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The Great Navies at War in the Mediterranean Theater, 1940-1945
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781591146483
  • Binding: Hardcover & eBook
  • Era: WWII
  • Number of Pages: 352
  • Subject: History
  • Date Available: May 2009
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Full Description:

The Mediterranean Sea was the most intensely contested body of water in World War II. As the maritime crossroads where Europe, Asia, and Africa meet, more major naval actions were fought in the Mediterranean than in the Atlantic or Pacific. Despite its importance, remarkably little has been written about the subject, and what exists is largely one-sided and outdated. This fresh study of the naval war in the Mediterranean analyzes the actions and performances of the five major navies—British, Italian, French, German, and American—during the entire five-year campaign and objectively examines the national imperatives that drove each nation's maritime strategy.

Struggle for the Middle Sea sidesteps the myths that haunt this campaign, such as Great Britain enjoying a moral advantage over Italy, or the French being Germany's puppet, or the North African campaign significantly contributing to the eventual Allied victory. The book documents how the British Royal Navy, despite brilliant victories, was bled white in a campaign with questionable strategic goals; how Italy followed its own coherent naval strategy, much to the frustration of its German ally; and how the Marine Nationale was the strength of the independent French state and how it fought the Allies—and rejected the Axis—to maintain that independence.
Most World War II histories tell the story of the Mediterranean War from a limited national point of view. Other works also end the story in 1943. Struggle for the Middle Sea provides a complete history of the entire campaign from all perspectives and covers Germany's largely unknown—and remarkably successful—struggle to employ sea power in the Mediterranean after the Italian armistice.
The book's perspective and depth of detail is unmatched by other works, and its fresh viewpoints, supported by extensive research in Italian and French sources, are certain to provoke controversy. Its lessons about coastal warfare, the use of the sea, and the difficulty of sea denial have particular application today.
Vincent P. O'Hara is a naval historian and the author of The German Fleet at War and The U.S. Navy against the Axis, both published by the Naval Institute Press. His work has also appeared in periodicals and annuals, including Warship, MHQ, World War II Quarterly, World War II Magazine, and Storia Militare. He holds a history degree from the University of California at Berkeley and lives in Chula Vista, CA.



Praise for Struggle for the Middle Sea

"In essence, Mr. O'Hara has given us a straightforward account of the naval war in the Mediterranean and proved his point that the Italian navy functioned in a professional and courageous manner. It is a welcome and clarifying addition to the existing literature on the Mediterranean campaign." —Sol Schindler, The Washington Times

". . . .A remarkably thorough narrative and analysis of a complicated topic. . . .The breadth and depth of the author's research is impressive. The text is thoroughly supported by endnotes and an excellent biography—a balanced assortment of published and unpublished official records of Italian, British, French, and German sources inspires confidence. The narrative, written in a clear, workman-like style, is supported by extensive graphics. . . .This book belongs in any respectable library of World War II naval scholarship. Readers already familiar with the subject almost certainly will find something new in its narrative and interpretations, and newcomers to the field will find it an excellent place to start." Nautical Research Journal, June 2011

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