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British And Us Naval Innovation During The Interwar Period.

1160 words - 5 pages

After the exhausting efforts required in WWI the United States and Great Britain were war weary. This war weariness affected the political climate and manifested through extreme budget reductions in military expenditures. Military institutions of both countries continued training and sought to prepare for the Second World War. The contrast between the preparation of the navies of the United States and Great Britain represent a remarkable dichotomy of the interwar period; with the US a model of innovation and Great Britain remarkably complacent. The reasons why can be explained in how the two countries saw the threat after World War One, their assessment where the potential naval conflict would arise and what capabilities their own navy would need to be successful in the next war.
During the Interwar period between WWI and WWII Britain and US took separate paths to prepare their navies for future conflicts. The British were complacent and the US was keen to prepare. Initial causes came from how the two countries evaluated the threat after World War One. Great Britain saw no single nation’s navy as their rival in contrast to the United States who assessed that Japan would be their foe in the next war. At the end of WWI Germany had scuttled its active ships. The Treaty of Versailles had further restricted Germany’s ability to build more ships and man them to such an extent the characterization at the time was that Germany had been destroyed as a sea power. British Naval planners saw the threat posed by the Germany Navy to be relegated to a coastal defense navy, which would not be able to challenge the supremacy of British Navy on the high seas. The Treaty of Versailles and later the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 gave Great Britain a sense of security that their navy would have an advantage over Germany. This perception of superiority put the Royal Navy (RN) at a disadvantage when trying to get more money and resources during the interwar period.
After World War One the American Navy saw that a future conflict would be against an emerging Japanese Imperial Navy. The Japanese, an Island nation with scare natural resources, were very dependent upon maritime trade and had been growing its navy to protect their vital sea lines of communication since the nineteenth century. The Treaty of Versailles recognized the Japanese as the preeminent power in the Pacific by recognizing Japan’s mandate under the League of Nations over the former German Island chains in the Pacific. In addition, the restrictions on Japanese Naval ships, while limiting to a degree, still granted Japan the ability to increase its navy enough to challenge the United States if a conflict arose. This created a sense of uneasiness in United States Naval planners that motivated them to prepare. The different assessments that Britain and the United State saw their potential enemies either being constrained or up-and-coming set the strategic framework that caused innovation to languish...

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