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The Great War at Sea
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Book description

This is a major new naval history of the First World War which reveals the decisive contribution of the war at sea to Allied victory. In a truly global account, Lawrence Sondhaus traces the course of the campaigns in the North Sea, Atlantic, Adriatic, Baltic and Mediterranean and examines the role of critical innovations in the design and performance of ships, wireless communication and firepower. He charts how Allied supremacy led the Central Powers to attempt to revolutionize naval warfare by pursuing unrestricted submarine warfare, ultimately prompting the United States to enter the war. Victory against the submarine challenge, following their earlier success in sweeping the seas of German cruisers and other surface raiders, left the Allies free to use the world's sea lanes to transport supplies and troops to Europe from overseas territories, and eventually from the United States, which proved a decisive factor in their ultimate victory.


‘A masterful synthesis of Sondhaus’ own extensive primary source research and the most up-to-date work of other naval historians, this study is particularly strong on the Central Powers’ naval operations and on non-operational but nonetheless vital dimensions such as the mutinies in the Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and German fleets, all of which contributed to those nations’ defeats. The analysis and judgments are pithy and persuasive. Those in search of a succinct yet wide-ranging overview of World War One at sea need look no further.’

John Beeler - University of Alabama

‘The First World War was a global maritime conflict, dominated sea communications, and the resource flows of food, industrial production and manpower that they secured. Sea power was key element in the final victory of Britain, France, Italy and the United States. Based on the latest research Lawrence Sondhaus' book emphasises global scale and significance of the naval war, and offers a powerful corrective to those who look for an explanation of victory on the Western Front.’

Andrew Lambert - Kings College London

‘Technology determined WWI. Men on land fought against machine guns, gas, artillery, and tanks, the likes of which had not been used against Europeans before. In the air were airplanes and zeppelins. But it was on sea, both atop and under, where perhaps the greatest of the new technological marvels contended against each other … No one has ever told the story of naval warfare in WWI better or more completely than Sondhaus. Summing up: highly recommended.’

K. R. DeVries Source: Choice

'… [a] lively account.'

Source: The Independent

'Authoritative and substantial.'

Source: The Good Book Guide

‘Although a number of recent works have dealt with naval operations during the Great War, Prof. Sondhaus … makes a valuable contribution to the literature of the war at sea … [The author] manages to integrate strategic, technical, and operational matters into a smooth narrative … The unique richness of The Great War at Sea offers an excellent read in naval history.’

Source: The NYMAS Review

'… this book is to be welcomed by general readers and specialists alike.  … The reward is that we have the great naval war of 1914–18 encompassed in one manageable volume. For that, Sondhaus is to be congratulated.'

Robin Prior Source: The Journal of Modern History

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