Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mahan I.

This is coolbert:

Mahan - - the early years.

Here is the man that started World War One [WW1]! The Great War [1914-1918].

Alfred Thayer Mahan! American career naval officer and scholar of the first order. Often referred to as the man who did for naval warfare what Clausewitz did for land combat!

Of course did not start the war directly! Mahan NOT pressing a button giving off the "go" signal. ONLY had an influence of the most peripheral and indirect kind, perhaps not even anticipated or would have ever been conceived in the mind of the man himself if he had been alive at the time [1914]!

Those various military powers of Europe, poised and ready in 1914, those powers having previously entered into a series of inter-locking alliances and treaties compelling mutual support in case of war. A mere regional conflict very quickly and in an inexorable manner becoming a continental war and ultimately a WORLD WAR!

In particular, the British, alarmed by the sudden, intense and very worrisome rise of Imperial German naval and sea power, hoping to forestall an eventual war with German, entering into treaties and alliances with France and Russia! Germany and the Kaiser hoping to use sea power to "project power" to all points of the globe, the scholarly works of Mahan having great sway among the ruling elites of Germany!

Mahan from his earliest boyhood years recognized as a bright student almost without peer, outstandingly so!

Alfred Thayer Mahan academic record at the Naval Academy, Annapolis:

"second in a class of twenty, with a record apparently very close to the leader's; and Sampson stood first. In his last year the future historian was first in seamanship, physics, political science, and moral science, third in naval tactics and gunnery, fourth in 'steam engine' and fifth in astronomy and navi-gation."

Mahan entering the Academy as ALREADY an out-standing scholar and recognized as such. Actually, a scholar as a teenager, a phenom what they are called - - a prodigy.

"Alfred Thayer Mahan entered the Naval Academy at  Annapolis, Maryland, September 30, 1856. . . . he was at the time of his entrance but three days above sixteen . . . . Having attended Columbia College for two years preceding [Mahan] was permitted by a concession of which this is believed to be the only instance in the annals of the Academy to omit the first year's work and enter with the 'Youngster' class"

"Alfred Thayer Mahan . . . 'the most important American strategist of the nineteenth century.' His concept of "sea power" was based on the idea that the most powerful navy will control the globe . . . The concept had an enormous influence in shaping the strategic thought of navies across the world"

Sea power as that term understood by Mahan to include A MILITARY NAVAL FORCE AND A LARGE AND ROBUST MERCHANT MARINE!

That most prominent work of Mahan being: "The Influence of Sea Power upon History"

A history but MUCH MORE than a history! A scholarly treatise that described not only the events but looks at those events from the viewpoint of the naval theoretician and serving flag officer [admiral]! History of naval warfare as seen by the naval combat commander!

Mahan, without argument, a man of intellect and profound learning even  from an early age, it being reasonable to suggest the man was a man of destiny!


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