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History, Naval: Approaches to

American naval history remains a popular subject for authors hailing from a variety of backgrounds. At the start of the 21st century, this trend shows little evidence of decay. This entry examines classic interpretations of the history of the U.S. Navy as well as works completed since the end of the Cold War.

Classic Interpretations

Perhaps the most well-known military theorist in American history was Alfred Thayer Mahan. Mahan, a naval officer who served in the Civil War, believed that the study of history could be used to understand the nature of naval warfare and could prescribe effective patterns of operations for contemporary navies. The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660–1783 (1890) catapulted Mahan into international recognition for his views on sea power and national strength. ...

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