From his studies of naval warfare he drew principles of strategy that greatly influenced the development and employment of naval forces during the first half of the twentieth century. As a historian he studied the relations of sea power and history, and he developed a philosophy of history in which the concept of force played a major role.
Overview[ edit ] Mahan formulated his concept of sea power while reading a history book in LimaPeru. Mahan began the book with an examination of what factors led to a supremacy of the seas, especially how Great Britain was able to rise to its near dominance.
He identified such features as geography, population, and government, and expanded the definition of sea power as comprising a strong navy and commercial fleet. Mahan also promoted the belief that any army would succumb to a strong naval blockade. Impact on naval thought[ edit ] Timeliness contributed no small part to the widespread acceptance and resultant influence of Mahan's views.
Although his history was relatively thin he relied on secondary sourcesthe vigorous style and clear theory won widespread acceptance by navalists across the world.
Given the very rapid technological changes underway in propulsion from coal to oil, from reciprocating engines to steam turbinesordnance with better fire directors, and new high explosives and armor hardened steelthe emergence of new craft such as destroyers and submarines, and the development of radio, Mahan's emphasis on the capital ship and the command of the sea came at an opportune moment.
Subsequently, his name became a household word in the German navy, as Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered his officers to read Mahan, and Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz — used Mahan's reputation to build a powerful surface fleet.
Mahan's ideas decisively shaped Japanese naval doctrine, especially in the fleet actions of World War II. Mahan argued for a universal principle of concentration of powerful ships in home waters and minimized strength in distant seas, while Fisher reversed Mahan by utilizing technological change to propose submarines for defense of home waters and mobile battle cruisers for protection of distant imperial interests.
French naval doctrine in was dominated by Mahan's theory of sea power and therefore geared toward winning decisive battles and gaining mastery of the seas.
But the course of World War I changed ideas about the place of the navy, as the refusal of the German fleet to engage in a decisive battle, the Dardanelles expedition ofthe development of submarine warfareand 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. Castex enlarged strategic theory to include nonmilitary factors policy, geography, coalitions, public opinion, and constraints and internal factors economy of force, offense and defense, communications, operational plans, morale, and command to conceive a general strategy to attain final victory.
The Man and his Letters. Books That Changed the World Rev.
Theodore Roosevelt and the Great White Fleet: American Seapower Comes of Age. Theodore Roosevelt and Alfred Thayer Mahan. The Journal of Military History. Kelly, "Militarism in a Global Age: From Mahan to Pearl Harbor: Naval War College Review.
Retrieved 7 May The Debate over Maritime Strategy, September 24, Asada, Sadao. Clarendon Press, Downs, Robert B. New York, NY, Argues that key Europeans were already set to expand their navies and that Mahan crystallized their ideas and generate broad support.Alfred Thayer Mahan: The Influence of Sea Power Upon History In , Mahan published one of the most important books of the age, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, This lesson has been designed to provide you with a summary of Alfred Mahan's ''The Influence of Sea Power Upon History'', including its impact modern history and naval thought.
Alfred Thayer Mahan: Alfred Thayer Mahan, American naval officer and historian who was a highly influential exponent of sea power in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Mahan was the son of a professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He graduated from the U.S.
Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., in. Mahan & The Influence of Sea Power Upon History. From to , commerce raiding and coastal defense were the accepted strategies of the U.S.
Navy. Alfred T. Mahan's Sea Power Strategy Words | 7 Pages “Wherever the U.S. Navy goes U.S. commerce follows” Alfred T.
Mahan and the influence of sea power on U.S. expansion in the Pacific Alfred T. Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power upon History in , outlined and argued that three factors were crucial to The United States' rise to.
Mahan viewed the sea as a center of gravity of vital strategic interest to the United States. Any limitation of, or challenge to, U.S. military power, particularly if it came from the sea, would constrain the nation and harm its national interests.