Sims-Daniels Controversy Reignited at U.K. Great War Conference
A strong contingent of U.S. naval historians was on hand to present perspectives from the “other side of the pond” as the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, held a conference titled “The First World War at Sea, 1914–19” in June.
“The conference featured an extraordinary blend of seasoned and up-and-coming scholars, bringing new perspectives to a conflict marked by staggering human loss on the battlefield,” said paper-presenter David F. Winkler of the Naval Historical Foundation. “The diverse series of presentations only served to reinforce the notion that the outcome on land was determined at sea.”
Given the location of the conference, it was no surprise that British scholars made up the majority of those in attendance, and British World War I topics such as Jutland and Gallipoli were prevalent throughout. But it was the subject of U.S. naval leadership—the focus of papers presented by a trio of Yank scholars—that really stirred the historical-debate pot, with a revival of the notorious William Sims–Josephus Daniels controversy.