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Naval Competition and Great Power Politics, 1904–1914
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781612514758
  • Binding: Hardcover & eBook
  • Era: World War I
  • Number of Pages: 234
  • Subject: World War I
  • Date Available: April 2014
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BOOK NEWS: Crisis in the Mediterranean: Naval Competition and Great Power Politics, 1904-1914 by Naval Institute Press



SNEAK PEEK: Crisis in the Mediterranean: Naval Competition and Great Power Politics, 1904-1914 by Naval Institute Press


Praise for Crisis in the Mediterranean ~

"This is a most welcome, provocative, insightful, and highly recommended work, one that is, indeed, an essential reference for any student of Great War naval history and policy."— Naval History Book Reviews (NHF)

Crisis in the Mediterranean is essential reading for detailed information on naval conditions in the Mediterranean Sea in the decade leading to World War I.”— Sea History

“The shifting pattern of naval development in the Mediterranean, as the politics of Great Power alliances switched and then reversed, greatly complicated pre-1914 strategic calculations. Jon Hendrickson explains the complex diplomatic and political situation well, and gets to grips with the shifting technological bases of power.” Naval History

“The race for Mediterranean naval supremacy in the run-up to World War I has received little attention from historians on the implicit assumption that Britain’s withdrawal from the Mediterranean, France’s acceptance of the status quo, and Italy’s failure to come to the support of Germany and Austria-Hungary in the aftermath of Archduke Francis Ferdinand’s assassination were preordained.  As Hendrickson shows, the reality was more complex, more problematic . . . and far more interesting.  He paints a fascinating picture of competing imperial ambitions, nationalistic aspirations, and fiscally driven (and politically fraught) building plans that made the Mediterranean a seething cauldron of naval competition and diplomatic accommodation. In the event, the Italian-Ottoman war for control of Libya was a catalyst for change at precisely the right—or wrong—moment, with enormous consequences.  Hendrickson has provided an important and instructive corrective to the conventional wisdom.”

—John F. Guilmartin Jr., author of A Very Short War: The Mayaguez and the Battle of Koh Tang

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The geopolitical situation in the Mediterranean before the First World War has been generally ignored by historians. However, in the years before the War, the fact that the Mediterranean was shifting from British control to a wide open, anarchic state occupied the minds of many leaders in Austria-Hungary, Italy, France and Great Britain. This change was driven by three largely understudied events: the weakening of the British Mediterranean Fleet to provide more ships for the North Sea, Austria-Hungary's decision to build a navy capable of operating in the Mediterranean, and Italy's decision to seek naval security in the Triple Alliance after the Italo-Turkish War. These three factors radically altered the Mediterranean situation in the years leading up to the First World War, forcing Britain and France to seek accommodation with each other and France to begin rapidly building ships to defend both British and French interests. However, all of this activity has been largely obscured by the July Crisis of 1914 and the ensuing World War. Traditional history has looked backward from these events, and, in so doing, ignored the turbulent seas building in the Mediterranean. Conversely, this dissertation seeks to understand these events as they unfolded, to understand how policymakers understood the changing Mediterranean world. Ultimately, this dissertation seeks to redress the imbalance between historians, who have viewed the history of the Mediterranean in the early 20th century as a largely stable one, and policymakers in the Great Powers, who viewed the Mediterranean as a highly unstable region, and struggled to come to terms with that instability.    

Jon Hendrickson was born in Slidell, Louisiana.  After attending Williams College, he earned his PhD in military history from The Ohio State University in 2012.  He was the first Class of 1957 Fellow in Naval History at the United States Naval Academy.

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