot on earth. Americans who had wanted a Fortress America were to be fighting in far away palces (including many that they had never even heard of) from flying the hump over the Himalaysa, tropical jungles like Guadacanal, frozen landscares like Attu and Kiska, the Sahara Desert, volcanic islands like Iwo Jima, as well as more familiar places like Italy and France. Isolationist Americans waged and won the most expansive conflict in the historty of warfare.

World War II (1941-45)

It was in World War II that the ballance of naval power shifted from the British Royal Navy to the United States Navy. The United States Navy, although severely weakened by the Japanese carrier strike on Pearl Harbor, played a decisoive role in the defeat of both Japanese militarism and European Fascism. The Pacific War was primarily a naval war. The battleships which naval planners thought would decide a Pacoific war played only a minor part in the War. It was carriers that began the war and would play the key role in the War. It was American carriers that woukd destroy the Imperial Fleet and help seize the islands that would bring the war home to the Japanese people. Unexpectedly. it was the American submarine force that would play another critical role. American carriers cut Japan off from the resources of the empire it had seized. It was America that conducted the only successful submarine campaign of the War. Not only was the Japanese war economy starved of raw material, but by the end of the War, the Japanese people were facing starvation. The war in Europe is often seen as primarily an air and ground war. The most important battle of the war the Battle of the Atlantic. The U.S. Navy entered this battle even before America entered the War. Without victory here, none of the other Allied land and air battles were possible. And all of Europe would have fallen to either Soviet of NAZI totalitarian rule.

Cold War

Navy League of the United States

The Navy League of the United States was founded as the Unites States was emerging on the world scene as a great industrial powerhouse and naval power (1902). President Theodore Roosevelt incourged the idea. The Navy League promoted the idea that the United States shold have a powerful navyfor national defense and to support its interests overseas. It spoke in favor of naval spending to Congresses reluctant to make military appropriations. The Navy League seems to have been more sucessful than groups promting the U.S. Army, but this was probably because the Navy in conjunction with two broad oceans was seen as a defensive force in the era before air power emerged as a major force and isolationist sentiment prevailed. The Navy League is the foremost citizens’ organization supporting the various sea services – the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S.-flag Merchant Marine, both these services and and their members. Not only does the Navy League operate as a lobby hroup, but it als conducts a range of educational programs which promote the idea that the United States is a maritime nation whose national economic and security interests require a committment to freedom of the seas. The three major missions of the Navy League is to: 1) promote the morale of active-duty personnel and their families; 2) inform Congress and the American public on the importance of strong sea services; and 3) support youth through programs such as the Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Junior ROTC and Young Marines that acquaint young people to the importance and values of our sea services.


Oren, Michael B. Power, Faith, and Fantasy (2007).

Toll, Ian W. Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy (Norton, 2006).

Vogel, Robert. Without Consent or Contract (New York: W.W. Norton, 1989).


Navigate the Children in History Website:
[Return to Main military force page]
[Return to Main military style page]
[Biographies] [Campaigns] [Children] [Countries] [Deciding factors] [Diplomacy] [Geo-political crisis] [Economics] [Home front] [Intelligence]
[POWs] [Resistance] [Race] [Refugees] [Technology] [Totalitarian powers]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Return to Main World War II page]
[Return to Main war essay page]
[Return to CIH Home page]

Created: 7:27 PM 1/7/2007
Last updated: 10:42 AM 11/26/2016