One hundred years ago the U.S. Navy bought its first submarine (the USS Holland [SS-1], pictured above at the U.S. Naval Academy) from one of my very distant relatives. The purchase was made over the objections of most of the Navy hierarchy and without help from the Navy's professional bureaucracy, For the first 15 years of the submarine's existence, its capability was minimal, and its value was denigrated. Submarine expenditures were viewed as detracting from the "proper" Navy—the battleships. Alfred Thayer Mahan still was alive, and his thesis that the role of the Navy was to drive the enemy fleet from the sea resounded in every professional forum.
100 Years of Submarines
By Rear Admiral William J. Holland, Jr., USN (Ret.)