Navies in Modern World History traces the role of navies in world history from the early nineteenth century, through both World Wars, to the dawn of the twenty-first century and beyond. In a series of case studies Lawrence Sondhaus examines the national fleets of Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Japan, Brazil, Chile and the Soviet Union, and demonstrates the variety of ways in which each country has made decisive use of naval power. In each case the author argues that the navy in question helped change the course of modern world history, as well as systematically analyzing the challenges faced in assembling materiel, training personnel and performing its mission. This book discusses the leading role of navies and shipbuilders in key technological innovations of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including advances in steam power, armour, artillery and torpedoes, and also looks at aircraft carrier design and naval aviation in general in the second half of the twentieth century. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, technological breakthroughs are centred around naval stealth and maritime propulsion systems.
Special attention is devoted to the evolving state of naval technology, and the book shows how the relative industrial capabilities of seafaring countries have been reflected in their maritime building programmes, providing an important link between the evolution of modern national fleets and the broader history of the period.