By Geoffrey Till
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Additional resources for Maritime Strategy and the Nuclear Age
Before long, however, Mahan saw a hope of salvation from his purgatory in the person of Captain Stephen B. Luce, the founder, organiser, and first president of a new institution called the US Naval War College. Looking for the man who could do for naval strategy what Jomini had done for military strategy, Luce invited Mahan to become a lecturer at the new institution. Mahan, of course, was delighted. It was a ticket off the Wachusett, to shore duty, and an opportunity to pursue his historical studies.
Such control could only be gained by possession of a battlefleet, the ultimate key to naval success. Once again, his conclusions were not entirely new, but his audience was newly receptive. The Influence of Sea Power Upon History was an instant success, and its author an instant sage. Ironically, the book was far more popular in Europe than in America. Feted by European societies - even royalty- Mahan's head was turned by the critics who called him the new Copernicus. In fact, he was nothing of the kind.
Mahan recognised and cited these changes, but he cannot be credited for initiating them. In the summer of1883, while Congress debated approval of the three steel cruisers that would form the vanguard of the 'new navy', Mahan was seeing a manuscript through publication. It was his first historical effort, one which had little impact on either the profession or naval policy makers, but which nevertheless started him on his new career as an historian. It was entitled The Gulf and Inland Waters and was one of three volumes on the US Navy in the American Civil War commissioned by Charles Scribner's Sons.
Maritime Strategy and the Nuclear Age by Geoffrey Till