What Happened to the Battleship

1945 to Present

  • Subject: Fall 2022 Catalog | World of Warships Booklist
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Illustrations:
    120 color and b/w photos
  • Published:
    August 15, 2022
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9.75 × 6.75 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    43 oz
Hardcover $70.00
Member Price $42.00 Save 40%
Book: Cover Type


In the hundreds of books written about battleships, the authors tend to draw down the curtain on the careers of these great vessels in September 1945, with the surrender of Japan. Yet, on that day some ninety-eight battleships or ex-battleships might be spotted around the world, and eleven of them were in or around Tokyo Bay for the surrender itself. What happened to all those ships?  

This new book takes a fresh look at the slow demise of the battleship. It examines the decisions made by the major world powers after 1945, and their aspirations to retain battleships in their navies, despite financial stringency. It places the history and role of battleships after 1945 in their geo-political context, centered around the Cold War and the need for the West to face down an aggressive Soviet Union. It also examines the impact on battleships of operational analysis of the Second World War and new technological developments, notably the atom bomb and the guided missile.  

Chris Baker uses the wealth of information from ships’ books, ships’ logs and gun logs to document the ships’ activities after World War II. In this book, he focuses on ships of the Royal Navy—covering United States battleship operations in Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War. He examines the deterrent role played by battleships for NATO from the 1950s to the 1990s. Finally, Baker documents the preservation as museum ships of the eight dreadnoughts which still exist today in the United States.  

Extensively illustrated with photographs of the range of activities of battleships after1945, from their use as Fleet flagships to Royal or Presidential yachts and more poignantly as target ships, What Happened to the Battleship will appeal equally to the historic ship enthusiast and naval specialist, and provide a novel perspective through a battleship–shaped lens on late twentieth-century history for the more general reader.  

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

As one might expect, the book gives the greatest coverage to the largest battleship navies, those of the USA and UK , but France and Italy together with Turkey and the South American navies are also covered in detail . . . Overall this is a fascinating book that sheds a fresh perspective on the declining years of the battleship. I learnt a lot from it, thoroughly enjoyed reading it from cover to cover and recommend it highly. — Australian Naval Institute
"An excellent selection of images is included, some of which are new to the reviewer. What Happened to the Battleship breaks new ground in fleshing out the story of the last decades of the service of the battleship, demonstrating that the story was far more complex and nuanced than is often implied, and is highly recommended." —Warship