The Decline of European Naval Forces

Challenges to Sea Power in an Age of Fiscal Austerity and Political Uncertainty
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Published:April 15, 2018

The Decline of European Naval Forces aims to provide insight into the evolution of Europe’s naval forces since the end of the Cold War. To illuminate the drastic changes many European navies have undergone over the last twenty-five years, Jeremy Stöhs analyzes the defense policies and naval strategies of eleven European states as well as the evolution, deployment, and capabilities of their respective naval forces.

In these case studies, the development of Europe’s most important naval forces is assessed per the respective strategic framework in which they have operated over the past two decades. Stöhs describes not only the general composition of each force but also the range of their capabilities and their important technical features. His study shows that since the end of the Cold War, all but a few European navies have significantly decreased in size and, thus, have ceded important capabilities along the way.

Based on the understanding of sea power as a prerequisite for political influence and economic health, the consequences of the geopolitical shift toward the Asian-Pacific region, and most importantly the general decline of Europe’s traditional naval capabilities, the author concludes that the ability of European states to influence events near and abroad by means of their naval forces has atrophied and will continue to be called into question in the future

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Product Details
  • Subject: Military History
  • Hardback : 312 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1682473082
  • ISBN-13: 9781682473085
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 21.92 oz
  • Midrats Podcast Interview with Jeremy Stöhs
  • Chosen for “Book of the Quarter,” a new series in which one book is given a greater profile each quarter. “For anyone interested in contemporary naval matters, twenty-first century international relations, and geopolitics, this is the book to read. Jeremy Stöhs should be congratulated for having the nerve to write it, and for challenging readers to disagree. Thoroughly recommended.” —The Naval Review
  • The Decline of European Naval Forces is a fascinating study of European naval power, how and why it reached the state in which it finds itself, and the roles it may play in years to come.” —Military History Magazine
  • The Decline of European Naval Forces by Jeremy Stohs is a scholarly, yet easy to read, insight into the evolution of Europe’s naval forces since the end of the Cold War. —Warships
  • “A thought-provoking and sensible analysis.” —Ausmarine
  • The Decline of European Naval Forces is ... a valuable critique, and an important read for anyone concerned about the European and Western security.” —Strategy Page
  • “This book deserves a wide readership… an important wake-up call and an impressive debut for a new naval analyst.” —Navy News
  • "Jeremy Stohs is an Austrian American defence analyst at Kiel University’s Institute for Security Policy and its associated Centre for Maritime Strategy and Security. He is also a non-resident fellow of the Austrian Centre for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies and this book is one of a series produced by Kiel University on sea power. The author is, therefore, well connected and his subject is a timely reminder of the importance of sea power that has the potential to stimulate thought and discussion…. I would certainly recommend this book to those with an interest in, or even responsibility for, contemporary naval affairs as an introduction to the subject that will hopefully stimulate readers to study the subject more widely and deeply.” —The Australian Naval Institute
  • “The book is a strong analysis of how, for many years, European fleets have been subjected to cuts in order to pick up a 'Peace Dividend' and the consequences that we must now live with…. The Decline of European Naval Forces is therefore clearly commendable and interesting.” —
  • “Well written and didactic, it gives a good view of the evolution of the navies since the end of the cold war.” —
  • “This is a timely, interesting and alarming book. Its author states that, since the end of the Cold War, the governments of the 11 major European countries reviewed have reduced their navies to a state of near operational impotence, almost entirely reliant on the willingness of the United States (US) Navy to undertake their protection on and from the sea. This is a sweeping and serious claim but Jeremy Stöhs, an Austrian, has made a strong case supporting it…. The book has copious endnotes and references…. [T]he book is highly recommended for lay and professional readers who will profit from contemplating its arguments and their implications for our own naval defence situation.” —RUSI
  • “A good book and summer read!” —The NAVY Magazine
  • “… a new book from the US Naval Institute offers a telling comparison on how Canada’s European allies have endured similar painful discussions on these subjects. Written by Austrian defence scholar Jeremy Stöhs, The Decline of European Naval Forces attempts to explain why European navies have been in decline since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and what this means in an era of increasingly nativist American foreign policy and the rise of new naval powers in the Asia-Pacific region.” —Canadian Naval Review
  • “Written from a European viewpoint by Austrian-born defense analyst Jeremy Stöhs, this provocative new book examines the decline of European naval forces since the end of the Cold War and suggests what the 21st century may hold for Western sea powers. The author harbors no illusions about the vital importance of maritime security, for while Austria has no coastline of its own, most of the goods its people consume are imported via countries that have access to the sea…. The Decline of European Naval Forces is a fascinating study of European naval power, how and why it reached the state in which it finds itself, and the roles it may play in years to come.” —HistoryNet
  • “The book as a whole can be considered successful in the context of European (Western) Marines…. With the book of Jeremy Stöhs and his analysis of more than 25 years of peace dividend for European Navies it should become clear how urgent a new discussion on sea power is needed. In the end a more common maritime strategy should combine ideas for future platforms and their linkeage to each other.” —Meer Versten
  • "Anyone proclaiming that Europe has to share more of a burden in transatlantic affairs will come away sober after reading Jeremy Stöhs’ introduction to post-Cold War European naval forces. This book is a warning call for policy-makers to get to work now on revitalizing maritime strategic thinking and procurement." —Sebastian Bruns, author of US Naval Strategy and National Security; Director, Kiel Seapower Series; Head of Center for Maritime Strategy & Security, Institute for Security Policy University of Kiel (ISPK)
  • "Jeremy Stohs and the Kiel University Institute for Security Policy have done the NATO alliance and European-American relations a great service by echoing the words of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, “A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guarantee of peace”. This outstanding analysis shows in fine detail not just the current and planned status of Europe’s navies, but very succinctly why collective increased maritime power is quintessential for maintaining global peace and the vital national interests of these countries." — Dr. Anthony Wells, author of A Tale of Two Navies, Geopolitics, Technology, and Strategy in the United States Navy and the Royal Navy, 1960-2015
  • "This book fills a critical gap in the discussion of modern seapower. By examining the state of European navies through the prism of strategy, technology, and operations, Jeremy Stöhs is able to escape the confines of the largely theoretical debate about the value of naval power and illuminates the critical decisions and tradeoffs European nations face in their effort to 'provide the European populace with both security and access to the amenities of the global market.'"—Eric V. Thompson, Vice President and Director of Strategic Studies, Center for Naval Analyses
  • "Jeremy Stöhs' book is an urgent and persuasive reminder of how European politicians have neglected to remain strong at sea at a time when the international maritime system - the watery world-wide web - is coming under increasing pressure. The United States Navy cannot be everywhere at once and European navies will have to demonstrate tangible war-fighting capability and technological agility, as well as the ability and willingness to go in harm's way, if they are to help maintain order at sea, deter aggression and resist coercion." —Rear Admiral Chris Parry CBE PhD, Churchill College, Cambridge and author of 'Super Highway, Sea Power in the 21st Century

Jeremy Stöhs is an Austrian-American defense analyst at the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University (ISPK) and its adjunct Center for Maritime Strategy & Security. He is also a non-resident fellow of the Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda & Security Studies (ACIPSS).

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