Two decades, the roaring Twenties and the boring Thirties, were to be of tremendous significance to the U. S. Navy, for it was during the years 1920 to 1940 that hard thinking by many officers over many years was to steel naval officers for the difficult fighting of World War II.
In 1960, that same premise—that the U. S. Navy's success in any war is a measure of the amount and quality of the professional thinking of the officer corps prior to the opening of hostilities—was the basis of a paper, “American Naval Thought,” written by Commander James R. Collier, U. S. Navy, while a student at the Naval War College.
In this massive, unpublished work, Commander Collier examined the 2,000 Proceedings articles that were published between 1920 and 1941. He selected 20 “typical” articles, one from each year, summarized each, and commented on them.
What follows, then, is a sampling of “American Naval Thought,” which in its entirety is a tribute to Commander (now Captain) Collier’s industry and perceptiveness.