A Race For Superiority In the English Channel: Naval Theory, Strategy, and Diplomacy, 1870-1914




Smith, William Edward

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The British Empire is one of the most recognizable icons of the nineteenth century, as is the Royal Navy that built and maintained it. Both the empire and the navy gave the relatively small nation of Britain a disproportionately dominant influence in world diplomacy, which was itself dominated by European politics. However, nothing lasts forever, and during the early twentieth century British dominance was challenged and ultimately declined. Using Royal Navy documents and the works of naval leaders, theorists and historians from the late 1800s and early 1900s allowed a study of the Royal Navy during the nineteenth century. That study offered a better understanding of how British diplomatic power was expressed after 1815 and how it changed between 1870 and 1914. Ultimately, British dominance was based on the Royal Navy, but that dominance was challenged by a growing Germany at the end of the century. Going into the twentieth century Britain survived the German threat, but at the cost of overall dominance.



Britain, British Royal Navy, naval strategy, nineteenth century, 19th century, ships, diplomacy, naval theory, Honors College


Smith, W. E. (2012). A race for superiority in the English Channel: Naval theory, strategy, and diplomacy, 1870-1914 (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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