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Militarism in a Global AgeNaval Ambitions in Germany and the United States before World War I$
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Dirk Bönker

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450402

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450402.001.0001

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Maritime Force, Threat, and War

Maritime Force, Threat, and War

(p.73) Chapter 3 Maritime Force, Threat, and War
Militarism in a Global Age

Dirk Bönker

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines German and U.S. pursuit of superiority at sea aimed at the creation of a first-rate navy while establishing a close nexus between assessments of comparative military power and attitudes toward the desirability of great-power war in the present or near future. The relentless accumulation of maritime force grounded navalist strategies of world power and their militarizing approach to big-power diplomacy. German and U.S. naval elites emphasized the balance of (military) force and committed themselves to a competitive arms buildup. Arms races became a substitute for war and armaments the key currency of great-power politics. This chapter provides an overview of German and U.S. naval programs and explores how unfolding naval expansion catapulted the two navies to the forefront of any calculations of sea power, even as a position of superior strength eluded the two national communities of naval strategists. It suggests that a sense of never-ending vulnerability surrounded navalists' bids for maritime force.

Keywords:   navy, military power, war, maritime force, world power, naval elites, arms race, naval programs, naval expansion, sea power

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