Anglo-American Maritime Strategy in the Era of Flexible Response, 1960–80

  • Joel J. Sokolsky
Part of the St Antony's book series


The dawn of the Cold War seemed to bring at once a Mahanian dream and a nightmare. On the one hand the United States and its allies held unquestioned ‘command of the seas’. American sea power was, Admiral Chester Nimitz noted at the time, ‘more absolute than ever possessed by the British … so absolute that it is sometimes taken for granted’.1 On the other hand, this superior sea power was not merely taken for granted by some; its very relevance was doubted. The advent of the atomic bomb appeared to make navies obsolete — superfluous in any future war against the most likely enemy, the Soviet Union. ‘How could enough time be allowed for seapower to take its effect where war was characterized by strategic bombing by nuclear weapons?’ asked one of the leading military thinkers of the day. Nations, their land and air forces as well as their economies would ‘disappear in the first blow’.2 Mahan had said that sea power had greatly influenced the course of history. Now it seemed that the match of events, political, strategic and technological would end that influence.


Nuclear Weapon Flexible Response Warsaw Pact Naval Force Naval Operation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© John B. Hattendorf and Robert S. Jordan 1989

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  • Joel J. Sokolsky

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