tv Naval Power Versailles Peace Conference CSPAN December 20, 2020 9:00pm-10:01pm EST
he ♪ >> the victorious allied forces met at the versailles conference in 1919. in britain they babbled behind closed doors about the size of the u.s. navy. recountsr historian events between the two outwardly from the nations. the national world war i museum and memorial posted and provided the video for this event. >> it is my pleasure to introduce our speaker tonight. as therrently serves fleet admiral, professor at maritime history at the u.s. naval war college, and is the
emeritus major chair of historical research at the u.s. army command and general staff college. inretired from the u.s. navy 2004, at the rank of commander after 23 years. flying as the officer land and carrier-based aircraft. a variety of subjects including military history since 2000. japan fromstory of the age of the samurai to the 21st-century, napoleonic warfare, the operational art of the great campaign, and he co-authored eyewitness pacific numerousas well as articles and editorials. he was rewarded uprising -- uprising in 2011.
america's book is first general staff, a short history of the rise and fall of the general board of the navy 1900 through 1950, which is available to purchase in our online store. welcome our speaker to our stage. john: it is a royals mask. the worldvery much to war i museum for giving me this opportunity, to do things underway. i am really looking forward to this. i am glad you could join us tonight wherever you might be. we will try to make this worth your while. next year will be the 100th anniversary of the washington
naval arms conference, i will talk about that at the end of our lecture tonight. that was a great turning point, a great milestone in the history of arms the notation, and arms reductions. -- arguably that got its start at versailles in 1918 and 1919. we will pull some of those things together. coming up on the 100th anniversary of the institution of arms control agreements, international law, and the international rule set that to some degree is endangered today. let's talk about the naval battle of versailles. i will move a little slower than i normally do. i like to wander around but i will probably try to stay focused and in this one spot. it occurred at the versailles peace conference, but in terms of location, most of the
activity we are going to talk about took place between high-ranking diplomats and political leaders of the allied side who had one the great war, what we call world war i now. november just ended in 1918. the activity did not take place in versailles. you think of the great gardens of versailles, think maybe they were out in the fountains, putting boats in the fountains. that is not what happened. it is actually more correct to call it the naval battle of pallets -- paris that occurred at the sight of the versailles conference. the agenda here is to talk about first the context, which is the end of the great war and peace conference that is taking place
1919.sailles in 1918 and we have to go back even further than that to a little u.s. history, and talk about the 1916 which is something that is unprecedented in american history in terms of what that act means. that is why the british and americans are not getting along at versailles in 1919, because of that navy act. cracks in the alliance. there will be a stand up, we will have some high times in paris, almost some fisticuffs between political leaders. then we get to a resolution and the way ahead. what lies in the future, what it all means. then we will open it up for questions. put this one up here because
we often forget that prior to world war i, war was really a two dimensional affair. it took place at sea and it took place on land. when we get to world war i, we start having it take place under the water much more so. there have been minds, there was amounts of but the warfare that actually took place under the water in world war i was unprecedented. then there is this whole thing of the electromagnetic spectrum, but we call the cyber world. world war i encompassed all of that, and it also took place at sea. all of these modern types of warfare notions. people were wrestling with technology, and what the technology mean? as the war came to an end, people were trying to put the genie back in the bottle. they were trying to take all those demons that pandora let
out and put them back in the bottle. most of those demons had to do with technology, and much of it technology had to do with navies. air forces too, mostly we will be talking about maybe tonight. how do you put the genie back in the bottle? can you put the genie back in the bottle? of versailles as a naval arms conference. there have been international agreements before, but for was really the first time where you got the sorts of arms limitation. nations have been limited in wars in the past, the size of their army, how many forts they could have. but in terms of a regime of naval arms limitation, for site is unique. -- it punished germany by
limiting her ornaments. -- germinate is not allowed to have battleships anymore. a couple old pre-dreadnought battleships, and navy in the world could sink in about a half an hour. she was not allowed to have submarines. many people thought itself the problem of german submarines that having in the treaty that the germination could no longer have submarines in its navy. she was not allowed to have aircraft or aircraft carriers. those were forbidden by the treaty for germany to have that. limited construction to essentially a coast guard. the german navy was so small, that she could not even man the few ships she was allowed to have. the biggest ships she was allowed to build would be a 10,000 ton ship. that was as big a ship as she could build, and she could only build three of those.
if she build three of those, she would not have the crew to accrue the rest of her navy. germany was very limited. what not known is versailles was also contemplating limits on the united states navy. the british delegation to versailles came to versailles with a list and an agenda to limit american seapower. we will talk about that. you probably go, the americans and british our allies. why should the british worry about limiting the americans? remember, until the united states came into the war, the united states was a neutral advocating freedom of the seas. byt position was violated germany declaring unrestricted submarine warfare. though, thatates policy was not aimed directly at
germany, but also at great britain. in the united states there were large communities and bodies of political opinion and policy, including the president, who when they said strict neutrality, they also meds the british should not infringe on american neutral rights. this was a sticking point. the germans violated neutral rights, because the german violation was so much more violence and egregious, it made the germans the bigger enemy. that does not mean the united states did not have white a few complaints against great britain for the way she implemented her blockade and restricted american trade on the seas. that,er to answer president wilson in 1916 proposed a naval act. the 1916 naval act. this act was not aimed at just
germany, but also aimed at great britain so great britain would take the united states seriously. the act aimed at making the united states navy a navy second to none. that is how it was pitched. united states would have a navy second to none. it was a bumper sticker phrase, and it went over really well with the american public. wilson brought this act to the american congress and it passed. the act intended to build 33 battleships and battle cruisers. the most modern type. 350 smaller warships, cruisers and destroyers, submarines. included in that bill was $21 million for naval aviation. not so well-known that the aviation component was huge. 20 goes intoat how $300 million.
that was six times as large as the previous largest naval arms budget from the spanish-american war. it was the biggest arms bill in peacetime in american history. it was really aimed at the british, and the british knew it. they felt like the americans did not understand their position. it antagonized the british leadership, particularly the largest -- first lord of the admiralty. made the united states navy superior to the realm navy -- royal navy by 1921, mostly due to new modern , the general board of the navy which was composed of admirals and captains.
they approved of all the building plans and building designs, as well as wrote all of the war plans for the united states navy. the general board of the navy had put this thing together. there were supported by a guy who had previously been anti-navy, he was not considered a friend of the navy. the secretary of the navy. after about two years in the job, the secretary of the navy for woodrow wilson, he became a hardened, hardcourt naval list and a big advocate of the united states navy. wilson's mosty important cabinet officer. he spent his entire two terms in office -- wilson never replaced him. he was a newspaperman from fayetteville, north carolina. fascinating guy. i do biography out on him, what we would call an apology biography.
it takes his side on some of the battles that he thought against the navy, and that for the navy. he was a big advocate for a big navy. he was also a big advocate for a big navy to intimidate the united kingdom. the british take this bill very seriously. things change. the united states and the british our allies. we begin to cooperate. some of the building gets slowed down so we can build boats that can participate in submarine warfare, because that is the --gest problem, not bit german battleships but german submarines. the bill is never done away with. the allocation still exist, the spending bills exist. the president can build as much or as little as he wants. he has carte blanche from the congress to build this fleet.
thatare some of the ships get created by the bill. the uss tennessee, a dreadnought battleship will be at pearl harbor, reuploaded at all harbor. saratoga, cruiser uss which will eventually get converted to an aircraft carrier. these are two of the ships that are paid for by the 1960 navy act.- 1916 navy great britain has ruled the seas without any real competitor since trafalgar. is 110 years. 115 years, actually. the fact that it is the americans, who the british have not always along with. -- warsght two worlds
with the americans. in the civil war date fought for the confederacy. the united states and rate britain do not have the sort of attitude with respect to naval power. the british royal navy is intimidated and fearful of this powerful u.s. navy. the british naval policy has always hinged on having a big no other biggest navy, navy is allowed to be as big as the british navy. any other nation tries, and the british will get involved in a naval arms race. the problem is, great britain is broke. all of the money that finance the war from about 1915 on is coming from banks. many of them on wall street. i always tell my students, fleet street moved to wall street. united states has all of the british markers.
financially and economically the british empire can't compete. if it is a naval arms race, britain is going to lose, and she knows it. that u-boating is, campaigns have drastically impacted the british merchant marine. the world's largest. the british are really concerned that the u.s. merchant marine, which is now the second largest merchant marine in the world, is making a bid to become the largest bulk cargo carrier in the world. it is not just the u.s. navy, but the u.s. merchant navy with a large u.s. navy to protect it, that is scaring the british. they think the united states is taking advantage of the situation, to apply its , and take a leading position in the world affairs. almost to the point where the united states is beginning to act a bit like they are, the headman of the globe, not great
britain. -- the big winner in world war i is the united states of america. this lecture highlights why that is the case. these are the things that concerned british policymakers. here are the troublemakers on the american side, woodrow wilson's bargaining from a position of strength, and he has the 14 points. he is going to use this big navy to apply pressure to the british to agree to his program outlined in the 14 points, so the war to end all wars is a war to end all wars based on an american plan for a new international order. next to him are his cohorts. let me see -- that is josephus daniels. cup of joe was named after joe. some people don't think so, i am a firm believer that it is. -- can go to bat against me
there are people out there who don't think it is named after him. that is because he got rid of the wind mess on navy ships. x to him is the first chief of naval obligate -- obligations. two years prior to this photo, he is a captain in the united states navy. eightr act gets him made rear admiral, and he becomes a four-star admiral, the first chief of naval operations in american history. william benson is the chief of naval operations, he is the secretary of the navy, two of the most powerful men in the world. they work for one of the most powerful men in the world. some would say the most powerful man in the world. there british opponents. the first one is this rascally whohman david lord george
is mixed to say the least at the which heattitude, regards as petty and foolish. under him is admiral david beatty, the commander of the fleet. the guy who's ships got blown to pieces but for some reason he is the hero. he hates the americans. you might say, he doesn't really hate the americans. he does like the americans, because he was married to an american and it was a very ugly divorce. sometimes little things like divorces from americans can lead to bad international relations. keep that in mind when you are considering a divorce. next to him is the first see lord. he is what we might call anti-american, anti-american navy. yes he has had to cooperate with
the americans, but war makes strange bedfellows. they are not as pleased as they could be with some of the american admirals. sims,ove admiral william an anglophile which means he loves the british. but these guys regard daniels, benson, and even wilson to a degree as anglo phobic. that they are aspiring to a position above their station, as the british might say it. then there is walter long. of the british up here, he is probably the most moderate of the group. a guy who iseing willing to compromise. on the american side, wilson is probably the compromiser. here is the problem. two of wilson's 14 points come in directly to the talks that
take place between the naval delegations at versailles. what gets created is a naval committee in versailles, this battle takes place against the backgrounds of the movements and the positioning, the posturing of that naval committee. -- the two points points that are most important to him, the reason the united states got into the war, .2, freedom of the seas. .1 is the league of nations. wilson is firmly convinced that if we don't get the league of nations, it won't work. and there will be more war. for wilson it is an article of faith that if there is no league of nations, we are probably going to repeat the same mistakes we have made in the past and have another world war.
he also is -- remember the united states is not an ally, they are an associated power. at the little concerned naval terms that have been levied on the germans, including the complete surrender of their fleet to the british. the british draw that to guarded up there. there is also this bickering taken place inside the naval committee at versailles about, what do we do with the german fleet? how many do the americans get? how many battleships to the british get? how many do the french get? how many do the is science get? -- how many do the italians get? finally, should britain trust this? do they really want to put their wilsononianthis
security basket. the world wars begin. as soon as wilson finds out that the british monthly americans to cancel the 1916 building act, he get that from daniels, who gets that from admiral benson. he says, we will build the strongest may be that our resources permit. and as a -- our people have so long desired. that is wilson's position. we will blackmail you with our navy. of course a gracious welshman -- great britain will keep a navy superior to that of the united states or any other power. he knowsffing, because the americans can make and spend, and they will still have billions left to spend. but you have to be bluff.
you have to be out there. round one, the british sort of when it. -- win it. wilson's decide to abandon freedom of the seas. he says we are going to abandon that, it will be enshrined in the treaty, because if we have to league of nations, we will have freedoms of the seas. the league of nations will guarantee it. the league will beat everybody plus outlaw states. all of us and the guys that don't want to play like the soviet union. that is wilson's position. 1919 for dinner in france, and that is where he makes that statement about the navy. he is unhappy with the british and the french. the reason he is unhappy is not so much because the british have
formally demanded we demand -- abandon our plan, but because the british and french are behaving petulantly. they are both broke and they need what? money. the french are charging us rents for our soldiers who are living in french trenches. imagine being charged to live in a dirt hole. charging forre moving american troops on british shipping, exorbitant rates to help win the war that british can't win without american troops. miffed aboutittle those things. the bills start coming in. there is daniels and benson again. they continue to lobby the public before they leave for
versailles, sank support the 1916 at, support the building plan. let's keep building the ships. let's return to our plan to build the biggest navy in the world. second to none. code for just as big or bigger than the royal navy. daniels says the u.s. needs a big baby for these reasons. sounds good right? protect the weak. protect the little guy, and american theme. we are for the little guy. we are worried about a leak without a world police force. we are probably going to be the world police force, we need a big navy. that is the logic trained on that. the u.s. navy would be the gap filler. aanwhile, in japan, wait
second. is, the japanese also interpret this plan as aimed at them. in part it is. if you don't plan to fight the british, who are you going to fight? japan if they try to invade the philippines, a contingency plan called for plan orange. the japanese have their own building plan called the 88 plan. the japanese are allied with the british. they signed the anglo japanese naval alliance, where the british and japanese agreed to come to each other's aid if they are attacked by an aggressor. a defensive treaty. japan attacked somebody else, print does not have to help them. vice versa. they were allies in the war. japan helped in the war, they
did provide destroyers for antisubmarine warfare during the war. japan was a supportive power, although she did not really send any troops. she just took the province of china and kept it. the 88 plan is they are going to build a battleships, and eight battle cruisers. that is their plan. the problem with the japanese is they can't afford it. the japanese government tells the japanese navy, good plan but we don't think we can afford it. is beginningster to think, maybe we can't afford it. the japanese are also interested in ending the naval arms race. but that naval arms race is already ongoing between japan as well. the united states is really conducting a naval arms race with britain and with japan. japan is britain's ally.
if you are any it will conclude mostly these guys that came up with the navy second to none plan, the 300 million dollar let's build the biggest navy in the world plan. , thein frank schofield office of naval intelligence, captain luke mcnamee. these are the american general staff. sims,o includes admiral the only guy on board he was sensitive and favorable toward the british position. is one dissenting voice. daniels shuts him down and this
begins along conflict between daniels and sims that is peripheral to our discussion. again, sims is pretty much gagged. his opinions do not carry any weight in the committee. paris, arrived in month and a half after wilson gets there and he is directed by wilson to meet with walters, who was the first lord of the admirals. benson's counterpart -- this is after the british has let it known they want the united states to get rid of the navy building plan in exchange for their support for the league of nations. that is what the proposed deal is. andon arrives after daniels
he is supposed to go to a meeting and he gets there late, yss badgeringwem secretary of the navy daniels in his hotel room. he gets between them and demands naval parity. and things go downhill from there. they almost come to blows. ok? the next day, everybody goes home mad and one of wilson's main advisors meets with secretary daniels and he says, ende we can and naval -- naval construction if that will get the brits to the league of nations. the meeting is with the first longof the admiralty and
says no, the americans have got to stop this naval building plan. i don't know about the league of nations but we want you guys to cease building now. and this is a case of who is going to blink first. the british will say, we agreed to support the league of nations and be a member. now will you stop the navy? they want an act of good faith. the united states wants an act of good faith from the british. neither is willing to make the first move. benson threatens war. if that is your attitude, we will go to war. this is the last thing anybody wants to hear, that the two most powerful naval powers, the united kingdom and united states are threatening to go to war with each other over british membership in the league of nations. much of at seem like
reason to go to war. the leaders of these nations and navies and they are hot under the collar about these issues. the u.s. has to stop building now and the talks are in jeopardy. this is when wilson enters the discussion. he says, ok, kids, out of the pool. secretary daniels has got to go to italy on a trip. he will be gone for a week. why don't we just delay coming to an agreement for a week? when he gets back, we will continue the discussion. forget about all this talk of war. let tempers cool down. daniels leaves to go to italy and this is after he has breakfast with david lloyd george and wilson meets with lloyd george and that is when the delay is announced.
april 6-7 comes and the british blow it. they are like, hey, we cannot wait for this guy to come back. we really need to know right now if you were going to stop your naval building plan. we are trying to come up with our budget and wilson goes, promise me you will join the league. they go, no, we cannot make that promise. wilson threatens to leave the conference. the president of the united states is going to storm out of the conference -- who does that and go home. daniels returns the next day and the meetings resume. and daniels tells wilson, britton is trying to nick -- -- dictateis trying to
controltters to congress. they want to limit the american ability to do business in overseas. according to the policy of the open door. he tells that to daniels. daniels is a big fan of trade and open markets so he goes to wilson. he tries to meet daniels at a train station. i call this the altercation of the station. -- altercation at the station. it will not be a protest. it will be between the first sea lord and secretary of the navy. he ambushes daniels at the train station. before the meeting with the british first lord of the
admiralty. when long gets there, he proposes to halt the naval construction of the u.k. and they will agree to support the league. you put your cards done at the same time we put our cards down and we will all be friends. they agreed to meet regularly on naval matters. daniels without the train station. the british admiral shows up, moves in on him, starts to badger him, daniels starting to get upset. the first lord of the admiralty comes up and says, just a second, i think we can resolve this like gentlemen. what is not on the slide is the fact that wilson told daniels, you are going to get to the -- the british to agree to a league of nations or else. he knows he has the authority of a president to make a deal. the other thing they agreed to,
not only will be agree to halt the naval construction on these battleships, not only will they agree to -- or slow down the naval construction. they will also agree, we will meet regularly on naval matters so this naval committee, we will turn it into a semipermanent thing. it is not really a part of the league of nations. it is an anglo-american committee that will meet. sometimes the french will, and sometimes the italians will come. the guy that is not at the table is the japanese. they are more than happy to support the british position. instead of inserting themselves into the process by also demanding the americans halt, they figure, if we do that, the americans will really get pis sed. the japanese delegation is in
the background and they finesse the situation to the best advantage. the americans are very racist. californiapassed in that are pulling japanese and chinese schoolchildren out of schools. not a placetates is that wants to hear that the japanese are telling the americans to stop building ships. the final solution? he is going to sacrifice the freedom of the seas because the league of nations will guarantee that and naval parity with great britain and that becomes the deal. great britain will become a charter member of the league of nations. the aftermath, the german fleet problem is in the background the whole time.
the german solve that problem by scuttling the fleet. all of the arguing about who gets what ships, there are only a couple of ships left over. one of them is an old battleship, damaged by a mine. they tell her over to chesapeake w her over tooe chesapeake bay. the league of nations, ironically, the u.s. gets britton to sign onto the league but the u.s. refuses to ratify the treaty of versailles. the u.s. does not join the league. when that happens in 1920, the naval arms race starts again, although it is mostly between .he japanese and the americans
california was that way about asian americans. among other things. that arms race begins in 1920. decides-- britain that the u.s. has to be lived with and they agree to let their treaty with japan lapse. that is a concession the americans did not ask for. a signal, we know we are not going to fight you guys. we get a new administration. everybody realizes versailles did not sign anything. how do we stop it? this time, the americans will over -- invite everyone to washington, d.c., constitution hall, just across the street ,rom the vietnam war memorial
if you have ever been to washington, d.c., that is where it is. they will gather around the table and the u.s. will offer to limit armaments and reduce armaments so the u.s. and great britain will both be equal in terms -- will be equal. that is the aftermath. ok. exampleup, this is an of something that everybody thinks has solved a major problem but it is really just kicking the can down the road. and so the naval battle of versailles, which it looks like the british have won, they have not. they have only delayed the united states plans to build the navy every bit as big as great britain. and far more modern in terms of its designs.
that navy, one of the first things they do is look into the british royal navy's record during the war, particularly how ships were blowing up, how they performed against the submarines, how the german submarines perform. americans usee that as their basis for building american ships. the damage control doctrine is german damage control doctrine because german ships did better in terms of damage control than british ships. versailles is one of those things that it seems like it accomplished a lot but it accomplished very little and there were outstanding issues that had to still be resolved and would not be resolved for several years to come. with that, i am finished and
ready to take questions. applause. you can barely hear me talk because of the thunderous applause. camille: john, we are going to give it a few more seconds. if you are watching on our youtube stream or facebook, don't be shy. we are ready for the questions. all right, here comes our first one. a little bit of humor. it asks, what did you mean about rascally in regards to lloyd george? john: lloyd george was a pugnacious welshman. he is the perfect guy to have in control in a war. ruthless, uncompromising. rascally -- maybe
pugnacious is a better word. maybe uncompromising is a better word. he could be very emotional and certainlyand he was underwriting the attitudes of the first lord as well as the first lord of the admiralty walter long. camille: our next question -- in terms of relative expenditure, how did the 1916 navy act compare to the two ocean act of 1940? john: they are very similar. is the ocean navy act biggest naval building act in the history of mankind. the navy that gets built by that act is going to be a navy that has over 6000 warships. the u.s. has 280 ships today.
warships. at the end of world war ii, it had something on the order of 6000 warships. ocean navy act is similar. they are both past with the u.s. as a neutral power. the two ocean act is not aimed at britain. it is aimed squarely at germany and japan. it is meant to be an act of deterrence. the two ocean navy act is meant to determine -- to deter germany and meant to deter japan from engaging in further aggressive war in china and asia. it failed disastrously as a deterrent but succeeds fabulously in building a war fleet that can fight on two oceans and defeat the germans and japanese.
with a lot of help from the british, canadians, and everybody else in the atlantic. proposeddid the construction of the canal by the british represent a significant point of contention that perhaps helped create an adversarial relationship between the u.s. and great britain? john: that is part of the background -- the americans were very upset at -- and we will have a similar approach after world war ii proposed by the secretary of the treasury. he wants to take germany back to being an agrarian economy. the assistant secretary is a soviet agent. we did not know that at the time. idea that the british are going to completely defang
germany militarily and economically. here is a canal you can use to transfer warships from the baltic to the north sea. it did not give the germans much of an advantage. waramericans were going to as an attack on commerce and on germany's future economic viability. the u.s. is convinced that without an economically healthy and viable germany, there cannot be peace in europe. let that sink in. that is the plan that will be adopted after world war ii. americansit made the only more antagonistic to the british and favorable for the germans. the british blockade is ongoing against germany. the u.s. is very unhappy with
that. in my other lecture, i talked about that. the lecture i did on the navy after world war i and the famine relief being done. at the same time this is going on, there is a pandemic going on killing millions of millions of people. these people were dying from the pandemic and because they are weakened by the blockade. hungarians --and britain still has this asiculous blockade in place a means to force germany to sign the treaty of versailles and agree to these terms. the americans were a little upset. camille: how politically realistic was it to get the consistent funding to build the
1916 plant? question is conflated to thinks. things. of london naval conference aboutand we are talking 1919. the point is well made. the british were kind of expecting that the united states is bluffing in building all of these ships. and then when wilson and daniels and benson get there and it is clear that if you are not nice to them, they are going to do it. even if they build half of what they intend to build, the british will have a really hard time. theirnaval policy -- naval policy is predicated on being the biggest navy.
are you going to believe they are going to build all these warships? yes, webenson is saying will build the ships. not only do we want to build them, but we can build them and we have the money to build them. on the other hand, wilson is a man of peace. say what you want about woodrow wilson, he is a man of peace. he is more than happy to forgo the naval building plan if it serves his agenda. the british are hoping that is what is going to happen. it is what happens. but they sort of play their cards wrong initially when they antagonize wilson and daniels. they do not realize the two guys they can count on to scale back the naval building are not the two guys we need to antagonize with combative language. what influence did
alfred have on woodrow wilson, if any? john: he's dead. 1914. he dies of a broken heart as europe plunges into war. europe is at war through a series of blunders that sound statement ship and clear thinking could have -- statesmanship and clear thinking could have prevented. augustagged in july -- 1914. wilson issues a gag order that says no american can write anything on policy about the war. he tells daniels that if my order --ates the
he is not -- [inaudible] wilson tells secretary daniels if he writes anything in favor of the british violating strict american neutrality, he will be brought back on active duty and court-martialed. and i think that contributes -- he has already had an editorial accepted for a magazine. i do not know if it is forbes or american century magazine but he has already had an article accepted for publication and he has to withdraw the article because daniels threatens him. it is not even an article about how america should go to war with germany. it is an article about the
situation in europe and why it is of concern to the u.s. it is a fairly mild article but he has to pull it. theinfluence is through idea that any naval building plan should be based on the most powerful navy, not the most likely enemy. you should not base the size of your navy on your most likely enemy. the u.s., the most likely enemy is japan, not great britain. but he says, you don't build your navy based on the navy that is probably -- you build your navy based on whoever has the most powerful navy. your benchmark for the size of your navy should be great britain or whoever has the biggest navy. that is the policy driver for all of these -- whoever has the
biggest navy controls the world. great britain will have the biggest navy and the u.s., if it wants to be a player with great britain, then she should build her navy as big as great britain. have also says, we should a navy as big as the americans. now you can see why there is this horrible naval arms race that is ongoing, not only before the war with the germans involved but with the japanese, british, and americans after the war. by the way, the french and the italians are looking at each other and building based on each other. ism has not naval i been put back in the bottle and done away with. is he the only guy with that idea? no. but he is the first guy to articulate it. ofbecomes the policy basis
the five most powerful navies in the world. if there is one thing we should learn from world war i , what would be one lesson you could take away? obviously, i will offer a naval lesson. there are so many lessons we can learn from world war i. the big one is, you know, just when you think war is impossible, it's not. -- four navy guys, the lesson is -- for navy guys, the lesson is that in a globalized world, naval power is not less important. it is more important. the local trade is based on
moving the bulk of value and goods in shipping. it seems like it had reached a climax prior to world war i. there were even people who thought, the future of both goods will not move by the sea t moveh goods will no by the sea. it will move by the railroads. they turn out to be wrong. the shipping that runs the economy of the world today 1arfs what existed in 919. never forget the sea. camille: how is that for a note to end on? thank you for joining us this evening. it was a complete joy. your questions were incredible. thank you for participating.
on behalf of the national world war i museum and memorial, thank you for being part of our program this evening. we so hope we can have you back in our auditorium soon. the museum and the memorial proper is open right now. when you're ready to combat, we are welcome -- when you are ready to come back, we will welcome you with masks on. have a good evening. john: great questions. this is american history tv on c-span3. each week in, we feature 48 hours of programs exploring our nation's past.
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