Skip to main content

tv   Naval History of World War II  CSPAN  June 2, 2018 6:54pm-8:00pm EDT

6:54 pm
without having a robust broadband experience. >> watch the communicators monday night2 at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. >> american history tv, u.s. naval academy history professor emeritus craig simons talked about his book, world war ii at sea. discusses thends strategies and battles that took place between 1939 and 1945 on all the world's oceans and seas. the national archive hosted this event. it is just over one hour. >> thank you and welcome to the archives. it is my honor today to be able to introduce dr. craig symonds, a person i have known since i came into the navy service in 1977.
6:55 pm
with a long and distinguished career of naval expertise, being a naval enthusiast. currently, dr. symonds is the distinguished professor of maritime history at the naval war college which is a very proud chair to be in. more importantly for me, professor symonds was the professor of history at the naval academy and professor of history emeritus. he taught for 30 years and served as chair of the history department. i live in annapolis now and i try to stay in touch with things going on at the naval academy. the most important thing i can tell you is not his incredible knowledge and passion for the service and country, but he has a reputation of being a teacher who is much loved by the midshipmen at the naval academy. i was one for four years and it
6:56 pm
was not many professors that gets that reputation from a very cynical group of 4000 young men and women who are at the top of their game. i will tell you i spoke to several people and to a person, the glow of the reputation of dr. symonds was very clear. i spoke to a couple professors. one of them described the professor as the best of colleagues. not a bad thing to be described as -- the best of colleagues. another professor said "a great lecturer, dynamic, engaging, passionate, challenging and inviting -- all the same time." another professor described him as highly influential leader in the history department, setting a high bar for everyone in teaching, scholarship and service. as you all know from your
6:57 pm
program, he is the author of countless military history books, many of the navy. i want to touch on them and focus on the awards. ri wid them fast because each of them are important, but in total is what is so impressive. he has written decision at sea, which won the theodore and franklin delano roosevelt prize. lincoln and his admirals, the u.s. navy and the civil war which won the lincoln prize, the laney prize, and the abraham lincoln institute award. other works include civil war at sea, the u.s. navy and others. most recent on the second world war, most notably, the battle of midway which we will commemorate the university. a anniversary. symonds does not always
6:58 pm
right about the navy, sadly. no, he is quite a historian. he wrote about the battle of gettysburg. havingeally a navy guy, a significant impact on the men and women who have served in the navy for the last three or four decades and will serve for decades more. the historical atlas of the u.s. navy is still in use in the naval history class at the naval academy today. his impact on the navy has been immense. along with all the books and awards, he also received the civilian service award and navy superior service award not once, not twice, but three times. he is a veteran. served as a lieutenant in the early 1970's. i have to say is the ceo of the navy memorial across the street here, our mission is to
6:59 pm
honor and recognize the men and women, and to inform the public about their service. would like to ask the audience to join me as we celebrate you for everything you have done to inform us about the united states navy. before i turn over the microphone to you, i have a quick sea story that i think the audience will enjoy. dr. symonds is in fact a true naval enthusiast, but he is not only a great professor and engaging author and a true naval enthusiast, but he has been played by a character on the silver screen that you may not know about. i have to admit when i spoke to him earlier he did not want to tell this story so i am violating his request. not bad to be played by none other than harrison ford, also known as jack ryan. if you recall in the movie
7:00 pm
"patriot games," jack ryan is symonds lecture as dr. frequently does. the filmmakers asked for a professor that harrison ford can follow around to give them an idea of what harrison ford would do. harrison remember harrison ford has been in the u.k.. he had been a cia agent and a naval officer. as i understand, they said, you have to follow dr. dymonds around. they appropriated his classroom and his class. although he denies it, i think we have seen him in that movie. symondand gentlemen, dr. is here to talk about world war ii, a global history. it is my honor to introduce to ymonds.ay, dr. craig s
7:01 pm
[applause] well, nobody can live up to that. thank you, i appreciate that very much. i want to tell a quick story. this just how incendiary book is. you need to know this because i spoke this morning at the streety institute on i and they ordered a number of copies of the book, three boxes full, and had them sent down to the institute for distribution for their audience. they arrived with insufficient specificity in terms of their intended audience, it was a general address rather than a specific individual listed. so this being a government institution, very well guarded with the usual screeners at the
7:02 pm
door, these three packages -- and they were very suspicious. this actually happened. they were sequestered and c4 and blown to smithereens. now i have had that -- had bad reviews before -- [laughter] but never one like that. thank you for giving up the nice day outside to hear me talk about world war ii. i will begin with perhaps a challenging statement, that world war ii was the most gruesome, dramatic, transformative event in all of human history. it literally changed the world. for many americans of my generation, and perhaps yours, it became the template of what we think of as war itself.
7:03 pm
that assumption i put to you is not correct. of all the wars fought in world history, world war ii was a virtually unique, it had a specific beginning, it was fought by mobilizing almost the entire population of the countries involved, the flow was evil. there is an effort by propaganda ministers to paint your photo as an evil enemy but in this particular case, it was the case. famouslywith blood fdr called unconditional surrender. for the generation that lived it or rumors hit, there is a temp tatian to measure other wars by that standard. because wars since then have lacked the clarity and decisiveness of world war ii, it has led to frustration. world war ii was not the
7:04 pm
template of war, it is the only war that meets all of those conditions. i'm going to talk to about the naval side of that war which was a global conflict. it ining to cover all of a single book is challenging and humbling, that said, i will give it a guest shot. for americans, world war ii began december 7, 1941. for the british, french, germans and especially the polish, it began two years earlier, september 1, 1939. for the japanese and chinese, two years before that, july 7, 1937. i try to honor all of these participants. michael is to read about world war ii at sea. all of it. theuding those theaters
7:05 pm
americans do not pay much attention to as a role. the indian ocean, the 1943.rranean, until the most famous book about the war at sea is this one and rightly so. in 1941, samuel eliot morrison was a professor of history with half a dozen books under his .elt when the japanese attacked pearl harbor, he asked for a commission as a naval officer to go to see and record the war for posterity as it was happening. he saw a lot of action as a lieutenant commander and later sir itserve rear admiral is possible to refer to him as both professor and admiral morrison. he saw a lot of action.
7:06 pm
he was on a cruiser during the invasion of north africa, on aircraft carriers during the iconic battles of the pacific. he watched the landings at okinawa. he had other officers who sent him information, eyewitness accounts from other sources. he put together a 15 volume seaory of world war ii at which he supervised as an editor. some readers were daunted by taking on a 15 volume work, so he later authored a one volume version which is the one here. do not get me wrong, i am here to flog my book, not morrison's. let me explain how mine is different. note the title of morrison's book. promotion -- aa two ocean war. transatlantic action and the
7:07 pm
pacific, where the action was marked by carrier operations and amphibious operations. it is an excellent account of the role of the u.s. navy into oceans. involved.ions were a dozen of those had substantial haves, important enough to an impact on the trajectory and outcome of the war. the u.s. navy was the largest but not the only one. war wasion, the naval fought 92 oceans -- thought not oceans butot in 2 more. that explains the subtitle of my book, a global history.
7:08 pm
i wanted to deal with the history of the war where u.s. vessels rarely appealed. worldeans of the constituted one gigantic battlefield, to quote fdr. i explore a bit about the culture and background of the other participants in the war to illuminate. two they shared a common resource base. especially for shipping. when national leaders had to construct a policy to fight this war, they had to take the entire globe into consideration. committing resources to one theater meant not committing them to another. here is a slide i will let you wonder about.
7:09 pm
i've is up in honor of the so-called butterfly effect. this is where a butterfly in one part of the world flaps its that, having an impact such a circumstances in way that it might spawn a typhoon in another part of the globe. i am skeptical about the literal truth of but it is indisputable queuing ships and resources and manpower to one theater meant not committing them elsewhere. war betweenaval 1939 and 1945, especially after the united states entered the war, illustrates this particular phenomenon. particular, there were demands for allied resources everywhere. in the atlantic against the u-boats, in the pacific against the japanese, in the arctic to
7:10 pm
bring supplies to the red army. mediterranean, where the british were attempting to hold lineher the c line -- sea of communications. strikeforceaval that had attacked pearl harbor attacked the british naval forces in india and drove them out of the sea of bengal. all those flapping butterfly wings meant that strategic decision makers could not pursue a single line of approach. they had to parcel out to their assets out here and there, hoping that the world did not collapse on them. did try to a time. stark who hadrold
7:11 pm
batty.ious nickname he came by the nickname in the naval academy. washose days, the tradition that the upper class would give whichname to the plebs, often stayed with them for life. i remember 8019 70's, i helped a vice admiral draft his letters. he would cross out the salutation and right in -- write stinky." stark was standing in formation when in upperclassman noticed his name tag. stark, he said. are you related to general john stark?
7:12 pm
he answered, sir, i do not know who he is. that was not the right answer. the upperclassman informed him that he was a hero of the american revolution who prior to the battle of bennington had told his men, we will win today or that he stark will be a widow. stark tod midshipman shout that phrase every time he encountered in upperclassman. the result was that everybody called him betty. i stuck in here for fun. it is from the army chief of , admiralrge c marshall harold stark in 1941, could you read the salutation? dear betty. that is not even the punch line. the punch line is that general john stark's wife was named molly.
7:13 pm
stark was it may, chief of naval operations on the first of august, 1939. one month before german troops crossed the german boarder -- the polish border. 1940ote a memo november after france had capitulated and the british were driven off the beaches at dunkirk. a recent film suggests, the darkest hour. it looked like the germans were going to win this war and the u.s. would be isolated in the western hemisphere so stark laid options --mo, for four options. --could defend the witness defend the western hemisphere. the isolationists have had it
7:14 pm
with wars and did not want another one. we could focus on a possible war with japan. this had been the navy's primary interest since 1911. for 40 years, the united states had focused on the defeat of japan as the most likely foe in the future. third, we could fight in both oceans against both foes that you do not want to have to fight a two front war. reorient d, we could our strategy entirely and focus on the defeat of germany first. dog intion, plan d or navy lingo, was the one that roosevelt accepted. he believed germany was the more
7:15 pm
dangerous foe among the three axis. not only because of its ideology and obvioushe believed germany e dangerous aggression, the position it held in europe, but also because of its economy. the gross to mastic product of germany was greater than that of france and britain combined and six times bigger than that of japan. this is the real enemy. mind, it wass essential to defeat germany first, to make sure that britain survives so it could be used as a launching point for the eventual invasion of europe and the suppression of germany. most historians have followed suit. germany first. treating the war as to connected but separate conflicts. one chapter in europe and one chapter in the pacific. a two-ocean war.
7:16 pm
that is not how it was fought. when america and the british toirals and generals met hammer out allied strategy for the war, they paid lip service to the concept of defeating germany first but the pressures were simultaneous. in 1942, the anglo-american standingre like a boy in the shadow of a dam that was cracking and breaking in 12 places at the same time and trying to shore up the leaks and keep the dam from collapsing. by adition to being fought dozen navies in six oceans, it was a war that took place everywhere simultaneously. thise try to demonstrate by offering a few examples. in august 1942, early in the war, a single reinforced u.s. on an division landed
7:17 pm
island called guadalcanal. the tail end of the chain there were the blue arrow is located. that is a violation of the germany first principle but ernest king who by now had replaced stark as the american chief of naval operations argued that this was not really going on the offensive. watchers hadast reported that the japanese were building an airstrip and if they completed it, it would allow them to interrupt the line of communications between hawaii and australia and if that happened, we would be in desperate straits. this is not inoffensive, he insisted. it is a defensive measure to prevent the japanese from breaking our secure lines. not entirely a bogus argument though he knew that it would be
7:18 pm
the camel's nose under the tent. if you started out in wouldcanal, that division have to be supported and supplied and reinforced until guadalcanal would suck resources and supplies and manpower in to its vortex, which is exactly what happened. there was another complication. map, you canthe see that the pacific theater is divided into two command areas by the blue line. the reason the americans did this was partly strategic. it is an enormous battlefield so that logistically supplying all of it through one command is awkward. mainly, it is political. franklin roosevelt knew he had to give a command to douglas macarthur. macarthur and the
7:19 pm
president did not want to give him command of the entire pacific nor control of the u.s. navy. like king solomon, he cut the baby in half. macarthur got command of the pac.hwest pacific, or sowes it contains australia, the dutch and as far, sumatra as macarthur was concerned, the object of the whole campaign, the philippine islands. everything else, all the blue space outside the southwest pacific, the pacific ocean area was under the command of chester -- chester. --s is in violation of chester mnimitz.
7:20 pm
this is in violation of the command not to divide in the face of the enemy. he wanted to come back and run for president and replace roosevelt in the white house. evidence suggests that mcarthur considered the plan. when the machine stash the marines went ashore to begin a hen the marinesnt went ashore to begin a six-month, they were now fighting a three front war. the american landing on public and now was called operation watchtower. so scarce relative resources in 1942 that almost everybody involved called it something else. operation shoestring. it very nearly fell apart the very next day.
7:21 pm
8, ae evening of august japanese service force came down through what was called the slot , a parallel line of islands, to attack allied warships, australian and american protecting the landing beach. result was the most lopsided american defeat at sea since pearl harbor forever. sunk anded cruisers the japanese escaped unscathed. it lead to a lot of hand wringing and finger-pointing in the united states but it could have been worse. , and set ofvictory continuing to the landing site, the japanese headed back to their base. they were satisfied with what they had accomplished. had they attacked those
7:22 pm
it would have undercut the guadalcanal operation and allied operations worldwide because a shortage of shipping was the key bottleneck in allied planning. with those butterfly wings flapping in the pacific, let me zoom halfway around the world to the mediterranean. americanknown to audiences than guadalcanal, malta was a crucial british in the middledab of the mediterranean sea. essentialon made it to the british sea lines of communication.
7:23 pm
and to access key medications north to south from italy into north africa. because it provided protection for british convoys and was a thorn in the side to access -- axis convoys, the allies naturally tried to take it out. they did so from the air. here is a statistic that is astonishing. more bombs were dropped on valetta in april, 1942 and all bombs on london throughout the blitz in world war ii. they hammered that place. midsummer, it was in such extremes that rations for the population had been reduced to six ounces of food per person per week. spitfires were virtually out of gas.
7:24 pm
the governor of the island notified london that if he did not get a supply convoy in one week, he would have to capitulate. convoy fromether a glasgow consisting of 14 transports and one essential oil ship that had been the company, texaco tanker that had shown up with a load of fuel. churchill cabled roosevelt to beg that it be turned over to the real navy for the operation and roosevelt agreed. the american crew went off, the british crew went on board and the ohio joined the convoy to the south. an argument can be made -- i will make it right now -- that the ohio was the single most important ship afloat in the
7:25 pm
world in august, 1942. if that aviation fuel did not make it to malta, the spitfires would be grounded, the island fall in that would be the end of that feature. the convoy set out in the first week of august. the same week the marines went ashore in level canal halfway halfway- in guadalcanal around the world. it had the largest escort of any convoy in the war. battleships, four aircraft carriers, seven cruisers and 32 destroyers to protect 14 transports and a tanker. thanscort force was bigger either of the operational forces that fought one another in midway in 1942.
7:26 pm
it is a testimony to the importance of malta and the scarcity and value of transport shipping to the allies in 1942. the convoy entered the mediterranean on august 10 and over the next 10 days, it was attacked literally every day. from sardinia, ships from italy, german u-boats. the escort force lost two car riers, four cruisers, several destroyers and nine transport. allied losses in guadalcanal. of the transports and critically the tanker remained afloat, though barely. the ohio was bombed repeatedly, remarkably, we have a photograph of the moment it for peta struck the ohio.
7:27 pm
torpedo struck the ohio. not long afterward, a bomb in a treated the ohio deck and exploded in the engine room. without power, taking on water, the ohio appeared doomed. to keep her afloat, to british destroyers lashed themselves to the ship to literally hold her afloat and push her along at about three knots. more bombers arrived. one bomb hit her midship and broke her back. destroyers cap her afloat, nudging her along at about three knots. engine, decks awash, no
7:28 pm
, and pieces of a german bomber hanging in her, she stayed afloat long enough to make it into valetta harbor, where cheering crowds lined the waterfront and a band played. in britishmained hands for the rest of the war. my part in telling you this story is not only because it is a cool story. one that few americans know much about, but also to demonstrate how global this war was. proceeddid not separately in the atlantic and pacific or the mediterranean for that matter. it took place everywhere all at once. and it underscores how precarious the state of allied shipping was in that difficult summer of 1942. the 18 transports at guadalcanal thejapanese mist, the 14 in
7:29 pm
mediterranean formed a full of -- formed a pool of shipping resources. this problem would go away gradually, especially because of american ship holding capabilities. this is most evident in the battle of the atlantic between german u-boats and allied convoys. howcan see in this chart the number of ships built by the and mostly by the united states, over 90% by the united states, grew exponentially through 1943, while the number of ships and mostly by the unitd sunk declined in those same years. new technology, better escorts, better protocols in the convoys allowed us to fend off u-boats but shipbuilding in the united states allowed the allies to get
7:30 pm
ahead of this issue. we also built them. we built ships faster than the submarines could sink them. here is a dramatic illustration. i like this photograph. this is a building in a shipyard 1943, whene in april the acceleration of shipbuilding took off. the men are setting up wooden keel offor the kale -- a transport ship. i call your attention to the headgear. what would osha have to say about men wearing fedoras instead of hardhats at the workplace? here are some other images of the same ship. as is day one, day two, a lot progress.
7:31 pm
working 24 hours a day. here's a six. daytime. is day six. day 10. in december 1942, the production of new shipping and american shipyards surpassed one million tons for the first time and went up from there. after that, it did not matter how many ships those u-boats atlantic.e north it mattered to the men on the ship's but it would not avail the germans of their goal which was to cut the lifeline to britain. they could never get ahead of american production. assets,s infusion of the allies went on the offensive.
7:32 pm
here is another example of how world war ii at sea was a global phenomenon. just as most of you have heard of guadalcanal, i suspect all of you have heard of d-day. steven spielberg and john -- tom hanks probably had a lot to do being new generation introduced to the horrors of normandy beach. supportvided gunfire and most importantly, not only carried them to the beach but kept them reinforced and resupplied and the armada necessary to do that was unprecedented in size. counting armed landing craft, those ships numbered over 6000. they had to operate four months. the invasion of europe did not consist of a rush onto the beach
7:33 pm
on june 6, 1944. 132,000 soldiers went ashore 132,000 men are not going to drive to paris and berlin and conquer. thousands -- millions would, sure and almost all of them and their -- ashore anduld come almost all of them and their equipment. all that had to cross the english channel in ships. a lot of it came in a particular kind of ship known as the landing ship tank or lst. sailors who served on board these vessels claimed that lst
7:34 pm
stood for large slow target. and their hold could accommodate 20 sherman , 40 jeeps, 30ks artillery pieces and since ground combat in world war ii meant the use of armor and tanks in particular, without the lst, it is hard to see how the allies could have mounted an invasion at all. they were big and slow. they had a top speed of 10 knots although they'll most never reached that speed. almost never reached that speed. they almost never reach their targets, city sailors were not wrong. notice the seams in front of the anchor on the bow. those are covered doors.
7:35 pm
when they came to the beach, the doors opened and tanks, trucks, jeeps could drive out onto the sand. spring 1944,as, in the allies did not have enough of them. there are several reasons for this. though the american industrial production was awesome, unprecedented, it was not infinite. parities had to be set. priorities, the allies had to dress the most immediate need. remember the boy in the dam. in 1942, that meant producing liberty ships and escort ships. with the in 1943 to thethreat manageable allies switch construction priority from escorts and
7:36 pm
transports to lst's. is not likehipyard throwing a switch, there are 30,000 component parts. the entire supply chain had to be reoriented. evident to944, it is eisenhower -- i love this , it is duplicated in the montage outside the entrance to this theater -- eisenhower was not going to have enough of them. he wrote to washington to say so. he needed 271 more landing craft, including 47 of the essential and scarce lst's.
7:37 pm
hero that without them, -- he wrote that without themhero thae had to make a landing with everyone he had and everyone in production, the troops on the beach, i will quote him, "will have no, repeat no lst's reaching the beaches from the one until d-day plus d-day plus four." they would have no way to extricate themselves for three days. d-day was postponed. 5,was moved to june eventually of course, it would happen june 6. put it, one extra month of landing craft production including the lst's should help a lot.
7:38 pm
even then, it was a near run. churchill recognized for the bottleneck was. everything turned on the landing craft. which held our strategy in a tight ligature. all plans were in a straitjacket. alliedat same week that soldiers stormed ashore in normandy, 11,000 miles away in the pacific ocean, and american invasion force nearly as large as the d-day armada and including 84 of the scarce lst's marianas. the the fact that the anglo-americans could mount to enormous invasion armada on opposite sides of the world at literally the same time shows first how the american industrial dynamo had changed the calculus of war from 1942 to
7:39 pm
1944. 1942 when the loss of a dozen transports or the salvation of 18 might have made a difference in the war and now to 1944, when we have thousands of ships to mount two operations at the same time. it illustrates how the war was global, simultaneous, and interconnected. overould have celebrated those 84 lst's. he could have gone in may after all. they were in the pacific. first, of germany instead of fighting one war at a time, the allies had become so strong they could fight in the atlantic and pacific and the mediterranean and the arctic and the indian ocean and the caribbean all at the same time. the second world war was a
7:40 pm
global war that involved a dozen national navies which contested the seas in six oceans. everywhere except antarctica. while fully acknowledging that nll wars are eventually wo by boots on the ground, i gained an enormous appreciation for how much the course of the war was charted and steered by maritime events. you may have noticed that in this lengthy talk, i have not mentioned bismarck, midway, the , lotspine sea, iwo jima of topics to talk about. maybe we can do that during the q and a. which begins right now. thank you very much. [applause] who is first?
7:41 pm
>> thank you. very interesting. can you talk a little about production from the perspective of prior to the u.s. entering the war, liberty ships or other ships being shipped to british forces and other forces in the world and how that was distributed? dr. symonds: it is almost an american tradition that we enter wars underprepared and then gin up dramatically to overwhelm the enemy. that is a fair template of the american way of war, to steal a phrase. i think president result saw this coming. japan, trying on to fend off japan while he supplied written. lease, in thend deal for he gave the british 50
7:42 pm
old world war i destroyers in exchange for 99 year leases in caribbean bases. roosevelt could see that the united states was likely to become involved. he could see that shipping would be crucial and created a limited national emergency in 1939, before pearl harbor. land, anted emery scott retired admiral to ramp up the number of ships built. the united states had never built more than one million tons of shipping in one year. he said he wanted 7 million tons. this was before the war. then he wanted 13 million tons after the war. then george c marshall came and said that will not be enough. if you expect us to launch this invasion, we will need more. million up being 15
7:43 pm
tons of shipping in 1943. that was so huge as to become almost a laughingstock. it was true that even before the war, i think roosevelt was something of a visionary to see , not just ships authorized by the congress. those ships would be the ones that came online in late 1943 and form the heart of the invasion but in addition to that, the transport shipping that roosevelt saw would be necessary to carry out a global war in multiple oceans. even before the war, he began laying the groundwork and that required the acquisition of new shipping yards and other things
7:44 pm
down the line. thank you. who's next? >> hello. i question is, in all your research, you have all the principal countries, whether any head scratchers? why did you do what you just did? dr. symonds: an infinite number. >> can you break it down to individual navies if you have several? dr. symonds: americans tend to overlook the role bite navies like the dutch. most americans would scratch their head and say, the dutch had a navy? theand had been overrun by german war machine in 1940 as part of the great sweep westward when france fell in the summer of 1940. ,he government of france churchill used to joke that about the crowned heads of europe, she was the only man among them.
7:45 pm
she escaped with her government to britain. the dutch east indies, their colonies in the south china sea had a pretty significant surface force of cruisers and destroyers. because several nations were ,ighting against one opponent the allies cobbled together a unified command. they put a british general in charge of it. been able component was commanded by a dutch admiral. criticalt several battles against the japanese. he lost them all, but they were tragic, desperate attempts to slow down japan. overlook that. the canadian navy doing escort duty across the north atlantic
7:46 pm
in these tiny flower class corvettes. so small they were less than 1000 tons, they bobbed like corks. you could hardly step on board without getting seasick. they carried a lot of the burden of the escort duty. midway and eog but the dutch and canadians -- and iwo jima but the dutch and canadian navies don't get credit. i appreciate your emphasis on the industrial might of the united states. i was talking recently with a retired naval architect who told me that when he was designing ands back in the 1950's 1960's, every thing was domestic.
7:47 pm
by the time he retired, he said they could not build a ship with domestics. they had to use imported goods. does that concern you? dr. symonds: it does not and i will explain why. when i began this afternoon, i said that world war ii was transformative but it changed the world. it made the world a global community economically. as well as politically. conference woods that is balancing the agreement on tariffs and trade. it was a part of the postwar combination of the allies setting up the world for the next many generations in the hope that there would never be another global conflict like the two that has ravaged the 20th century. because of that, the world became interconnected. to look at world war ii and say, could we ever do that again? could we ramp up in a crisis like that from one million tons
7:48 pm
to 15 million tons in just a couple years? was, some of those parts would have to come from overseas and doesn't that create an uncomfortable dependency? but it is a global interdependency. that contributes to the unlikelihood that there ever will be another global conflagration involving 72 nations. me.oes not bother i am still confident that america has the economic resilience to meet a crisis when it emerges. i guess i'm going to stop with that. i am less concerned than the mere fact that many of our weapon systems have goods that are not mystically produced implies a dependency and perhaps a weakness that i think is not accurate. we are pretty tough.
7:49 pm
-- if to tell this story you take one of those nuclear powered aircraft carriers and the accompanying strikeforce , supportingth it ships, tankers, a few submarines under the water, that strikeforce has more striking power in itself than the entire navy of any other nation on earth. and we have 10 of them. so we are ok. yes, sir. >> i want to thank you for a talk. i am not from the united states, i am from the caribbean so i think you can figure out -- dr. symonds: i am glad i mentioned the caribbean then. during world war ii, there
7:50 pm
were two islands in the southern refineries, it is continually -- from the time i am small i am hearing these stories, early on, the germans tried to attack these places so maybe you want to talk about the caribbean. , wesecond issue would be have not had a great naval battle. falkland islands, etc., what would you think coming off of were significant in crucial lessons that all of the learned and how do you see that playing out going forward?
7:51 pm
with ai, computerization making ships eventually drive themselves. dr. symonds: this book is 800 pages long and i would have to write another one to answer all those questions but let me give it a shot. curacao had refineries, a lot of the ships on the north atlantic convoys originatedd fuel there, including the cargo carried by the ohio. and were important sites the germans knew this. when the united states became a belligerent, hitler's gave to release his u-boats to attack the united states.
7:52 pm
the united states had been escorting british convoys in violation of neutral status and some wanted to attack them. to attackaid he had the british first. they sent nine submarines to attack america. there was devastation of the coast. when of the united states put coastal convoys together, they moved into the caribbean. that became the central front in the u-boat war against tankers. those who loaded up in louisiana and east texas, there were not the pipelines in place to carry oil overland or the railroad capabilities. almost all the oil came around
7:53 pm
the coast of florida and up the east coast in tankers and that was the target of the u-boats. probably one was of the deadliest places on the earth. what was the second one? big battles since world war ii. the biggest service engagement took placetake off in 1988. went againstavy the united states navy, two guided missile cruisers and a gunboat were attacked in missile
7:54 pm
warfare. the first confrontation with missile warfare. you think of world war i, naval engagement was by big guns with a 2000 pound shell. in world war ii, the range grows further. miles byire from 200 bombs and potatoes, carried by aircraft off in aircraft carrier. torpedoes carried an aircraftoff carrier. now you can fire a missile from a drone 14,000 miles away. distance ats the which the opponents fight. in the age of sail, you had to and up within 50 yards
7:55 pm
blast away with iron cannonballs. then gradually over time, the range and accuracy increased and the big difference between world war i and world war ii was the gun and the airplane. between then and now, it is electronic and missile warfare. there is a must know theater anymore. you can target an enemy from the persian gulf, you don't even have to be in the same ocean. they are guided by satellites overhead and conducted by .eosynchronous units it is pretty awesome stuff. that is the future. that is what they are studying at the naval academy. they created a new major. the admiral and i were talking about his selection of major in
7:56 pm
1977. the newest major, want to guess? .yber warfare very popular, i understand. who is next? i took so long you had to sit down. that is fair. >> i think this discussion would've been different if it was a british admiral talking about the war at sea. he would have emphasized the british navy and the big battles with german battleships because by the time america got more involved in the war, a lot of those big battles had already happened. a british admiral would have had a different perspective on the world war at sea. much theire of how navy was affected by these big german battleships. of course, we heavily bombed they took a large brunt
7:57 pm
of the war by german battleships. i wanted to make that point. dr. symonds: fair is fair. let's talk about the royal navy. just for fun, i will tease you. there is no british navy. there is a british army but it is a royal navy. it dates back to the english civil war, when the navy stayed loyal to the king, the army went to cromwell. it is the british army representing the people of britain, but the royal navy. i don't know what the excuse of the royal air force is. but the royal navy plays an important role and we need to give credit where credit is due. three things won this war. the british ability to hang in there from june of 1940 when france was defeated and they carried the war by themselves until june 1941 when hibbler
7:58 pm
ler stupidlyhitele invaded. we can't forget that. without the british, none of this happens. spilled itsred army blood on the steps of ukraine and russia. the americans lost 350,000, a terrible loss. .he russians lost 20 million let's not lose sight of that. the third thing is american industrial productivity. all three were essential. i will say this about the royal before the united states got into this, the key problem is not german battleships. but asmarck got to sea we know it never got back. back because the
7:59 pm
royal navy tracked it down, wounded and killed it. another was changed back into port and bond into capitulation -- bombed into capitulation. the two big german battleships are neutralized by the royal navy without help from the united states. the british board of the burden of protecting the north atlantic convoys through their crucial first year of the war. absent that, all the rest of this is moot. you are right on that, a point with making. i think if a british admiral that appear, he would probably l got upbritish admira in front of an american audience, he would emphasize the americans, too. we are out of time. thank you very much. i appreciate it. [applause]
8:00 pm
announcer: you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, go on facebook to c-span history. announcer: on lectures in history, washington university professors margaret garg and and ericord -- garb mumford teaches this class. class, professor mumford looks at the technical advancements that made skyscrapers possible and tactical. -- and practical. this is an hour and 10 minutes. prof. garb:


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on