THE BLUE SWORD
The Naval War College
American Mission, 1919-1941
THE BLUE SWORD
THE NAVAL WAR COLLEGE
AMERICAN MISSION, 1919-1941
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.
Stock No. 008-047-00325-1
U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE
HISTORICAL MONOGRAPH SERIES
CDR W.R. Pettyjohn, USN, Editor
The Naval Historical Monograph Series was established in 1975. It
consists of book-length studies relating to the history of naval warfare
that are based, wholly or in part, on the holdings of the Naval War
College Naval Historical Collection.
Copies of volumes in this series may be obtained from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing
Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.
No. 1 John D. Hayes and John B. Hattendorf, The Writings of
Stephen B. Luce (1975). Stock No. 008-047-00202-5. Price $2.80
No. 2 Craig L. Symonds, Charleston Blockade: The Journals of John
B.Marchand, U.S. Navy, 1861-1862 (1976). Stock No. 008-047-00201-
7. Price $3.00 softbound.
No. 3 Ronald Spector, Professors of War: The Naval War College
and the Development of the Naval Profession (1977). Stock No.
008-047-00212-2. Price $2.75 softbound.
Contents may be cited in consistence with conventional research
practices. Reprinting in whole or in part is prohibited without the
express permission of the President, Naval War College.
Some volumes in this series were made possible by the generosity of
the Naval War College Foundation, Inc., a charitable, nonbusiness
Rhode Island corporation organized to provide a private source of
support to the Naval War College in carrying out its mission.
U.S. Naval War College, Newport, R.I. 02840
THE BLUE SWORD
THE NAVAL WAR COLLEGE
But when he has driven
The war and the shouting from the ships,
Then let him return
At the swift ships
With all his arms and his comrades
That have seen close combat.
NAVAL WAR COLLEGE PRESS
NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Vlahos, Michael, 1951-
The blue sword.
(Historical monograph series/U.S. Naval War College; no. 4)
1. Naval War College (U.S.) — History — 20th century. 2. United
States. Navy — History — 20th century. 3. Naval art and science —
History — 20th century. 4. United States — History, Naval — 20th
century. I. Title. II. Series: Historical monograph series (Naval War
V420.V55 359\07'1173 81-9654
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART I: ETHOS 1
Chapter I: The Nature of Ethos 3
Ethos and World View 3
Culture and Personality 5
The Corporation of Ethos 6
Chapter II: The National Ethos 8
Images of America 8
American Personality: The Mask of Ethos 12
Chapter III: The Corporate Ethos 15
Rites of Passage: "Shipmates Forever" 15
The Call of the Sea: From Constellation
to Monongahela 19
"Sons of Gunboats" 21
A Band of Brothers 25
Chapter IV: Mission and Ethos 29
Defender of the Faith 30
The Legacy of Darwin 37
Law and Warfare 42
The World Island 47
PART II: MISSION 55
Chapter V: The Evolution of Mission 57
Chapter VI: The Course 63
The Lectures 67
The Bibliography 71
The Theses 75
The Doctrine 85
The Fraternity 91
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART III: THE ENEMY 97
Chapter VII: The Callimorphosis of the Enemy:
Chapter VIII: The Cacomorphosis of the Enemy:
Chapter IX: Behind the Mask 122
PART IV: THE GAME 131
Chapter X: The Game as Ritual: Expede Herculem ... 133
Chapter XI: The Game as Oracle: The Campaign 143
Chapter XII: The Game as Oracle: The Battle 147
Chapter XIII: The Game as Oracle: The Weapon 152
APPENDIX I: The Colors of the Rainbow 163
APPENDIX II: Abbreviated Titles 164
APPENDIX III: War Games Conducted at the Naval
War College, 1919-1941 166
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 196
This essay could not have been conceived, much less realized,
without the full support of colleagues, teachers, and friends . . .
and those "keepers of the flame," the archivists:
To Ruth Nicholson, C.F.W. Coker, and Charles Kelly, of the
Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, for their patience in
handling my cartloads of inquiry;
To Anthony Nicolosi and Evelyn Cherpak, who not only gave
me the run of the Naval War College Naval Historical
Collection, but who listened, encouraging me to develop early
"discoveries" into a complete work;
To Captain Hugh Nott, Director of the Center for Advanced
Research, Naval War College, who gave me the official support
that made my work possible, and the personal support that gave
To Commander W.R. Pettyjohn, who had enough faith to
give me the "push" I needed to get started; and who, as editor,
gave a rough stone some polish;
To John Bird, who found the time;
To Professor Alan K. Henrikson, who acted as my Virgil in
And to my mother and father, who gave all.
HISTORY is action recalled. Visible realities have their
memorial: the physical energies of an age are preserved in the
collective record of activity. How different the spirit of an age!
Behind the mask of ritual play, beyond the actors' fading
memory of a finished script, we remember the speeches and the
motion and the changes of set and scene. The theme, pervading
all, embracing all, can be but sensed. Spirit is an intractable stage
for history: a ghostly scaffold.
What follows is an unfinished canvas of the spirit of an age, a
picture of a part of a world. This is not history in the manner of
narrative, nor a history of manners. This essay is simply a
portrait of a fraternal institution: of several generations of
membership as they passed the span of two decades. There is,
within, no straight transcription of administration, of bureau-
cratic bickering, of battles lost and won. Ahead is a glimpse of a
society's collective sense of self .... The nature of their reality:
their world view .... The subtext of their behavior: their
This fraternal society is the officer corps of the U.S. Navy.
This essay records their thought between the wars, from 1919 to
1941. If there is a story here, it is of the Navy's intellectual
cloister: the Naval War College, "the home of thought." This is
the story of the creation of an ethos.
As a warrior society in a quiescent era, among a martial people
who enshrined an unmilitary republic, the Navy lived on the
periphery of national life. Guarding the margins of American
security, it played out an isolated role. Yet the American oceanic
margins have always demarcated an open frontier. More than an
estranging perimeter- sanitaire, they have been an expansive
highway, compelling outward. As agent and as guardian of
transoceanic America, the Navy evolved into a central institu-
tion in national life. Sharing its identity with the outward facing
of America, the Navy came to embody the imagery of an
enduring motif in the American ethos.
As a culture within a culture, the Navy represented a distilled,
distinct subset of the aggregate of national beliefs and values.
Naval thought was but one link of institutional continuity in the
American ethos. On one level, integral with the larger society,
the Navy reflected the immediate spirit of the age. On the
subterranea of institutional role, the generational lineage of the
corporate ethos preserved a stronger spirit through time.
Through the lean years, the "locust years" between the wars,
the Navy kept strong its vision of self, and of mission. From
generation to generation, the Service passed down both vision
and mission — of Navy and of nation. The expansive, outward-
gazing symbols of a prewar era of "imperialism" were
transformed into a continuing awareness of, and readiness for,
the fulfillment of mission. From 1919 to 1941, the Navy,
indoctrinated at Newport, formed the institutional patterns of
kinship between two paradigms: what Frederick Merk called
"Manifest Destiny and Mission."
If, in our history, there have been links between the pendulum
swings of policy and of public mood — from expansive to
contractive generations — then these were forged into the
institutional cable that anchors society. From the "insular
imperialism" of the 1890s to the "global mission" of the 1950s,
the Navy, from its granite-girded Atlantic monastery — the
Naval War College — evolved such a connecting cable. From part
to whole: the corporate spirit of the Navy reflected and advanced
the spirit, not simply of an interwar era, but of an age.
The patterns of this essay unravel from the large to the small;
from catechism to ritual, ideology to action, idea to instru-
The processes of cultural distillation, from the existential
postulates to the articulated behaviors of this society — the naval
fraternity — is replicated by the vertabral framework of this
ETHOS describes the perimeter of their reality, and the
locus of its survey: Who are we, Where do we come from?
MISSION demarcates the expectational, and the ex-
pected; the vision of, and the behavioral response to, the
future: Where are we going?
THE ENEMY is the cast inversion of the values and the
belief system of their society: the evil mask, the symbiosis
supporting — and defining — Mission.
THE GAME is the ritual instrument of preparation:
setting Future's stage, and learning the actors' parts in
Future's play. The Game is the rehearsal of Mission.
In Modern Greek H#oa implies character, disposition,
temper, and appearance. Its plural form, Hfior], suggests
customs and habits. 1 Today, in strict usage, ethos is inseparable
from the anthropological concept of culture. Usage has linked
ethos to the aggregate of normative values and behavior for all
of society. Whether or not the concept of ethos can usefully
describe groups and corporations within a society is important.
Are corporate variations of ethos strong enough to justify the
concept of a distinct Corporate Ethos?
A society is the sum of its groups and its institutions. Groups
both reflect and shape the ethos of a society. Some corporate
groups occupy barometric positions at the center; these act as
arbiters of the normative. Others watch from the margins, and
seek only self-preservation. If, in the most salient of these
bodies, a distinct Corporate Ethos can be isolated, then, in the
examination of a single group, the passage of an entire society
may be illuminated.
Thus in the search for a Navy Ethos the nature of ethos, both
national and corporate, must be explored.
THE NATURE OF ETHOS
Ethos and World View
We make our world: we define "reality" through our sense of
self. "Man constantly imposes on this environment his own
constructions and meaning." 1 This is "the structure of things as
man is aware of them," 2 the "cognitive view of life," 3
Weltanschauung, world view. Every culture possesses a set of
constructions and meanings that is distinct and variant.
In the process of defining the set of conceptual components
that defines world view, every culture "makes its own
assumptions about the ends and purposes of human existence." 4
These assumptions are the "basic postulates" of culture. In that
these deep-running assumptions delineate the very nature of
things — of man, and of existence — they are called "existential
In turn, they are the foundation for the superstructure of a
society's world view: the framework of formal beliefs and
commonly held values that shape identity. Within the literature
of a society, such is the essence of cultural "personality."
The nature of culture, however, cannot stop simply with the
creation of a formal, idealized belief system. Throughout the
graduated continuum of world view, from existential postulates
to the most complex symbology of creed, values are abstracted
that direct the behavior of a society. In corollary to the set of
existential postulates underlying world view is an equally basic
set of "normative postulates," the aggregation of assumptions
that "specify whether behavior is good or bad, proper or
improper." 6 Custom and taboo, the "informal patterns of
culture," are shaped by these normative postulates. If existential
postulates are the bedrock of world view, then normative
postulates are the bedrock of ethos.
Culture has been described simply as "an integrated system of
learned behavior." 7 On this basis, culture creates both horizontal
and vertical integration. Just as the belief system of world view
rises along a graduated continuum from basic to complex beliefs,
each level of abstracted value has its corollary in the behavioral
system, or ethos, of a society. Beliefs inspire and direct
behaviors. At the most basic level, existential postulates have
their normative corollaries. As the symbology of the belief
system evolves along a continuum of value, the abstraction of
value becomes more complex. Essential notions of the nature of
things are distilled into implicit creeds: the very essence of what
a society determines is good and right. As the set of beliefs is
progressively distilled to the essence of a society's world view,
these beliefs become both more complex and more valued. As
they are abstracted to the very highest level of symbolism to
which a society is capable, this narrowing set of beliefs can be
said to form the implicit creed of a culture. 8
This is the vision that a society holds of itself: a vision that not
only creates an ultimate sense of identity, but a vision that
shapes a society's collective purpose, or mission, within its own
world. Mission is the most highly abstracted behavioral directive
guiding a society. A graduated continuum of behaviors mirrors a
culture's scale of abstracted beliefs. At bottom is the set of
normative corollaries defining the informal patterns of custom
and taboo. The scale of behaviors progresses through a series of
"moral imperatives" that guide individual action at increasingly
complex levels of societal organization.
At the apex of a complex structure of cultural behavior
patterns, statutory and implicit, formal and customary, is a
society's collective sense of mission. Mission is the cultural
mechanism for translating vision into a correct and positive
pattern of action. Mission is the mobilizing agent of a society. In
complex societies it is the spur to that series of actions that has
created what we call "civilization." In such complex societies,
beliefs are abstracted to the level at which they mark the
conscious, symbolic passage of a whole people. The form that
this passage will take, and the manner in which it is chronicled
and remembered, defines the highest abstraction of behavior:
In a complex society, vision is the ultimate shared statement
of world view. Mission is the ultimate abstraction of collective
behavior in pursuit of vision. The more complex a society, the
greater is the variation of perceived vision, and the more
variable the accepted parameters of behavior, both individual
and institutional in the performance of mission.
Culture and Personality
Cultural "personality" exists on several levels of societal
aggregation. Personality is the translation of ethos into concrete
action: the performance according to the behavioral rules and
imperatives of ethos. From the Latin, persona, it is truly the
player's mask, and we all play our parts according to an
embracing script. 9
Or scripts. At the nuclear level, each man and woman accepts
and reflects the basic existential and normative postulates
underlying a culture. More complex sets of beliefs, and their
behavioral corollaries, are the product of higher levels of
aggregation within a society. The more complex the belief
system of an institution, the denser is the single societal actor's
personality. At higher levels of intellectual superstructure,
individual personality continues to reflect group personality.
Coexistent group membership, furthermore, multiplies the
number of societal scripts a single actor must assimilate.
Membership at the most basic level of social organization can
define only basic personality. The highest level of membership
to which one aspires marks the highest stage of cultural
personality and, by extension, the highest point along the
continuum of beliefs that define world view. The point at which
individual personality comes to reflect predominantly both
vision and mission is at the apogee of role-playing allowed by
culture. Such achievement is marked not only by membership in,
but by leadership of, the dominant institutions of society.
In the most complex societies, leadership is shared among
coexistent and often conflicting institutions. Variation in
perceived vision commonly results in a diffusion of mission and
a struggle between dominant groups for mastery of a society. In
modern Western civilization especially, military institutions are
often denied a leadership role in times of peace, while expected
to mobilize and inspire society in time of war. The cultural
personality of military leaders inevitably reflects both the
essential delicacy and the overriding, but latent, importance of
their role. To a degree beyond that of collegial leaders in other,
dominant, societal groups, a society's generals and admirals feel
an intense, rarified sense of mission. The more peripheral the
role they are forced to play in peace, the stronger must be their
collective vision of the role they will play in war. War becomes a
shared expectation that, inevitable or not, creates their role as a
central, indispensable institution in society.
By centering institutional mission around the process of war,
military groups tend to shape their perception of society's larger
mission within the context of war. Their historical vision marks
the progress of their society from war to war. In this sense, then,
military institutions are one of the most active groups defining
societal mission, delineating and extending historical traditions
with exuberant imagery.
In this context, a military institution tends to keep alive an
active and outward-facing vision of society, even in times when
such a tradition is in eclipse. In doing so, armies and navies
provide a strong sense of continuity for a specific historical
mission that, in Homeric terms, may be termed "heroic." When
the strategic situation demands or the public clamors, the
mission, like an old ember, is still alive.
The Corporation of Ethos
Ethos symbolizes a culture's inclusive set of behavioral/ moral
imperatives at every level of societal aggregation. The
translation of the imagery of ethos into the action of personality
must attend each manifestation of social organization as well. In
concrete terms, ethos is incorporated by every group in a society.
Institutional values and behavior patterns, to a degree, reflect
corresponding patterns throughout the larger society.
There are central institutions in every culture that dominate
the formulation and regulation of distinct aspects of a culture's
ethos. The range of variation in personality between the
dominant institutions of complex societies and the specific role a
single institution may play in the evolution of ethos is a
persuasive argument for the introduction of a concept of
In complex societies, key institutions or corporations may
approach the definitional stage in the evolution of ethos. This
function is most easily achieved at the most abstracted level: that
of mission. In this civilization the performance of this function
is called politics.
Not all political groups are formal institutions, endowed with
a constitutional role, supported by the continuity of traditions,
inspired by shared emblems of identity, and strengthened by
ritual and very real ties of allegiance binding its membership.
They are, in fact, few. The U.S. Navy is one: a formal institution
whose structure and historical continuity have evolved into a
true corporate ethos.
Like a culture within a culture, the Navy ethos has created a
distinct set of values and behavior patterns within a complex and
sophisticated world view. The Navy ethos exists at every level of
social aggregation. For its leadership, especially, the Navy ethos
defines a kind of cultural personality at every membership status
within the Navy hierarchy. Unlike more informal corporations,
the Navy is a complete "way of life." The Navy ethos reflects the
national ethos at all points along the continuum of cultural
values: from normative postulates to moral imperatives to a
perceived sense of mission. Although reflected, the national
ethos is also distilled.
The Navy ethos is. an intensification of the American ethos,
the product of the special role that the Navy has played and
continues to play in American life. The Navy is, to a measurable
degree, a society apart: a culture within a culture. Yet it has
remained a central institution in American society. As a rarified
part of America, it illuminates more clearly than any other
national corporation a unique set of values in the American
ethos. As an intensification of the national ethos, the Navy has,
in critical periods of our history, played a decisive, even
dominant, role in shaping of the passage of this society. Before
examining the Navy both as corporate and unique ethos, it is
essential to connect institutional with national world view.
THE NATIONAL ETHOS
Images of America
What is America?
Throughout our history, America has been defined in
inseparable contradistinction. Both in isolation and in
association; a part of European civilization, and yet apart.
Conceived as a New World, cast in the imagery of the Old,
America was first an idea for which a place was found. As J.H.
Elliott has confessed, "dreams were always more important than
realities in the relationship of the Old World and the New." 1
As secure sanctuary and as Utopian garden, America was safe
and fertile ground for the transplantation of successive liberal
visions evolving within the European oikoumene, a larger, more
comprehensive society. According to Vernon Louis Parrington,
these "germinal contributions were the bequests successively of
English Independency, of French romantic theory, of the
industrial revolution and laissez faire, of 19th century science,
and of Continental theories of collectivism." 2 Although "native"
American society evolved toward a complexity and organization
rivaling the seats of European culture, American thought has
never reached true autochthony. Convinced of their essential
uniqueness, Americans have stood for 350 years on the cultural
frontier, if not periphery, of the European world view. The
United States is a "national society." "American culture" is part
of a larger, ecumenical whole. America has both reflected and
reshaped European vision, and in the process created a special
mission, one that has had the historical effect of defining the
American personality, both in isolation from, and in association
The symbolic agent of this definition was the concept of the
"American Frontier." The notion of a frontier is inescapably
geographic, rich in the social overtones of the soil: the yeoman
farmer, the Utopian garden, the agrarian virtues; and rich in
tradition: Hesiod, Cato, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, and the latter-day
physiocrats were all called upon to sing the praises of the new,
noble society. The frontier and the agrarian myth are
inseparable in American folklore. 3 Even the slogans resound
through our history: Manifest Destiny, Continentalism, All
Mexico, 54-40 or Fight, Free Men and Free Soil. Modern
American historiography, from Frederick Jackson Turner to C.
Vann Woodward to Robin Winks have embraced, or wrestled
with, the enduring image of the American Frontier.
It is the central symbol of the American world view; its
mythology continues to shape the American ethos. The
American personality has, for 200 years of nationhood, defined
itself, and has been defined, in the context of the frontier
As a geographic metaphor, the American Frontier created a
severe, and as yet unrealized, harness on the evolution of this
nation's perceived sense of historical mission. By focusing
primarily on a continental frontier-image, America chose a
landlocked vision on which to posit its world view. The
American Frontier is inward-gazing. Our frontier mythology, in
a long process of historical accumulation of imagery, has tended
to define America and Americanism in isolated terms. The
original, New World images of "sanctuary" and "garden," in
their unity, forged a force of cultural fission, pulling America
from its membership in the oikoumene of this civilization. As
both C. Vann Woodward and Richard Hofstadter implied at the
height of the cold war, only the permanent historical loss of
"free security" could reverse America's societal desire to define
itself apart. 4
Mythology has come to define the American world view
almost exclusively in terms of a continental frontier. Our
cinematic obsession with the American "West" is a testament to
our unquestioning acceptance of this myth.
Yet there is another frontier in the American tradition, a
There are, within our national world view, two Americas. One
is inward-gazing, one outward-facing. One looked toward the
wilderness of an untamed continent, one toward the wilderness
spray of the world ocean. One is based on agrarian philosophy,
one on mercantalist principles. One exalts the farmer, one
idealizes the sailor. One is limited to a continent. One is
implicitly global. The western frontier demanded an army to
keep the peace and fought campaigns on the level of police
actions. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans demanded a navy,
prepared to meet the demands of deterrence and diplomacy.
This twin tradition is deep-rooted. As Henry Nash Smith
wrote, in the year of Korea, 1950:
The early visions of an American empire embody two
different if often mingled conceptions. There is, on the one
hand, the notion of empire as command of the sea, and on
the other hand the notion of empire as a populous future
society occupying the interior of the American continent. 5
The agrarian vision is unmistakably Jeffersonian, while the
mercantile is just as indelibly Hamiltonian. Ironically, both
visions imply a separation from Europe, and both the creation of
an American Empire. Hamilton spoke of "erecting one great
American system, superior to the control of all transatlantic
force or influence, and able to dictate the terms of the connection
between the old and the new world." 6
This is a vision of equality, not disassociation. In that it
implied an equality of competition with European societies,
Hamilton's vision of America was one of identity with the
European oikoumene , as long as such relationship was on terms
of America's choosing:
Our situation invites and our interests prompt us to aim at
an ascendant in the system of American affairs. 7
Hamilton envisaged an American hegemony along European
lines and according to European political traditions. As Felix
Gilbert wrote, it was "the fitting of 'old policy' to the American
In this sense, one of shared, transatlantic ethos, Hamilton's
vision was a force pulling America toward a closer ecumenical
membership with the Old World, while Jefferson's Louisiana
gaze and his vision of new American republics, like "eaglets"
hatching beyond the Mississippi, tended to reinforce the notion
of American separation and uniqueness.
Coexistent, the two Americas evolved in exclusion, divorced
until the fifth decade of the 19th century. With the continental
limits of the United States demarcated after the Mexican War,
America stood on the shores of the Pacific. Seafaring America,
by that time, was bringing the commerce of China to New
England and Yankee whalers hunted across the breadth of the
Pacific. In 1853, the U.S. Navy opened the door to Japan. The
American frontier at that moment, and just for a moment,
returned to the image of the "Passage to India." American
mission, in the eyes of Thomas Hart Benton, Asa Whitney, and
William Gilpin, was to extend the American empire across the
The untransacted destiny of the American people to subdue
the continent — to rush over this vast field to the Pacific
Ocean — to teach old nations a new civilization — to confirm
the destiny of the' human race — to shed a new and
resplendent glory on mankind 9
For a brief decade the two frontiers were fused. The exotic scape
of the South Seas brought by Melville to a hungry public in 1846-
47 was an extension of the frontier myth of the Utopian garden.
California, the newest state of the union, was tied to the
Republic by clipper, almost as if it were a faraway archipelago.
This unity of vision in the American world view was shattered
by the Civil War. Yet, once established, the image of a
transpacific American frontier would remain as a latent
component in our culture. Four times in the future, this image
would come to shape America's perceived sense of mission: in
1898, in 1941, in 1950, and in 1964. As in 1853, the U.S. Navy
would play an instrumental role both in the translation of vision
to mission and in the performance of mission in action.
As Walt Whitman wrote, on the occasion of the arrival of the
first Japanese envoys to America in 1860:
For I too raising my voice join the ranks of this pageant,
I am the chanter, I chant aloud over the pageant,
I chant the world on my Western sea,
I chant copious the islands beyond, thick as stars in the sky,
I chant the new empire grander than any before, as in a
vision it comes to me,
I chant America the mistress, I chant a greater supremacy,
My sail-ships and steam-ships threading the archipelagoes,
My stars and stripes fluttering in the wind,
Young Libertad! With the venerable Asia, the all-
American Personality: The Mask of Ethos
Before attempting to examine the Navy as a unique
corporation — a distinct society within a national society — it is
important first to describe the larger context of national
"personality." If the Navy ethos created a notional Navy
personality, then the Navy as a corporate identity should be
viewed both as a thematic and variational component in the
The imagery that, in its complete set, comprises world view
along a vertical axis defines a corollary set of behaviors on a
horizontal plane. This is ethos, the set of normative values that,
in its turn, is translated into actions. This, the collective set of
performances of a society's actors, is the fused form of persona —
the "personality" — of culture.
A culture must be defined in terms of the inclusive set of world
view, ethos, and personality along both vertical and horizontal
axes. By this definition, there exists no distinct American
culture. There is a national society, which is but a member of a
larger association called an oikoumene. America shares so many
basic components of its world view with European societies that
it cannot claim a legitimate, separate, cultural identity.
In spite of original and reaffirmed ties of culture, American
society has preserved a self-proclaimed tradition of cultural
uniqueness. To sustain this perception, American national
society has created a set of cultural variations, lovingly preserved
in folklore and in mythology.
The core of American folklore is rooted in the image of the
Western frontier. From the moment of its political
independence from Europe, American personality has been
predominantly associated with an ethos that both American
"natives" and European observers announced as the product of a
frontier world view. The notion of a society on the very rim of
civilization has created an expectation of cultural sensibilities
shaped by an untutored environment. Physical roughness begets
social roughness. Frances Trollope was not the first, and
certainly not the last, European visitor who would write of the
effect of a frontier environment on American mind and mores;
The "simple" manner of living in Western America was
more distasteful to me from its levelling effects on the
manners of the people, than from the personal privations
that it rendered necessary The total and universal want
of manners, both in males and females, is so remarkable,
that I was constantly endeavoring to account for it . . . there is
always something in the expression or the accent that jars
the feelings and shocks the taste In America that polish
which removes the courser and rougher parts of our nature
is unknown and undreamed of. 11
How ironic, that the heroic image of the American as a rough
and ready, straight-shooting, cigar-chewing Leather stocking,
traceable to James Fenimore Cooper's stories of the frontier,
should have displaced the seafaring heroes of novels like The
Pilot. For Cooper, who wrote the first real history of the U.S.
Navy, America's oceanic tradition carried equal weight.
In his letters during the Mexican War Cooper revealed his
recognition of the triumph of continentalist over seafaring
America. 12 The Civil War, and the destruction of the Yankee
merchant marine, exacerbated this displacement. As America
turned inward in the aftermath of war and reconstruction,
Whitman's paean to Pacific destiny was discarded.
As a corporate tradition whose fortunes were bound to the
other half of the American world view, the oceanic rather than
the continental vision, the historical foundations of the Navy
ethos tended to create the personality of a society apart. By the
end of the 19th century the U.S. Navy was, in effect, a society
perceptively isolated from the main currents of American
society, as the American nation was, by its own admission,
separate from the European social order.
In essential thesis, this notion was an illusion but it was a
cherished illusion, reinforced by historical folklore. In the case of
the Navy, its isolation from mainstream America from 1865 to
1895 was neither cherished nor illusory. It was a bitter fact and
permeated each naval officer's sense of identity and worth in
relationship to American society. As Alfred Thayer Mahan
wrote of the visit of a French admiral to an American warship in
. . . one of these old war-horses, not yet turned out to grass or
slaughter, ship-rigged to royals, and slow-steamed. His gaze
was meditative, reminiscent, perhaps even sentimental. "Ou
sont les neiges d'antan?" ... he saw before him an historical
memento, sweeping gently, doubtless, the chords of
youthful memories. "Oui, oui!" he said at last; "I'ancien
systeme. Nous l'avons eu." 13
By 1890, Oscar Wilde could write of America, "You have your
manners and your Navy." 14
This age marked the nadir of the oceanic vision as an essential
component of the American world view. The Navy role
anchored at the very margin of American national life. Yet the
same year as Wilde's sneer, Mahan published The Influence of
Seapower Upon History. Within 8 short years the Navy, and
America's transpacific mission, would experience a remarkable
renaissance. Rehabilitated, the Navy, and Oceanic America,
would retain to the present era a coequal status with the
Although status had been rewon, the Second America had lost
the connective associations of historical mythology. Frederick
Jackson Turner had already, in 1893, codified the "Myth of the
American Frontier." 15 The long intermythologicum had broken
the spell of the American seafaring tradition, as it had flourished
before 1861. America was, in future, to be defined according to a
single historical image. This awareness, certainly subconscious,
has had a depressive influence on the corporate ethos of the U.S.
Navy in the 20th century. The eclipse of the mythology of
seafaring America — as one of the central symbols of American
identity — has, indirectly, shaped the corporate "personality" of
the modern Navy. Now, in turning at last to face the subject of
this essay — the Navy as corporation and as ethos — this crucial
recognition must be remembered.
THE CORPORATE ETHOS
This is the body of basic beliefs, translated into patterns of
behavior, that define the Navy as a corporate allegiance. There
are functional analogues here to any corporate structure in
American society. In the classic period of this essay, the initial
processes of defining role and identity and the rituals of
membership were far more intense and all-encompassing in the
Navy than in other secular groups in national society. At
Annapolis, corporate indoctrination was extended to a
definitional degree in individual personality and could be called a
form of "acculturation." With its isolated environment, highly
ritualized and severe rites of passage, and demanding emphasis
on fellowship, the Navy created for its officer corps the
foundation of a separate society: an embracing ethos.
A man's sense of membership in this society, as one of its
leaders, was shaped by four kinds of experiences. These are
called here "Rites of Passage," "The Call of the Sea," "Sons of
Gunboats," and "A Band of Brothers." Each is native to the
Navy; together they create the sum of essential ethos, upon
which could later be laid the higher institutional calling of
Rites of Passage: "Shipmates Forever"
The manner in which an officer was brought into the world of
the U.S. Navy was, in its classic period, something like being
born again, and raised anew, and acculturated to an alien society.
As Albert Gleaves wrote:
Every officer of the United States Navy, whatever his own
antecedents, has the best of rearing at the most receptive age
and the honour of the Service to maintain. His best
ancestors are the men who have come before him in that
These italicized images reveal the implicit allegiances of a man
to his family or tribe.The "classic period" of America's Navy has
been applied as a societal definition: that era when the Navy
ethos was strongest and the process of its acculturation most
intense. This period, roughly from 1885-1945, marked the
closest translation of the body of Navy "traditions," or world
view, into a shared sense of mission. This was the time of
Annapolis and Newport; the heyday of the Academy and the
War College as functional institutions in the transmission of
For as a society apart, the Navy created ties of allegiance and
badges of identity that bound its officers for life. Membership
was awarded to a young man not merely as a diploma, signaling
the end of the initial period of acculturation. The course at
Annapolis was a structural, as well as symbolic, rite de passage. If
the War College instilled the mature elements of the Navy
ethos, the Naval Academy created the primal. An officer's sense
of mission was forged at the intellectual peak of his career; his
framework of meaning, his manners, his behavioral manual, his
cultural compass bearing, his personality, were hammered out at
the start, at Annapolis.
In this heyday time, the cultural laxity described so lovingly by
Mahan had been bred out. The oldsters of 1856 were gone and
the majority of midshipmen no longer tattooed right forearms
with "Goddess of Liberty." 2 As he lamented:
I remember, in later days and later manners, when we were
all compelled to be well buttoned up to the throat, a young
officer remarked to me disparagingly of another, "He's the
sort of man, you know, who would wear a frock-coat
unbuttoned." There's nothing like classification. My friend
had achieved a feat in natural history; in ten words he had
defined a species. 3
"Respect for individual tastes" departed. "Hazing" arrived.
Hazing became a crucial component of the process of Navy
acculturation at Annapolis after the 1860s. 4 Unpleasant as it
always was, it was just as inevitably remembered with proud
fondness. Like "Jack Nastyface" during the Great War against
Bonaparte who refused to accept a messmate as a true brother
until his back bore the mark of "the cat," the American
midshipman accepted hazing as the natural and sole proof of
admission. Membership in a selective fraternity demanded, like
the sun dance of the Cheyenne, a physical rite of passage.
The test of Annapolis was severe. Julius Augustus Furer, class
secretary of '01 , would write of the 30 men in his class, out of 97,
who did not graduate. 5 Attrition by this time was the exclusive
product of academic and physical severity. Mahan's class, 1859,
graduated only 20 out of 49 entrants but his perspective revealed
an essential difference. "The dwindling numbers testifies rather
to the imperfection of educational processes throughout the
country than to the severity of the tests, which were very far
below those of today." 6
By the 20th century, the Annapolis experience had created its
own body of folklore, enshrined in popular sentiment. The
extent of its permeation was revealed in a film produced by
Warner Brothers in 1935, Shipmates Forever. Although a
standard "Hollywood" product, it represents an authentic
source. Not merely a barometer of national attitudes toward the
Navy in the midthirties, it is a remarkable paradigm of
contemporary Navy values. The film presents a rare historical
"window" to view the mythology of the Naval Academy and its
role in the creation of the Navy ethos. Research into the papers
of Dudley Knox reveals that the Navy worked closely with
Warner Brothers in the production of the film. 7 Bluntly put, it
was a magnificent, and sentimental, piece of propaganda.
In that Shipmates Forever encapsulates all the motifs of the
Annapolis mythology, the film presents a romanticized, but
emotionally authentic, description of the Navy's rites of passage.
Dick Powell, playing a young singer, is from an old Navy family.
His father is CINCUS, and about to retire. He desperately wants
his son to follow him but he will not force him. Finally, it is the
commanding adjuration in the portrait of his grandfather, a
commodore from the old sailing navy, that propels Powell
toward Annapolis. At the Academy he does well academically
but he chafes under the hazing of upperclassmen, who tease the
ex-crooner mercilessly. He is forced to sing, night after night,
endless stanzes of "Abdul Abulbul Amir" to his everlasting
distaste. As the outsider, intellectually and temperamentally, he
cuts himself off from his classmates and rejects their appeals to
fellowship. He is redeemed from isolation only by risking death
in attempting to save the life of a shipmate when a boiler
explodes in an old battleship during a summer cruise. He falls in
love with Ruby Keeler, who is implicitly devoted to the Navy
even though both her father and brother had been lost at sea. In
the end, as commander of the Brigade of Midshipmen, he stands,
a hero and brother officer, as he receives his commission in the
All of the basic, personal elements of the Navy ethos are
revealed in this film. Made during the halcyon period of the
Navy, before its greatest test of war, Shipmates Forever
captured the feeling, the sensibility, of a distinct ethos. Albert
Gleaves, also writing in the 1930s, called this the "background of
the Navy." Like the movie, he described the Navy ethos in the
authentic, unself-conscious language of a member when he
spoke of the men
who devote their whole lives to the steady, quiet
performance of duty, the rigours of discipline, the training
and welfare of the men trusted to their command, the tact
and good breeding that keep an efficient and happy ship and
a wardroom what a gentleman's should be, and above all, to
the faithful discharge of responsibility. All this on a salary of
from fourteen hundred to six thousand dollars a year, and
every married officer has the assurance from a grateful
country of a pension to his widow of thirty dollars a month
for the support of herself and any children they may have!
Nothing but love of the Service and pride in it can keep a
man in such a profession, and nothing but love of her
husband and pride in his career can make a woman stand by
him and keep him in it. 8
Those qualities that so immediately describe the naval officer
of that era — duty, responsibility, devotion, steadiness, rigor,
faithful, good breeding, a gentleman, pride, and even love — are
spontaneous and autochthonous. They were the highly valued
creed of a special world view, the moral imperative of an ethos.
They are, by modern standards, all the more remarkable for the
conscious central role they played in the makeup of individual
This unbreakable identification of "character" with the larger
vision and mission of the Navy was the cultural product of post-
Civil War Annapolis; of a naval academy that may have lost a
traditionally relaxed and individual style of training and replaced
it with a rigorous process of acculturation not unlike that found
in the leadership groups of separate and distinct societies. In
doing so, the Navy was able to "raise" a group of men who not
only created a unified institutional notion of national mission
but who had the drive to see it realized.
The Call of the Sea: From Constellation to Monongahela
WHEN, staunchly entering port,
After long ventures, hauling up, worn and old,
Battered by sea and wind, torn by many a fight,
With the original sails all gone, replaced, or mended,
I only saw, at last, the beauty of the ship. 9
To see the old sailing ship, as Whitman saw her, was to sense
the sublime: this understanding was the central "mystery" of
man and the sea. The majesty of wind and sail, the discipline
demanded of survival under canvas alone, the integration of man
and ark, sea and sky, in interactive harmony and strife, was the
rhythm of the seafaring frontier. Even after steam had displaced
sail for a generation of navymen, they could not proudly call
themselves "sailors" until they had close-reefed topsails in a
The tradition was immutable. Midshipmen who sailed to
England and Maderia in 1899 in the old Monongahela
recaptured the world of their naval "ancestors." At the Academy,
a midshipman was schooled in engineering, and given the
modern tools of his trade. At sea, hauling on sheets and stays
during his summer cruise, he was surrounded by continuity and
context, and given his identity.
In this baptismal ritual, the character and past of the ship,
etched in every plank, was a reminder and an adjuration. "Worn
and old," the ship was a reminder of those other generations of
officers who had paced her decks; "torn by many a fight," she
was an adjuration to the young midshipman to duty, to fall in as
they had to the guns in defense of the Constitution. The old
Monongahela, last of the wooden sail training ships, had fought
at Port Hudson and at Mobile Bay with Farragut and bore the
battle scars of Confederate guns. The men who would make, in
Julius Augustus Furer's words, "the last cruise made by
midshipmen to Europe in sail," 10 would include one
COMBATFOR, one COMSCOFOR, one CINCUS, the president
of the Naval War College during World War II, the Commander
of the 14th Naval District on 7 December, and one COMINCH
for that same great war to be.
In the same manner, William Sowden Sims, in 1877, sailed as
a midshipman in Constellation which, although it had been
"rebuilt" in 1855, could trace its bloodline to the Quasi-war with
France and that fabled fight with Llnsugente in 1798. 11 Each
naval generation was able to reforge its own, personal links with
its ancestry. Sims, who would command all U.S. naval forces in
Europe during the First World War, was able, however
tenuously, to feel the Navy of Nelson and of Decatur; King, who
would serve as COMINCH during the Second, was able for a
moment to cast back to Farragut and Porter.
How conscious was the awareness of this continuity? When
Mahan attended the Academy in the late 1850s it was with
wistful awareness of the passing of an age. His class, 1859, was
one of the last to sail in ships without steam when such were still
on cruising stations before the war; and serve under men,
veterans of 1812, who still scorned "funnel and screw." His first
cruise after graduation was in such a ship, the fated frigate
Congress. Of her he wrote, in reverence:
The "Congress" was a magnificent ship of her period. The
adjective is not too strong. Having been built about 1840,
she represented the culmination of the sail era, which,
judged by her, reached then the splendid maturity that in
itself, to the prophetic eye, presages decay and
If anything, the awareness of continuity was yet stronger for
an old crew than for an old ship. If there could be codified a
collective memory of the Navy ethos in its most basic form — its
tradition — then surely its source would be the "Old Salt," and the
form of his transmission, the "spun yarn":
The gunner of the first ship in which I served after
graduation told me that in 1832, when he was a young
seaman before the mast on board a sloop of war in the
Mediterranean . . . that she stood into the harbor of Malta
under all sail, royal and studding sails, to make a flying moor.
Within fifteen minutes she was all in, the ship moored, sails
furled, and yards squared Now I dare say that some of
my brother officers may cavil at this story 13
In a way the image of the "Old Timer" was, among officers in the
20th-century Navy, a sentimental market-post, both as an
incarnation of ancestral tradition and as a reminder of the
wonder of youth. There is a famous photograph of four of these
men taken aboard Mohican in 1888. These graybeards, with
pipe, seated on ditty boxes, surrounded by coiled line and taut
rigging, evoked a special memory in senior officers of the 1930s.
Joseph Taussig, who served as Assistant Chief of Naval
Operations from 1933-36, wrote about the careers of these
staunch sailors for the 1937 Navy Day Annual:
The fine type of the old salt depicted here is now extinct so
far as our navy is concerned. It is fitting, therefore, to make a
record of some of the things that are known of these men. It
is felt also that those of the old navy who were closely
associated with the wonderful sailor men of those days, as
well as the modern navy who never had the pleasure of such
associations, will appreciate the quotations written by the
officers who were shipmates of these men. 14
This was more than unabashed sentiment. In the personal
papers of Albert Gleaves and Montgomery Meigs Taylor, both
commanders of the Asiatic Fleet in the interwar era, there are
preserved copies of this same photograph, with simple
comments about four old men in an old wooden ship:
remembered by admirals in their sleek steel cruisers. The
continuity was not simply conscious; it was enduring. 15
As Furer wrote of his transatlantic cruise in Monon in 1899,
"We worked the ship and had perhaps a dozen or so old salts to
show us the ropes." 16 There is a world of implication in that
statement. As Mahan admitted of his own midshipman's
experience, "for most of us the object was to acquire a seaman's
knowledge, not an officer's." 17 A man is a sailor before he is a
naval officer; that conviction has never fully been lost. Those
lucky "young gentlemen" who sailed Monon to Europe and who
later led America's Navy in world war were the last "sailing
officers" of their service; yet the end of a tradition only. The
emotional role of the sailing ship in the Navy ethos remained as,
for each new generation, "at last, the beauty of the ship."
Sons of Gunboats
"Hurrah my lads! It's a settled thing; next week we shape
our course to the Marquesas!" The Marquesas! What strange
visions of outlandish things does the very name spirit up!
Lovely houris — cannibal banquets — groves of cocoa-nuts —
coral reefs — tattooed chiefs — and bamboo temples; sunny
valleys planted with breadfruit trees — carved canoes
dancing on the flashing blue waters — savage woodlands
guarded by horrible idols ... I felt an irresistible curiosity to
see those islands which the olden voyagers had so glowingly
So Herman Melville began Typee, which thrilled literary
America in 1846. Like Whitman's Passage to India, he caught
the sum of imagery by which America would come to define the
exotic scape of the South Seas, and the fabled lands that lay
beyond: India and Cathay. At the end of the 19th century, the
Spanish-American War, the Boxer Rebellion and the Philippine
Insurrection again created a sheen of romance around the
experiences of American sailors in China and the islands of the
When the big gray battleship South Dakota crossed the reef
into the harbor of Papeete, Tahiti, on an autumn noon in 1919,
Albert Gleaves, CINCASIATIC, spoke as Melville had in Omoo,
when Julia dropped anchor there 77 years before. The
descriptions are strikingly similar. In their shared imagery of the
exotic, Gleaves and Melville create a continuity in the language
of seafaring America. Gleaves' memory of a dance by Samoan
"maidens" echoes the prose of Melville in "Preparations for a
Feast," from Typee:
The dance is considered the most graceful of all the South
Sea Islands, and the dress is just within the Law of Eden. A
fringe of banana leaves around the waist, the naked bodies
glistening with coconut oil, and a necklace of hybiscus and
tiny shells compose the costume de rigeur. The girls' figures,
beautifully formed, are like bronze nymphs. 19
Unlike the pictures of whaling ships and China clippers, this
experience was a Navy excursion, framed in the imagery of
white-hulled gunboats. The scene implied more than Yankee
adventure: the setting carried strong overtones of a young and
vigorous republic seeking its destiny among the decaying
empires of Spain and China. Within the image of the exotic lay a
For young naval officers, as brash ensigns or "passed
midshipmen" on their first cruise, gunboat service in China or
among the islands of the Philippine archipelago became the
remembered core of the romance of life at sea. They were
forever marked, as was Melville six decades before, by the lure of
those shimmering islands. Of those who graduated from the
Academy between 1898 and 1903, the majority saw early service
in the Asiatic Fleet. In 1902, the year J.O. Richardson left
Annapolis, 41 of 59 members of the class were posted to the
Asiatic Station. 20 Of the men who would come to dominate the
Navy between 1919 and 1941, Pratt and Standley and Yarnell
and Knox and Richardson, their early cruises had included a tour
in the Western Pacific.
Decades later, Harry E. Yarnell recalled his own adventures in
gunboat service, beginning with the origins of a certain
In May, 1900, a number of officers met on the U.S.S. Alava in
Manila Bay and organized a society under the somewhat
grandiose title of "The Ancient and Honorable Society of
the Sons of Gunboats." Admiral Dewey was elected
Honorary President 21
These gunboats were Victorian relics of the Empire of Spain,
patrolling the waters around such unimagined places as
Zamboanga and Tawi Tawi and Sandakan. There were local
insurrections to be quelled, and Moro pirates gunrunning and
abducting Borneo women, and native regattas and celebrations,
and wily chieftains to be bargained with or outsmarted. 22
The young officers who would, late in their careers, shape
America's response to the Japanese imperial challenge, were
perhaps only dimly aware of an American Pacific mission when
they chased bandits through shoal waters in the Sulu Sea. The
formative impressions, however, that would come to shape their
personal sense of mission as American naval officers, were
implanted when they were but "Sons of Gunboats."
Some measure to which these young officers came to treasure
the memory of those first cruises in Chinese and Philippine
waters, charged with the anticipation of meeting Boxer or Moro,
or the spectacle of Slav facing Samurai in sea combat, can be
sensed from their replies to old shipmates.
In 1942 Martin Swanson, "Boatswain Mate, U.S.S. Yorktown,
1898-1901," wrote to Adm. Harry E. Yarnell:
So many things are happening to-day that seems to have had
its beginning back in the days of the Boxer Rebellion. I
remember when Mr. Arthur McArthur, Jr. went on board a
Chinese cruiser to hoist the American flag in order to save it
from the Japs. That happened in Chefoo, I think! 23
To which Admiral Yarnell responded:
I was very glad to get the letter recalling the days when we
were shipmates on the Yorktown in China. I think you are
the first one of the Yorktown ship's company that I have
seen in many years. Most of the officers who served on the
Yorktown at that time are now dead. 24
He went on then to talk about incidents in China during the
Boxer crisis and at some length. Even more evocative was the
exchange between Clifford Calfinch and Adm. Ernest J. King.
Calfinch wrote, in 1941:
Wonder if you remember the good old days on the Good ship
Cincinnati on the Asiatic Station, the Championship Foot
ball game between the Flag Ship Wisconsin and the
Cincinnati at Amoy China, when we followed the Russian
Cruiser into the harbor of Manila, and the trip to Chemulpo
Korea and up the Yalu River, and the many other
happenings, which I like to look back to with such fond
King replied with a warmth that some would call
I now wish to thank you for good wishes — it is fine to know
that an old shipmate of long ago keeps track of his old Navy
friends What memories your letter brings up about our
cruise in China in the old CINCINNATI, and the incidents
of the Russo-Japanese War. Some day we must meet up and
revive those old days. By the way, do you happen to have a
copy of that picture of the First Division which was taken in
Shanghai one Sunday morning after inspection 26
. . . The mind drifts back, so clearly, each incident of those
times etched in a kind of sharp clarity, as though it had happened
just yesterday. Both Yarnell and King unhesitatingly reached for
the image of "shipmate," even though writing to former enlisted
men. For they were just that, before the climb to higher
command began to separate future admirals from the
associations of their youth. Perhaps this explains why King
signed his reply to Calfinch as "Sometime Ensign, U.S. Navy,
U.S.S. CINCINNATI." The corporate links connecting a man to
his service, be they sentimental, form a subtle, and not
insignificant, underpinning to ethos.
A Band of Brothers
When Adm. Albert Gleaves sat down to write about his life,
he began with what he called "The Background," which was
shared by every naval officer:
It has been formed by those who have kept honour clear by
risking and often giving their lives for others in the sea, or in
blazing turrets, or wrecked submarines, or standing by dying
comrades in obscure places of the earth, whether or not any
other men will ever know or "long remember" it. 27
He was describing the central mystery of the corporate ethos:
the basic recognition behind those rituals and badges of
association that define membership in, and allegiance to, a
corporate group. In a society within a society, for the U.S. Navy
especially, this recognition of absolute commitment to the group
inevitably created a special sense of fraternity.
For the aspiring officer, the process of initiation involved a
series of intense experiences. The demanding routine of the
Academy was an intellectual and corporate rite of passage.
Through 1900 at least, the midshipman cruises, with wind and
sail, offered not only context but continuity. "Gunboat" service
on the Asiatic Station, for those who would come to command
the Navy before Pearl Harbor, mixed authentic adventure with a
personal translation of "mission" on the exotic frontier of
civilization. These experiences, in concatenation, both defined
and reinforced the basic postulates of identity. At the heart of
each was the recognition of responsibility to one's shipmates.
Since Shakespeare in Henry V — "we few, we happy few" —
has worked its way like a sentimental teredo into the ark of naval
mythology. Before the Battle of the Nile, Horatio Nelson
referred indulgently to his captains as "a band of brothers." 28
This old English image, then, became the incarnation of naval
esprit de corps, the vital element in battle, the key to victory at
sea. In the First World War, Jellicoe's failure to recreate the
Nelson "touch" haunted the Royal Navy, and to the
superstitious — and what sailor is not? — became the unstated
cause of failure on the North Sea. That was why Jutland, and they"
would gravely shake their heads, was no Trafalgar, and not even
a Glorious First of June. 29
A true fraternity of officers in the Nelsonic mold became, by
the 1890s, a naval article of faith. Mahan's adjurations on the
successful application of seapower in the pursuit of empire were
largely responsible for the renaissance of the Navy ethos. His
own double volume, The Life of Nelson, is a testament to the
American notion of the naval fraternity as a unified, highly
motivated, offensively minded corps of officers and men
inspired by a shared vision and mission: specifically after the
fashion of Nelson, and the British tradition. 30
The permeation of the notion of a naval fraternity can be
marked by several indicators. One is by the names shipmates
give each other. Mahan, in his reminiscences, speaks of "nautical
characters" he knew in the same breath as figures from the sea
stories of Marryat and Cooper: "Boatswain Chucks," "Gunner
Tallboys," "Jack Easy," "Boltrope," and "Trysail." 31 Nautical
literature both mirrored and reevoked for Mahan one of the
enduring traditions of the sea.
This was a tradition renewed by young American naval
officers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The men who
held command in the U.S. Fleet between the wars called
themselves by names hearkening to the world of Cooper and
Melville and Dana. Rear Adm. Burrell C. Allen was "Buck," Rear
Adm. Percy W. Foote was known as "Commodore," Rear Adm.
Arthur S. Carpenter was "Chips," Adm. C.C. Bloch was "Judge,"
Adm. C.P. Snyder was "Peck,*' Adm. Harold R. Stark was
"Betty," Adm. E.C. Kalbfus was "Ned," Adm. Thomas C. Hart
was "Dad," Rear Adm. W.R. Furlong was "Dutch," and Rear
Adm. Julius Augustus Furer was "Dutchy." These were not
simply casual nicknames; this was the address of correspondence
by these men throughout their careers. 32 As a style it was nearly
unique; neither the naval "generations" before the First nor
after the Second World Wars had such a strong and conscious
brand of fellowship.
The sense of fraternity had another indicator in the
attachment of groups of officers to the ships in which they
served. This was true not only of shared service in each named
ship but of the common associations of larger groups of officers
with representative classes and types. To those who received
commissions at the turn of the century, the ships of the Armored
Cruiser Squadron, bristling with guns and four stately stacks,
embodied a raffish romance:
Here's to the cruisers of the Fleet
So goldurn fast, they're hard to beat,
The battleships, they may be fine,
But me for a cruiser every time.
The officers are a bunch of drunks.
They keep their white clothes in their trunks.
They stand their watches in their bunks.
In the Armored Cruiser Squadron. 33
Not so different in esprit were the stanzas found in Adm.
William Sowden Sims' papers, also from the first decade of this
century, entitled, simply, Destroyer Men:
There's a roll and pitch and heave and hitch
To the nautical gait they take,
For they're used to the cant of the decks aslant
As the white-toothed combers break
On the plates that thrum like a beaten drum
As the knife bow leaps through the yeasty deeps
With the speed of a shell in flight.
Oh, their scorn is quick for the crews who stick
To a battleship's steady floor,
For they love the lurch of their own frail perch
At thirty-five knots or more.
They don't get much of the drill and such
That the battleship jackies do,
But sail the seas in their dungarees,
A grimy destroyer's crew. 34
To those who served in the Armored Cruiser Squadron or the
Torpedo Flotilla, there remained a special feeling of kinship.
Like the"'Sons of Gunboats" remembered by Yarnell, these
distinct fellowships of officers celebrated their membership in
arduous or exotic service in poetry and in song, centering on the
remembered image of a ship type: the incarnation, both of the
moment recalled and their place in it, as though its shape and its
purpose had been a mirror of their own.
A spirit it was, not so very different from that of Nelson's fleet
a century before. Then, the anthem of the British sailor was
"Spanish Ladies," the lyric of the Grand Fleet blockading Brest
in the last months before Trafalgar:
We'll rant and we'll roar like true British Sailors
We'll rant and we'll roar across the salt sea
Until we strike soundings in the Channel of Old England
From Ushant to Scilly is forty five leagues.
This version of the old song was found among the papers of
Rear Adm. Stephen B. Luce, the founder of the Naval War
College. When the U.S.S. Galena put in to Port Royal in Jamaica
at the end of 1888, Luce carefully transcribed the verses, "given
by English sailors." 35 The notion of a naval fraternity, drawing
both inspiration and continuity from a tradition endowed with
overtones of transatlantic ancestry, was a conscious model for
the American sea officer.
Finally, the corporate ethos of the U.S. Navy created intense
feelings of allegiance between officers and their service. A man
who had passed through the ritualized process of initiation and
acculturation and who then gave the measure of his mature life
became indivisible from the fleet. If he were, at the watershed
rank of captain, to be "passed over" for selection to higher
command, the rejection was emotionally devastating. A naval
officer in his early fifties, though still physically vigorous, had
accumulated too heavy a sea chest of associations to move to a
Capt. J.V. Babcock, after 2 years commanding the Naval
R.O.T.C. Unit at Yale University from 1931-33, was faced with
this final recognition. He wrote to Capt. Dudley W. Knox, the
Nestorian figure of the interwar Navy, on a Depression October
and ended his confession with this sad defiance:
/ am not giving up. 36 odd years connection with a
profession to which one has devoted every effort and
thought, holding its best interests paramount to every other
consideration — personal, family — everything — is not easily
relinquished. Even if forced to retire, my inclinations — my
loyalty — would still be toward the Service. 36
The corporate ethos was the foundation for the
superstructure of mission that gave the Navy political and
strategic suasion in American national society. At the heart of
the corporate ethos was a feeling of fellowship among the
leadership of the Navy society. This fraternity was linked to a
tradition and a "way of life" so ritualized, so all-embracing, that,
for the naval generation before Pearl Harbor, these patterns
could be represented as a set of behaviors approaching a distinct
ethos. The very intensity and autochthony of the Navy corporate
ethos was responsible for the symbolic power, and political pull,
in the Navy's higher sense of mission in American life.
MISSION AND ETHOS
"Mission" defined the role of the Navy in national society. If
the corporate ethos demarcated institutional norms, mission
focused on the formulation of policy. One described the Navy as
a society, one as a polity. In the generation of political influence
through time, mission created both historical context and
expectation. As mission implied a role for the Navy in the
making of national policy, mission sought as well a role in the
making of national history.
"Mission" was a pliant doctrine, shifting its perceived
boundary posts with the prevailing public mood. The
parameters of military participation in American political life
yield not only to generations, but to the course of events.
Beneath the cant of doctrine, and the leash of public statement, is
the free run of private correspondence: the den of ethos. There,
the deeper continuities of mission were shared for generations,
and passed down, within the naval fraternity, from officer to
officer. For the U.S. Navy between the wars, the actor's mask of
public doctrine, worn annually for congressional shows, hid a
despairing off-stage face.
"Mission," both as public doctine and as private heresy, was
the highest expression of the Navy ethos. The fraternity of the
sea provided both environmental and institutional context: the
corporate ethos was primarily turned inward. War and
diplomacy generated national and international commitment;
Navy mission in the 20th century reflected a nation's evolution
Mission in the Navy ethos can be explored from four
reference points: "Defender of the Faith," "The Legacy of
Darwin," "Law and Warfare," and "The World Island." Each
motif in the Navy mission was linked to a historical paradigm
coexistent in American national society. As national paradigms
were displaced by succeeding fashion, correspondent motifs of
the Navy mission were compounded. By the interwar era, the
Navy mission had evolved through successive admixture into a
rich compound: a strong blend of variant attitudes of the Navy's
part in the making, and the future, of America.
Defender of the Faith
The first, and original, motif of the Navy mission was rooted
in the image of the Navy as "Shield of the Republic." This
metaphor was a response to the strategic insecurity of Young
America, a nation open to blockade and the bombardment or
seizure of all major ports. The course of America's first two wars
provided ample reason for such insecurity. The Civil War,
ironically, demonstrated America's continuing strategic
maritime vulnerability; although the blockading and
amphibious operations were initiated by the U.S. Navy. An
exchange of relative position, had America been placed in
conflict with the "predominant naval power," was hardly
beyond imagination. In fact, British preparations for war against
the Union in December 1861 exposed the weakness of the
American coast, North and South, to blockade by a navy
possessed of sufficient force and New World bases. 1 The
strategic equation of the 19th century supported Washington's
prediction that the United States, by 1812, could no longer be
successfully invaded. 2 Not until 1903 was the nation completely
free from the specter of blockade. 3
As the predominant metaphor of the Navy's role in national
strategy throughout the 19th century, the "Shield Paradigm"
claimed two "schools": one Jeffersonian, one Hamiltonian.
Traced from their source, the two schools, "Anti-Navalist" and
"Navalist," 4 represented the bifurcated branch of the American
ethos. Jefferson, supported by a party dominated by agrarian
Western and Southern interests, defined America's maritime
security at the limiting range of a 24-pounder coastal battery: 3
miles. His administration built 177 gunboats, incapable of real
seagoing operations. 5 As long as the nation's shores were free
from invasion and some shred of coastal trade survived, the
question of strategic blockade was irrelevant. Jeffersonian
concepts of national security did not extend beyond the iron yett,
bolted, in the sanctuary wall.
Writing as "Publius," Hamilton, in 1787, conceived of a
divergent framework of national security. Linking America's
future growth, even its survival, to an "active commerce, an
extensive navigation, and a flourishing marine," 6 he
underscored "the necessity of naval protection." 7 Far from
limiting its duty to the defense of American enterprise,
Hamilton envisaged the Navy as a tool of international
diplomacy: "a resource for influencing the conduct of European
nations towards us." 8 He called America's strategic position in
the New World "a most commanding one"; toward which the
accretion of a small battle fleet, "a few ships of the line," could
promote the United States as "the arbiter of Europe in America,
able to incline the balance of European competitions in this part
of the world as our interests may dictate." 9 In this context
Hamilton was perhaps the first American to forecast a strategic
policy of hemispheric security.
By calling for the United States "to aim at an ascendant in the
system of American affairs," by identifying naval power as the
critical means to the achievement of this end, Publius fashioned
the image of America's future national, and naval, policy. In his
prevision of the Monroe Doctrine, the Navy mission, although
defensive in motive, was a defensive posture on a hemispheric
strategic scale. Hamilton posited a security system tailored to
national economic strength. The modest battle force he
suggested appropriating during his generation would be but a
first step. Ultimately, to achieve "the ascendant" in the New
World, a "Federal" navy would require a battle fleet capable of
repelling sorties by the strongest squadrons of the Old. 10
Jefferson and Hamilton created two divergent constructions
of American naval policy, emanating from two visions of
America's future, set in a historical tense of inalienable
opposition. The debate did not slacken during the period
between the two great wars. In fact, the imagery of Jefferson and
Hamilton was consciously employed, like Latin homilies, to
justify the orthodoxy of the "true faith" of American foreign
policy and the nation's true strategic needs.
In a lecture entitled "The National Interest," revisionist
historian Charles Beard faced the assembled class of the Army
War College on a cold January morning in 1935 and informed
them, bluntly, "that the Hamiltonian conception of national
interest, however logical and charming and attractive it may be,
now lies amid ruins of its own making." 11 In Beard's indictment,
the "true faith" of the American ethos, which he called the
national interest, was "Jeffersonian." What the historian labeled
as "Hamiltonian," the search for international markets, was his
own shibboleth for the imperialism of private capital. Naval
power was the agent of its expansion: "unconditional supremacy
upon the sea is necessary to the enforcement of all private
interests, assertions, or claims against all other governments." 12
Unlike Hamilton's vision, which "lays emphasis on interest
rather than the nation, Jefferson emphasized the nation rather
than interest." 13 Beard viewed both Hamilton and the
maintenance of an oceanic navy as essentially British heresies:
"Our country is a continental power," and the nation's only
legitimate interest "to defend itself against any foreign power
that might break in upon its domestic security and peace." 14
Beard, the latter-day Jeffersonian strategist, also defined
"domestic security" according to a literal coastal cannon, no
doubt upgraded in range. Technology had not yet displaced
Understandably, the U.S. Navy adopted a modified
Hamiltonian, or broad construction, of traditional images of
American naval policy. By the interwar era the Navy mission as
originally conceived by Hamilton had evolved into a relatively
sophisticated argument, operating on several levels of
evidentiary support. These operated, although not consciously,
on three tiers: "The Lessons of History," "The Interpretation of
Scripture," and "The Handwriting on the Wall."
In opposition to Beard's paradigmatic representation of
Jefferson, the American ethos, and the national interest, the
Navy turned to one of its own, Capt. Dudley W. Knox, to
champion a countervailing paradigm. As chief of the Navy
Department's Historical Section between the wars, Knox was
something of a minister of propaganda for the Navy. Between
1930 and 1940 he wrote at least 44 major public addresses for
Charles Francis Adams, Ernest Lee Jahncke, and Claude
Swanson, Secretaries of the Navy, and Admirals Standley and
Stark, who held the CNO post during that decade. 15 Other
officers making public statements regularly sought him out for
advice and guidance. 16 The body of his writing and
correspondence provided a clear definition of the Navy's
mission within the traditional framework of American foreign
policy. As chief ideologue, he delineated the three tiers of the
Navy response to Jefferson, and Beard.
"The Lessons of History," appropriately, were cast from the
period embracing the publication of the Federalist Papers to the
Treaty of Ghent. The lessons of Hamilton's own era were seized,
again and again, to illustrate the need for a strong ocean-ranging
navy. In the seminal period of this nation's foreign policy, from
1788-1814, maritime questions played a central role in
decisionmaking. Without sufficient naval power, the issues
leading to the Quasi-war with France, the Barbary wars, and the
War of 1812 could not have been resolved; with sufficient naval
power, war in each case would have been unnecessary and
resolution achieved through deterrence diplomacy.
Knox drove home this point with especial strength in a
"Memorandum prepared for the President at his direction."
Dated 13 January 1938, the short essay spelled out the lessons of
America's first naval wars to Franklin Roosevelt. The vital
center of Knox's thesis lay in a long quote from the ultimate
Hamiltonian document, "The Farewell Address." 17 Written
while Roosevelt was struggling for passage of the second
Vinson-Trammell Act, Knox's "lesson" was contemporary in
Throughout this whole set of experiences with the Barbary
Powers and France, weakness on our part was a strong
influence towards getting us into wars. The influence of
adequate naval force, used as a backing to diplomacy, well
proved itself to be the best instrument of peace. Time has
not changed these principles. 18
In close association with Roosevelt, Knox was directed,
beginning in 1933, to supervise the preparation and publication
of documents dealing with the Quasi-war with France and the
Barbary wars. Knox implied that there was more than a discrete
political purpose to the creation of the 14-volume set; the
project required congressional approval. Did Roosevelt wish to
post a subtle reminder of the "lessons of history" to a legislature
lapsing into traditional forgetfulness? 19
By 1939, the historical lessons of the early years of the
Republic, when the Navy was neglected, had become an
identifiable metaphor in every Navy Day speech and radio
address. For example, a radio broadcast by Standley of that year,
on the 18th Navy Day, highlights the function of the "lesson" in
The war of the American Revolution marked the beginning
of our naval effort — it also marked the initiation of a habit
which is still with us — the failure of our people to profit by
the lessons of history. 20
By placing the vagaries of the contemporary scene in analogy
with the first years of nationhood, the Navy was able to link its
mission to the source of traditional American foreign policy: the
Farewell Address. By identifying original with immediate policy
issues, the Navy refreshed the words of Hamilton and
Washington with weight and context. Not only was the Navy,
then, wedded to tradition; tradition was made relevant and, in
becoming once more an authentic voice, was renewed.
"The Interpretation of Scripture" followed the reaffirmation
of historical source. Once the Navy mission had been bonded to
Hamilton's concept of the "national interest," and the vexations
of early America linked to the modern scene, the argument could
continue by connecting contemporary concepts of "interests" to
18th-century embryo. There were several mottoes:
— "It is a proverb that a weak nation is a contemptible
nation." 21 Admiral Gleaves said this in a radio broadcast on
Navy Day, 1922, echoing Publius, and "a nation, despicable in its
weakness." 22 America must be strong, to maintain even a shred
— American neutrality can only be preserved through naval
strength. 23 When Dudley Knox, in 1937, wrote that it was
"becoming increasingly obvious that moral suasion would not
deter" potential belligerents, he was only reviving Washington's
warning in the Farewell Address: "the most sincere neutrality is
not a sufficient guard." 24 When Knox underscored "the futility
of weakness in preserving neutrality," 25 he restated Hamilton's
adjuration, that the unarmed nation "forfeits even the privilege
of being neutral." 26
— "An active commerce," wrote Publius, carried "in our own
bottoms," comprised the American "wings by which we might
soar to greatness." 27 In 20th-century reiteration, Knox wrote,
for the 1936 Navy Day address: "We turn more and more
towards overseas markets ... all of our trade contacts with the
outside world must necessarily be by sea. A merchant marine
capable of carrying a large proportion of our commerce is a
necessity " 28 Restating Hamilton, Standley, in August 1940,
reminded the radio audience that the Navy was the champion of
American commerce: "Our trade freedom depends entirely upon
— "An adequate Navy is the cheapest imaginable insurance
against future extravagance in blood and treasure." 30 Julius
Augustus Furer made this plea for "preparedness" in a 1927
Navy Day address in Pittsburgh. This theme traced its ancestry
to Washington. Knox, in his memorandum to Roosevelt, quoted
from Washington's annual address to Congress, 1793:
If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we
desire to secure peace, it must be known that we are at all
times ready for war. 31
Navy leaders in the interwar era were fond of quoting both from
Washington and Theodore Roosevelt, who was remembered,
between the wars, as a kind of "Founding Father" of the U.S.
Navy. The coincidence of Navy Day and Roosevelt's birthday
was a recurrent motif in Navy Day speeches. Gleaves ended his
radio address for Navy Day, 1922, with a quotation of the 26th
President, almost identical to the words of the first:
We need to keep in a condition of preparedness especially as
regards the Navy, not because we want war, but because we
desire to stand with those whose plea is listened to with
respectful attention. 32
These were the four pillars of the traditional Navy mission as
"Shield of the Republic," holding lineage from Hamilton and
Washington. Each column had a shibboleth as capital, easily
recognized, employed again and again in the Navy's meager
interwar propaganda effort: "America must have a strong navy
to command respect"; "American neutrality requires naval
muscle"; "America's future depends upon an independent
marine"; and "Only preparedness can preserve peace." These
were the images chosen, subconsciously, from Hamilton's paper
number eleven from The Federalist; the bedrock of tradition, the
subliminal text of Navy scripture.
"The Handwriting on the Wall" was the Navy's collective
warning of America's potential fate if the "lessons" of its past
and the scriptual adjurations of the Navy mission were to be
ignored. Perhaps the most evocative and traditional warning
was made by Admiral Standley in his August 1940 radio address.
He began by prophesying that, with superior coalition, this
group would "wage a war of strangulation" against the
American economy. 33 In The Federalist, Hamilton warned of a
similar fate, in which "national wealth would be stifled and lost,
and poverty and disgrace would overspread the country." 34 In
we should soon find ourselves driven from the markets of
the world. Our living standards would decline beneath
anything we had ever known. If we considered to live under
this form of economic tyranny, the least effort to live in any
degree of Political or Religious Liberty would bring down
upon us the specter of starvation or direct attack. The choice
would not be ours. 35
Standley's imagery was an unconscious, yet striking mimesis of
It would be in the power of the maritime nations, availing
themselves of our universal impotence, to prescribe the
conditions of our political existence. 36
In the year of the Washington Conference, Gleaves revived
the imagery of "impotence" when he spoke of "a Naval Holiday
and an impotent Navy." 37 The results of the naval conference at
Washington had a devastating emotional effect on Navy
leadership. Watching the promise of American naval supremacy
hauled from slipway to scrapyard, gazing helplessly as a freeze
on Pacific base development wrecked the Orange war plan,
chafing at the ignorance of Congress and public to push for a
fleet built to Treaty limits, officers could do little to halt the slide
of the Navy to second-class status. As early as 1922 Knox warned
in a fiery pamphlet of The Eclipse of American Sea Power} 9,
Sixteen years later, he wrote: "The failure to limit armaments by
international agreement is the greatest world tragedy since the
holocaust of the World War." 39 In 1922 Gleaves said that "the
United States got the full kick of the Conference Treaty"; 40 in
1938 Knox could agree that "America took it on the chin when it
came to a naval limitation." 41
The relative erosion of American seapower between the wars
heightened the sonority of naval invocation of "The
Handwriting on the Wall." Furer's 1927 radio address rang
Since the beginning of recorded history, no nation having
world contacts equivalent to those of the United States, has
long survived as a leading nation after losing sea power,
whether we consider the small world of Carthage, or the
ever larger worlds of Venice, Spain, Holland, Germany. All
declined because of lack of adequate sea power. 42
By defining the Navy mission along a historical continuum
traceable to the very genesis of American foreign policy, the
Navy's leadership was able to cement an unbreachable
foundation for the interpretation of contemporary policy. Their
goal was to develop naval policy within the context of national
strategy. In doing so, these men — perhaps unwilling
ideologues — arrived at their own definition of national interests
and national strategy: their own vision of America.
The Legacy of Darwin
Social Darwinism had its heyday in the last decade of the 19th
and the first decade of the 20th centuries. As an explanation and
as an exculpation, it provided the "European World" with a
doctrine at once more malleable and more modern than
traditional theories of "national interest." Used by American
leadership groups primarily to defend the necessity for what
Frederick Merk has termed the "Insular Imperialism" of 1898,
and its aftermath, 43 Social Darwinism permeated the Navy
mission. Promoted by the writings of Mahan, the Navy's use of
Darwinian imagery had a profound, and traceable, influence on
the climate of political life. Decisions were made in an
atmosphere casually referrent to both Darwin and Mahan. The
Navy sensed "the spirit of the age," accepted its world view, and
reinforced its ethos. As Mahan said, at the Royal Naval College,
Man cannot escape the spirit of his age. It surrounds him as
an atmosphere. It bears him as a current, sweeping him
continually into new conditions. These, which constitute his
changeful environment, even if they do not essentially,
though gradually, change his native character. 44
What may be said of a man may be enlarged to include a society.
The U.S. Navy embraced Social Darwinism in part because it
embodied the prevailing spirit of the age, and so carried moral
imperative in national ethos; in part because it offered the Navy
a more expansive role in national life, and the making of
national future. The traditional motifs of the Navy mission as
"Shield of the Republic" held scant appeal in an era devoid of
visible threat to established American interests and security.
Evolving overseas interests, cast in Darwinian market
metaphor, required naval protection. The generation of the
"Sons of Gunboats" could anticipate adventure in exotic scape,
and experience the sensation of status as agents of the American
variant of Mahan's paradigm: they felt themselves the cutting
edge of seapower in pursuit of empire. 45
Social Darwinism as a moral justification of the Navy mission
began to recede after America's entry into war in 1917. The
German threat raised the stock of the "Shield" paradigm,
reviving traditional Hamiltonian perspective of the Navy's role.
After the armistice, the brief sway of the "Wilsonian" vision
created an expectation of the Navy as "Guardian" of a new
international order. Hughes and Lodge transmuted this
sweeping revision of the world political system into a more
strictly constructed set of international legal arrangements. The
limitation of naval armaments, as well as the four and nine
power treaties achieved at Washington, promised to usher in an
era of legal resolution to international conflict.
As cooperation replaced conflict as the perceived mainspring
of international relations, the postulates defining Social
Darwinism were discredited by example. Recent history had
produced a Great War that had seemed but the culmination of a
process of "Darwinian" social evolution. Now, with peace and
justice triumphant, the prevailing mood among the recent allies
was one of relief. Civilization had been spared, the deadly cycle of
Darwinian struggle among nations had been broken. The world
had been given another chance. Social Darwinism, as a paradigm
associated with conditions before the Great War, no longer
simply described world dynamics; it created them. In order that
the world polity might move toward a bright future, shared
through cooperation and legal order, the paradigm of a natural
order rooted in struggle, founded on power, and principled
without mercy, must be forever interred. 46
Postwar idealism buried the legacy of Darwin: a new age had
brought a new public spirit in American politics. To a degree, the
Navy ethos evolved to accept and reflect this new paradigm in
the national ethos. To a greater degree, the Navy kept alive the
vision, if not the politics, of Social Darwinism. In part, this
allegiance was because of the thorough indoctrination of the
works of Mahan to the leadership generation of the interwar era.
Mahan's writing was infused with the imagery of Social
All around us is strife; "the struggle of life," "the race of
life," are phrases so familiar that we do not feel their
significance till we stop to think about them. Everywhere
nation is arrayed against nation; our own no less than
By 1918, naval officers had grown accustomed to viewing the
"realities" of the international political system through a
Darwinian lens. In this highly referent world view the legal
agreements of the Washington Treaty System were suspect, for
they in no way altered fundamental world dynamics. Nations
would continue to struggle for existence, to vie for supremacy;
and in this eternal competition, only the fittest would survive.
After the World War, three basic motifs of Social Darwinism
continued in Navy currency: the struggle for markets, the
struggle for living space, the struggle for racial supremacy.
On 28 July 1915, Rear Adm. A.M. Knight, president of the
Naval War College, presented a working definition of the
struggle for markets:
The present almost world-wide war appears to be a struggle
for industrial and commercial supremacy; or, more
concretely, for control of the markets and the carrying trade
of the world. 48
In May 1918, only 6 months from the armistice, the Navy's
London Planning Section called "War the ultimate form of
economic competition." In their analysis, "the necessity for
markets" dominated "the national policies of the world" during
the 19th century. From their perspective, there was no doubt
that "the intensified economic struggle of the past fifty years has
led to the present war." 49
Fifteen years later, even before the rise of the "revisionist"
dictatorships and the rearmament of the world, the Navy
leadership thought in terms of a world posited on a struggle for
economic advantage. In his annual lecture to the Naval War
College on "National Strategy," Dudley Knox, on 7 October
1932, spoke of a "titanic economic struggle." American national
strategy "must be predicted first of all upon the existence of
competition, especially in the economic field, as the fundamental
basis of national life." 50
Each of these pronouncements — prewar, war, and postwar —
was privately expressed and confidentially held. Together they
represent as well a continuum of values expressed through time.
Knox was a student at the Naval War College in 1913, the same
year Knight took over as president. In 1918, as a member of the
Naval Planning Section in London, Knox drafted the
memorandum that spoke of history as "economic struggle." As
deliverer of the climatic lecture of the War College course of the
1930s, Knox handed a fully shaped world view to the future
leaders of the Second World War, as he had been given his by the
old generation of the War College before the First. A similar
continuity linked the other, salient motifs of Social Darwinism
through time, from generation to generation.
The Navy's vision of the struggle for living space was unrolled
by Capt. W.L. Rogers at a General Board meeting, 27 July 1915:
The world is now approaching a crisis of overcrowding
It is a reasonable belief that the present great war is one of a
series to follow of comparable magnitude due to the
increasing population of the world As the world fills up
and strong and virile peoples find they must expand or
starve, the victors must finally challenge the United States. 51
The Naval Planning Section in London echoed this vision at the
end of the war, in Memorandum No. 21. Capts. F.H. Schofield,
Luke McNamee, and Dudley Knox, its authors, concluded that
"fundamental policies assume an aggressive aspect . . . with
nations having a great density of population, combined with a
high rate of increase and a restricted area for expansion." 52 In a
1921 lecture delivered at the Naval War College, Capt. R.R.
Belknap characterized Japan as "an island power of prolific and
already crowded population," whose "teeming" people must
"gradually expand to the mainland." 53 Knox, writing in 1938,
came to much the same judgment: "Unquestionably, the
fundamental aspect of Japan's adventure on the continent is
economic. She seeks relief from overpopulation." 54
Rodgers was president of the Naval War College, 1911-13,
while Knox was a student, as well as Schofield. Belknap was
director of the Strategy Department at the War College, 1921-
23, and McNamee was its president from 1933-34. 55 Again, the
continuum of world view was linked by values transmitted
through the Newport nexus.
The material needs of societies have their corollary in the
spirit of peoples: what is called national character. In the Navy
motifs of Social Darwinism, the struggle for racial supremacy
was not only a causal factor in the struggle for markets and living
space, it was the key to success in material competition, the
mystical cipher of survival. In its international relations the
United States would inevitably face cultures, then called "races,"
possessed of the vital energy needed not only to survive, but to
surpass. These races were the natural enemies of America.
In 1910 Mahan compared both Japan and Germany to Sparta,
as "manifesting the same restless need for self-assertion and
expansion"; their national cultures, however unpleasant they
were made by possessing these qualities, were, "as an element of
mere force, whether in economics or in international polities,
superior." 56 Rodgers' memorandum of 1915 called nations like
Germany and Japan "strong and virile peoples," and, as "races,"
implied that they "are not altruistic but egoistic, and their
national policies are primarily selfish and are advanced only by
force." 57 Memorandum No. 21, in 1918, came to the same
findings: "when their racial characteristics are virile and
militaristic, and their form of government autocratic, strong
tendency towards forcible expansion must be expected.
Germany and Japan are nations which fulfill these conditions." 58
During the period between the two great wars, the Navy's
imagery of a coming struggle for racial, as well as economic,
supremacy focused primarily on Japan. Belknap, in 1921, spoke
of the possible "unification of the yellow race" under Japanese
suzerainty, "with effect too far-reaching on white civilization for
such a possible eventuality to be accepted. The outcome
threatens our race." 59 Twenty years later, Capt. W.D. Puleston,
biographer of Mahan and Director of Naval Intelligence, could
write of the Japanese character:
The basic cause of Japan's desire to obtain more territory is
innate and for that reason is more dangerous than if it had
been artificially created: it springs from the fecund, virile,
courageous and acquisitive Japanese people. 60
This is a spiritual restatement of Mahan: the world view of a
former age transplanted unaltered to another era. In similar
fashion, Adm. H.D. Yarnell's important 1938 memorandum,
"Situation in the Pacific," echoed almost word for word the
imagery of Memorandum No. 21, drafted in 1918. As a young
lieutenant commander, Yarnell served on the Naval Planning
Section in London; he was part of the writing of that wartime
document. Twenty years had not shaken Darwin from his world
The survival of "Darwinian" motifs in the Navy world view
created a texture of cynicism to the Navy ethos, and an
expectation of inevitable conflict in the Navy mission. The
combined triad of conflict over markets, living space, and racial
supremacy prompted the London Planning Section to conclude
that all national policies were rooted in two instincts:
(1) Self preservation, and
(2) Self interest 62
as though nations were like enormous saurians, locked in combat
for survival in some Jurassic scene. This unstated sense of world
dynamics provoked a profoundly pessimistic definition of Navy
mission. Rodgers, in 1915, went so far as to suggest "that the
purpose of our Navy is to protect the nation from undue
economic pressure in the face of advancing populations." 63 In
contrast to the Hamiltonian vision of the Navy mission, as the
agent of United States ascendancy in the hemisphere, the
equalizer of New World to Old, the Darwinian vision made the
Navy merely the agent of American survival in a spectral future
of successive world wars.
Law and Warfare
Before a victorious armistice thrust America into the ring-
center of the world order, the United States role in the legal
preservation and regulation of that order was narrowly
constructed. According to Hamilton's tetrarchal division of the
globe, America claimed ascendancy over the "hemisphere" of
the New World. The Monroe Doctrine created the legal
framework for a New World international system, or
oikoumene. By 1903, in the second Venezuelan crisis, the U.S.
battle fleet was able to sublimely cement Old World acceptance
of this concept on the fringes of international law. Within the
American sphere, the United States, ascendant, was able,
through the enforcement agencies of Navy and Marine Corps, to
act both as peacemaker and lawgiver. 64
International global participation before 1917 was slight. The
active, though minor part played by U.S Marines in the Boxer
Rebellion was more an emblem of new-found American
membership in the "Imperial Club" than it was a sign of a policy
of legal and military "globalism." 65 Succeeding transoceanic
displays of force — the cruise of the "Great White Fleet" and the
European cruises of 1910-13 — were unilateral forays, and
involved no legal negotiation. America's use of armed forces on
the world stage before 1917 was purely demonstrative. 66
After Versailles, the United States, as an ex-member of a
global military alliance, had accepted associations with the other
great powers, the traditional arbiters of the world order. As the
predominant postwar military power, the United States was
expected to take an active role in the legal preservation and
regulation of the international system: to arbitrate, to intervene,
to forcibly settle conflict between nations; not simply within the
American, but throughout the world, sphere. Between the wars,
the Navy's perceived peacetime mission diverged from this
The mission of the U.S. Navy as peacemaker became a crucial
component of a mild propaganda effort. Between the
Washington Conference and the Munich crisis, Navy leadership
was reluctant to underscore the role of the fleet in general war. "I
believe that themes relating to the need of a Navy for possible
war will be harmful, and build up a widespread public opinion
against the Navy." 67 So the Navy's chief interwar ideologue,
Dudley Knox, wrote in his instructions on the use of radio
propaganda. In Knox's opinion, "public opinion unquestionably
rules the country," and the Navy, in its public broadcasts, must at
all costs "studiously avoid" antagonizing "any American Society
devoted to the promotion of peace." 68 Knox's propaganda
solution admitted of only two, public, Navy missions:
viz (1) the value of a Navy in promoting overseas
commerce, and (2) the Navy as a peacemaker. The Country
should know more of this diplomatic, peacemaking naval
function, and that the Navy is by far the greatest peacemaker
in its government. 69
This was written in 1930. Throughout the 1920s, Navy Day
speeches reflected Knox's adjuration: to emphasize the Navy's
goal "to substitute law for war in the settlement of international
differences." 70 Those were also Gleaves' words in his Navy Day
broadcast of 1922. His role as recent Commander of the Asiatic
Fleet had required delicate, frontline diplomatic maneuvering in
Siberia. He did not hesitate to hammer home the Navy's part in
"the maintenance of order" in Vladivostock, or in stamping out
piracy in the China Seas, or in "protecting missionaries from
bandits," or in refugee relief and transportation from "the quay
in Smyrna," or in feeding the starving from Odessa to
Tienstien. 71 The Navy's peacemaking role was given pride of
place among Navy missions:
It is well to remind you that the Navy has never caused a war
or tempted the country to go to war. It has been a potent
factor in preventing war and in protecting lives and
property. The Navy has saved more lives and property than
it has ever destroyed. The Navy is a great constructive
In casting for images of actual armed intervention by Navy and
Marines to enforce peace, Navy propagandists were forced,
during the interwar era, to call on ambiguous Caribbean
campaigns, most from the prewar age of "Dollar Diplomacy."
Any taint of "imperial" self-interest in these incidents was
ignored rather than denied. As Gleaves described these
expeditions "in Haiti and San Domingo; in Cuba and Nicaragua,
the Navy — and the Marines — has preserved law and order. It
has built roads, school houses and hospitals and introduced
sanitation." 73 The missions of Law and Civilization, as Victorian
evolutionary throwbacks, survived as the Navy's phenotype of
the peacemaking mission. Within the Navy's world view, the
Latin American interventions of the gunboat era, and the
international uses of military force suggested after 1919, differed
only in degree. Unilateral or multilateral, the Navy's vision of its
peacemaking mission evolved from a notion of American
"idealism," and not from a strong belief in international law:
The United States is the first nation in the history of the
world to practice idealism in its international affairs. What
other nation can point to altruistic policies such as those
pursued by the United States toward the Philippines, Cuba,
Santo Domingo, Haiti, China? Perhaps if we become strong
enough at sea we can indoctrinate the world with American
idealism that unselfishness in international affairs will
become a habit and an accepted element in the morality of
Tempered by the postulates of Hamilton, the Navy was
tempted to view the concept of an international legal order as
another "instrument of European greatness" by which,
according to Publius, the European sphere, "by force and by
fraud," "extended her dominion over them all." 75 Furer's 1927
vision of "American idealism" revealed an almost Hamiltonian
mistrust of the European oikoumene. In assuming that
American values were inherently superior to those of other
cultures, Navy leaders implicitly rejected American submission
to an external framework of international conduct. This notion
was reinforced in the early 20th century by the "survival" and
"struggle" motifs of Social Darwinism. Not only, by tradition,
was the world run by a moral standard inferior to the American;
the remorseless conflict of nation against nation was beyond the
control of any supranational legal framework. The outbreak of
European war in 1914 merely confirmed these essential
postulates. To American naval officers, the external world was
as full of dangers as it was of cynicism. As W.L. Rodgers,
president of the Naval War College, wrote in 1915:
International Law, as a rule of conduct, is more practicable
today, than it will be in the near future. As the world fills up
with strong and virile peoples, the code of international
manners which we call "international law" will become as of
little force as is the code of individual manners in a panic-
stricken crowd. 76
The deep thread of pessimism in Rodgers' vision stemmed in
part from the gathering apocalyptic quality of the Great War. To
equate the law of nations with the vagaries of "manners," like
Erasmus regarding our folly, was to assume that the world order
possessed a natural state, unchanged by cycles of war and peace.
If the United States were to act as peacemaker, this mission
should be confined to its own sphere: America and the trans-
Philippine Pacific. Within that system, peace, and law, would be
After the Great War the Navy continued to define its mission
in terms of the defense of national interests. An equal mission
priority to enforce an international legal system was considered
a derisory role for America's Navy. For a brief moment,
immediately after the armistice, a small claque of officers led by
Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, William Veazie Pratt,
were swept away by the spirit of a victorious postwar world. On
11 November 1918 these men submitted a memorandum to the
CNO, "Proposed Plans for Establishment of League of Nations
Army and Navy." At its heart Pratt's concept was one of Anglo-
American world codominion, with supporting roles allotted to
the minor allies. A predominant English-speaking navy would
rule the seas and perform much the same maritime regulation as
had the Royal Navy throughout the 19th century. The United
States and Great Britain would each contribute an equal share. In
this fashion, arms limitation would be assured. 78
Pratt's impulse was to replace international competition with
cooperation, realized through the instrument of superpower
collaboration. In 1919 this was a simple and realistic
arrangement, for the United States and Great Britain were the
only first-rank military and industrial powers and their
collective naval power could easily have dominated the globe.
The arms limitation agreement signed in Washington 3 years
later stopped short of real arms control and merely restricted the
most superficial index of seapower, the capital ship. The naval
treaties of 1922 and 1930 were the only movements the United
States made between the wars to participate in a formal, legal
framework of a world order. The nation was not ready for
anything approaching Anglo-American codominion.
The Navy was even less ready. Apart from Pratt and his
acolytes in the CNO's Office, Adm. William S. Sims, then
president of the Naval War College, continued to champion
Anglo-American friendship as he had since his famous Guildhall
speech in 1910. 79 Sims' was a minority opinion in the service.
His Anglophilia was mistrusted, especially so by Adm. William
S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations. 80 Benson still judged
British motives along Darwinian and Hamiltonian lines: they
were fierce competitors, and they had always destroyed their
commercial rivals, even those their allies:
It should be clearly and constantly borne in mind that a fixed
and continuous aim of British diplomacy ... is to further the
interests of British commerce at the expense of every other
nation, whether friend or enemy. 81
At the same time that Pratt's group was discussing a future
world order based on Anglo-American codominion, the U.S.
Naval Planning Section was discussing a future war with the
British Empire. In Memorandum No. 67, dated 21 November
1918, Knox, McNamee, and Schofield concluded that the
"natural state" of the world had been unchanged by global war.
The United States and Great Britain were rivals whose interests
must inevitably conflict. Cooperation would never supplant
competition; and competition too often leads to war. "These are
the facts of the case irrespective of the state of the Entente
Cordiale existing between the two countries." 82
Navy, as well as nation, rejected an international mission after
1919. The Navy followed the prevailing public mood, and
emphasized its role as peacemaker and lawgiver within a
traditionally demarcated American sphere. Beyond the
boundary posts of strategic interest, the Navy mission embraced
the active, though unilateral, defense of American commercial
interests, as on the Yangtze. As one of the twin naval
stanchions supporting an international legal system the United
States would have been forced to accept two revisionist
postulates in its world view: codominion with its traditional
rival and ancient enemy and the authority of an external ethos, a
superior legal code. America, and its Navy, was unequal to such
The World Island
"Mission" reached its ultimate evolution before Pearl Harbor
with the paradigm of the "world island." Autochthonous to the
Navy, it represented the final blend of motifs in the making of
the Navy mission before the watershed of world war. Borrowing
its imagery in part from each of three basic antecedent
paradigms, the "world island" was the most completely realized
metaphor created by the Navy to illuminate its role in an era
when the concept of a "national strategy" was publicly despised.
It was as the metaphoric hub of the Navy's concept of national
strategy that the paradigm of the "world island" was formally
developed. In 1932, 1933 and 1934, Capt. D.W. Knox delivered
an annual autumn lecture at the Naval War College entitled
"National Strategy." 83 As the existential postulate of American
identity, the image of the "world island" was the centerpiece of
Knox's thesis. He attributed its invention to William Howard
Gardiner, although his language reveals roots extending far
below the topsoil of the contemporary scene, reaching down to
Humboldt and Hamilton:
. . . the United States is analogous to a great world island near
the middle of the single great world ocean, with natural
ocean routes radiating east, west and south to the three other
principal commercial regions of the world. 84
So America was favored by Destiny, like Rome and
Constantinople, to become the nexus of world intercourse, at the
center of a globe-girdling temperate zone: "the isothermal
zodiac." In unconscious echo of Publius, Knox divided the earth
into four spheres, with the United States at the hub, reaching out
in compass sweep, embracing the world periphery, as though
the great globe itself was but a flat projection, a Mercator-like
reality with America at its center. This was the "basic condition"
of world dynamics, the "cardinal predicate of external national
policy and strategy." 85
Here was the metastasis of the Navy mission that succeeded
the Great War. Gone was the sway of what W.L. Rodgers in 1915
mimetically called America's "splendid isolation," 86 by which
the United States would guarantee through its naval bulwark the
security of a fortress-like American system. Gone was the
London Planning Section's vision of the Navy mission "to
ensure our own preservation." 87
Knox, by a decisive inversion of imagery, turned both the
Hamiltonian and Darwinian interpretations of the Navy
mission outward. By redefining the context of American identity
from inward-facing to outward-gazing, he transformed the
implications of the Navy mission from the defense of the
American system to the global extension of intrinsic American
interests. His vision of America as a "world island" created an
essential corollary for national strategy: "It at once lifts us out of
that narrow smothering assumption as to the Navy's mission,
which is carried in the commonly accepted meaning of the term
'National Defense.'" 88
By defining the United States as a "world island," and not
merely a separate sphere, a New World, an American island
irrevocably riven from Europe, Africa, and Asia, Knox
proclaimed that the time had come to fulfill the promise
inherent in the Hamiltonian vision of America, "to dictate the
terms of the connection between the old and the new world!" 89
Now, the United States, and its commerce, need not simply be
defended. America, the triumphant economic giant, must extend
itself to the periphery of the planet. In proclaiming a
rejuvenated vision of American Destiny, no less manifest for its
emphasis on "active commerce," Knox separated what he
named "national interests" from the traditional shibboleths of
foreign policy. At one rhetoric stroke, he detached the Navy
from its strict constitutional role of supporting government
policy, to a far-ranging mission of defending national interests:
all inclusive. National strategy, Knox argued, was the formal
framework for extending national interests through war and
diplomacy. If so-called "national policies" had become, through
twisted usage and tired convention, "more nearly fiction than
fact," then they must be discarded. Both the Monroe Doctrine
and the Open Door Policy were scrapped by Knox as realistic
bases for national strategy. The Navy had a calling higher than
the litany-like support of dead slogans:
To be sound, policies must be firmly rooted in national
interests; policies so based will permanently survive
irrespective of temporary vagaries of political theories; and
naval officers must base our national strategy on inherent
national interests, rather than on vaguely defined policies. 90
As a world island, American national interests were
indivisible from American maritime interests:
The maintenance of these inherent maritime interests,
essential to national economic life, requires an adequate
American merchant marine and navy together with suitably
placed insular bases The Navy's mission is mainly linked
to the security of our maritime interests, and thus our
national economy. 91
This was taking Hamilton's adjuration to create an "active
commerce" to its final extension: the rim of the world. Knox's
appreciation of "adequate" encompassed a U.S. Navy, at a
minimum, 10 percent larger than the British and fully twice the
size of the Japanese Fleet. 92 No less than a complete arc of bases
in the Western Pacific, including the Solomons as well as the
Philippine archipelago, providing alternate offensive axes,
would satisfy American maritime interests in the Pacific; in the
Atlantic, the acquisition of Trinidad and part of French Guiana
was necessary to secure these interests. 93 A fully developed
network of forward bases was essential, in Knox's vision, for the
fulfillment of national strategy.
These specific requirements, ironically, did not differ in
degree from those of the General Board in 1915, nor of the
London Planning Section in 1918. The critical distinction was
one of world view. The Knox of 1932 had matured from the
Knox of 1918. Rodgers, to the General Board, drew a plan for an
American fortress, besieged by "strong and virile peoples." "The
duty of the Navy is to preserve the United States from
unendurable economic pressure." 94 With equal emphasis,
"preservation" was the guiding image of Knox, McNamee and
Schofield in their 1918 memorandum to Benson. 95 Fourteen
years later Knox offered to the students of the Naval War
College a different kind of promise. When he spoke of "insular
bases." their functional imagery no longer described a defensive
perimeter against Japanese and European "pressure"; he threw
out, with an expansive gesture, the phrase "a chain of islands,"
like a "broad highway" to rich markets and economic wealth. 96
Like Whitman's vision:
I chant the world on my Western sea,
I chant copious the islands beyond,
thick as stars in the sky,
I chant America the mistress,
I chant a greater supremacy 97
Knox transformed Darwinian pejoration by infusing a tired
creed with the energy of a distinctly American brand of Manifest
Destiny. "The World Island" is a phrase redolent of early
America, of Benton and Whitney and Gilpin, as well as
Humboldt and Hamilton. Knox united the notion of
international "economic competition," interwoven as it was into
the tapestry of the Navy mission, with a positive, expansive
promise of American destiny. As a commercial and maritime
realization of America's role in the world system, as an
"American entrepot," Knox drew unconscious inspiration from
Hamilton. 98 Knox previsioned the United States as a world
leader through naval, as well as economic, strength. In this, he
extended America beyond the limits imposed by 19th-century
America must accept a realistic relationship with the rest of
the world, and scrap its distancing idealism, if ever it hoped to
achieve a predominant place. The United States, Knox
demanded, "must eliminate altruism from its national
strategy." 99 By this, he meant simply that America must, like all
other nations, look out for its own interests:
... it behooves our own government to play the game of
national strategy under the universally accepted rules if the
interests of America are to be preserved and world welfare is
to be truly advanced. The world will profit most from a
strong America. 100
If the United States were ever to join a world order, it must do so
from a position of strength; by implication, superior strength.
In a single lecture, Knox managed to fuse all three coexistent
paradigms of a Navy mission into a single, alloyed image.
Reaction to his presentation at Newport can be gauged in part
by his return, 3 years in a row, to score the same points to
succeeding classes at the War College. 101 In 1934 Capt. Milton
Davis, head of the Department of Intelligence, wrote to Knox:
The only criticism I could see in your lecture was that you
approached the problem as an imperialist. Many of our
people are not imperialists and some look upon your views
as rather extreme. However, they were the views we were
brought up on under Theodore Roosevelt, and many of us
feel they are pretty good after all. 102
That teachers at the War College could still praise policies a
postwar world had branded as "imperialist" reveals the
continuity of the Navy mission from the generation of Mahan,
through to the generation that would fight a global war at
Divergence between public mood and Navy mission between
the wars obliged the service to share its beliefs in strict privacy.
"National Strategy," submitted to the Naval Institute in 1933,
was rejected for the award of prize essay, or even of honorable
mention. In spite of the support of major voices in the Naval
Establishment, including Adms. Fiske, Jones, and Schofield, the
Board of Control of the Naval Institute hesitated to draw
controversy, especially at a time when the Navy was fighting for
its fiscal life. With the Vinson-Trammell Act not yet through
the Senate, the Navy hierarchy stopped short of sanctioning
Knox's exuberant portrayal of national strategy. To the
contrary, those essays awarded were, in Knox's excoriating
prose, plainly "defeatist," whose "weak-kneed advice is most
extraordinary as coming from a group of naval officers." 103
Even more symptomatic of the Navy's fear of forever
alienating public opinion was a rebuttal written by Knox in 1932
for the Secretary of the Navy. Answering an article by Charles
Beard for Harper's Magazine, "Our Confusion Over National
Defense," Knox was forced to take exception to the historian's
accusation that the Navy was attempting to create "a Navy
strong enough to defend American trade everywhere and to
carry on and win a major operation in any waters of the world
against any power or combination of powers." 104
In his reply, Knox averred unequivocally that "I am not aware
that any naval officer in recent times has seriously advanced such
an extreme view of our naval needs." 105 Yet Knox was, himself,
the very officer who implicitly described the Navy mission in
those terms. Beard, had he been able to attend Knox's
presentations at the War College, could not have drawn a better
Ultimately, no matter its public protestations and placatory
ploys, the Navy was with Knox. By Munich, if not earlier, the
Navy leadership was speaking publicly in imagery not far
removed from the thesis of that decisive lecture, "National
Strategy." 106 Privately, in confidential correspondence, leaders
sought ways to build up fleet strength. With the Washington
and London Treaties due to expire on 31 December 1936, the
Navy, in the perceptions of its leaders, would at last be freed
from the ropes of the ratios, cut to lengths of 5:5:3. In 1935
Standley, then CNO, wrote to the president of the Naval War
College, E.C. Kalbfus, concerning the post-Treaty naval building
program for the United States. Kalbfus unhesitatingly
advocated that the Navy "strive for a higher numerical ratio."
His advice regarding Japan revealed a continuity of mission
The present treaty ratio is satisfactory in so far as a BLUE
defensive war is concerned, but it is considered inadequate
for a trans-Pacific offensive campaign. In the latter case, a
ratio of at least 2:1 in favor of BLUE is indicated. We must
strive to create a national sentiment in favor of increasing
the navy: the opportunity should be seized to build up to a
point at which war could be carried to ORANGE. 107
This was the same ratio recommended by Knox to the General
Board in 192 1. 108 Through a small irony of Fate, it was to be the
exact ratio needed by the United States to turn the tide of the
Pacific War in 1943- 1944. 109 The Washington and London
Treaties limited naval armaments; they were unable to curb the
Navy's sense of its mission, and the unalterable definition of the
tools necessary to its fulfillment. Kalbfus was writing in the
floodtide of national, public sentiment against embroiling
America in any future foreign war. The Navy mission, and the
men who held to it, marched to a different cadence, and with a
more certain step.
In just 3 years the degenerative slippage of the world order
toward a repeat performance, in less than a generation, of its
former folly seemed a vindication of the motifs of the Navy
mission. Writing for the Atlantic Monthly, in 1938 Knox could
write of "a world seething with a spirit of great unrest and
aggression," as though the hostile forces of a former age were
again gathering to threaten America. 110 That same year, H.E.
Yarnell, as CINCASIATIC, wrote a long memorandum for
Roosevelt describing his plan for an allied quarantine operation
against Japan. The coalition of Great Britain, France, the
Netherlands, and China would be led by the transoceanic naval
power of the United States. As Knox renewed the legacy of
Darwin, Yarnell revived something of the spirit of America as
leader of a world order, in law and warfare. 111 When Standley
spoke over CBS radio on 10 August 1940 and called for direct
military aid to Great Britain, he spoke of the ocean as "a broad
highway" for America in its intercourse with friendly nations;
and, equally, as an open path for the enemy to blockade America
and strangle its economy. 112 In unconscious litany, he intoned
the alembic imagery of Knox.
By the end of the interwar era, the image of the "world
island," America, reaching out across both great global oceans to
help its friends and hold at bay its gathering enemies, had
permeated the Navy mission, and subsumed the traditional, the
Darwinian, and the internationalist components that had
uneasy coexistence for a generation. The image of America as
secure sanctuary, isolated and apart — a peaceful New World
removed from the turbulence of the old — had lost its last
adherents. As Furer said, on Navy Day, 1927:
The United States is helpless to withdraw from the world
and live in isolation, even if we so desired — It would be as
impossible to pursue such a policy as it would be for you to
build a wall around your community and live out of contact
with the outside world. 113
Even if that defensive perimeter were to encompass all of Latin
America, as well as the trans-Philippine Pacific, it could not be
defended. Rodgers' and Knight's 1915 vision of America's future
had been recast on an external mold. Knox shifted America's
perceived place from periphery to center. By focusing for a
generation on both Atlantic and Pacific war strategies the Navy
came to accept, and then to repeat, the outlines of a new world
view. The Navy, at the end of the interwar era, had come to
define America as the coming center stage toward which the
world's conflicts would be drawn, "as to a cockpit." 114 The
Navy's perceived mission became one of extension: east, west,
south; no longer simply to bar the oceans to the enemy, but to
secure their waters for America's passage. America could not
afford to wait; it must sally forth to meet the world on its own,
Mission, between the wars, was created in "the mortar-and-
stone" 1 shell overlooking Narragansett Bay: the Naval War
College. Within its walls each year, officer classes were offered a
course in indoctrination. This, the indoctrination of mission,
was the final stage in Command acculturation. An officer was
instilled with a body of basic beliefs, translated into patterns of
behavior that defined the Navy as a corporate allegiance, at
Annapolis. Ethos was forged in its elementary, corporate form
at the Naval Academy. Mission, the edge of Ethos, was tempered
at the War College.
Mission, the ultimate abstraction of collective behavior in the
pursuit of a shared vision, was reserved for future Command
leadership. In 1924, Capt. J.R. Poinsett Pringle wrote:
The Mission of the War College is to assist in the training of
officers for high command. The College aims to instruct
officers in the principles of Naval Warfare 2
This was the official line, the public verse. In informal effort the
War College achieved more. Yes, the course at Newport taught
middle-ranking officers "how to" fight a fleet; "how to" estimate
a situation; "how to" make command decisions; "how to" draw
plans and issue orders; even, "how to" avoid international
Beyond the Art of the Admiral, etiquette and estimate,
Newport inspired esprit. Command spirit infected the place; the
War College instructed less than it instilled. In transcending
"training," the War College indeed achieved more.
In effect, the War College, between the wars, was charged
with the evolution of Command identity, of escalation beyond
professional world view. If the course could not transform
engineers into envoys, gunnery chefs into marechals* Newport
at least enveloped the student in an atmosphere of historical
decision, redolent of moments when the fate of nation and of
empire was laid to the scales. From war games to lectures on
"National Strategy," from "The Estimate of the Situation" to the
drafting of a thesis, each man was sublimely freed to fantasize of
supreme command; for the first time in his career, urged
officially to link professional identity with national politics, high
policy, and grand strategy.
It was the education of the ideology of mission.
*Thus keeping Napoleon's promise that "every French soldier carries in his cartridge pouch
the baton of a Marshal of France." E. Blaze, La Vie militaire sous /'Empire.
THE EVOLUTION OF MISSION
The indoctrination of Mission was imbued on three levels:
three evolutionary branches developing three distinct, though
complementary, species of naval officer. These patterns of
acculturation evolved successively. By the end of the interwar
era, they formed a layered network on which the War College
student climbed, from lowest to highest branch. His personal
evolution mirrored the evolution of education.
"Navy, know thyself"; so Luce admonished in 1911, in his
"Delphian injunction." 1 The basic branch in the acculturation of
command was "the study of our profession — the art of war." 2
This was the first great task of the War College when Rear Adm.
Stephen Bleecker Luce, founder and first president, was the
We are told the naval officer of today is a "fighting
engineer," and this mockery of truth has been accepted by
the profession. On this pernicious theory, naval education
now concerns itself with the engine room and the battery
alone. There it stops. Naval education now concerns itself
with the training of arms or legs only. It takes no thought of
In an era when there were more applications to the new School
of Steam Engineering than to the War College, Luce's accusation
underscored a reality: the Navy of the early part of this century
was a profession of the technician. In order to create "competent
strategists," men able to command fleets as well as engine rooms
and 12-inch turrets, Luce championed the War College cause.
Exclaiming: "We do not understand our own profession,!" his
warning was unequivocal. "Your profession is the art of war, and
nature will be avenged if you violate one of its laws in
undertaking to make a part greater than the whole." Nature, or
the enemy. No wonder that he should cry, at the total
subjugation of naval art to naval technology:
This is a total eclipse of the mental vision.
You cannot even see the grim humor in it! 4
First, the War College had to teach the Navy to fight: not as a
machine, but as a military polity; a flexible force capable of
shaping strategy to suit political objectives in war. War was
taught as a complete process, not simply as a prelude to the
climatic clash of dreadnoughts. The first, and necessary,
evolutionary step was to teach officers to perceive of themselves
as potential strategists as well as seadogs.
This was the lowest of the branches, but the most basic: the
If Luce was the Navy's nestorial figure, then Adm. William
Sowden Sims, a generation later, was its wrathful Achilles.
Returning triumphant from the European War, he refused the
CNO post and the higher fleet commands and retreated, sulking,
to his granite tent on Goat Island. More than he wished to lead
the Navy, he dreamed of its reform. Most desperately, he fought
to make the War College the cultural nexus of the Navy.
It is my conviction that the War College should be made the
principle asset of the Navy . . . my convictions are so strong
that I would urge that the needs of the College be given
precedence over all other demands upon the Department,
even if such a course can be carried out only by actual
reduction of the size of the Fleet 5
These were strong words. Where Luce advised, Sims adjured.
"Ships and equipment mean nothing," the modern Argive
declared, without "brains," without officers "trained in the art of
command and coordinated effort." 6 Luce pleaded for more
officers "to take up the study of the art of war"; Sims demanded
"a definite policy that hereafter no officer not a War College
graduate will be assigned to any important position, either
ashore or afloat." 7
As Sims sought to expand the institutional role of the War
College, he pushed to extend its indoctrinative role in the
making of ethos: vertical, as well as horizontal, evolution. In his
conception of the Course, he included, in the subject list:
3. The mission of the Navy. Which would include
the exposition of the Navy's role as related
to other functions of the Government.
4. History as affecting the above subject. 8
By 1919 'the art of war" and "the art of command" were
recognized as the fundamental, not the firmamental, objectives
of the War College Course. Sims perceived a higher mission for
his service than readiness for, and efficiency in, battle. This was
the intermediate branch: the forging of the identity of the naval
officer as an agent of policy formulation as well as execution.
Sims and the younger men under his tutelage, his "Band of
Brothers," stressed the role of the War College in preparing
officers for the formulation of war plans: the range of
operational option that extends the contingencies of National
Strategy. 9 By expanding the horizons of America's perceived
military capabilities the Navy would, implicitly, propel policy
initiatives outward. In testing the limits of America's strategic
naval weapon, the War College could seat the scope on the barrel
of Washington's foreign policy, if not its political target.
The evolutionary mutation towards the third branch of the
indoctrination of Mission occurred in the early 1930s. The
officer to first insinuate this genetic watershed in world view
was Capt. D.W. Knox. In his seminal lecture, "National
Strategy," delivered in 1932, 1933, and 1934, he openly posited a
revolutionary thesis: that the Navy should define "our national
strategic outlook upon inherent national interests rather than
upon vaguely defined policies." 10 The Navy must become the
dynamo of American strategy: advocate as well as agent and
advisor. As he expressed his concept under "confidential"
classification, he felt secure in skirting the behavioral canons of
the political sector of the Navy ethos:
. . . there should not be any shade of disloyalty on our part in
fully supporting the national policies as currently
interpreted with due authority.
But I conceive it to be equally our duty and solemn trust
that we should use for the benefit of the country the
knowledge and judgment which professional experience
gives us in regard to national policies. As an integral and
important element in the National Government, the Navy
is duty bound in the formulation of national strategy. 11
Not even Sims had come out so strongly in support of the
political mission of the Navy. How well Knox knew of Navy
leverage in Washington; for in early January 1915, he and
Bradley Fiske, Aide for Operations, hammered out their joint
plan for an Office of Chief of Naval Operations, and pushed it
through Congress over the protests of the teetotaling Secretary
of the Navy, Josephus Daniels! 12 In his maturity, Knox was able
to draw from his dedication to the Navy mission and lay his
vision clearly to the future leadership of his service. This was the
origin of the third branch.
Like wily Odysseus, Knox had insinuated the Navy into the
conceptual citadel of national decisionmaking. The mission of
the War College, and so, of the Navy, had evolved through three
strategic tiers: from Operations, to Planning, to Policy.
This pattern of supraimpositionary evolution was reflected by
the public imagery of Newport convocation and graduation
addresses at each stage. Rear Adm. Austin M. Knight, president
of the college, addressed the opening course for the Class of
January 1914, at the watershed between the indoctrination level
of operational strategy and strategic planning. Knight
instinctively defined the role of the War College in the
acculturation of ethos when he suggested that the course at
Newport "aims to teach not so much right living, as right
thinking, — from which it is believed that right living will
result." 13 This is a simple, but serviceable, demarcation of the
education of mission:
What the College aims to give you, then, is not a set of
precepts but a course of training; not rules, but principles;
not action, but preparation for action. 14
Here Knight departed from the education of the first branch,
"involving instructive principles of strategy and tactics." He
announced at this, the first full-year course ever to be offered at
the college, that "we shall soon be prepared to furnish officers
who can furnish war plans." In this, he implied that Newport
would become the campus of operational training and, soon, the
nursery of future naval policy: "Our hope is to furnish
Commanders-in-Chief [operational] and Chiefs of Staff
[preparatory] who will be well equipped to prepare such
plans ... an output of officers fitted to prepare plans." 15 An ex
officio member of the General Board, and a close associate of
Bradley Fiske, then Aide for Operations, Knight may well have
put a double meaning to the phrase, Chiefs of Staff; implying
that the War College would, in future, shape "the character of a
General Staff." In precisely one year the Office of Chief of Naval
Operations entered the Naval Establishment through the
midwifery of Fiske and Knox. Not quite a full-blown General
Staff, the new office was still the first formal agency of the
service charged with the formal authority in the "preparation
and readiness of plans for use in war . . . ." 16
The second watershed of mission, from strategic planning to
the formulation of strategic policy: from naval to national, may
be glimpsed in the imagery of a 1932 speech. Intended for
Secretary of the Navy Charles Francis Adams, the graduation
polemic was ghostwritten by D.W. Knox. The address stressed
the role of the War College in increasing the "efficiency of the
fleet" through "professional perfection" and "teamwork."
These objectives, Knox wrote, were "the indoctrination which
evolves at the War College, is taken to the Fleet, and is further
developed there." 17 This was only a reiteration of the first
branch of the ideology of mission. His argument for the role of
the War College in the Navy mission was extended, when "we
have also to consider the many political matters which have
inevitable naval relationships." 18 Adams, Knox's mouthpiece,
then came to the central thesis, resonant of the reasoning in
"National Strategy" delivered for the first time at Newport that
While the prime purpose of the Navy of our country is to
support the national policies, it is obvious that the very
formulation of such policies must require naval
consideration Naval officers must be prepared, as a
matter of duty, to give such assistance in the evolution of
national policies. 19
Knox reaffirmed the role of the college in the investiture of
mission, this mission, from generation to generation of officers.
The "mortar-and-stone" of Newport sheltered one of the key
intellectual components in the maintenance of American global
stature; for Knox, a "happy coincidence" that the institutional
role of the college took root in the service "at a time when our
country found its place as a leading world power." 20
The role of the War College in the perceived making of
mission reached its apogee in the mid-1950s. Capt. Leonard
James Dow, head of the Course of Advanced Study in Strategy
and Sea Power from 1953 to 1956, addressed the War College
Class at its commencement that June. The imagery of his speech
marked the logical culmination of Knox's vision a quarter
century before. Now, openly and proudly, Dow put the concept
of training for higher command from naval to national
leadership: "It is not beyond conceivance that we might have a
future President of the United States right here in our midst." 21
No longer were the nation's armed services simply an integral
eccentric in the machinery of policy formulation:
A nation's military power has become the panacea to be
relied upon to settle all issues, A nation's military strength
has become the criterion of its ability to survive. Military
strength and war potential have become the stabilizers of
the peace. 22
The nation's armed services were now at the very center of
national strategy, and "the men who minister the National
Policy must thoroughly understand war and conflict, and the
meaning of military power." 23 In Dow's postwar equation,
"military and civil leadership" were now coequal partners. If
anything, neostrategic questions, those concerning nuclear
weapons, had unquestioned pride of place; and, by implication,
so had military leadership:
The United States has accepted the role of leader for the free
nations of the world. Our military leaders and our statesmen
must be properly trained to assume these grave
So, the cresting of naval, and national, mission; with the War
College, for a brief cold war moment, regarded as an Imperial
Academy for Pax Americana. This was the product of an
evolutionary process. As the college matured, its perceived sense
of mission grew in sophistication. By 1941 successive
generations had demarcated an expansive potential role for the
Navy. The course of the world war but confirmed the gathering
expectation, within the Newport-indoctrinated service, of its
inherent centrality in the making of national strategy. When
America made its metamorphosis from great power to global
power, by inculcation as well as inclination, the Navy was
prepared for the displacement.
In the War College Course — the lectures, the reading, the
theses, the doctrine, the intellectual fraternity through
generations of classes — may be traced the patterns of evolution,
and the progressive mutation of the education of mission.
The Course was the structural center, the intellectual
ironwork of Newport. Before 191 1, the Course lasted only some
4 months: the annual "Summer Conference." Stripped of the
rigorous expectations of a formal term, the setting of the
Summer Conference never quite shed the sensations of a seaside
resort. Time was too short, the pace too relaxed, for the lasting
imprint of indoctrination. 1 With the coming of the "Long
Course" in 1911, the chance for a comprehensive curriculum was
created. The Long Course involved a few students only, who
stayed at Newport after the recess of the Summer Conference in
October. They used the extra 12 months for the study "of a much
fuller treatment of the subjects included in the existing Summer
Course," although it was admitted that the new course "involved
no new features." In its 3 years of coexistence with the Summer
Conference, the Long Course graduated only sixteen students, an
average of five a year. 2
Real academic approaches were not adopted until 1914. Then,
by order of the Secretary of the Navy, the War College Course
was organized into two annual classes, set to commence in
January and June of each year. At President Knight's request,
"officers in attendance were grouped in classes of fifteen each."
The essential components of what would become the traditional
War College curriculum were delineated by Knight. Fully six
times the number of officers would benefit from the complete
No longer would the granite, Atlantic-washed walls serve
simply as a forum for the Navy's leadership, where they might
come, with the General Board in tow, to tackle a "strategic
problem" through a balmy ocean summer. After 1914, and
especially after the wartime intercollegium of 1917-1919, the
college achieved its primary mutation. From forum it was
transformed into a stoa\ the college passed from an era of open
dialogue and debate to a long period of rigorous, and rigid,
instruction. 4 After the birth of the War Plans Division in 1919,
the War College lost its informal, though important, influence
in strategic planning. Newport was no longer the "conference
center" for strategic planning: the preeminent, though muted,
operational function of the War College was removed to
During the era of the summer conferences, discussion of the
"burning" issues of the day was the heart of the experience:
Should the new battleships be given all-big-gun armament
(1905), were armored cruisers obsolete (1907), should the Navy
put in for battle cruisers (1912)? 5 The annual "strategic
problem" was the only real chance the service had each year to
plan for potential war, and test the consequences. The watershed
of war, real war, displaced this arrangement. Building programs
and war planning became the prerogatives of an expanding
Office of the CNO. 6 The president of the college remained a
member of the General Board into the 1930s, yet the Board was
to lose much of its advisory clout to the CNO. 7
In origin and in purpose, Newport was never intended to
fulfill even a part of the function of a general staff. That it did so,
in conjunction with the General Board in the early part of the
century, was a necessity forced by the fears of Congress and
Secretariat, obsessed with the specter of an American brand of
"Prussian Militarism." 8 As Knight observed, when War College
president, there was but one proper role for Newport:
The College does not assume and cannot accept any
administrative functions, since administration is action, and
what the College stands for is not action, but preparation for
How well the college could dispense with operational,
"administrative" distractions! The sea change began in 1914;
after the Great War, the character of the War College Course
reflected a clear shift from consultation to indoctrination. In
growing complexity, the evolution of the curriculum highlighted
the postwar perception of Newport's role: the stoa of high
Departmental emphasis on COMMAND, STRATEGY,
TACTICS, and INTERNATIONAL LAW topics remained
unaltered from an earlier era. In 1910, the last strictly "summer"
year, the 4-month Course was a relaxed menu. For the first time,
the "Estimate of the Situation" and the "Formulation of Orders"
were introduced, "adapted almost entirely from the German
Army system." This marked the first formal approach to
COMMAND methodology. STRATEGY was subsumed by the
"Main Problem," and TACTICS by a series of chart and board
maneuvers played on the game board. There were eight lectures
and five questions in INTERNATIONAL LAW. 10 In 1919 Sims
recast the "Staff Organization" from departmental emphasis
along informal faculty lines to a strict framework of academic
department and Chain of Command. The curriculum burgeoned.
COMMAND, as a Department, now embraced
Principles of Command
Estimate of the Situation
Formulation of Orders
Organization and Administration
Principles of Plan Making
Doctrine, principles of
STRATEGY Department focused on
Scouting and Screening
continued to run through series of Tactical Maneuvers and
INTERNATIONAL LAW Department expanded to suit the
spirit of an age imbued with the vision of an omnibenevolent
international legal order. 11
There were other gross indicators to measure the widening
scope of the curriculum lens. During the 1936-1937 term, for
example, the Class was presented 93 lectures, compared to the 8
heard in 1910. Compared with the single strategic "problem"
and a clutch of tactical games in prewar conferences, the War
College after the Armistice took up gaming on casino scale. In
1919 alone, the January and June classes racked up a total of 86
war games played through 442 mornings and afternoons. 12 Four
essays were now required of each student, a thesis in "Policy in
Its Relation to War," in "Strategy and Logistics," in "Tactics,"
and in "Command." 1 *
When the War College reconvened on 1 July 1919, the
academic mission was preeminent; the operational, peripheral.
By 1922, the scheme of separate classes in January and June
ended, and was exchanged for a unified annual term. This
merger enhanced unit cohesion and association among students.
Class identity was encouraged and this created a subtle sense of
reinforcement and allied membership within an emerging high
When the first mergered class, 1922, matriculated, it
numbered 45 officers. With the addition of a Junior Class, from
1924, class size rose to 75. After 1934, with the initiation of an
Advanced Course for rear admirals and senior captains, annual
classes began to top 90. 14
There was also a Correspondence Course, established in 1914.
Two courses were offered; in Strategy and Tactics, and in
International Law. By 1926, 31 officers each month were
enrolling in the Strategy and Tactics course which required the
solution of 12 "solitaire" games of war. Perhaps these
"problems" were fun: commanding midnight fleets alone, in the
spare time of a late night lamp. They were certainly more
popular than the course in law; the legal conundrum attracted
only four officers each month. This simple disparity is eloquent,
in small but revealing insight, of the true passion of these
American seadogs. 15
The Correspondence Course was but one aspect of Newport's
campaign of indoctrination, on a basic level:
The object is to disseminate throughout the Service what
has been called the "War College Doctrine," that is, getting
officers to think along the same lines 16
The college was beginning to reach through the Navy
leadership. Sims' petition that the formal Newport Course be a
prerequisite of command equal to sea duty was given gradual
corporate acceptance. In 1919, 50 percent of all flag officers
afloat were graduates of the War College. In 1941, 99 percent of
all flag officers were graduates of the 12-month course. 17
Between the wars Newport was able to disseminate its
doctrine; to shape the thinking of the men who would plan for
and command in a Second World War. The instillation of the
ideology of mission can be traced through the ideology of the
Course: what these men heard and read and wrote and
catechized and the associations they made there. In the imagery
of the Lectures, the Bibliography, the Theses, the Doctrine, and
the Fraternity of classes, can this process be again unwound.
These were the formal address; the oral inheritance of
indoctrination. In the collective body of lectures given in
Newport between the wars, in the patterns woven by the
coloring threads of theme and topic and title, was the
embroidery of the education of mission: the visual index, the
most visibly superficial signpost, from year to year, of the thrust
and weight and emphasis of the War College Course.
Between 1919 and 1937, 18 years and 20 classes, 742 lectures
were presented at Newport. 18 The fewest number, 10 were
delivered in 1919; the greatest, 92, in 1937. The average was 41,
and the median, 43. Compare this to the average before the
Great War which, not counting the International Law course,
was on the order of six per year. Not only did the annual lecture
program expand postwar; so, too, did the range of subjects. In
the summer of 1910, out of eight lectures, one was on mines, one
on torpedoes, one on wireless telegraphy, one on engineering,
and three on battleships and their ordnance. Seven out of eight
focused on weapons and technology; but one single lecture, "The
Navy and the Press," ventured at all into the twilight zone of the
After the Armistice Sims stretched the program to cover an
annual spectrum of seven central bands of subject concentration:
Policy, Area Studies, Weapons & Tactical Doctrine, Campaign
Studies, International Law, Command Organization, and
Societal/Racial Studies. Later, in 1926, Economics was added as a
major concentration. By the end of this period, four of these
eight areas, Policy, Area Studies, International Law, and
Economics, accounted for 60 percent of the annual lecture
Lectures on the subject of "Policy" comprised 10.9 percent of
all lectures. From 1919 to 1927, Professor J.O. Dealey was
responsible for the majority of lectures on the origin and
extension of American foreign policy. Typically, one
presentation would deal with the "Underlying Bases and
Theories" of National Policy, one with a survey or summary of
U.S. foreign policy, one with the Monroe Doctrine, and one with
"The Situation in the Far East." Some of these addresses had a
much wider dissemination than the War College in murus. His
lecture, "National Policies in the Pacific," delivered before the
officers of the Atlantic Fleet in September 1921, was distributed
throughout the Service: 400 copies to the Atlantic Fleet, 500 to
the Pacific Fleet, 100 to the Asiatic Fleet, and down the line, with
six each to "All Bureaus." 19 In 1928, Professor L.M. Goodrich
inherited the Policy stewardship. He continued to cover the
same areas as had his predecessor.
Beginning in 1932 the emphasis on Policy lectures nearly
doubled. That year Capt. Dudley Knox delivered his essay
"National Strategy" for the first time. Professor J.P. Baxter, a
close correspondent of Knox, also began a series of lectures in
the autumn of 1932. 20 The author of "The Introduction of the
Ironclad Warship" delivered two lectures each term for the next
5 years, "The Objectives and Aims of American Foreign Policy,"
and "The Navy as an Instrument of Policy." In addition, each
year, from 1934, Professor William Y. Elliott contributed yet
another lecture entitled "National Strategy." This sudden
redoubled concentration is significant. Before 1932, 8.7 percent
of the annual lecture program focused on national policy.
Suddenly, the figure was a cool 15 percent and remained at that
level. In 1937 there were eight lectures on Policy and,
remarkably, two addresses entitled "The Navy as an Instrument
of Policy." If the Navy crossed that great divide, the watershed
between naval and national strategy, planning and policy,
sometime during the decade of the 1930s, here was evidence of
The subject band encompassing Area Studies was divided.
One moiety focused on the Far East, with especial emphasis on
Japan; the other embraced the remaining three-quarters of the
globe. Of the 23 percent of the lecture program devoted to
specific nations or regions, 11.4 percent, fully half, concerned
conditions in the Far East, with especial emphasis on Japan.
From 1921-1927, the era of strategic wrangling at the
Washington Conference and the Kuomintang upheaval in
China, the proportion rose to 60 percent of all area addresses. In
contrast, compared to an annual average of five East Asian
lectures, Latin America could claim one. The British Empire,
Western Europe, the Near East, and Soviet Russia each received
equal emphasis. The exception to this trend came in 1931-1932,
when no less than five essays were invited on the Soviet state,
indication enough of the strategic implications involved in
American recognition of the CCCP.
The statistical story reveals an unexpected trend. After 1927,
interest in East Asia declined. From a seven-lecture level from
1921-1927, the Pacific slice declined precipitously to a mean of
three from 1928-1935. Then, in 1936-1937, with the coming of
Sino-Japanese war, emphasis on East Asian affairs quadrupled.
In these divergences of concentration, world view at Newport
and among the naval profession shifted perceptual paradigms:
from postwar, to "peacetime," to prewar assumptions of the
Professor George Grafton Wilson gave his first law lecture at
Newport on the subject of "Insurgency" in 1900. He continued
to teach International Law there through the 1930s. His
presentations accounted for 15 percent of the lecture program,
an average of six per year. Focusing on practical applications,
Wilson still bore about him, decade after decade, the vision of an
international order based on law: "the betterment of Mankind"
through the agency of the League of Nations and the ultimate
displacement of what he called "the Law of War." 21 If ever there
was a figure devoted to this ideal at the War College, it was that
of Wilson, commuting from Cambridge, seeking the subjugation
of war by law. For had he not drawn the petition, with Pratt, in
the late autumn of 1918, "Proposed Plans for Establishment of
League of Nations Army and Navy"? 22
There were no lectures on Economics for the first 7 postwar
years. Then, in 1926-1927, there were seven. The average for the
next 11 years held at seven. During those years, Economics
captured 17 percent of the lecture slice. Almost half of these
were presentations on mobilization of industry and finance for
war, strategic raw materials, problems of trade and shipping,
and economic strategies in wartime. The remaining moiety was
less structural; these were presentations far more redolent of the
legacy of Darwin: "The Struggle for Raw Materials and
Economic Independence"; "Economic Conflict and Its Influence
on National Policy"; "Economic Penetration." Here were
harangues to reinforce a bold world view, as they echoed the
imagery of Knox in his contemporaneous "National Strategy."
In the 1920s, only 50 percent of the lecture program was
allowed to the subject geography of international relations:
Economics, International Law, Area Studies, and Policy. During
the decade of the 1930s, the proportion rose to 70 percent.
World view, as it was instilled at the War College between the
wars, began to acquire an enviable sophistication. The gray
granite of Newport, in the visible trappings of curriculum,
assumed the mien of Sims' ideal: an authentic university.
There are other signs of an alteration of course, a turning
away from the appearance of a service trade school. Normal
expectation would assign a substantial share of the lecture
program to technical topics, to weapons and tactical doctrine. In
the event, only 40 such lectures were delivered during the 18
years examined here: a proportional total of 5.3 percent. Three-
quarters of all weapon and tactics related lectures were
presented in the 5 years between 1921 and 1926, a time of
ferment in the Service over the introduction and evolutionary
potential of the aircraft and the submarine. Of those 30
addresses, 18, or 60 percent, focused directly on air and undersea
"weapons of the future." Even Brig. Gen. "Billy" Mitchell, the
interwar Navy's most dangerous foe, came to speak his piece.
No, the War College under Sims and Pratt faced the
revolutionary manifestors of new technologies squarely.
Accusations by some historians that there was "no incentive to
critically examine reigning ideas on the primacy of the
battleship" are, quite simply, empty. 23
If interwar emphasis on weapons and tactics was minor, the
lecture slice for campaigns and battles was smaller still: 4.8
percent. Contrary to popular current cant, Newport did not
spend a generation refighting Jutland and Gallipoli; at least, not
in the lecture halls. For a twenty class span, there were only three
lectures on the North Sea bout, and one was presented by a
German admiral who commanded a battle squadron in that
celebrated fight. There were nine Gallipoli talks, and why not?
There was no comparable example of combined, amphibious
operations for the whole of the Great War. 24 The bulk of
campaign analyses between the wars was handed over to world
war continental strategy. There were twice as many Western
Front talks as the parcel of Jutland and Gallipoli combined.
Then there was Race. Thirteen lectures were given on the
"scientific" subject of Race. Cultural Anthropology had not yet
permeated the Navy world view, and so Newport missed a
chance to hear from Boas or Kroeber or Malinowski. Traditional
assumptions were reinforced; and the existential postulates of
Social Darwinism remained uncontested by the Navy in an age
attempting, in new-found enlightenment, to have them
scrapped. The addresses of Dr. Lathrop Stoddard, from 1922 to
1936, had eloquent titles: "Present Race Conflicts in World
Affairs"; "Danger Points in World Affairs from a Racial Point
of View"; "Racial Aspirations as the Foundation of National
Policy." This last lecture was delivered annually from 1931
through 1937. Other presentations, such as Dr. Garfield's "The
Determinant of Advancing Civilizations," Professor
Thorndike's "Racial Psychology," and Professor Huntington's
"Relation of Geography to the Character of Far Eastern
Peoples" were, in their own way, signposts demarcating the
parameters of basic world view. How was the Navy's future
leadership, its war planners and battle commanders and
policymakers, to shed the racial biases of an earlier generation —
existential postulates so deeply rooted and intertwined as to be
institutionally invisible — if they were deprived of exposure to
emergent academic disciplines? Throughout the interwar era
there were no more than five lectures given in psychology and
these were confined to the psychology of command or of
propaganda. The new social disciplines, and Anthropology
especially, were wholly neglected.
The distribution and shifting proportions of the War College
lecture program, then, is a small insight into the intellectual
objectives and limitations, of the Course. Far more
cosmopolitan, as it evolved in Economics and in Politics and in
Law, than in its prewar guise, the Course was unable to shed the
unstated, the unconscious, set of assumptions that continued to
limit the Navy's understanding of its world.
There was less glitter in the reading. The lectures were public
events, imparting a high gloss to the transmutation of ideas and
the transmission of ideology. The reading was a collective, yet
private, experience: an innumerably repeated, muted
recognition. Still, the reading lists of the interwar Course remain
and, with them, the dust-filmed folders of student book reviews.
Unlike the lectures, the private discoveries went unrecorded; but
those lingering archival fragments dangle tantalizing clues.
In 1928, at the request of the Bureau of Navigation, the War
College prepared a "Professional Bibliography" for distribution
to "All Ships and Stations." Rear Adm. J.R. Poinsett Pringle,
War College president, detailed a descending order of subject
priority: Command, Tactics, Strategy, International Law, Policy,
Current Events, Literature, Psychology, Logic. The bibliography
was very basic.
Command was covered by the five popular biographies:
Mahan's Life of Nelson, Henderson's Stonewall Jackson, Liddell
Hart's Great Captains Unveiled, and Emil Ludwig's Bismarck
and Napoleon. Tactics received the majority share with five
works on the great age of "fighting sail," and six on Jutland.
Strategy was subsumed by Clausewitz, Foch, and Mahan, and
Policy relegated to text books: America's Foreign Relations,
Introduction to World Politics, American Diplomacy. No
mention of Perkins' or Pratt's just published works on the
Monroe Doctrine and the Spanish-American War.
This was, really, a remedial course for those men who would
never reach Newport and a preparatory taste of what was to
come for those who would. This impression was reinforced by
the assignation of coded numbers to each book: (1) for officers
below the grade of lieutenant commander, (2) for those between
lieutenant commander and commander, and (3) for grade of
captain and above. By this standard, Dennett's Americans in
East Asia and Hector Bywater's byline on contemporary naval
policy, Navies and Nations, were considered beyond the grasp of
junior officers; yet even these musings were no more than
foundationary, if not simplistic. 25
By implication, the War College felt that intellectual
development of any depth could be denominated only within the
collegial environment of Newport. Pringle, in this
memorandum, was guarding a cherished monopoly of
indoctrination. Outside of the Order, acolytes were allowed only
an extramural glimpse. To become a part of the Navy's
intellectual brotherhood, an officer, if denied a Newport billet,
must begin with the Correspondence Course.
The reading at Newport, then, in expectation, required a
ballistic leap in sophistication. The breach is revealed in
comparison with the "Prescribed Reading Course" for the
Senior Class of 1935.
There were 72 books in the Reading Course, three times the
list prescribed by Pringle. Strategy clearly overruled tactics.
There were no narratives of Jutland. Beyond Clausewitz and
Foch and Mahan the lens of strategic thought focused on the
cutting edge of contemporary theory: Corbett's Principles of
Maritime Strategy and Richmond's thoughtful essay, National
Policy and Naval Strength. The War College produced the first
English translations of the "Continental Strategists": Assman,
Wegener and Roaul Castex. Allied and enemy accounts of the
Great War were given equal weight and European diplomatic
history was emphasized as much as American. There was an
entire section devoted to Propaganda Techniques and the
Psychology of War. Problems of Imperial Defense in British
Strategy were highlighted, almost as a conscious model for the
structure of American security.
Unlike the basic bibliography handed out to the fleet, the War
College reading course contained a special section; its focus, the
Far East. There were 24 separate titles, a neat third of the entire
list, dealing with Japan, or the specter of Japanese Imperialism:
The Influence of Sea Power Upon the Political History of Japan,
Japan, Mistress of the Pacific? . . . not to mention detailed
strategic analyses of Japanese defense lines in the Pacific. "The
Nansei-Formosa Line," "The Guam-Bonin Line," "The
Marshall-Caroline Line"; there was no comparable concentra-
tion on any other of the Earth's strategic areas. This was not
simply "higher education of the naval officer." 26
It was a series of mental exercises in the preparation for war.
Not only do these reading lists remain, they are accompanied
by the typescript of student book reviews. The Advanced Class of
1935, in addition to reading some 72 assigned titles, individually
reviewed another 33. No less than one-third had "Japan" in the
title. The next year the proportion was eight out of eleven; in
1937, nine out of twelve.
The "List of Books Reviewed" by the Advanced Class of 1935
contained another disturbing insight. One-third of the books
dealt with Japan; and a sixth with the "Control of Raw
Materials." The remaining were works with Racial and Social
Darwinist themes. The titles, and publication dates, are redolent
of the last century: Race Psychology, The Instincts of the Herd,
Race and National Solidarity, The Rising Tide of Color, The
Racial History of Man, The Character of Races, Emotion as the
Basis of Civilization, and, yes, Spengler's Decline of the West.
All three Darwinian motifs were in place, seemingly intact, not
yet discredited. The struggle for living space was inherited by
The Population Problem, or Population Theories', the struggle
for markets by The Control of Raw Materials, or Raw Materials
in the Policies of Nations; the struggle for racial supremacy by a
plethora of "scientific" tracts. These, inalienably linked to
Japan's Advance, Must We Fight in Asia, and The Menace of
Japan, bonded the theoretical to the experiential, the historical
to the expectational, in the Navy world view. The "List of Books
Reviewed" in 1935 contained not one authentic history or
ethnography. Implicitly, in aggregate, they served but to advance
the legacy of Darwin. 27
The reviews also reveal by implication. None of the "critical"
officers atempted to write an approximation of an essay; their
responses can be gleaned only from form and language. Spengler
was reviewed by Rear Adm. W.S. Pye, later COMBATFOR and
wartime president of the War College. He was awed by
Spengler's density of thought: "there are probably not more
than a score of people in the world who could as they read the
book have a conscious opinion as to the correctness of his
assertions." Pye was fascinated by the compressed mass of
Spengler is the founder of a philosophy of history, from
which philosophy he derives the thesis that — Cultures rise
and wane in a manner similar to the life of an individual;
that each Culture passes through phases corresponding to
youth, maturity, old age, and death. 28
Pye considered The Decline of the West a draught too rich even
for the Advanced Class. So taken was he with its ideology that he
insisted on filling 20 pages of typescript with Spengler's fattest
statements. He could only conclude that "there are certain ideas
which have a definite bearing upon future world-history and are
of great importance to National Policies and National
They were eager, open intellects, those officers who came to
Newport in the years between the two great wars. Like Pye, they
were ready to reach out and, as Renaissance explorers, extend
their horizons beyond the rim of the known world. Some of
these men had spent decades at sea, exiled to a world
encompassed by decks of caulked yellow pine, steel-gray
bulkheads, and sky and sea a nameless gray no paint could match.
Their training was unmatched in professional art; but in other
disciplines they were kept in poverty. In gazing back from their
future, one can only lament the meagerness of real guidance in
history or the social sciences. For the Class of 1935 to have
missed the counsel of A. Whitney Griswold or Samuel Flagg
Bemis, then at Yale, or of Franz Boas, at Columbia, was a
palpable loss. In their place, officers were treated to year after
year of lesser historians, or to such pseudoscientists as Dr.
Lathrop Stoddard and The Rising Tide of Color, or they were
encouraged to review Dixon's Racial History of Man, and type
out long nights cataloging the distinctions between
Dolichocephalic and Brachycephalic skulls. 30
As a result, notional Social Darwinism still permeated the
Navy world view; "race" substituted for "culture," and in history,
slogans squeezed out substance. In this, both the Legacy of
Darwin and the Lessons of History subtly conspired to create a
sheen of inevitability: of war with Japan.
Their writing revealed this trend. The interwar classes at
Newport wrote four essays annually on the subjects of
Command, Strategy, Tactics and Policy. 31 For each essay, officers
were given sets of themes to choose from and checklist directives
of points to be made. In 1925, the thesis on Tactics permitted a
choice between: Trafalgar, the Falkland Islands, Tsushima,
Jutland, or a dissertation on the tactical employment of Air
Forces, Destroyers, or the "Big Gun" in a Fleet Action. 32 On the
subject of Policy, officers were asked to "develop a National
Naval Strategy," "delineate the interdependence of strategy and
tactics," "cover the historical bases of American Naval Strategy,"
"investigate the concept of winning a victory with inferior
force," and "produce original thoughts on the utilization of
financial power in war, and the use of the Merchant Marine in
the conduct of a war." These impossible demands could hardly be
satisfied in a short essay. J.O. Richardson, future CINCUS, was
so frustrated as to exclaim:
The student is so confused by the multiplicity of tasks, and by
the realization that an industrious and gifted writer might,
inadequately, cover the subject in a lifetime, that what
follows can be nothing more than a few random ideas on
American Naval Strategy 33
That was, precisely, the result. The student theses of the
interwar era were poorly researched, unadvised, hastily written
agglomerations of notional slogans and shibboleths; lifted from
a basic reading list and bracketed by quotation hatches. Sketched
to prescribed form, unchanged from war to war, these were not
original works of scholarship.
In all fairness, in counterpoint to revisionist contention, they
were not "canned." 34 These essays, over 4,000 of them submitted
between the wars, were sincere statements. Collectively, they
reflected and echoed the War College world view and its
interpretation of the Navy mission. Individually, each expressed
a subtle, yet distinct, variation of a higher corporate theme. For
every "canned," mimetic piece there was a thoughtful, incisive
counterpart. A few even were passionate. Rereading them it is
possible to test the mettle of intellect of those men who would
take command in war.
As insight into the elusive ontology of mission, the Newport
Thesis, especially regarding Policy, is key evidence.
In the 1920s the thesis on Policy was, typically, a discussion of:
1. Policy and its Relation to War.
2. Foreign Policies of the United States in the Pacific with
special reference to the Far East. 35
By 1931 the thesis was entitled "The Inter-Relation in War of
National Policy, Strategy, Tactics, and Command." 36 After 1933,
this was simplified to "The Relationship Between National
Policy and Strategy in War." 37 These essays shared four common
themes, appearing like leitmotiv throughout the era:
1. An orthodox and strict interpretation of Clausewitz as the
foundation of the Service world view of war and policy.
2. A rejection of "Altruism" as the basis of National Policy.
3. A casual emphasis on the tenets of Social Darwinism in
the struggle for economic markets, living space, and racial
4. A vision of American "Manifest Destiny" across the
Pacific and, within it, the paramountcy of an inevitable clash
Each imparted trace elements of the motifs of the Navy mission:
Defender of the Faith, The Legacy of Darwin, Law and Warfare,
and the World Island.
So imbued with his vision of War and Society had the Navy
become by 1919 that the Service world view could be called
"Clausewitzian." Every interwar thesis on Policy and Strategy
chanted his concepts like a litany:
War and Policy
Strategy and Policy
Absolute War and Real War
Friction in War
The Theory (The Game)
The Spirit of the Age.
No student thesis failed to restate Clause witz' basic dictum:
"War is an act of policy, a continuation of political intercourse,
with the addition of other means." 38 No officer neglected to
paraphrase what has by now become le grand cliche. Many did
not stop at incantation but followed Clausewitz to his more
recondite conclusions. Not only was war an extension of policy,
it was the arbiter of diplomacy. Given the American strategic
situs, the Navy was the ricasso as well as the rapier point of
National Policy. As Capt. T.C. Hart concluded in 1922:
Policy and War are most intimately connected, for War is
the final and ablest servant of policy. Diplomacy is an
efficient servant only when supported by Preparedness for
War — which is really a part of war, and can win before the
war itself begins. 39
By underscoring the political nature of war, the officers at
Newport never hesitated to link "the statesman and the
warrior"; and the role of the Navy in policy formulation. In an
emphasis on the intrinsic political function of naval force, these
officers echoed something of the Hamiltonian vision of a navy as
defender of American (New World) neutrality, American
commercial intercourse, and American honor. From Publius'
squadron of "a few ships of the line" to the interwar battle fleet,
the Navy was a political instrument: of deterrence as much as of
They were equally adamant about the role of strategy in the
schema of policy. Although agreeing with Clausewitz "that
despite the great variety and development of modern war its
major lines are still laid down by governments"; 41 War College
opinion disjoined political arbitration from operational actions.
They adhered to Clausewitz' injunction that "the strategist must
maintain control throughout." Cdr. C.W. Nimitz, Hart's
classmate, advised that political "intermeddling with the control
of fleets can only result in disjointed action and possible
disaster." 42 How similar to Clausewitz' warning, that it was an
"unacceptable custom to settle strategy in the capital, and not in
the field." 4 3
They looked to Clausewitz to define the intensity of a war. In
his discussion of "Absolute War and Real War," Clausewitz
War can be a matter of degree. Theory must concede this;
but it has .the duty to give priority to the absolute form of
war, so that he who wants to learn from theory becomes
accustomed to measuring all his hopes and fears by it, and to
approximating it WHEN HE CAN or WHEN HE MUST. 44
This logic drove Navy war planning, and the potential allocation
of war resources, what King called "Ways and Means." 45 They
accepted Clausewitz' reservation that, "to discover how much of
our resources must be mobilized for war, we must first examine
our own political aim." 46 Yet in seeking the engagement, and the
decision, in war, no such fine calibration of a sufficiency of
victory was possible. There was but one measurement of an
objective gained, one guarantee of victory:
This is unlimited war. Measures short of complete
destruction of the enemy's power of resistance may be
sufficient, but they must not be allowed to confuse strategy.
Our military preparations should always be directed toward
the complete destruction of the enemy. 47
A.J. Hepburn's 1931 thesis reflected a collective feeling in the
interwar Navy. In calling for war preparation visibly capable of
trouncing the most powerful potential enemy, the War College
implicitly inscribed the first American doctrine of strategic
deterrence. Going beyond both Clausewitz and Hamilton, the
Navy defined itself as the mainspring of National Policy. By
extending American interests across the Pacific, the ideologues
of Newport projected the Navy's role far beyond the New World
Sphere. By claiming identity with the continuity of Policy in
exchange for the periodicity of War, the Navy inverted
Clausewitz: policy was a form of war by other means, achieved
through deterrence diplomacy. 48
Those key concepts of Clausewitz — Friction in War, the
Offensive, The Engagement, and the uses of Theory in planning
for war — concerned with the conduct of operations, appeared in
Policy essays. They were reiterated in full in the theses on
Tactics; and through the rounds of war gaming, the staff and
student solutions, they were the predominant imagery of all
action. 49 The inconography will appear again, at the ritual heart
of the War College Course: The Game.
They looked to him, as students of war, as to the master,
"whose philosophic insight into the nature of war is
transcendent." 50 They recognized his most sublime caution, the
most constrictive limitation to the practice of theory:
We can only say that the aims we adopt, and the resources
we employ, must be governed by the particular
characteristics of our own position; but they will also
conform to the spirit of the age — 51
The American public mood between the wars was simply
opposed to the Navy's "Clausewitzian" construction of "The
Relationship Between National Policy and Strategy." The War
College was, in essence, a school of Realpolitik. Drawing from
the model of the Kriegsakademie, Newport had, by the interwar
generation, outdistanced the Prussian system. 52 No matter how
sophisticated the War College Course, the postulates of
Newport's world view contradicted both the traditional, and the
contemporary, American "spirit."
They rejected "altruism" in their collective thesis on Policy;
yet they cast off subtly, by inference more than accusation, in
muted tones. Cdr. R.A. Spruance remarked, almost wistfully,
that "the foundation of American foreign policies in the past
was always self-interest"; 53 now, as Capt. J.W. Greenslade
lamented, the "idea of war as part of the 'ordinary intercourse of
nations' and as 'inevitable as commercial struggles' has been
temporarily banned." 54
For the peace was, for the Navy leadership groomed at
Newport, no more than temporary. As Kimmel concluded, also
in 1925, "the millenium is still a long way off." 55 In the year of
Locarno, at the cresting of international optimism, when an
informal international legal order seemed the surest guarantor
of peace, Kimmel and Greenslade each abjured the prevailing
desideratum: To Greenslade, "as long as there is Policy there is
War." 56 Kimmel saw war as but a generation away:
History shows that it generally takes a nation a generation
to get over "war weariness" and forget the lessons learned.
The present "spirit of Locarno" is due to "war
Nimitz threw out statistics to support his adamantine opinion.
In 3,357 years of recorded history, he wrote in 1922, civilization
had enjoyed 227 years of peace. In that span, 8,000 "eternal"
treaties of peace and friendship had been broken. In somber
voice, he concluded
. . . that the time for the abolition of war has not yet arrived,
nor may we expect such a Utopian condition In the
community of nations there is no court of international
justice whose edicts can be enforced. We cannot therefore
neglect our preparations Until war is abolished, FORCE
AND RIGHT WILL JOINTLY RULE THE WORLD. 58
There was no shift in sentiment during the next decade. King,
in 1933, accused "our peace policy, based of altruism supported
by sentimentalism (sometimes called polly-anna-ism)," of
"depleting and weakening our own 'ways and means' of
upholding and enforcing our national policies and our vital
interests." 59 J.O. Richardson was even more bitter. In his
judgment, from his 1934 thesis, a nation would "resort to war
rather than renounce its vital interests." Given this postulate,
the United States, alas, held no external interests as vital:
On this basis, the American people are concerned only with
domestic affairs, and have no desire to participate in World
Politics or World Affairs beyond expressing moral
sentiments and altruistic aims which they like to talk about
and wish for, but are unwilling to support by force. 60
The correspondence of imagery reflected a unanimity in naval
leadership. By the middle 1930s, the U.S. Navy was in rapid
relative decline. America's sole strategic weapon was rusting
into desuetude. Both King and Richardson agreed that, even
were the "American people to demand war with Japan," the fleet
would be incapable of "western movement across the Pacific." If
war came the Navy would be impotent to bring it to a successful
end. 61 This state of enervation was perceived at Newport and
throughout the Service as the direct product of "altruistic," blind
faith in international law and organization. In neglecting
America's strategic deterrent, the nation opened itself to "the
steady increase in global brutality, of terrorism and disregard for
both life and justice." This, thought Capt. R.L. Ghormley, was
"an age of dissolution," brought on by "the failure of the League
of Nations": "is the characteristic of altruism as well respected
now as the characteristic 'might is right'?" 62 Kimmel's
Cassandra-like warning was to be borne out after all.
The Navy world view was not rooted in Clausewitz alone; the
most primordial network of existential postulates was rooted in
the imagery of Social Darwinism. Interwar essays reveal casual
as well as causal connection to Darwinian motifs. Greenslade,in
attempting to trace the origin of national policies, compared the
vital interests of modern nations to the elemental needs of the
primitive family: food and shelter:
As the social organization developed through stages, from
family to tribe to clan to nation and empire, so "shelter"
might shade into safety, security, independence, and
political freedom, and so also might the term "food"
successively change to substance, subsistence, livelihood,
welfare, commerce, and world relations. 63
This assumption of evolutionary determinism in human society
was echoed on a biological plane. A.J. Hepburn drew from the
social behavior of wolves and dogs the logical notion that
"Animals may be observed to apply all the 'Principles of War.'" 64
Without grounding in the emerging disciplines of Physical and
Cultural Anthropology, naval officers of that era were forced to
retreat to 19th-century catchwords to explain the nature of Man.
Within this schema, modern, complex societies were driven by
"instincts" identical to primitive "tribes" on the social, and
animal "herds" or "packs" on the biological, plane. Their theory
of the structural dynamics of international politics was a
reductionist metaphor, linked to the assumed behavior of
ancestral and animal groups. Capt. C.P. Snyder forged the
connecting ring between natural and metaphorical selection:
The law of life has always been the same from the
beginnings — ceaseless and inevitable selection and rejection,
ceaseless and inevitable progress. 65
These permeable notions encouraged a ready acceptance of a
"Darwinian" theory of the "behavior" of modern states and
advanced cultures. From this point of departure it was easy, even
comforting, to translate the contemporary scene to conform to
existential postulates; on the nature of man and the structure of
reality. For the thesis on Policy, it became commonplace to
enumerate "the conditions governing the formation of varying
national policies" on the basis of social, economic, and racial
"antagonisms." Several essays, including those of Reeves and
Nimitz, even listed the motifs of "Darwinian" struggle in that
Geographic and climatic conditions were viewed as the
determinants of national vigor and expectation. As Nimitz
insisted, "climatic conditions of temperature, humidity, seasonal
changes, prevailing winds, all have an important part to play in
determining the physical and mental vigor of a nation." 67 Island
nations invariably "enforced strong international policies," to
sate the "need for more land to accommodate increasing
Economic antagonisms centered around the struggle for the
"control of natural resources and raw materials," of which "each
nation desires a monopoly." 69 "The competition among the
great commercial nations" to secure the markets of the world
was "becoming keener every year." 70 The Navy had not yet
discarded the antique notions of Hobson and, ironically, of
Lenin, when they resurrected "the need for foreign markets to
absorb excess foods, raw materials, and manufactured goods." 71
The specious image of a dangerous surplus among industrial
nations, a glut of goods, lingered on, as ineradicable as it was
"Racial features also have their effect on policy." 72 A serious
effect, judging from the prominence awarded this theme in the
standard interwar thesis. Snyder cautioned that, "in arriving at
policies, statesmen should be careful to distinguish between race
as a biological fact and race as a state of mind!' 11 As "biological"
verite, the Navy's concept of race was predicated on two
conditional postulates: that some races, if not innately superior
to others, were measurably stronger; that mixed, or
"conglomerate racial populations" were inherently weak. This
ratiocination produced two normative corollaries: that the
Japanese — "a yellow race" — were "virile" and "expansionist,"
and a danger to America; that "racial distinction" in America
was approaching the "evil condition" of Austria-Hungary,
toward a fatal erosion of national unity and national will. 74 In
their theses, officers reflected this sense of a shifting "racial
balance" between the United States and Japan and this nearly
subconscious notion promoted an expectation of a precarious
ultima ratio of race; and an uncertain future.
If Social Darwinisn equipped the Navy world view with the
language of behavioral determinism it was natural, then, to
describe Japanese/American relations in terms of historical,
inevitable conflict. Geography and climate created a "virile"
people "circumscribed by insular limitation." 75 "National
poverty of natural resources" forced the Japanese into "keen
economic competition." 76 As a race, the Japanese were a
"warlike people," endowed with "an irrepressible martial
temperament," who gloried in "death on the battlefield." 77
Overcrowding, poverty, and belligerence were perceived as
the basis of Japanese national policy as well as national
character. National behavior mirrored that of the individual:
"Japan is frankly imperialistic and faces the future with the
confidence of an ambitious youth." 78 The atavism of the Samurai
was a familiar theme in the interwar thesis. 79 Japanese
expansion: societal, commercial, and martial, was inevitable.
"We will come into conflict with Japan if she pursues an
imperialistic policy." 80 So Kimmel wrote in 1926, at the interwar
trough in Japanese/ American antagonism. Even then, the
policies and interests of both cultures seemed tracked to
insoluble opposition. The United States could not surrender the
"Open Door," the Philippine Base; nor could the Federal
Government force California to recant on Asiatic exclusion. No
one expected of Japan more than a gesture of restraint in the
drive for East Asian domination. Accelerating through the
interwar era, a developing dogma in the War College preached
the historical inevitability of war with Japan. This was taught,
consciously, and the trend is revealed in the lectures and the
reading and the theses. The evolution of the Japanese "enemy" is
the subsequent theme of this essay: an exploration into the
imagery of perception, highlighted by the comment in Nimitz'
It is small wonder that Japan should prepare feverishly her
army and navy for the struggle that is certain to come the
moment she finds herself strong enough to stop by force our
continual obstruction to her policies. 81
Inevitable war with Japan was a corollary of inalienable
interest. "The present interest of the United States in the Pacific
is great; in the coming years it will increase enormously." 82 This
was Puleston's prophecy in his 1914 thesis. Between the wars
the United States stake in "The Orient" was treated at Newport
as authentic national policy, genuine as the Monroe Doctrine.
Commercial intercourse through the "Open Door" in China was
defined as a "vital interest," as was the retention of a Philippines
forward base. Seaborne commerce was the foundation of
national prosperity, and the Asian market was clearly traced as
the growth sector of America's economic future. 83 From this
perception, the Policy thesis usually underscored the Navy's role
as guarantor of transpacific policy. Essays submitted during the
1930s excoriated "isolationism" from this vantage: theTydings-
McDuffie Act and acquiescence to Japanese assaults on China
would be disastrous, not only to American principles, but to
American prosperity. 84 As Capt. C.C. Bloch despaired in 1931:
"Isolation will destroy us — our culture will only persist through
commerce, commerce can only exist through Sea Power " 85
There was a progressive pessimism in interwar essays. In
1926 Capt. E.C. Kalbfus began his thesis with an exuberant
paean, in spirit consonant with Whitman's "Passage to India":
It is proposed to outline the history of our [national]
growth, because of its direct bearing upon our "Manifest
Destiny" The spreading of our national domain has been
a natural evolution Reflection causes us to believe that
this nation has been favored by Divine Providence 86
Just 8 years later, J.O. Richardson's gloomy vision of a
contracting American sphere drew an unwilling finish line to
America's westward movement. The Navy, he confessed, would
never again be wielded by national policy as the cutting edge of
transoceanic interest; never mind "destiny":
The Open Door policy is essentially a kind of intervention
policy and since the American people are unalterably
opposed to entanglement in European affairs, they will not
support entanglement in Asiatic affairs The American
Government has made such intervention impossible An
American Naval Strategy that would be in keeping with
present public opinion would be a purely defensive
strategy The Hawaiian Islands would be a defense
outpost rather than a stepping off place for our westward
movement across the Pacific. 87
In his bitter sarcasm, he goes on to call any future naval building
unnecessary, for the United States already maintained an
"adequate" coast defense force.
His was the only thesis to shade with such brutal chiaroscuro
the contrast between the spirit of the Navy mission and the
"spirit of the age." In their essays, the officer-students of
Newport shared and defended a common vision of America.
More than an aggregate set of values and postulates, this vision
was a synthetic symbol of cultural passage through time: from
America's history to America's future. Based on a complex cage
mast of existential postulates, moral imperatives, and historical
cliches, the War College world view preserved more than a
sensation of naval role in American national life. The Course
spelled out an expectational plan, involving inalienable interest
and inevitable war. The central role of the War College was to
prepare the Navy for this war, to indoctrinate future leaders
with professional, as well as historical, readiness.
In the teaching of "The Doctrine," then, was the source for the
concept of, and readiness for, this predestined war.
Doctrine was the catechism of Newport. Sonorously chanted
through the interwar era, "The Estimate of the Situation" was
the incanted actualization of Mission. War College doctrine was
the lubricant between the theory and the reality of war; through
ritual, the training set of the collective synapses of Command.
Let us learn to think in the same way about fundamental
So wrote Lt. Cdr. D.W. Knox, early in 1915. This was the
motto of his revolutionary essay, "The Role of Doctrine in Naval
Warfare," the ideological red banner of reform raised in that
critical year. In that watershed spring of 1915, Congress created
the Chief of Naval Operations, and the Naval Institute put to
press "The Estimate of the Situation." The Manifesto, the
Command, and the Doctrine: a triple signal that the inert age of
leadership heterogeneity was passing. Knox was behind all
three. With Eiske, he forged an organization plan for the CNO's
Office. With Knight, Schofield, and Vogelgesang, he hammered
the framework of "The Estimate of the Situation." 89 "The Role
of Doctrine" was the manifesto for both Command and
Doctrine: it was the Idea. Knox must be acknowledged as Chief
Ideologue of the interwar Navy: in a single, short argument he
redefined ethos. The Service was not a corporation, an
administration, a set of ships and yards and docks and depots and
barracks and bureaus: the Navy was a society, whose only normal
intercourse was war.
They must learn to imitate the choices of war in ordinary
patterns of thought: they must inculcate a methodology of
decision. Collective thinking must become commonplace, so that
any problem would spark among officers a spontaneous
solution. War demands a unity of action, a common response to
the chain of decision inspiring command. A shared process of
decision is rooted in something more than a shared profession; it
must evolve from a formal pattern of behavior: a military
doctrine. Leadership in war flows from a common doctrine;
"common doctrine gives birth to harmonized methods, rules,
and actions." 90 Common behavior means unified action, and
this, the essence of Command, the equation of victory.
Command is dependent on doctrine, and "concrete doctrine
flows from a conception of war." 91
This was his argument. His thesis was the need for
indoctrination; his premise was that military doctrine, a pattern
of behavior, was founded on a concept of war, an existential
postulate. Command — a set of actions — is based on doctrine — a
behavioral model. Doctrine, in turn, is predicated on a set of
shared premises — "a particular alloy of principles." 92
The key innovation lay in the concept. Doctrine was not the
set of applicable principles: it was the set of "teachings which
have been reasoned from principles; doctrine flows from
principles as a source." 93 This causal dynamic was established
from principles — existential postulates — that described war as a
progression of choices, a process of decisionmaking. To Knox,
"principles" did not imply a categorical list of maxims, the
cliches of a successful campaign. War was not a formula. The
concept of war was the unfolding process of exerting means to
an end. If war was a process, a concatenation of choice, then
doctrine was the behavioral training for the making of decision,
and Command simply the moment of application.
To translate idea into action, Command demands "common
understanding": the simultaneous, learned reflex to a situation,
transcending the transmission and execution of orders. A fleet's
officers "must be welded into a body" by a torch of "common
will." Organization was simply a physical tool; like the very
ships of a fleet, the concrete expression of a common esprit. 94
Like Hobbes in De Corpore Politico, Knox sought in the
human body metaphor what he called "the officer-body," the
central symbol for his theme.
Organization cannot alone produce unity of action. It is little
more than a bony skeleton which must be augmented by
flesh and sinew and infused with spirit before it can
accomplish its mission. 95
As ideal, the leadership of the Navy would act as a single
organism, infused with a single spirit. Unity of action —
mechanical harmony — derives from a "common conviction" —
harmony of will — just as in the Renaissance metaphor of "the
body natural." 96
Knox demarcated a metaphysical dimension to war. To a
service obsessed with a notion of war as a series of logistical
displacements, Knox created a metaphor for Operational Ethos.
He seized the personality of the Corporate Ethos, the set of
behaviors that regulated normal activity, peacetime
administration, and made them subordinate to the Operational:
the behavioral patterns of battle. By developing a mental ritual, a
behavioral rehearsal for combat, Knox distilled identity.
Indoctrination was no less than combat thinking. To define war
preeminently as a decisionmaking process, from which physical
action is natural outgrowth, is to give not only war, but
preparation for war, a spiritual center.
The teaching of this doctrine became the nexal task of the
War College. Formalized as a set of behavioral instructions, the
doctrine was first published in June of 1915 as "The Estimate of
the Situation." In translation from manifesto to official articles,
the indoctrination lost the sense of esprit so enjoined by Knox.
Operational Ethos as routine doctrine was transformed, like the
body metaphor in Leviathan; to mere mechanism: an
Enlightenment engine stripped of its Renaissance soul. 97
As structured by Knight during his presidential term, the
"Estimate" was a concise 18-page essay delimiting the process of
Command behavior into a recognition manual for the
elimination of choices. He described a four-step progression:
1. The Mission;
2. The Enemy Forces: Their Strength, Disposition,
and Probable Intentions;
3. Our Own Forces: Their Strength, Disposition,
and the Courses of Action Open to Us;
4. The Decision. 92,
By 1929 Knight's advisory sketch of basic concepts had
experienced a metamorphosis. "The Estimate of the Situation"
had been transmogrified into a rigid primer, including the
formulation of plans and orders. The process of decision was
refined to five steps: Own Mission, Relative Strength of
Opposing Forces, Enemy's Probable Intentions, Courses of
Action Open to You, and The Decision. The instruction of
decision was starkly described:
Formulate your Decision as follows:
WHAT is to be done;
HOW (and, if necessary, WHEN and WHERE) it is to be
WHY it is to be done (that is, invariably, in order to
accomplish the Task of your Mission). 99
What had begun as simple, essential structure of doctrine was
reduced to a set of rote procedures. Knight's essay was a practical
corollary to Knox's manifesto. Linked to the generation of
Operation Order Forms, Battle Order Forms, and Despatch
Order Forms, the 1929 pamphlet imparted nothing of the
essence of decision: Operational Ethos. By the middle years of
the interwar era, "The Estimate of the Situation" could be
expressed by a "Diagram to show sequence of derivation."
There was little in this iconographic skeleton to inspire the
spirit that must animate the framework of common doctrine
with the conviction of "common will." "The Estimate of the
Situation" was in danger of vivisecting itself, exchanging ethos
for a corpselike formula:
I. Relationship of surface, Task and Course of Action. 100
What to do. How to do it /
Specific Course of Action.
II. Selection of Specific Course of Action.
a b c General Courses
Specific of Action
Courses "What to do."
12 12 3 "How to
— _ do it."
This had been Knox's warning, implicit in 1915: Operational
Ethos, or "Common Doctrine," was a process of shared
reasoning; it could not be described, much less applied, by
diagrams or flow charts.
The resurrection of Knox, and the synthesis of manifesto and
of doctrine, was the achievement of Rear Adm. E.C. Kalbfus.
During his first tenure as War College president, from 1934-
1937, he reprinted "The Role of Doctrine in Naval Warfare,"
and put the press run at the head of the reading list. For Kalbfus,
the appearance of this essay marked a spiritual turning point for
the U.S. Navy. In establishing its debt to Knox, Kalbfus declared
in preface, the Service must grant that, in consequence of his
. . . there is now, throughout the Service, a common
conception of the peacetime objective of the Navy readiness
for war from the standpoint of command as well as of
logistics. It remains for this generation and for those that
follow to continue in his path 101
Kalbfus made possible this objective with the publication in
1936 of Sound Military Decision. Combining the "Estimate of
the Situation," the "Elements of Planning," and the
"Formulation of Directives," the pamphlet stretched to 107
pages, incorporated and expanded the concepts of Knox, and so
completely delineated the Operational Ethos that it soon earned
the image of a scriptual text. Called for its cover the "Green
Hornet" of Kalbfus, this verdure treatise was the testament of a
society: the prescriptive text of an ethos. 102
If the members of the naval profession have a common
viewpoint, their reasoned beliefs may be expected more
nearly to approach unanimity. Unity of effort is more likely
to ensue if the operations of all forces have their basis in a
common indoctrination whereby all individuals have been
trained to think on the same plane. 103
As well as he could, Kalbfus in this single declaration
approached the essential definition of ethos. Sound Military
Decision did not encompass the broad behavioral spectrum of
the full Navy ethos, in the sense of societal corporation or
abstracted mission. This was but the directive for operational
behavior, distilled from the world view of war. Mission, within
the context of command decision, "is expressed as a task and a
purpose," set by the "ultimate objective" of the war. 104 This was
not mission within the context of cultural definition, the
transcendental task and purpose demarcating a society's
ultimate sense of identity.
Yet the Navy's abstracted identity flowed from a basic
behavioral source. By exposing this source as Operational, not
simply Corporate, Ethos, Knox and Kalbfus established the
officer corps as leaders of what was at the center a warrior, not a
bureaucratic, society. The role the Navy would play in American
national society welled from the role of the Service in war.
Combat mission in the defense of the State and its Policy created
the behavioral point of departure for the extrapolation of a Navy
political mission. Successful strategy in peace is predicated on
the process of strategic thinking for war.
The indoctrination of Operational Ethos was the pivotal
function of the Newport Course between the wars. War College
training, even at the level of rote formula, was the hinge that
saved the Navy from a regression to the 19th-century tradition
of the Bureaucratic Ethos. Senior officers, like J.O. Richardson,
who would lead the fleet on the eve of Pearl Harbor, reflected
this decisive turn in their thesis-writing:
The Navy is primarily maintained for war purposes, but
during long periods of peace Administration, the less
combatant function of Command, acquires a dominant
position. The Navy becomes material minded, and officers
become administrators rather than leaders The failure
to indoctrinate subordinates during peace may give us future
leaders who will fail under the trial of war. The only time
during the past twenty years when I have been conscious of
any effort to so indoctrinate me has been at the Naval War
The War College has been the central source from which we
have been getting our ideas about the Navy, as a whole, and
that War College has imbued the Navy with what we call a
certain indoctrination It is the kind of spirit that was
maintained among Nelson's captains. It is said they were a
band of brothers. 106
This was the fraternity of Command. Beyond the sense of
fellowship felt by all officers in the Service, those who went to
Newport imbibed a draught of expectation. If, in some
precarious future, an American Grand Fleet sortied to give
battle, as had another on that bright and almost windless
autumn afternoon in 1805, its gray battleships would have them
as captains. An American band of brothers, in association
bonded at the Naval War College, would lead Fleet, and Fortune:
an inner circle of Command, trained to lead in concert, to think
and act as one. This was the transcorporation of the Doctrine;
from printed ideology to living membership.
So spoke Rear Adm. Bradley Fiske to the Senate in 1920. His
words are not taken from transcript. They are a reminder, a
quotation from a letter to Fiske from Adm. W.S. Sims. This
tribute, from the president of the War College to a retired senior
and friend, is a signpost in the continuity of Command
fraternity. In the larger naval fraternity, the transmission of the
Corporate Ethos followed a traditional flow, formalized from
junior to senior, from generation to generation. The fraternity
of Command had nothing more than coincidental lines of
association. Each young Telemachus had to seek out his Mentor.
Sims sensed, in this primitive pattern for the inheritance of
Operational Ethos, the essential, ancestral backwardness of
American naval training. If the Service were ever to evolve
potential war leadership, a Command fraternity must be formed,
coexistent with the War College Course. Membership within a
Command Society would reinforce identity to the indoctrination
of mission. Sims sought so to instill the need for personal
membership in this Command fraternity, within the leadership
hierarchy, as to posit a new moral imperative to the Navy Ethos.
An accelerating recognition of this need through the interwar
era made of the War College the perceived passageway to high
command. By 1941, 99 percent of all flag officers had so passed
through Newport. 107 Sims' advocacy had inspired a moral
imperative as strong as any Departmental regulation: he had his
fraternity of Command, at least in framework. This was his
The social coordinates, to create continuity as well as
contiguity, demanded a fraternity membership plotted along
both vertical and horizontal axes. A network of associations
must be able to transmit, not simply maintain, shared values. A
fraternity must preserve a historical as well as a contemporary
identity; it must enshrine through living lineage the constant
process of becoming:
It was my good fortune to be a member of the Naval War
College Senior Class that graduated in June of 1923. Admiral
Sims was President, and Departments of Strategy and
Tactics were headed by Captain Reginald Belknap andJ.M.
Reeves — both splendid leaders 108
So Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz could write to a new president
at Newport, Adm. Charles Melson, in 1965. As he gave his
counsel to the younger officer, did he cast back for a moment to
that first June morning in 1922, when as a junior commander he
waited intently for the words of the great Sims, just as Sims must
have, as a student in the summer of 191 1, for the opening lecture
of Mahan? So this, the "vertical axis" of generational
association, created an enduring process, which took strongest
root under Sims' presidency and remained ascendant. During
the early postwar years, 1919-1923, NcNamee, Pringle, Laning,
held staff positions when Standley, Stark, Hart, Taussig, and
Nimitz were students. Pringle was president from 1927-1930
and his student list reads like a battle report: Hewitt, McCain,
Lee, Oldendorf, Kincaid, Fletcher. The Class of 1933, when
Harris Laning was President, included both King and Halsey,
with Spruance as a staff member. In 1934, with Luke McNamee
as President, Richardson, Carpenter, Zacharias, and Wilson
Brown were all at Newport. 109
This is one way of tracing the lineal descent of the associations
of the Command fraternity from generation to generation: the
vertical axis. In just three instances — McNamee, Pringle,
Laning — three proteges of Sims at Newport carried on his
vision to a later generation, as future presidents. Some of the
leaders of the Second World War era — Nimitz, Standley, Stark,
Hart, Taussig — were in Newport during the Sims' presidency.
Others applied for membership from Sims' disciples. All of
them, all those who would fight in future war, carried from
Newport to the fleet a small piece of Sims' vision modeled on the
embryo of his own experience.
From this rollcall of names can be sensed the historical
realization of Sims' fraternity of Command, shaped from 1919-
1923. Pratt, Belknap, Laning, Yarnell, and Knox were each a
member of Sims' informal "band of brothers" in the prewar
Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla or on his wartime staff. After the
Great War, he brought them to Newport. 110 They dominated
their staff positions and left their stamp: Knox in Command,
Belknap in Strategy, Yarnell in War Plans. Pratt and Laning
each served as president. Sims took the personal fraternity he
had forged, through North Atlantic gale and wartime
diplomacy, and made of it an institution.
Men who had worked closely with Sims, Pratt, Laning,
McNamee, Pringle, or, in the case of Kalbfus, trained under
Pratt, controlled the War College presidency through the
interwar era. The inheritance of Sims was passed down almost
uninterrupted from 1919-1941. As Belknap, in tribute, wrote to
Sims in 1923:
In any war within fifteen years our naval leadership would
be in the hands of those who served under you at the War
In retrospect, perhaps his predication should be recognized as
Even in peace, the fibers of Sims' Command fraternity began
to penetrate the depth of Service administration. By the early
1920s, War College men were already beginning to dominate
both the CNO's Office and the General Board, in another
triumphant Belknap message to Sims:
Since  the influence of War College trained men in
the Navy Department has steadily grown. In the War Plans
Division up to May last were six who received their
diplomas from you. Admiral Rodgers, Pratt, Schofield, and
the President of the War College, on the General Board; the
Director of Naval Intelligence and the Attaches in England
and France; the last two and the new Assistants to the Chief
of Naval Operations — all are War College Men. 112
In the statistics of association is no convincing evidence of
comaraderie, the unspoken measure of a fraternity. Those
personal allegiances, and private oaths, are not revealed by lists.
But there are some fragments of verse.
They were found in Sims' papers, a memory that "Blue
Ribbon" class, the War College Summer Conference of 1912.
With W.L. Rodgers* as president; sims and Knox and
Schofield** and Pratt, and Capt. E.H. Ellis of the Marines, the
Elijah-like prophet of the Pacific War, it was a class to
remember, for their doctrine and their leadership would define
the course of interwar Newport. How high was their espritl
There's a chap by the name of Schofield,
With two sides to his logical shield.
This shield's a doctrine
That's made of tough skin.
It is all of one piece
And is slippery with grease.
If you punch either side
The blows slip off the hide.
You can hit it a crack
On the front or the back,
But you can't make the cussed thing yield!
•Author of the portentous memorandum to the General Board, July 1915.
••Chief of the London Planning Section, 1918; both predominant in Chapter IV, "Mission and
Why is Commander Pratt like a fleet of 50 vessels in a single
Because he has a very bad disposition for either attack or
There's a certain young chappie named Knox
Who is terribly heterodox.
There's no tactical rule
That he don't ridicule;
He's got something loose in his box.
There's a frisky marine they call Ellis
Whose ability makes some folks jealous
He's a soldier all right
But a tactical blight.
He can plot on the board
So your fleet's always gored.
He can hand you a whack
From a torpedo attack,
And with gleeful elation he'll quell us. 113
This collection of War College "verse," entitled, "War is a
Terrible Thing," laughing at the idiosyncrasies of the
"confreres," the absurdities of war gaming, the abstruseness of
doctrine, an archival shard of humor, a forgotten document of
fun; this pastiche of limericks, parodies, and bad puns is a
central, significant evidence of esprit.
In laughing at themselves as well as their teachers and
courses, they reveal Newport as more than a "happy ship." This
playful "roasting" is the surest signal in any group of good
fellowship: of confidence in shared identity, of reveling in the
solidity of fraternal membership. Their humor was a symbolic
expression of common faith, con fidentia, in their unity of
mission, and in themselves. If anything, it was a kind of
What is the difference between an Estimate of the Situation,
a Mission, a Decision and an Acceptable Solution?
An Estimate is what you think
A Mission is what you blink
A Decision is that from which you shrink
An Acceptable Situation is always punk. 114
A generation later, in 1925, the jesting out of class still held
sway. "Slides Made By and Shown to Classes of 1925 U.S. Naval
War College" had more than a trace of the prankish spirit of
Annapolis. If these slides were ever slipped into a regular
Joint Course, NWC 45-min. Silent Lecture No. 2
Glossary of Synonymous Terms Used in This Lecture:
Estimate of the Situation
The Orange War ~^ ~ BULL
Joint Staff — - — -
Army and Navy Cooperation 11
There is continuity here, too, and of humor, almost as though
in the interweaving of the filaments of the education of mission:
the lectures, the bibliography, the theses, the doctrine, the
fraternity; they should at last be spliced in laughter, a starshell
sign of success.
For Mission's spirit, and not its doctrine, drove these men.
Almost unspoken, it left no files and no records; and its measure
is yet beyond the storage capacity even of immortal archive.
By all the canons of American policy and American tradition,
there was no enemy. The United States was a peace-loving
nation; after 1919, by all declarations of the ascendant public
mood, victory had delivered a peace-loving world. In the dawn of
a new age, the very preservation of the concept of a national
enemy was an act of atavistic hostility. Like the untouchable
image of "secret diplomacy," a war plan with a list of dramatis
personae was a Doric throwback to the Bronze Age behaviors of
the prewar world: an ethos of arietation and inevitable war.
Unlike the new Bolshevik regime, the United States after 1919
would entertain no principles of realpolitik, no "primary
antagonist" to guide the formulation of foreign policy. But
To the Navy, the enemy was all. Before the creation of the
War Plans Division, Newport spent its summers in the drafting
of potential war "situations." From the early years of this
century, America's oceanic antagonists were challenged and
fought in chalk on the floors of the War College. Out of
convenience and courtesy, the cast of characters was color-coded.
The British Empire was RED, the German, BLACK, the
Japanese, ORANGE. The United States was always BLUE.*
Between the World Wars, Newport no longer generated war
plans. The gaming— the tactical and the strategic and the
logistical "problems" thrashed out in a hundred sessions in the
"cockpit" — was still the testing of Washington's war plans. In
those endless engagements, to the thundering guns imagined in
still morning light, the War College still stretched the canvas for
the next war. As Belknap knew, the War Plans Division and the
General Board were run by Newport men. 1 Pratt called the War
College "the home of thought." 2 The Navy drew its sense of
Mission and of Command from the War College, and war
planning reflected the higher ethos instilled there. On the
finished canvas, it reflected a sharp vision of the future.
*See Appendix I.
It reflected the face of battle, and the mask of the enemy.
The image of the enemy was fashioned at Newport. Not only
in war games; it was etched in each of the components of the
War College Course. The image of the enemy was vital to the
Navy: the oceanic enemy defined the Navy's role, its mask
defined the Navy's life. Between Versailles and Pearl Harbor,
there were two enemies: RED and ORANGE.
RED was the color of tradition, and of common blood. RED
was the sentimental yardstick of the Navy's coming of age: to
measure its growth against the wall marks left by an elder, rival
brother. By all Navy allegiance of the heart, RED was like a
family antagonist: the clashes of Anglo-Saxon battle fleets off
the Grand Banks were rematches in fantasy from an old
competition, with all the gallantry of Hull and Dacres at the
surrender of Guerriere.
ORANGE was the pigment of Fate. As two destinies, two
racial comets whose orbits must inevitably, intersect so BLUE
and ORANGE would one day do battle for command of the
Pacific. So many dry runs of this campaign, so many pitched
battles in miniature, so many lectures and strategy sessions and
Cassandra pamphlets that this became an unstated Navy creed.
The mask of the enemy as a general scale against which to assess
American strategic capability was lost. The mask of the enemy
was lost to the thing behind the mask. Japan became the real
enemy, in part creating, in part justifying, the Navy Mission:
Hark ye yet again — the little lower layer. All visible objects,
man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event — in the
living act, the undoubted deed — there, some unknown but
still reasoning thing puts forth the moulding of its features
from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike
through the mask! 3
THE CALLIMORPHOSIS OF THE ENEMY: RED
For the first American century, England was the incarnation
of the oceanic enemy. In 1814, a British squadron had caused the
Capitol to be burned. In two early wars, their wooden battleships
had blockaded our coasts and reduced our marine. Duels ship to
ship with his Britannic Majesty's cruisers streaked the Navy's
folkloric tradition with unforgettable glory. The Royal Navy was
the only external force able to disturb directly the American
"way of life." The British battle fleet and its bases was the 19th
century's sole strategic weapon: it was the critical chink in the
myth of American security.
The Navy looked forward to the prospect of war with Britain
by looking backward. With 1812 as an enduring model,
Americans thought of naval strategy through ancestral lenses,
like a Roman of the late Republic contemplating a rerun of the
Samnite wars. British battleships would blockade American
ports from snug harbors: Port Royal, St. George, and Halifax.
Swift, powerful Yankee cruisers would sortie, broaching the
Atlantic sealanes. This is what would have attended a
declaration of war in December 1861, when the Admiralty
assembled half the battle fleet to rush the northeast coast of the
Union. 1 Throughout the century, the United States never once
attempted to follow Hamilton's strategic equation, to balance
the New World against the Old: to create a strategic lever, a
squadron of battleships built to sail as a single unit. America
built many capital ships in the 19th century; battleships
operating as cruisers. They never sailed together. There was no
fleet doctrine, no training in squadron battle tactics. Strategy,
unnamed, was unknown. For most of a century, America
possessed in its handful of battleships the embryo of a strategic
weapon and could not give it life. 2
By 1815, the American shipbuilding industry with ease might
have served as midwife to the birth of a strategic system. During
the Civil War, the Union laid down 56 ironclad warships. With
two exceptions, this monitor armada was little better than a
battery of blockships drawn across a harbor mouth. They could
not fight at sea. American industry might have launched a fleet
to rival England's, and had the imagination but to apply steam
and iron technology to the Jeffersonian vision, and a clutch of
glorified gunboats! 3
America was unable to discard the ethos implied by the
Jeffersonian vision. For more than a century, the American
Navy was built and operated as though this nation was no more
than a fledgling continental polity, incapable of challenging the
maritime powers. This was, after 1815, illusion. The stagnation
of American thought on the strategic usage of a navy has an
important context in this thesis. Nineteenth-century stagnation
severely limited 20-century strategic thought. A primitive
paradigm of American naval strategy, entrenched in the
experience of 1812, stunted the growth of America's nascent
strategic system. Even when the appropriation sluices were
opened at the beginning of this century, the Navy was unable to
employ its flow effectively.
When American battleships finally, formally began operating
as a unit, in 1903, the Service passed the strategic watershed.
Jeffersonian myopia was exchanged for Hamiltonian exotropia. 4
When the Atlantic Fleet was formed, in 1906, the New World
had its arbiter.
In the first two decades of the 20th century, the Navy's
strategic vision was truly Hamiltonian. There were three
common motifs between 18th and 20th-century battle murals.
There was an identity of combat theaters. The American was the
second fleet. The enemy was often the British Empire. War with
Britain, as envisaged by the Naval War College in 1912, read like
a passage out of MacCauley:
Twenty-two thousand troops are rushed to Canada, and
arrive off Quebec on D plus 6. The Main Red Fleet, all 46
battleships, anchors at Halifax on D plus 9. Control of the
Pacific is established by Red on D plus 31. A Red
expeditionary force of 80638 assaults New York on D plus
26, and 79927 reinforcements embark on D plus 56. On D
plus 30, 37782 ANZACs assemble at Suva for an assault on
the unfinished Panama Canal. The Blue Fleet, inferior to
Red by more than half, must avoid battle and blockade. 5
Instinctively, the Navy accepted Hamilton's world along with
his world view, and grafted 18th-century grand strategy, as
though it were still living tissue, onto a world transformed,
unrecognizable in its mutation. The scenario of the 1912 War
College drama suggests a rematch of the American Revolu-
tionary and Seven Year's War combined. "Black Dick" Howe
anchors off New York with a fleet of dreadnoughts, and
Burgoyne marches down the Hudson Valley equipped with
Vickers machineguns and 18-pounders. The American Fleet,
like Conflans racing to Quiberon Bay, flees before the British
Channel Squadron. The curse of the Hamiltonian strategic
equation was that it, too, was cast in antique images. Unlike the
Jeffersonian, it was an outward-facing vision, posited - on
strategic leverage, with a battle squadron as fulcrum. Yet it was
poured into a defensive mold; its final shape was confined to the
historical parameters of a world that no longer existed.
This was the pernicious inheritance of arrested evolution.
When America and its Navy elevated Mahan to the strategic
priesthood during the 1890s, one 18th-century model was
exchanged for another; for Mahan was, at heart, an 18th-century
man. He exalted in the struggle for empire, he reveled in the age
of fighting sail. A naval generation was weaned at Newport on
English battles and English victories: Anson, Rodney, Nelson,
Howe, Blake; these were the Command models. England was
the only authentic seapower: Tridens quondam, tridens futurus.
In all paradox, Mahan was of more use to the British than to his
own service. He created, within the American Navy, a
subliminal sensation of maritime inferiority. At the end of the
19th century, having forged in steel the world's first economy,
America felt that ambitions beyond the world's second fleet
were historically undeserved. 6
The first 20 years of this century marked the last resurgence of
British seapower. Mahanian anglophilia and astounding British
battleship programs linked historical and contemporary images
of eternal English naval supremacy. Only irony can characterize
the process: as American naval officers admired the Royal Navy,
so they to that measure lost confidence in themselves. So it was
with the Hochseeflotte, Britain's avowed rival. Both the
American and the Imperial German Fleets of the prewar world
were haunted by unspoken feelings of inferiority. The image of
the Royal Navy was invincible.
This is the essence of the callimorphosis of RED. By
transforming the image of the Atlantic enemy into positive
form, from foe to rival, antagonist to competitor, the Navy was
able to keep faith in its own destiny. As long as the Royal Navy
remained supreme, the American Navy must aspire to the image
of an equal engagement. Britain's battle fleet became the
absolute scale. If the U.S. Navy could create strategic stalemate
in a campaign with even the greatest navy
Hamilton had offered such a vision: a deterrent force, a
defensive disuasor in a clout of capital ships. Using America's
"commanding position," such a force would with ease "incline
the balance" in the New World. What Hamilton urged in 1787
was fulfilled in 1895 and 1903. American battleships were the
arbiters of the Hemisphere, "to dictate the terms of the
connection between the old and the new world!" 7
This was their limit as well.
By adopting a Hamiltonian strategic vision, the Navy
described a defensive operating theater. The "cockpit" lay in the
sugar islands of the West Indies, as in the days of Rodney, Hood,
and De Grasse. The "key to the continent," Halifax, was but a
day's sail from the legendary fortress, Louisbourg. This strategic
seascape stunted the development of transoceanic seapower.
Tabletop battles with BLACK, the Imperial German Fleet,
invariably ended in reruns of the Saintes, 1782. As Bradley Fiske
remarked, in 1915, transatlantic enemies "violating the Monroe
Doctrine will come to us, and we will then have the strategic
Only Japan and the reaches of the Pacific could spur the
impetus to the offensive; and, before 1919, ORANGE was a pale
hue in the rainbow of potential foes.
This pattern of prewar evolution is crucial to an
understanding of the interwar mutation of RED. As a
conditional concept of the Atlantic enemy, RED between the
wars was the strategic scale in the measured viability of
American security. Two perceptual displacements were
responsible: the callimorphosis of RED, and the accession of the
Hamiltonian strategic vision.
The process of callimorphosis, from 1895-1917, permitted
the U.S. Navy to discard the image of the Royal Navy as a
potential enemy, while still retaining the context of a strategic
balance. As the world's strongest fleet postwar, the Royal Navy
was a precise scale, a standard for measurement. By creating the
positive antagonism of a school or family rivalry, just enough
emotion was injected into the war gaming process to lend the
exercise the patina of reality.
Hamilton's strategic vision, the yet unrecognized ricochet of
Mahan, demarcated hemispheric security along a rigidly
defensive sea frontier. The concept of the Atlantic enemy,
whether British or German, RED or BLACK, was rooted in an
18th-century conceit: until the spring of 1940. A unilateral
Atlantic offensive by America on a European or African axis lay
beyond thought. A vigorous "forward defense," embracing the
amphibious seizure of Iceland or the Azores, lay uncontemplated
through the interwar era. 9
Through the callimorphosis of RED, the Navy was able to
wrestle with the challenging, if spectral form of a superior
maritime power in game, though amity reigned in reality. The
classical tradition of an antique strategic vision was in part a
corollary postulate to the image of a BLUE-RED war. The U.S.
Navy, interwar, was incapable of placing the fantasy of a sea war
with Britain in the context of an Atlantic offensive. The sublime
emotional weight of historical imagery could not be shrugged:
the Navy simply could not imagine American warships in
combat off the coasts of Italy and France, or even in the storm-
"The Strategy of the Atlantic," as it was christened at the War
College, became a ritual interwar abstract: of classical combat
with the British battle fleet, off Trinidad or the Georges Bank.
Yet as a measure ot growing self-confidence, the continuing
callimorphosis of RED between the wars offered a series of
perceptual benchmarks. For the U.S. Navy, it was a graph of
Cdr. Holloway Frost was the interwar seer of "The Strategy of
the Atlantic." His lectures at Newport on Jutland, and his
briefings on the course of a BLUE-RED war, outlined the
attitudes of his service toward a traditional foe. Beyond imagery,
his analyses precursed the Navy Department's formal war plan
against the British Empire.
"The Strategy of the Atlantic" was his seminal lecture, first
delivered before the General Staff College, in the capital, on 9
September 1919. Frost's panorama was inspired by the first
postwar suggestion of Anglo-American war drawn, ironically,
by Americans in London. Knox, McNamee, and Schof ield, of the
U.S. Naval Planning section, in Memorandum No. 67, were
discussing the causes of conflict between former allies just 10
days after the Armistice. 10
Memorandum No. 67 used the impostumate image of war
with one's ally, voiced in his capital, as a rhetorical means of
expediting the American battleship building program, then
stagnant. Frost's motives were more dispassionate. Each essay
saw the surest source of conflict in "trade rivalry": "Successful
trade rivalry strikes at the very root of British prosperity, and
threatens even the existence of the British Empire." 11 Frost
echoed the judgment of the London Planning Section:
No nation, which bases its prosperity on trade can exist with
a major adverse trade balance A nation doomed to
commercial defeat will usually demand a military decision
before this commercial defeat is complete The British
may be forced into a war to maintain their commercial
supremacy, which is essential to the existence of the British
Empire. No one could blame them for starting such a war. 12
This is less of a Darwinian smear of "survival of the fittest" than
it is an unconscious reimaging of the sugar and spice wars of the
18th century. Frost, Knox, McNamee, Schofield, the emerging
intellectual leadership, tended to follow the steepened prejudice
of the first Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. William S. Benson;
as he, in turn, dimly mirrored the fears of the young Federalists.
For 400 years, England had disposed a determined sequence of
maritime rivals: Spain, Holland, France, Germany. Would
America be next? 13
Before the watershed of the Washington Conference, the
officers of the American Navy paid tribute to their own,
unalloyed image of the Royal Navy. To them, in lineal descent,
the Grand Fleet of 1918 was envisaged through the same glass by
which another generation awaited the Grand Fleet of 1812. The
Royal Navy was something big, heroic, even immortal. The
British Empire, flushed with victory, was a historical force. Like
Frost, they knew the British economy was exhausted, its finances
wrecked; American officers recorded Empire unrest in Ireland
and India, they watched Dominion allegiance recede. 14
Still they looked for the resolution of Pitt, the temerity of
Nelson, to emerge from the adversity of postwar Britain. Surely
Britannia would meet the challenge of Wilson's big battleships;
if war ever came between England and America, surely the
offensive initiative would be seized by the Grand Fleet. This was
Frost's thesis: America could not openly oppose the British
battle fleet, clotted with dreadnoughts, 42 to a Yankee 15. In
Frost's war plan, the United States must assault and seize
Halifax and Louisbourg in 6 days, Bermuda in 7, and Jamaica in
17, if our hazardry was to have any hope of victory. Were the
Grand Fleet to arrive in the New World before the leathernecks
had secured Halifax, then the campaign would be all but lost.
Unless an amphibious blitz cut RED communications with
CRIMSON (Canada), English shipping would soon pour a
freshet of veteran divisions, hardened in the Great War, into the
St. Lawrence Valley, as they had in 1814, to bring stalemate on
the Canadian frontier. 15
The canvas of this "modern" strategy should have been
commissioned for Benjamin West. In the capture of Louisbourg,
he could have used the first assault, in 1745, as model, with
William Pepperall and his New Englanders. Jeffrey Amherst's
1760 campaign down the St. Lawrence Valley could characterize
the Canadian campaign. How like the siege of Havana in 1762,
was the image of American Marines assaulting the defenses of
So rooted was the 18th-century association of Anglo-
American war with a classical combat theater, not even the
spectral strategy of global war could tear up its tracery. As long
as the British and Japanese Empires remained in transoceanic
alliance, America was forced to plan for the gauzy contingency of
a two-front sea war. The occasion of the Navy's first crystal-
gazing into global war was, again, a lecture by Frost, delivered
before the General Staff College late in 1920. "The Naval
Operations of a Red-Orange Campaign," like "The Strategy of
the Atlantic," was the conceptual text for the first War
Portfolios of the War Plans Division. 17 Copies of both were
relayed to the War College from the War Plans Division. 18
Nine months before the Imperial Conference informally
ensured the dissolution of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, Frost
assumed that in a war with ORANGE, intervention by RED was
improbable, for the same cause that would scuttle the alliance:
the hostility of the White Dominions. In a war with RED, Frost
countered, "it seems practically certain that ORANGE would
immediately declare war on BLUE." 19 Frost had grasped the
concept of a "Two-Ocean War." The context was fantastic; the
problem it posed, prophetic.
There was a chance, then, to test, with 20 years' grace, the
texture and the theory of simultaneous naval operations along
America's sea frontiers. By defining Britain as the primary
opponent, the Navy confined its perception of the problem to a
predicate of associations of the Atlantic enemy. This process
limited basic assumptions of the possible to a strategy of
hemispheric defense. Frost's RED-ORANGE campaign was a
replay of "The Strategy of the Atlantic," with Japan thrown in as
a sideshow. Again, Halifax and Kingston must be assaulted, and
Trinidad too, if there is time. The Asiatic Fleet is stranded to
hold the Philippine fort, if it can, while the Pacific moiety of a
divided U.S. Fleet struggles to hold Hawaii. 20
Frost permitted an abject American defense. Although he
admitted "that in the second year of the war the BLUE fleet in
the Atlantic will be superior to the RED fleet," Frost was
disinclined to offer an oceanic offensive. This is a paradox, and
the essential historical recognition in the essay. Frost was
perhaps the single interwar officer in his service most imbued
with the "offensive spirit":
I hope that I was able to emphasize the necessity of our
officers being infused with the offensive spirit; it is
necessary that we develop what might be called "Offensive
Minds" in the service; and to instill in all the idea of thinking
about what we can do to the enemy rather than what the
enemy can do to us. 21
This plea for a combat ethos, relayed to Sims from China in
1923, seems to contradict the strategic spirit of his earlier essays.
There is no contradiction. The truth is that, through the 1920s,
the U.S. Navy was only slowly to cast off the hackles of hero-
worship, and the still subliminal sensations of inferiority to the
Royal Navy. In 1920 there was every prospect of a renewal of the
Anglo-Japanese alliance, in name if not in spirit. Britain's battle
fleet equalled in number those of the next five powers
combined. 22 His Majesty's Government had announced its
readiness to lay down new capital ship keels to keep that
margin. 23 No Navy could match their combat experience, save
the squadrons of the vanquished scuttled at Scapa Flow.
This incredible, indefinable moral suasion, what Frost called
"an imponderable moral ascendancy"; this measureless asset
was liquidated at Washington in 1922. 24 American officers, like
Knox, who saw a vision of emerging New World naval
supremacy dismantled on the ways, railed bitterly at "The
Eclipse of American Seapower." 25 They failed, in their anger, to
see that something far greater had been given up by Britain.
Having measured 4 years in blood to hold a historical primacy,
they meekly surrendered with mere ink four centuries of
strategic tradition. Ten years were needed for the U.S. Navy to
feel the full fact of this abdication.
This was the second stage of the callimorphosis of RED. The
first, from 1895-1917, transformed the Royal Navy from an
enemy to a useful and instructive rival, a model to strive against
in game, not in combat. From 1919 to the mid-1950s, American
naval perceptions of RED, the Atlantic rival, endured a deeper
metamorphosis. Britain accepted the principle of parity with
America at Washington. During the 1920s, tactical games and
studies developed at Newport diagnosed from the principle of
parity, the promise of reality. In accepting the implications of
equality, the U.S. Navy impelled a metamorphosis of self.
The gestation was drawn out over a decade. At Washington,
Britain was granted a dreadnought edge of 22 : 18 over America: a
political concession to save the Lion's face. To American naval
officers, this was a decisive edge; and Britannia had saved more
than pride by treaty. Capt. J.M. Reeves was Chief of the
Department of Tactics at Newport in 1925. His analysis, "A
Tactical Study Based on the Fundamental Principles of War of
the Employment of the Present BLUE Fleet in a Battle Showing
the Vital Modifications Demanded by Tactics," for all of its
tendentiousness, was stark animadversion. The thesis was
The foregoing study makes it evident that the BLUE Fleet as
it exists today can not engage the RED Fleet in gun action
with any prospect of victory. Every recent tactical exercise,
or war game, at the War College has shown this in the most
emphatic manner. In the last tactical exercise four RED
capital ships were eliminated before the action began in an
effort to give the BLUE Fleet some slight chance of victory.
The result, as usual, was decisive defeat for BLUE. 26
There was no skirting this assessment. In all battleline
encounters between the RED and BLUE fleets on the game
floor, between 1923 and 1925, BLUE lost. In Tactical Problem
IV (Tac. 94), fought by the Class of 1923— "The Battle of the
Emerald Bank" — BLUE lost all 18 battleships to RED gunfire.
RED Dread-casualties were less than 40 percent. 26 The only
combat victory over RED was achieved in 1924: Tactical
Problem II (Tac.lO/Mod.9). RED lost eight capital ships in
"The Battle of Sable Island," and BLUE but one. BLUE's
battleline was spared by a successful, and sacrificial, sortie by
massed BLUE destroyer squadrons. A torpedo rush with such
luck was beyond Scheer's skill at Jutland, and BLUE could not
throw away dozens of destroyers in the hope of saving their
precious battlewagons. 28 BLUE must rely on its "primary
weapon" for victory.
The capital ship was the "primary weapon" and, in 1925, "it is
evident the BLUE Commander cannot win victory by means of
his primary weapon alone." 29 This was Reeves' litany of BLUE
RED Vital Factors of Materiel Superiority
1. Superior Fleet Speed 5.5%
2. Superior Numbers of Ships 22.2%
3. Superior Gun Power 15%-230%
4. Superior Effective Fire 35%-400%
5. Superior Types of Guns 40%
6. Superior Thickness of Deck Armor 15
7. Superior Ability to Penetrate Vitals 4l%-81
RED has superiority in every vital factor of materiel
strength for a modern gun engagement. 30
By Reeves' definition, the American Battle fleet was committed
to an antique image of high seas combat, fought at short, stand-
up, high noon ranges. Long before then, at long ranges, 24,000
yards and more, the Yankee battlewagons would be sinking:
The BLUE Fleet can not, under such a handicap, enter the
fatal zone to engage in a gun duel and hope to escape. Once
in the fatal zone the BLUE Fleet can not escape by means of
her speed, nor fight off the RED Fleet by means of her
There was but one solution. Plaster the decks with steel plate,
crank up gun elevation, and learn to shoot and hit hard at 30,000
yards. Between 1926 and 1934, New York, Texas, Nevada,
Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Mississippi, Idaho, and New
Mexico were brought up to standard. 32 Shooting at long range
was tested with West Virginia in 1925, using airplanes for
spotting over the horizon. 33 By 1937, Admiral Reeves, now
CINCUS, could report with pride to the Secretary of the Navy
that the battle fleet could smother the enemy at 30,000 yards;
and that this tremendous reach, the power to hit the enemy in
the "Outer Zone," was the "greatest advantage the United States
Navy possessed." 34
The balance was tilting. In London, 1930, Britain accepted
1 5 : 1 5 in dreadnoughts, 50: 50 in cruisers. Perhaps MacDonald, in
Washington in the autumn of 1929, wished to set an early
precedence in appeasement. American officers sensed the
immutable shifting of forces. Through the 1930s their service
shared materiel equality with the old rival. To this fresh
sensation was added then a gathering recognition of moral
America's battle fleet, rebuilt and reinvigorated, could now
outrange the British bulwark by 10,000 yards, and sink them
before they came within fighting reach. The reversal was
complete. As Yarnell averred in 1930:
Personally I consider that the United States Battle Fleet is
superior to the British Battle Fleet. At least I would not
This American Navy was losing its awe of legend. At the War
College, regular reruns of "The Battle of Sable Island" were
rescheduled for 1932, 1933, 1934 and 1938. In Operations
Problem VI (Tactical), played by the Senior Class of 1938, BLUE
lost four big ships; RED limped away with twelve dreadnoughts
awash. 36 The New World was testing its mettle. In the
metronymy of naval supremacy, American officers were
beginning to see the substitution of the Old World by the New
an easy envisage.
From enemy to rival to ward: the callimorphosis was
complete. At the end of the Great War, the American Navy was
still wrestling with the figures of myth, celebrated by Mahan,
that as Titans confronted a generation of Newport classes. What
better emblem of assumed inferiority than the American change
of uniform, ordered in April 1918. In a despairing protest, Rear
Adm. Hugh Rodman, commanding Battleship Division Nine,
operating with the Grand Fleet, accused the Navy Department
of exchanging a "respected, distinctly American blouse" for a
British "rig," "only to gratify the whims of those who want to
copy the English":
I can see no earthly reason for abandoning our own uniform
and adopting one that cannot be told from the British and
thus lose our identity as Americans 37
By aping the British "monkey jacket," we not only paid homage,
we humbled ourselves, genuflecting before a false god. This was
Rodman's remonstrance, revealing, at the last crest of British
victory at sea, how fragile still was America's emerging naval
Even after Washington, the Royal Navy held moral sway in
the minds of American officers. At mid-decade, British
battleline predominance was the prevailing postulate
throughout the service. Not only at Newport, where Reeves was
collecting his damning data, but in Washington. As a body, the
General Board solemnly advised the Secretary of the Navy that
"the British Fleet has approximately twice as effective fire as our
own at long ranges. We cannot assume a moral superiority. The
more the question is analyzed, the more nearly the answer
appears to be a certainty of defeat for us " 38 If any innate
"moral superiority" was assumed by American officers, it was
assigned to RED. As the American Naval Attache in London
wrote to Dudley Knox, at O.N.I. , late in 1923:
The essence of the matter may be summed up that the
British have never had any intention at any time of agreeing
to an equality in Sea Power with any other nation I have
no hesitancy in stating that the British Navy has never been
as efficient as it is today, and that the British Battle Fleet is
markedly superior to that of the U.S. 39
These passages shelter the latent, still strong, sense of moral and
materiel inferiority in the uncertain imaginations of American
Reeves' escape clause, and the steady modernization of the
battle fleet erased the materiel factor. MacDonald's submission
at London in 1930 marked a receding moral tide: from myth, to
the merely mortal. As Knox judged in March 1931:
The BLUE Fleet is now able to meet the RED Fleet on equal
Perceived equality was recognized at the interwar pivot. From
there, for Britain, it was to be a downhill slide. Flaccid foreign
policy, and a fast eroding strategic balance at sea, were seen as
sure signs of decay. In 1933 King commented in his Senior
Thesis that "our growth and our strength have virtually reduced
Great Britain to second place Truly, Great Britain must be
considered a potential enemy, not in questions of security, but as
to matters involving our foreign trade, financial supremacy, and
our dominant position in world affairs." 41 No longer a strategic
threat to America, Britain was of interest only in terms of the
conflicts inevitably arising from the transfer of power, and the
legitimation of a new world leader.
American impressions did not improve as war tensions
stretched. At the preliminaries to the second London Naval
Conference in 1934, Adm. William H. Standley was shocked at
the permeation of "Pacifist influence" throughout the British
leadership. American armament, not Japanese, seemed the
critical concentration of the English Camp: "It was evident from
the beginning that the British were levelling their pacifist guns
at me." 42 The burnt offerings of appeasement did not sit well
with American naval officers. Adm. J.O. Richardson spoke for
The willingness of the British to appease the Italians and the
Germans came as an unpleasant surprise to me. These
actions . . . led me to question whether Great Britain could be
relied upon to fight, with arms, for a moral cause. 43
As their government "lost markedly in moral stature," so in
equal measure did their navy. Procrastinative rearmament, so
very ginger naval deployment in the Abyssinian Crisis, and
naked haste to deliver a renascent Hochseflotte through the
midwifery of treaty, disturbed American officers. The temple
was gutted; the gods had departed.
So unseemly was their collapse that American officers,
instinctively, began to revise recent history. How, in a single
generation, could a people so willingly discard the naval
instrument of their tetrakosaria of greatness? Had the Grand
Fleet, in armistice ascendancy, carried within its bunkers the
seeds of decay?
Holloway Frost's dissection of the last, whipping clash of
battlelines — Jutland — appeared in 1936. His polemic, as in the
Greek rrokefioo, or war, cruelly stripped the Royal Navy of its
last tatters of historical pride. The appearance of victory in the
Great War was a mask, hiding the shameful failure of the Grand
Fleet to achieve decision in battle. What the Royal Navy
surrendered at Washington in 1922 was the physical shell,
without virtus. That ineffable spirit had departed 6 years before,
... a "Trafalgar" on May 31, 1916, would have reestablished
British naval supremacy for a long time to come. Such
ascendency depends as much upon moral as upon material
factors, and the British lost that imponderable moral
ascendency at Jutland. Never again would American or
Japanese sailors be overawed by the powerful, even
overwhelming force of British naval tradition. The sequel
was that in 1922 Great Britain conceded parity to the United
States . . . . 44
In the 1920s, Frost's judgment would have earned derision. The
Naval Institute would not have considered publishing his
massive essay. In the year of the Abyssinian Crisis and the
Anglo-German Naval Agreement, Frost's big work was hailed
by his service. He was historian, not heresiarch. He reflected the
"spirit of the age"; the Royal Navy, and the empire it served, had
sold its soul in the present. For this, it was damned in the past.
Suddenly, to the U.S. Navy, H.M.S. "had grown old." 45
This chronicle of callimorphosis suggests more than the sum
of changing perceptions of RED. Callimorphosis implies a
changing toward the good. As the American Navy shed its
layered store of historical imagery — of 18th-century provincial
strategy, of hero-worship, of instinctive inferiority — and looked
hard at modern Britain, it was set free.
Free to believe in itself: as the best, the most battleworthy
fleet on the world ocean. Free to contemplate its own, incipient
THE CACOMORPHOSIS OF THE ENEMY: ORANGE
In the No play of America and Japan, the second part, as
tradition decreed, was played in full armor, in martial masks.
This, the tragic center of the trilogy, from 1906 to 1945, was
acted in naval battle dress. In the time of sailing ships, when
America's only trans-Kurile connection lay with bluff-bowed,
frigate-ported, whaling brigs, the navy of Biddle and Perry
opened the doors of Japan to "amicable intercourse." With the
coming of coal and steel, and the forging of two Pacific battle
fleets, the scenes, and the masks were changed.
The cacomorphosis of ORANGE evolved within two
perceptual spheres. In the world of professional behaviors the
Navy responded to the slow estrangement of two cultures with
the preparation of war plans: the dispassionate duty of the
Naval Establishment. Administrative bureaus within the
Corporate Ethos attended to the task: scenarios and
contingencies ritually proferred to the policymakers on the
Capitoline. This was the structural mission of the service, the
visible role of the peacetime Navy within the Federal
framework, the domestic mask. This the Navy wore in the
performance of its assigned part, as it faced a potential enemy as
well enmasked, each playing its role in the pursuit of antebellum
Beneath the mask of peacetime planning, of managerial
mission; beneath the formal face of routine role were the
stronger features of subcutaneous identity. Operational Ethos
articulated the abstracted imagery of meaning: the symbolic
sense of self so central to the survival of the Navy Ethos. The
Navy was a warrior society; distilled to essence, it existed for
combat. Management was a means to war preparation, not an
end. The Navy mission was not bureaucratic; it was Homeric. In
peace this was easily forgotten, and this oblivion encouraged
within the American political arena. To keep mission, and
identity, alive, the enemy was made real. Beneath the mask of
the enemy, and the Navy's public, dispassionate, persona, was
the emotional characterization of combat. In the dual
cacomorphosis of ORANGE, strategic planning was the cool
medium: the mask. The escalating ORANGE war portfolio,
through this century, mirrored in memorandum-imagery the
visceral subcurrents of hostility, and the readiness to strike
through the mask.
The Naval War College was the surgical instrument in this
transformation of service perception: Japan's evil
metamorphosis. Strategic planning for war with Japan began at
Newport; through the interwar era it was the operating theater
of the War Plans Division. In war game and postmortem
analysis, Washington's plans against ORANGE were tested and
measured, purified and recast. Newport was the laboratory.
War planning was the formal, superficies of this mutation.
It began, innocently, in 1897. A quick essay by Newport's
"Board of Defenses" — "War with Spain and Japan" — was
prompted by the Hawaiian crisis, and the tense visit of the
cruiser Naniwa to Honolulu. This was the dim, embryonic image
of the "Two Ocean War"; and a sorry tale. Japan's navy seizes the
initiative, striking across the Pacific to Juan de Fuca:
... it is admitted that the Japanese might take temporary
possession of Puget Sound for the purpose of coaling ... it
would be necessary for us to abandon the Sandwich Islands
temporarily and with our fleet fall back to the support of San
Here is a world view worthy of a minor navy; the operational
ethos of a Scandinavian coast defense force. Even the president
of the War College, Capt. Caspar Goodrich, offered few
propitiations to the Assistant Secretary, Theodore Roosevelt,
eager to "smash up" the Japanese Fleet. "Our marked numerical
inferiority" would preclude an offensive into Japanese home
waters, he confessed, and "the College regrets that facts seem to
forbid a rapid, vigorous, successful war." 2
This skirted simple strategic truth: in five decades of
commercial and diplomatic intercourse, had relations between
America and Japan been breached, both powers would have been
physically hard put to prosecute a war. Without battle fleets and
forward bases, even the stakes of "interest" could not have
compelled a decision. Yet, ironically, this was the indivisible
kernel that would defy the theory of American transpacific
strategy, all the way to 1941. Japan would keep pace. Throughout
the interwar era, the Battle Force and its Advanced Base never
managed to merit more than gamblers' odds.
In 1900 Japan was not yet enmasked. Lt. J.M. Ellicott produced
another fantasy scenario in the manner of the 1897 studies. With
the American battle fleet gestating on the Atlantic, Ellicott toyed
with the specter of a Japanese invasion of California via Santa
Barbara. These idle daydreams were an outgrowth of general
Pacific insecurity. America in 1900 held little ironclad leverage
in that ocean; Japan was a useful yardstick to measure American
Before Port Arthur and Tsushima, Russia wore the mask of
the Pacific enemy. Ellicott wrote a more serious memorandum
in 1900 than his "Fall of Los Angeles" script. From Newport, he
addressed the General Board on the prospect of a Russian
descent on the Philippines, and urged alliance with Japan. 4 Rear
Adm. George Remey, Commander of the Asiatic Squadron, took
the same stance in 1902 at the height of Russian-American
rivalry in China. 5 That summer after Remey's initiative, the War
College "Problem of 1902" fulfilled this spasm of premature
Russophobia with a complete "campaign." A "Triple Alliance"
of America, Britain, and Japan face France and its Ursine ally.
The war lacks zest, and Allied armies get stalemated in Korea
around the 38th parallel, 50 years too soon. 6
Mahan was the first to see the Pacific as the arena of naval and
national destiny. When the Navy reflexed in the Venezuelan
crisis, and found a new enemy in the German Reich, Mahan
made instant exception. The Newport summer conference, the
"Course of 1903," urged that the battle fleet be kept undivided in
the Atlantic. 7 Mahan, like "stern Achilles, shaded by his sails, On
hoisted yards extended to the gales; Pensive he sat":
To remove our fleet — battle fleet — from the Pacific would
be a declaration of policy and a confession of weakness. It
would mean a reversion to a policy narrowly American, and
essentially defensive, which is militarily vicious The
American question, the Monroe principle, is as nearly
established as is given to international questions to be. The
Pacific and Eastern is not in that case, and is the great
coming question. 8
The War College was seduced by the mesmeric image of
Teutonic ironclads striking across the North Atlantic, ravishing
the Caribbean, violating the Monroe Doctrine. Prewar
Darwinian imagery labeled a "virile" Germany as the new,
emotional enemy. From 1903 to 1919, the Navy placed the Reich
in the Hamiltonian strategic theater, RED's traditional harbor.
Germany wore the mask, in the sinister code-color: BLACK.
Monroe was still stronger than Mahan, and Atlantic
iconography still held sway in Service world view. 9
Diplomatic crisis with Japan led to rushed war planning at
Newport; and the first Pacific War Portfolio, ORANGE, was
codified by 191 1. 10 This was important: before 1919, the Atlantic
Enemy, calligenic (RED) and cacogenic (BLACK), was
predominant. Japan was still an exercise, not an enemy.
In sudden recognition, at the end of the Great War, the Navy
was confronted with the operational specter of a Pacific war.
What had been a contingency without seniority between 1907
and 1917 became, even as they sprinkled sand on the Versailles
Treaty, the conditional priority of the next war. No longer in the
process of becoming, Mahan's "question" had arrived.
In 1906 war postulates against ORANGE held a leisurely
pace. Without the Panama Canal, the itinerary of war opposed a
vigorous timetable. The "Conference of 1906, Solution of
Problem" was the War College document that spawned the
General Board's advisory plan: cryptically entitled, "In Case of
Strained Relations with Japan." 11 A curious prescriptive. Battle
strategy is reduced to three pages, listed in recitation like the
"principles of war" from an academy text. The long journey of
the BLUE battle fleet, to battle rendezvous off the Trojan shore,
needs forty. 12
Like Rojestvenskiy's fated fleet, the U.S. "Combined Fleet"
was to steam bravely out of Chesapeake Bay, make for Morocco,
then the Mediterranean, then the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the
Indian Ocean, the Java Sea, and, at last, the Macassar Straits and
the gateway to Mindanao. After 87.64 days and 220,994 tons of
coal, a tired fleet, in narrow straits, making for a beleaguered
base, would face the fresh ironclads of ORANGE, confident
ship-killers, cleared for action. 13
Now that America had her own imperial jewels in the
Orient — the Philippines — more than commercial interests
called for transpacific suasion. An interservice "Joint
Committee," incorporating officers from the Army General
Staff and the Naval War College, strove to solve the conundrum
of a successful war. Their assessment of the "Special Situation"
When the United States Force shall have arrived [in the
Philippines] it will have no home coal mines and no naval
base in those waters The Japanese should be able to
approximate equality in numbers "Command of the
Sea" will thus not be established the moment our Atlantic
Fleet reaches the Philippines Our situation will be well
nigh desperate 14
Sailing around the world to relieve the Philippines was an
operational exercise with a single virtue: it offered the promise
of a short war. Before 1919 Manila was not worth a long mass.
All would be well, the Joint Committee concluded, were America
but to carve a fortified base by Subic Bay, strong enough to hold
out for 3 months, and the weary Atlantic Fleet. If only "Subic Bay
can be defended to the last," the war could be quickly, painlessly,
won. 13 Mahan's single bitter reply:
That we should have a stronghold impregnable as Port
Arthur Absit omen!
The omen would not be heeded. A short-war illusion lingered
on into the interwar era. Even when ORANGE donned the
mask of the primary enemy, planning still echoed hopes for
quick conflict. The vastness of the Pacific could not yet be tamed
by Victorian technology. Manila was close to Japan; the Main
American fleet was in the gray Atlantic, half a world away. A
coal-stoking, triple expansion navy could not hope to rescue an
embattled base on Luzon. This was the hard truth:
The BLUE Fleet, arriving at Manila via Suez . . . would be
expended. That would end the war. If we call the time three
months, the route via Suez means a short war, totally
unsuccessful for BLUE. 16
Through the 1930s many hardly relished the alternative.
A long, grimy war, island to island, across the Pacific. A nice,
fastidious campaign, in image more a sortie than a siege; capped
by a sharp, climatic engagement: this was the desideratum of
domestic politics. Those policymakers constitutionally charged
with the defense of America's Pacific spoils prayed for an easy
defense. A long war was an expensive fantasy. There were too
many unjustifiable preparations to protracted conflict.
Spasmodic scenarios were attractive, and cheap; it was
"sensible" security. In the narrative evolution of war planning
and the cacomorphosis of ORANGE, such subtle pressure
shaded the perceptions of American officers. In high command,
there was never an absolute standard of war readiness, or in
national security, as J.O. Richardson discovered on the eve of
Pearl Harbor. 17
When Cdr. J.H. Oliver, in a short memorandum to the
president of the Naval War College, 20 April 1907, forecast the
true axis of the future Pacific War, he offered no more than
"blood, tears, toil, and sweat":
Upon the outbreak of war in our present state of
unpreparedness, we must regard our oversea Pacific
possessions as temporarily lost, and proceed resolutely to
their re-conquest . . . through advance across the Pacific
upon a broad strategic front. The initial loss must not deflect
our true course. 18
Four years later, 15 March 1911, Rear Adm. R.P. Rodgers, then
president of the War College, adopted this approach in the first
full, formal war plan for ORANGE. Newport's "Strategic Plan
of Campaign Against ORANGE" was simple, and remained all
but unchanged for 30 years:
— The Fleet would sortie from Hawaii, and anchor
at the end of the line: Okinawa.
— The axis of advance would cut the Central
Pacific, and incur the island-hopping seizure
of the Marshalls and Carolines.
— Manila would be re-captured.
— The Fleet would hike out with its own, mobile,
— Japan would be brought to its knees through
blockade: economic strangulation. 19
There would be no short war; there was no certainty even of a
climatic, setpiece sea battle: aTrafalgar-like'decision. Drawn on
a canvas of early dreadnought technology, sans radar, sans Zero,
sans B-29; it was a remarkable picture of "the shape of things to
come." Rodgers even suggested, in clairvoyance of Nimitz, "that
BLUE forces should be employed in the capture of the Lu Chu
Islands [Okinawa], and the reduction of the Pescadores
[Formosa] than to begin extensive land operations for the
recapture of Luzon." 20
When, in 1919, Japan became the primary antagonist, the
notional components of a transpacific offensive and a prolonged
naval war were set and solidified. The endless interwar analysis
of the ORANGE Plan was file and brush work: a polish job. In
1911 war with Japan was imaged on a realistic operational
procedure. The reworking, step by step, over the succeeding 30
years did not improve the basic plan. Conditions changed.
Advancing battle technology was an incremental bonus; the
Washington Treaty, a premature handicap a generation before
the race. Continuity of concept was never broken. Through 30
years, an entire society of officers passed through Newport and
faithfully memorized the vision of the ORANGE Plan. Modern
revisionists claim that this was not "creative." 21 They scoff at
Nimitz' tribute to Newport's indoctrination of ORANGE:
"... the courses were so thorough that after the start of WWII
nothing that happened in the Pacific was strange or
unexpected." 22 They should read Rodgers' prophetic picture,
one he never lived to see. Those others at Newport that year,
who worked in the drafting of that first plan — Sims, Pratt,
Oliver, Schofield, W.L. Rodgers, and Mahan — were also dead, or
too old for command in that far future war. The strategy they
shaped, and the mission that drove them all, they transmitted,
from Mahan's 19th-century premonition, from generation to
generation, to ultimate, startling reality. 23
The permeation of the 1911 plan can be traced through time
and through the naval society.
Between 1914 and 1920, the Navy accepted the initial fall of
the Philippines. As Bradley Fiske admonished Josephus Daniels
in 1914, "we cannot prevent the Japs from taking the
Philippines." 24 In 1920 Sims told Daniels that the War College
"has long held that the retention of Manila Bay cannot be
counted on and that any plans based on its retention are in
The concept of a complete, self-contained mobile base,
capable of drydocking and fleet repair of capital ships, was
pioneered by Knox and Furer at Newport in 192 1. 26 By the end
of 1927, a "Synopsis of a Preliminary Technical Study — Basic
Orange Plan, Advanced Base." This, the fabulous "Western
Base," was to encompass 17 floating docks, 3 miles of piers, three
125-ton cranes, 500,000 tons of fuel oil, 4,000 hospital beds, and
37,600 officers and men. 27
Strangulation of the home islands was the agreed objective of
operations by the 1930s. "The influence of ORANGE Economic
Factors on BLUE's Strategy in War" was developed by the
ORANGE Economic Committee at the War College in 1933. In
this prescient memorandum, Okinawa is the key to the blockade
of Japan. To cut ORANGE trade by 80 percent, "Okinawa must
be taken." 28
Short war serendipity died hard. "Strategic Problem —
Pacific" was drawn up late in 1916, at the request of Secretary
Daniels. After the passage of the 1916 Naval Building Program,
and before the Washington Conference, it was easy to fantasize
of a powerfully fortified Philippine base and of an awesome
American armada, 60 capital ships, 84 cruisers, 199 destroyers,
steaming the breadth of the Pacific as a body, a juggernaut of
dreadnoughts. 29 Treaty restrictions in 1922 stripped this
illusion. By the early 1920s, Sims, Fiske, Frost, and Yarnell were
speaking at Newport of a war of 2 to 4 years. Fiske thought it
would cost more in blood and treasure than the recent "Great
War." 30 Yarnell's vision of war hardly changed through 20 years.
As CINCASIATIC, he wrote to CNO in 1938: "The war will be a
naval one of long duration " 31
By the mid- 1930s, studies at Newport insistently confirmed
that, in a short, spasmodic war, with the BLUE battle fleet
rushing to Manila, "success is not only uncertain but is actually
unlikely." War with ORANGE required a massive
concentration, and a deliberate offensive, like rolling thunder:
Success is practically certain provided the war effort is
maintained through the period of at least three years which
would be required before the Fleet could reach the Western
History kept to this schedule. Marines landed at Leyte almost 3
years to the day after Pearl Harbor.
In the heyday of "Navy Basic Plan ORANGE, WPL-8-16,"
1929 to 1938, the pioneering postulates of 1911 were spun into
an 800-page operational code. 33 The ORANGE Plan was the
instrumentality of ethos. If Operational Ethos extracted from
the embracing Corporate Ethos of the Navy Society its sense of
abstracted mission, of ultimate identity, then the ORANGE
Plan was the talmudic text of mission. WPL-8 and its successors
corporealized mission: from unstated, sensated vision of the
Navy's role in the making of national policy to the dim imagery
of national destiny, the massive, all-consuming, all-contingent
tracery of directive made of the word, law:
NATIONAL MISSION: To impose the will of the UNITED
STATES upon ORANGE by destroying ORANGE Armed
Forces and by disrupting ORANGE economic life
MISSION FOR THE NAVY: To gain and to exercise
command of the sea, and to operate offensively against
ORANGE . . . . 34
WPL-8, the mask of the Japanese enemy, created a set of
enduring postulates that defined not only the context and
texture of the next war but that, in and of themselves, inspired
an encompassing expectation of future war with Japan. More
than this, even, the ORANGE Plan generated, in the irrevocable
weight of SECRET text and the ritual acting-out of a thousand
war games, an escalating imagery of tradition. Japan became
agent as well as enemy. The longer that Japan wore the mask,
the more generational tiers within the Navy Society
simultaneously shared the essential postulation. From 1911 to
1941, incremental layers of officer classes, from admiral to
ensign, held the world view of the ORANGE Plan. The
Commanders of '41 had spent their entire professional lives
preparing to enact THE MISSION:
War with Japan. National Mission was then indivisible from
the defeat of ORANGE. National Destiny, like the mask of the
enemy, was an image transformed. The Atlantic enemy, the
Hamiltonian strategic theater, the defense of the New World;
these had been the inseparable shibboleths of the U.S. Navy.
They conscribed the traditional world. After 1919 the old
slogans were discarded. Over 30 years, the hallucinogenic sway
of Pacific war planning conjured an expectational tradition. So
intense was the concentration on ORANGE, so hypnotic was
the ritual rehearsal, repeated in unnumbered war games at
Newport, that historical reality flowed naturally, effortlessly,
BEHIND THE MASK
Late in the year 1901 Rear Adm. Stephen B. Luce wrote to the
Minister of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Vice Adm. Yamamoto
Gombei. He, the Grand Old Man of the U.S. Navy, had enclosed
two cracked and faded daguerrotypes, the substance of a
memory: the first formal visitation of Americans to Japan. They
were the images of the sailing battleship Columbus and the
sloop-of-war Vincennes, commanded in 1846 by Commodore
Crude though they may be, they commemorate the initial
step in the series of international events which may have led
to the friendly relations now so happily existing between the
two countries. As such, I trust they may be accepted from one
who had the honor of serving, as a midshipman, under
Commodore Biddle, on that occasion; and who was then
deeply impressed with the high character and noble bearing
of the Japanese. 1
In 1900 a survey of Japan commissioned by the Naval War
College did not spare praise for the Japanese, who "possess the
characteristics of courage, endurance, intelligence and
patriotism." 2 Two years later the Newport summer conference
even encouraged the vision of a "Triple Alliance" of the United
States with Great Britain and Japan. 3
How far had the passage of mutual relations descended that,
in early January 1939, Yarnell, As CINCASIATIC, would write
to the president of the War College, of another Japan:
Their mission is to impose their culture and domination on
the world. This is to be done by force. They worship the
sword and rely on it to fulfill their destiny .... When there
are nations who believe only in the sword, peaceably
inclined nations must go to war to defend themselves, or accept
domination. I cannot see how we can escape being forced
into eventual war against Japan. 4
Tentatively, in 1906, Newport and the Navy began to plan for
war with Japan. By the next year, war-planning memoranda
began to refer to the potential enemy as "Japs." From amity to
enmity, the Navy's emotional imagery of Japan was harnessed
to the war-planning process in tandem devolution. Like a team
of good draught horses, they worked well together. A strong
level of professional preparation for war was sustained by a
satisfying emotional subtext. Between the wars, as the Britannic
enemy experienced its callimorphosis, both professional and
emotional combat expectation focused on Japan. ORANGE
alone became the object. By the end of the 1930s Japan had
become an inevitable enemy, an essential schema of the Navy
When Yarnell spoke of Japanese destiny he was, in
implication, linking two nations. Japanese destiny became the
objective agent of American destiny in the Pacific. The image of
ORANGE, within the U.S. Navy, came to transcend the
oscillations of American public and American policy. Notions of
racial antipathy and inevitable war, indoctrinated at the Naval
War College, created an intraservice continuum of value. This
was the spine of the Navy mission: the incorporeal sense of
corporate purpose was endowed, in the objective of the Japanese
enemy, with osseous substance, a vertebral rallying point.
The emotional image of the enemy did not spring, full-blown,
from the covers of the first ORANGE War Portfolio. Before the
Great War, Service opprobrium was reserved for the Atlantic
Enemy, and especially for BLACK. In the heyday of Social
Darwinism, the German Reich seemed the supreme competitor.
In spite of encroaching encirclement, American officers enjoyed
the image of a Teutonic threat to the New World, after the
manner of Homer Lea, and the popular Day of the Saxon}
Germany and America, with equal navies, and the world's
dominant industrial economies, were well-matched. Within the
traditional American strategic theater, an Anglo-Saxon bout
conjured a satisfying scene.
Japan, in pre- 1914 contrast, was less threatening and less
tractable. Before the Panama Canal passed its first ship, even
war games against Japan played at Newport were a chore. Actual
operations from the Atlantic coast would have been so awkward
as to make a campaign inconceivable. The cruise of "The Great
White Fleet," as demonstrative support for Far East detente,
was the realistic limit of American battle fleet utility in the
Western Pacific. 6 A war in the Caribbean, and battle with the
Hochseeflotte, would have been a comfortable campaign by
With the gathering of tensions before the European War,
American officers began to draw invidious connections between
Germany and Japan. Mahan, in 1910, indelicately linked the two
"restless" states to ancient Sparta, and the source of the modern
definition of "tyranny." 8 Bradley Fiske, as Aide for Operations,
wrote that "the Japanese really admire and like the Germans
more than any other people!" 9 ORANGE, not yet even principal
potential enemy, was being drawn into the net, to be dressed in
the German mode.
This trimming was undertaken at Newport, with gusto.
Archival evidence reveals a subtle displacement of emotional
imagery after 1913. Trace elements of the War College Course
remain, to highlight the making of the enemy: ORANGE. The
lectures, the reading, the theses: each worked in weaving the
The image of inevitable war was first voiced at the summer
conference of 1913. Professor John H. Latani ended his lecture,
"The Relation of the United States and Japan," with this
. . . peace with Japan does not rest on traditional friendship,
but on Japan's present inability to finance a war, and on our
inability to defend the Philippines. With either condition
eliminated, war would be the probable outcome. 10
In 1914 and 1915 — for the first time, almost in echo of this
sibylline vision — O.N.I, reports "Re ORANGE Strategic Plan"
appear in the Naval War College Archives. Their redolent titles
were capped by the imagery of "War Between Japan and
America: A Picture of the Future." 11 O.N.I, claimed these as
authentic intelligence intercepts: the dialogues of war planning
in the Imperial Naval General Staff. These formal rumors,
avidly read, could only have embroidered the image of inevitable
war. Latani was right: America was not yet able, and Japan could
not afford, to send their battle fleets into mortal West Pacific
combat. War was forecast for the future; the expectation had just
1915 was the hinge, the turning point. Shortly after the new
year Lt. Cdr. L.A. Cotton returned from Tokyo where he had
served as naval attache. On 9 and 10 February, Cotton spoke to
Bradley Fiske, Aide for Operations, and Josephus Daniels,
Secretary of the Navy. On 26 February he spoke at Newport. His
lecture, "Far Eastern Conditions from the Naval Point of View,"
was to become the Navy's inclusive manual of cultural
stereotype: its seminal ethnography of Japan.
In crisp analysis, Cotton succeeded in assembling in a single
essay all the commonly held, informally voiced racial notions of
Japan then etherous in the Navy. In characteristic list, he drew a
portrait of the Japanese that American officers responded to as
revelation. As Fiske confided in private journal, Cotton "spoke
so very interestingly and intelligently about Japan that I asked
him to go to SecNav, and tell him all." 12
Cotton's racial primer isolated six primary identifiers in
Japanese national character:
A WARRIOR ETHOS: "Militarism is developed to its
highest level in Japan . . . they are possessed by military
spirit, which dominates their existence, and with it a
readiness to undergo hardship, suffering, and death " 13
NO INITIATIVE: "The Japanese people are most amenable
to discipline . , . this attitude quickly develops into a blind
obedience ... it results in almost entire absence of initiative
of the subordinate." 14
NO ORIGINALITY: "A most pronounced characteristic is
the absence of originality The Japanese are very
progressive in their extreme readiness to adopt an idea, but
are equally Oriental in their frequent failure to assimilate
DECEITFUL: "Secretiveness seems inborn to the
Japanese ... no other people in the world can preserve a
collective secret to the degree of the Japanese." 16
RUTHLESS: "A Japanese has no concept of abstract justice,
and no idea of fair play. His conception of justice is met only
when he gets all he desires, and his idea of fair play is for
every factor to favor his side." 17
ARROGANCE: "The Japanese is possessed by what can
only be characterized as colossal conceit. Their attitude is
that they do not have to prove their superiority — they freely
admit it. The effect of this trait on military character is to
produce boldness " 18
Cotton did not invent these shibbolethic images; they were
shared throughout the Service. Commodore Mathew Galbraith
Perry was the first to call the Japanese "deceitful," recorded
again and again in his private journal. 19 By creating a formal
schema, a concrete set of catchwords, Cotton cast a cultural lens
for the Navy: a tinted glass through which to regard the enemy,
Between the wars, in the age of the ORANGE enemy, lectures
and memoranda on Japan offered at Newport instinctively
sought the cultural vocabulary of Cotton. Yarnell's 1919 address,
"Strategy of the Pacific," included an indictment of Japanese
culture, called "Japanese Characteristics," that in identic articles
mirrored the Cotton precedent. Some imagery was exchanged —
"warlike" for "militaristic," "dissimulation" for "deceit" — yet
the list was the same. 20 In 1927 a report from O.N.I.,
"Memorandum Regarding Japanese Psychology and Morale,"
was circulated at Newport. Updated by a decade, it was no more
than a rewrite-facelift of Cotton's doctrine. 21 In 1939, at the end
of the era, another ex-naval attache offered his "Notes,
Comparisons, Observations, and Conclusions" on Japan to
Newport. There was no change. Then, at the end of his rambling
discourse, Capt. Edward Howe Watson revealed the key to
As long ago as 1915, while taking a course at the Naval War
College, I had the privilege of hearing the late Captain
Lyman Cotton lecture here on his return from Japan.
He estimated the situation correctly, and furnished this
information 24 years ago, to Washington. But even he,
foresighted as he was, would have been astounded and
appalled at the growth of Japanese ambition, and at the
hardihood and success with which she pursues it. 22
Full Circle. Cotton described the vocabulary of the emotional
subtext of the ORANGE enemy. He did something more; he
struck a remembered prophecy. He said, in 1915:
The future ambition of Japan favors expansion to the
southward through the many islands situated there, and
where rice grows so bountifully and a supposedly lower race
of men live and can be made to work for their rulers. This
idea leads to America as the future enemy — 23
Cultural and racial deprecation of the enemy worked like
strongback shoring to support the bulkhead of Navy mission:
against the sea pressure of inevitable war. The U.S. Navy,
between 1915 and 1921, came to face the vision of ultimate war
with Japan, a vision that would not recede with the transfer of
the battle fleet to the Pacific that year. Emotional acceptance of
war, even in a fighting service, must be earned. The "Mission" of
the ORANGE Plan was an operational end-run: the final,
physical product of a more penetrating preparation. Newport
had instilled the service with a vision of the Navy role on a vast
stage, in a triumphal American drama. The Navy was the cutting
edge of American policy, and it was more. American policy was,
ultimately, an extension of a larger historical force.
In hypothetical war with Japan, rerun at repeat performances
for 30 years, the Navy Mission was not simply "To gain and
exercise command of the sea," as National Mission was not "To
impose the will of the United States on ORANGE." War with
Japan was cast as crusade. Racial metaphors were the subliminal
props; they enrobed the image of the ORANGE enemy in evil
cloth, and BLUE in stainless raiment: a surcoat of purest white.
The year the fleet crossed the Canal, and the proscenium of
Pacific destiny, Professor J. O. Dealey addressed the officers of
this armada, at Newport:
If Japan is allowed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, it means
ultimately a war of races, the struggle of the Yellows and the
Browns against the Whites, under the leadership of a
Prussianized Japan. 24
The racial context codified by Cotton, directed against Japan
in specific vocabulary, was supported by the general language of
behavioral determinism. Working from the embracing
expectational postulates of Social Darwinism, the Navy simply
transposed theoretical concepts to perceived realities. Cotton's
lecture provided the glossary of terms with which to define the
contemporary "struggle of races."
A generation before its outbreak, those who would be caught
in its blast had accepted the inevitability of war. Cdr. Chester W.
Nimitz wrote of "the struggle that is certain to come." 25 Capt.
Thomas C. Hart thought it "likely" that Japanese-American
policies "will conflict so seriously that mutual adherence will
lead to War." 26 Cdr. Husband E. Kimmel said, simply, "We will
come into conflict with Japan " 27 Social Darwinism created
an expectation of struggle. Racial imagery, in defining absolute
biological barriers between peoples, made that struggle seem
"There is a great deal of value regarding Racial Factors." 28 So
began one student's review, in 1935, of Roland Dixon's Racial
History of Man. By breaking the relations of the United States
and Japan into a clash of biological forces, the Navy injected the
will of natural selection into the war-planning process. By
placing racial distinction on a scale of good and evil, the Navy
added a pinch of crusading spice to the prospect of "an inevitable
By the middle years of the 1930s, Japanese atrocities in China
served to intensify the racial metaphor of good and evil, BLUE
and ORANGE. Where Cotton, in 1915, described a set of
pejorative traits, his imagery had, in 20 years, evolved into what
Ahab called "an inscrutable malice." As Cdr. Ellis Mark
Zacharias wrote, in his Newport thesis, 1934:
The various cruel and vicious acts committed in the name of
patriotism appear only as a revolting reversion to barbarism
still in the Japanese Race. The plain truth is that Japan
cannot be regarded other than as an Oriental race, and a
policy that does not keep this in view is committing an error
fraught with grave consequences 30
As examination of the components of the War College Course
revealed in this essay, Newport was the source indoctrination of
antipathy and inevitability. From 1915 the lectures, the reading,
the theses placed increasing emphasis on Japan, "that
inscrutable thing" behind the mask.
Both Yarnell and Puleston, as young officers, heard Cotton
speak of the Japanese on that February morning in 1915.
Puleston's thesis, submitted in June, offers a clue to the influence
of nascent, racial imagery, on the suggestive imagination of the
young lieutenant. He ended his essay, "Blue Strategy in the
Pacific," with a warning to America:
. . . And we would ask these teachers of eternal peace not to
make the task of the military in this country too hard with
their false teaching. Lest in the future some Yellow historian
recall the present day exploits of the Japanese like we recall
those Germanic tribes that overran Rome. Lest these
teachers be called with their mental calisthenics to while
away the leisure of the warlike Jap. Lest they be forced with
supple finger to preserve in bronze the bullet-headed
conqueror. Or with deft strokes of the brush produce his
yellow face on canvas, while with ingenious but specious
thought they invent a new philosophy to solace their fellow
citizens whose ancestors perhaps were not so highly
civilized but who did know how to wield a sword. 31
When his popular commentary, The Armed forces of the
Pacific, was published by Yale 26 years later, ripe imagery and
rhetorical indignation had been long excised from his writing.
His perception of Japan was unchanged. His summary of
Japanese character listed the shibboleths of Cotton's lecture in
instinctive reiteration. His descriptive modifiers: "fecund,"
"virile," "acquisitive," "zealous," "chauvinistic" with which he
had, like Tacitus in Germania endowed the barbarian samurai of
his youth, remained. 32
Like his friend, Puleston, Yarnell's codewords of racial
perception kept continuity, from War College lecture to
CINCASIATIC correspondence, 1919 to 1939. 33 Letters they
exchanged later in their careers highlight a synonymity in their
vision of Japan. 34 This link is underscored by Yarnell's preface to
The Armed forces of the Pacific.
The Personal Nexus is crucial to the transmission of world
view. In the unerring response of Yarnell, Puleston, and
Watson, 20 years after, to the remembered imagery of youthful
indoctrination, is a diagrammatic cro: jction of the
mechanism of culture. In this instance, the postulates passed
down were central to the definition of the Navy mission.
They defined the enemy: not on the articulate level of policy
and operational planning, but on the subconscious tiers of
emotional expectation. As has been argued here: this process,
though but dimly understood, was a cultural necessity; necessary
to sustain the authenticity of war planning in a peacetime world,
necessary to justify service sacrifice in the event of war. The
enemy, the real enemy, the opponent that "puts forth the
moulding of its features from behind the unreasoning mask";
this was the mirror of the Navy's own identity. At last, the
manager's role, the professional mask, was not enough to
inspire even corporate, let alone operational, ethos.
Behind the mask was a worthy foe: equal and opposite. In its
undoubted strength, courage, and cunning, the ORANGE Fleet
was a bracing challenge. In its evil incarnation, cruel, ambitious,
and proud, the ORANGE Fleet defined BLUE in stark contrast,
good arrayed against evil, and so imparted a sensation of
If, from the soft Scandinavian armchair of a more modern
world view, we are tempted to sneer at their backward vision,
remember this. The mirror they made of the enemy at Newport,
from 1915 to 1941, reflected only another mirror. At the Kaigun
Dae Gakko, at Tsukiji, Tokyo, officers in the Imperial Japanese
Navy had created, over the span of a contemporary generation,
their own "inscrutable malice": The American Enemy. In the
shimmering irony of dual cultural reflection, they erected an
identical set of racial imagery on which to posit an assurance of
inevitable war. 35
While their country was at peace, they played at war.
Autochthonous to the American Navy, and the granite Globe
of Newport, "The Strategic Naval War Game" was the
Elizabethan instrumentality of the Service: "The brightest
heaven of invention." Through "mysterious dispensations," a
most marvelous suspension of disbelief, a mere lieutenant might
command a mighty battle fleet; the tiled floor be as the blue
waters of the Pacific, the gray swell of the Atlantic; and galleried
gameroom encompass the destinies of nations at war. When
Capt. William McCarty Little, like the conjuring Chorus, said:
William McCarty Little, like the conjuring Chorus, said:
game offers the player the whole world as a theatre . . - 1
he called for an "imaginary puissance," as in ancestral voice, to
. . . Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt? 2
In their ever empty sea theater, where on each tile "eight
inches is equal to 2,000 yards and a sea mile," 3 officers rehearsed
the parts they would play in future, combat performance. These
men, the actors of a yet unwritten war, prepared their scenes on
a blank stage, with only colored chalk and cast lead tokens as
props. "Prologue-like," they prepared, and made "imaginary
forces work," to ready themselves for a harsher testing.
As ritual, the Newport war game was not a game at all:
In the game of war, the stake is life itself, nay, infinitely
greater, it may be the life of the nation; it certainly is its
honor. We are its champions 4
What McCarty Little revealed, in chivalric imagery, was the war
game as behavioral preparation, the ritual of role: "What the
jousting field was to the knight, the War Game is to the modern
strategist " 5 More than simple stage direction, the game was
the audition for combat, the runthrough for Operational Ethos.
Ritual, and Oracle. The annual casts of young commanders
were not celebrating, in remembered verse, old victories, like
Virgil over Actium. In each of 300 volumes, the "History of the
Campaign" was the hopeful, incremental submission to the
Sibylline Canon: the script of future war. As each game
unraveled, move by move, to prophetic die-cast, with umpires as
vates, it was almost as if the lines had been spoken at Cumae.
For some, there was true portent. Willis A. Lee and Jesse
Oldendorf were the last American admirals to bring
battlewagons into action against the dreadnought species of the
enemy: 14 November 1942, and 25 October 1944. On 11 July
1928, at Newport, both men received an invitation regarding the
combat maneuvering of a battleship division. How could they
know, maneuvering paper BatDivs on a summer's day, that they
would bring the big ships, "BLUE Fleet," into the last thunder of
SENIOR CLASS OF 1929
Department of Operations
Period 19 July-24 July (incl.)
First Day. Assemble in East Game Room at 0930.
Chart and Board Maneuver
BLUE Fleet 6
Let the Game begin!
THE GAME AS RITUAL: EXPEDE HERCULEM
The Latin phrase Expede Herculem fully expresses the idea:
from the foot of Hercules can be constructed the entire body:
from a part of a thing we may infer the whole. On the tactical
board, opposing fleets may be maneuvered at will — in
So spoke the Navy's Nestor, Rear Adm. Stephen Bleecker Luce,
at Newport, in 1909. To command The Decision: simply, "to
learn what to do with a fleet in battle," the fledgling admiral
must first learn to master "the tactical board." Combat command
must first be demonstrated with ships of lead, before essaying
same in steel incarnation. To Luce, Tsushima was first fought,
and won, "on the tactical board, long in advance of the Russo-
Japanese War." 2
Ten years later Sims echoed Luce and set the place of the
Game in interwar ritual:
The principles of the war game constitute the backbone of
our profession. All other kinds of nautical knowledge and
experience will avail us nothing when it comes to war if we
have not learned the game, that is, if we do not know how to
handle naval forces.
The game can be learned only by playing it. 3
Play it they did: through the duration of each annual course, day
after day, in pursuit of what Sims called "the practice of war." 4 In
the Archives at Newport, 318 recorded game histories remain,
brittle and dust-filmed, for the entire interwar era, 1919-1941
(See Appendix II). The gaming of the Senior Class of 1932 can
be taken as typical. Placed midway between the wars, that year
was the first to achieve a standard game schedule. Three species
of war game were played, in finalized evolution: the Operations
Problem, the Tactical Problem, and the clutch of Quick Decision
Problems. From 2 July to 20 May, 304 out of 326 days were
devoted to the Game. This was how that time was spent, those
endless forenoon sessions:
Demonstrative Tactical Exercise
Demonstrative Strategical Exercise
Tactical Problems I-VI
Operations Problems I-V
The Battle of Jutland (Board Maneuver)
Quick Decision Problems (A,C,E)
The first month was simply instructive. Tactical
presentations on essential fleet components — Battle Line
Tactics, Light Forces, Submarines, Aircraft — served "to refresh
students' knowledge." Scouting procedures were reviewed in the
Search Problem, those esoteric applications now forgotten: the
"In-and-Out Method," "Relative Movement Method 'A'," the
"Sector Method," the "Radial Double-Bank Method," the
"Limited Ellipse." 6 The Demonstrative Exercises were pure
Bible study: instruction in both Chart and Board Maneuver,
Order Writing, and the Maneuver Rules, chapter and verse. 7
Operations Problems were conducted as a "Chart Maneuver, a
substitute for actual Strategic Maneuvers of the Fleet." 8 These
marked the mutual fleet movements of a simulated oceanic
campaign. All took place on paper. From move to move, each
fleet "staff" plotted the moment-to-moment tracking of
multitudinous, three-dimensioned armadas: ships, aircraft, and
submarines. Umpires kept an omniscient "Master Plot" as
imagined fleets, ponderous and inexorable, crept in colored lines
on tracing "flimsies" toward awaited clash of battle fleets. The
campaign choices facing rival commanders echoed the catechism
of doctrine: the pas de deux of battle fleets followed, in each step,
the choreography of "The Estimate of the Situation":
— Statement of the Problem
— Section I "The Mission"
— Section II "Survey of Opposing Forces"
— Section III "Enemy Courses of Action"
— Section IV "Commander's Own Courses of Action"
— Section V "Determination of Commander's Best Course
— Section VI "The Decision"
— Determination of the Details of the Directive 9
War's rituals were played out in suspended authenticity: only the
sea and sky and open bridge were missing. Orders were written,
directives issued, commands dispatched. Separated only by
screens, rival commanders called their critical choices and
groped toward battle, jockeying their battlelines for position.
The Contact Officers watched for the clash. When fleets'
tracings intersected, "when contact becomes general, the chart
maneuver terminates, and the final situation may now be used as
the basis for a tactical maneuver." 10 The battle had begun.
With mortal combat, the Board Maneuver begins:
Thus with imagin'd wing our swift scene flies,
In motion of no less celerity
Than that of thought.
Tactical problems were the visceral distillation of battle,
"simulating the realities of War." 11 With the materiel of the
Pen, the War College sought to recreate the experience of the
Sword; and in the rarefaction, to measure its essence: to know it,
to reap its bitter truth. Even in that precomputer age, the
complexity to which their model strove is revealed, in this list,
"Material of the Board Maneuver":
1. Maneuver Board.
2. Chalk or crayon for plotting.
3. Model ships.
4. Strips for forming groups of ships.
5. Turning cards.
6. Torpedo Fire cards.
8. Range wands.
9. Plotting table, tracing paper, drawing instruments.
11. Ditto machine. (Dispatch Blanks, S-5).
12. Fire Effect tables and diagrams.
13. Message blanks (F-5).
14. Aircraft Flight form (S-10, Mod. 1).
15. Umpire's Communication Record (S-12) (Blueprint).
16. Fire sheet ("Instructions for Scoring Gun Fire").
17. Fire Distribution and Move Date (T-4).
18. Umpire's Damage sheets (T-6(a) to T-(l)).
19. Torpedo Fire blanks (T-7).
20. Mine Laying blanks (T-8).
21. Information blank (T-10, Mod. 1).
22. Submarine Information blank (T-10, Mod. 2). .
23. Damage Reports (Minor and Capital Ships (T-ll)).
24. Bombing sheets (T-12).
25. Umpire's Torpedo Fire Record (T-13).
26. Expenditure Record (Torp., Mine and Depth
27. Ammunition Expenditure (T- 15) (Blueprint).
28. Aircraft Casualty forms (T-16).
29. Tactical Plotting sheets.
30. Plane Service forms (Form S-ll).
31. Fire Distribution sheet (Form T-2). 12
Complexity, and naivete. In defining battle according to formula,
no matter how intricate, how empiric, reality became a mirror of
ritual. By necessity, life came to reflect art. Chance, and even
luck, came to operate within the limits of the language of
imagination. Having imagined a measured vision of future war,
mock war was forced to play according to the rules.
The rules were a formidable codex: for a mere game. At their
highest evolutionary stage, the "Maneuver Rules," the historical
labor of the War College Department of Operations, ran to 160
pages. There, 310 coded articles, or rules, each backed by a
coalition of sections and subsections. Space and emphasis reveal
not only the ritual weight attached to the components of combat,
their proportions hint at the intractable nature of a physical
metaphor of war:
Conduct of the Maneuver
Speed and Fuel
and Smoke Screens
"Speed and Fuel" ruled on questions of the effect of sea
conditions on speed, on fuel consumption, refueling at sea, and
the effects of damage on speed. In an age innocent of radar,
nature and artifice yielded cloaks of concealment to stalking and
fleeing fleet alike. So the concatenation of regulations for fog
and smoke, twilight and dawn, flare and starshell and
searchlight. "Communications" strove to recreate the frustra-
tions of ship-to-ship transmission in a still hall whose acoustics
would echo a whisper. "Gunfire," the emotional climax,
delivered by the decisive weapon at the decisive moment at the
decisive battle of the war, was given double the game weight of
the subsidiary systems: destroyer and submarine-launched
torpedoes and mines. The emphasis on aircraft is unusual. Can
the revisionists, who cliam a hide-bound Navy where innovation
was inadmissible, explain this anomaly?
Yes, the battleline, en puissant, was yet the premiere weapon.
By the 1935 edition of "Maneuver Rules," the role of aircraft in
battle was envisaged in a special context. Such crucial support
had seaborne air come to provide the battle fleet that, like the
barbarian cavalry of the Late Empire, it was the essential auxilia.
No legion could take the field, at last, without equestrian mask.
So with the battleline, aircraft were the critical factors in
scouting, photoreconnaissance, fighter cover, artillery spotting,
smoke screening, and antisubmarine patrol. The bomb and
torpedo striking power of the aircraft carrier was fully
recognized in the "Maneuver Rules." 14 These rules encouraged
the concentration of force in battle; and en masse, by all
standards of that age, the battleline was still the supreme
instrument of seapower. Technology had not yet enthroned the
carrier. This truth the game reflectd, as its vision of war echoed
the spirit of the age.
The Game was the central ritual of Newport, and the interwar
But what was it like to play?
There were two teams: two fleets: two Commanders in Chief.
Strict secrecy, and team segregation, were sworn: "Radiator
contacts" were taboo. 15 "Preliminary to a maneuver," the
"Special Situation" was issued: the assignment of mission, and
the last, prewar intelligence intercepts from the enemy. Final
positions were outlined, plans and orders run off by ditto. 16
The masters of Maneuver Staff were the Olympian overseers;
they ruled the movements of mortal fleets as did the gods over
Ilium. Like the gods, they even found time to quarrel. The
Assistant Director, Poseidon game shaker, held sway over time
and tide: "the length of moves and weather conditions." 17 The
Assistant for History was the verseless bard, his chronicles today
unread. The Assistant for Plotting "supervised the master plot,"
the reality, preserved in elegant blueprint, of fleets' onrush and
collision. 18 The Move Umpire, like Hermes, the go-between,
transmitted "flimsies" from man to god. "Flimsies" were
gridded sheets of tracing paper, printed by the Hydrographic
Office, showing the track of every ship, move by move. As each
armada moved in independent pattern, their combined tracks
were correlated by plotting draftsmen. When contact was
revealed on the Master Plot, the Contact Officers advised the
opposing teams of the impending imbroglio. When contact
became general, as fleets approached the visual horizon, the
scene shifted from chart to board, from Master Plot to tiled floor.
The Director of the Maneuver Staff called the battle. Like Zeus,
he was the final arbiter. 19
White chalklines traced the battlefield grid. "The tracks of the
BLUE force are drawn in blue; those of the opposing force are
drawn in red." 20 Model ships followed this color cue. They were
cast in three sizes, and were too small in scale to represent
specimen ships. For the Mark III Game Outfit, even battleships
measured less than an inch. 21 To form line of battle, these lead
totems were fitted to metal strips, "jointed to permit a close
approximation to the tracks of the ships." 22
In the great galleried hall of the game room, the little lead
squadrons approached, snaking across the waxed tiles, each
leaving like Theseus a colored trail behind, searching ahead for
their foe. Each move marked 3 minutes of game time, and the sea
distance a fleet could cover at varying speed. 23
When visual contact was made between rival battle fleets, the
wooden screens, the instrumentality of the unknown, were
abruptly withdrawn. The face of battle was unmasked. 24
Now, to the flash of gunfire and the white wake of torpedo
track, the shock of decision drew near: in a single 3-minute
move, the course of battle could make irrevocable change. The
game took on an imagined intensity, ferocious action suspended
in time as teams and umpires frantically measured speed and
range, and bargained for better visibility. In the blueprint
chronicles of combat, the plates of battle describe an insane shift
from the tracks of orderly approach to the boiling welter of
invariable melee. Those battles, had history given them life, and
the ocean a watery grave, would be remembered now in
immortal image: for carnage, intrepidity, and cran. In the limbo
of game time, 3 minutes could attenuate into an hour. Rival
commanders in game possessed a leisure impermissible in
battle. They used their bonus well and crammed heroic intensity
into a short, and savage, mock arena.
Game complexity allowed no more realistic alternative.
Instrumental simulation could be achieved, sans microcircuitry,
in slow motion only. Simultaneity and "real-time" combat could
not be modeled. With turning card templates, model ships could
be moved quickly. The infliction and assessment of battle
damage, in contrast, was laborious, a painstaking process of
calculation and arbitration.
"The Fire Action of the Battleline" was the most intractable,
interminable calculation of all. If the gun was the decisive
weapon, its fire was also the most difficult to deliver. Bombs and
torpedoes were, essentially, pointed in the right direction and
released. Battleship heavy artillery, to place an armor-piercing
shell in an opponent's innards at 25,000 yards with any prayer of
success, enslaved the compressed energy of a full ship's
company. So it was with the war game. A set of torpedo fire cards
and fire blanks could launch a successful spread, and a simple
bombing sheet could press home an aerial assault. 25
In a 3-minute move, "the delivery of fire effect" involved 45
distinct and incremental calculations, derived from 15 penalty
tables and 200 pages of "Fire Effect Tables." To assess staying
power — resistance to battle damage — combatant "life value"
was measured on a scale of equivalent 14" hits. A battleship was
expected to be able to absorb 15-20 hits before sinking. Cruisers
were rated from three to five hits. A destroyer would be lucky to
survive one. Both fire effect and life value were converted to a
standard scale. 26
As forenoon slipped away, hieroglyphic battlelines blazed
away in soundless fury, separated by the tiled expanse of inches.
Range wands and protractors drawn, teams bent over their
squadrons as colossi, fretted in concentration:
How many ships are firing? How many guns?
Broadside or end-on?
What method of fire control: Direct, indirect, barrage?
Likewise the lay of the guns:
Pointer, Director, Stable Zenith Director?
What spotting: Top Spot, Plane Spot, or Local Control?
Had the target a new bearing?
Old range, or new? Was it fixed?
Quick, the target angle!
Find the fire effect tables: Down the series rows of .000's!
Now, the first correction, gun damage from the last move.
The first multiplier, and this move's normal fire effect.
Are we under effective fire, or less than normal fire?
Is our fire masked? Is there surprise?
Are we under fire concentration from the enemy?
Have ships changed course, are our guns out of train?
What is the spray,
the roll and pitch and yaw?
Night battle interference? Now a second correction:
The second multiplier, depreciated in tenths,
Our remaining normal fire effect.
Now what is left?
Sun's glare and silhouette,
Course changes during play, and speed; is there a change
At last, the third correction factored in,
The third multiplier, and normal fire effect now
Fire effect delivered, fire effect inflicted.
Three minutes of battleship battering must be assessed. 27
"The Fire Action of the Battle Line" was the Eleusinian
Mystery of the Game, as the game was the central ritual of ethos.
Sims called the game "the backbone of our profession"; he also
Of course, you know that the usefulness of the War College
depends chiefly upon keeping the game up to date,
particularly in reference to gunfire 28
To the interwar Navy, the concentrated fire effect of the dozen
battlewagons of the BatDivs, BatFor, was the very fulcrum of
American seapower. This was clear at Newport as early as 1909,
when Luce addressed the class:
The Fleet — by which is meant the fleet of sixteen
battleships recently brought home — the Fleet, I say, stands
for the Sea Power of the United States. 29
The cultural programming of every officer-student adjured a
classical clash of capital ships, an American Trafalgar. In the
game play, every unstated subliminal urge echoed the doctrine of
operational ethos: the ritual incarnation of the offensive, of
decisive battle. Through interminable weeks of board play,
arguments with umpires, and chalk-stained hands, the link
between quiet hall and splinter-naked bridge — the spasmic
intensity of combat leadership — must have come close to
snapping. As Luce apologized, "the tactical board does not
develop nerve, it is true; but no one has ever claimed that it
should " 30 To some, the game seemed "theoretical," as if
theory was the opposite of reality, and so ineffably inculcated
attitudes inimical to combat. Even Frost fell into the snare of this
logic, and wrote Sims, in his worry that theoretical training
might promote a "defensive attitude." 31
The bloody theater of the game preserved in megahistoria an
eloquent rebutment. Of those 318 surviving chronicles, there is
combat action enough for a score of great wars. In the unfolding
of campaign and battle, and in the usage of the decisive weapon,
the charted chronicles describe not only the Navy's vision of
future war; but belief, bordering on obsession, with the
offensive. As the ritual investment of operational ethos — the
doctrine — within the (\>ikori\±ia* of each man who played it,
the game seved this Navy well. To cultural instrumentality, the
superficial imagery of the next war was irrelevant. A fighting
service in peace cannot afford to choose between bickering
Cassandras: no man can forecast future war. In peace, it is
enough to keep alive the <$>CkoTi\iia of combat; through careful
rehearsal, to maintain the behavioral patterns of strategic
thought. In waiting for war, as in all endeavor: "The readiness is
This readiness was an ultimate function of learned instinct.
The game, in the image of Expede Herculum, instilled the
</>iAori/Lua of war within the subconscious. As Clausewitz, the
seer of Service world view, wrote of theory and of the game:
...it can give the mind insight into the great mass of
phenomena and of their relationships, then leave it free to
rise into the higher realms of action. There the mind can use
*In Modern Greek, sense of honor, self-respect, self-esteem.
its innate talents to capacity, combining them all so as to
seize on what is RIGHT and TRUE as though this were a
single idea ... a response to the immediate challenge rather
than the product of thought. 32
This was the teaching of the game.
THE GAME AS ORACLE: THE CAMPAIGN
Of course, the game-board presents only a picture But
the more it is used, the more accurate the picture will
become, and the more accurately we shall learn to read it. 1
To Rear Adm. Bradley Fiske, the game was a clouded crystal, a
dark glass with which to steal a glimpse of the future. As the
vates of the next war, the game integrated Clausewitzian
postulates of operational ethos with an evolving test of
operational limitation. Idealized behaviors, both in the heat of
combat and the ether of strategy, were constantly tested on the
The ideal, the objective, was the reduction of Japanese
seapower. Of 136 strategic games, or chart maneuvers, extant,
127 made this the mission. ORANGE was the enemy in 127
imagined marches; 127 times the battle fleet crossed the Pacific,
to free the Philippines, and to do battle with the Japanese fleet.
This ocean was the obsessive cockpit of future war.
To grasp the objective, to make the mission, BLUE game play
must reconcile two estranged states within the schema of
Clausewitz' theory: the offensive, and friction in war. Between
the wars, campaign action on the Newport game floor mirrored
an escalating struggle between strategic impetus and strategic
. . . defense has a passive purpose: PRESERVATION; and
attack a positive one: CONQUEST But we must say that
the DEFENSIVE FORM OF WARFARE IS
INTRINSICALLY STRONGER THAN THE
OFFENSIVE. This is the point. . . . 2
So Clausewitz underscored the conundrum faced by the BLUE
strategist, in universal postulate. With the Philippines hostage
to Japan, America and the BLUE Fleet were committed to
trans-pacific offensive. Enter friction:
Everything in war is simple, but the simplest thing is
difficult. The difficulties accumulate and end by producing
the kind of friction that is inconceivable unless one has
experienced war. . . . Friction is the only concept
that . . . distinguishes real war from war on paper. 3
For the U.S. Navy, friction was the stretch of 4,767 nautical
miles separating Honolulu and Manila. Each sea mile was a step
into an agonistic trail of attrition: submarine sniping, night
destroyer rushes, dawn bombing runs. At the end of the odyssey,
with Corregidor, an Ithaca invested, there would be no hospice;
no haven safe from storm to dress the wounds of listing
battleship or bomb-blackened cruiser.
Never was there a war game so ungreased. As codified in "The
Conduct of Maneuvers," the game encouraged the action of
friction. In Tac. 96, in 1923, the BLUE Battle fleet anchored at
Dumanquilas in Mindanao, with 15 capital units still active. 4 In
OP. IV, 1928, just 10 BLUE battleships "were afloat in Southern
Philippines at end" of game. 5 By OP. IV, 1933, only 7
battlewagons survived the Pacific run unscathed.
OP. IV was the critical game, the turning point. Two massive,
full-force ORANGE night torpedo attacks pressed home into
the heart of the BLUE Battle fleet and erupted into melee so
titanic that the night Battle of Guadalcanal seems but skirmish
by comparison. 6
As a battered BLUE armada limped toward Mindanao
anchorage, the ORANGE battleline, uncommitted and so
unmarked by combat, waited, rested and ready, for the
propitious moment of descent. This was an unendurable image.
In their post mortems, many players balked at the continuing
setup of the "short war" sortie. A rush to the Philippines by the
massed American Fleet was pure fantasy, "unfeasible": "it could
not be done." 7
So by the grace of the game was the Navy's "short war"
illusion at last interred. By OP. Ill, in 1935, BLUE was advancing
by hop, skip, and jump through the Mandates, and building an
advanced base at Truk. 8 For OP. V, 1938, the itinerary had been
established: Eniwetok to Ponape to Truk. 9 OP. VII, 1938,
continued the advance to Yap and Peleliu (Palau), and then on to
Jolo, just South of Mindanao. 10
Scenarios began to branch out from bilateral BLUE-
ORANGE war. Both OP. VII, 1938, and 1939, posited BROWN
(Netherlands) as an ally of America. 11 The 1939 strategic canvas
did not even begin at the beginning. The game begins in the
third year of war between ORANGE and BLUE. Forcing its way,
atoll by atoll, across the Central Blue, the "Main Fleet" of
America is anchored off northern New Guinea, not far from the
Biak strategic springboard of 1944. Over three million
Americans are under arms; 400,000 are in cantonments in Java,
awaiting the final, amphibious assault on the Philippines. 12
So many interwar rehearsals prepared an assured
performance. OP. IV, 1929, was a "Joint Army and Navy
Operations Problem with Forced Landing." The script, 463
pages, contained the most minute stage directions for a
simultaneous four-division amphibious assault on the beaches of
Balayan, Batangas, and Tabayas Bays, four score miles south of
Manila. "The Estimate of the Situation and Decision,"
"...involves placing about 450,000 men, and about 1,750,000
tons of Army supplies in the PHILIPPINES by 1 November "
Fifteen years early, a game would call for an October amphibious
landing in that jeweled archipelago. 13
Amphibious techniques pioneered, in charted imagination,
patterns familiar to 1944, on familiar beaches. In OP. IV, 1929,
landings were given distant cover by more modern capital ships,
with direct bombardment support delegated to older armored
ships. Escort Carrier Groups — yes — were focused on a single
task: close air support over the beachhead. 14 Twelve years before
the first Higgins lighters began to roll off the production line,
armored, motorized landing craft designs were blueprinted at
Newport, for the great assault on Luzon, October 1929. 15
Logistics were not shrugged; they alone could atlas the burden
of the offensive. To keep the BLUE BatFor in WestPac, OP. IV,
1929, chartered the service schedules of 470 train auxiliaries. 16
The Pacific War was always, for BLUE, the main event,
demanding the maximum effort. OP. IV, 1929, called for no less
than 137 fleet oilers (AO and XAO); by 1933, OP. IV critiques
urged refueling major combatants at sea, as routine procedure, 6
years before operational tests were authorized. 17
All the pieces of future war were deployed on the interwar
game board. From gambit to checkmate, the spectrum of
campaign symbiosis with ORANGE was imprinted on a
generation of service leadership. Incessant scene-building of
BLUE-ORANGE campaigns created a visceral ease of
expectation. "Island-hopping" across the central Pacific,
multidivision amphibious assaults on Luzon and Okinawa,
blockade of the Japanese home islands: an aggregation of
gaming created familiar doctrine and familiar geography for
gestant war. Newport developed a rehearsal program, through
the game, that reconciled the offensive necessity of transpacific
war with the friction inevitable in an oceanic campaign.
By 1941, the Navy was primed for Pacific passage. This argosy
was expected to end well before the beaches of Kyushu.
No war game of that era ever broached the image of an
invasion of Japan. Objective mission ended with the seizure of
the Ryukyus and economic blockade. Even in the U.S. Navy, still
imbued with archaic notions of civilized warfare, there was a
growing interwar awareness of the tyranny of modern fashion.
Total war, in 1914-1918, had returned after a long leave of
absence. By the time the "spirit of Locarno" was quite dead, the
Navy was beginning, at Newport, to enlarge its expectations.
War with ORANGE was certain to drag into a 4-year campaign.
After 1932, with Japan comfortably ensconced on the Asian
mainland, war might not end after a fleet battle, nor after
retaking Luzon, nor after the fall of Okinawa, nor after drawing
the noose of blockade. More might be needed. In December 1933
a discussion held after the bitter finish of OP. IV, drew a
It was said that in a war with ORANGE we were holding on
to the old idea of economic strangulation of ORANGE in the
crossing of the PACIFIC, and urged thought on ways of
conducting a more successful war with ORANGE It was
brought out that ORANGE is very much worried about air
attacks on her cities . . . . 18
Only a fleet could seize those islands, to carve out airstrips —
THE GAME AS ORACLE: THE BATTLE
Battle is the catharsis of war.
The battle, as played at Newport, was the denouement of the
game. In game metaphor, the image of decisive combat — The
Big Battle — coexisted on parallel planes: professional and
The battle as professional denouement was the climactic
proof-test of the theory of war: of the inculcated teachings of
Clausewitz. Within his Hegelian vision of war,
. . . the concept of the engagement lies at the root of all
strategic action, since strategy is the use of force, the heart of
which, in turn, is the engagement. So in the field of strategy
we can reduce all military activity to the unitary concept of
the single engagement ... all threads of military activity lead
to the engagement; if we control the engagement, we
comprehend them all. 1
The key scriptural texts of The Battle were "The Fire Action of
the Battle Line," "Cruisers and Destroyers in the General
Action," and "The Naval Battle." This triteuch described in
diagrammatic detail the structure of a decisive encounter at sea,
"the supreme effort of men and material." 2 The central concept
The primary objective is the breaking up of the enemy battle
line . . . and to turn the advantage gained into a decisive
Echoing Clausewitz, War College president Harris Laning wrote
of the objective imperative of all command at sea:
Those to whom the handling of forces in war is entrusted are
in duty bound to so handle them that those forces will exert
their maximum power in the battle that is the campaign's
crucial and decisive point. 4
In theory, war was resolved in a decisive encounter, "the single
engagement," that would itself hinge on "the decisive point of
the engagement": the clash of battlelines. 5 Recent history, at
Tsushima and at Jutland, offered ambiguous confirmation of
wisdom's convention. Tradition, codified by Mahan, was a litany
of precedence: Quiberon Bay, The Saintes, The Nile, Trafalgar.
The American Navy, above all, dreamed of extending the list.
"Decisive victory" was more than a professional objective: it
was the moment of grace as much as the moment of truth. As
"the supreme effort of men," so the battle was the supreme test.
Each of the texts of the battle stressed the spiritual nature of
battle, and of victory:
The moral factor in battle is predominant. 6
Such must be the will to win that nothing short of complete
victory will be accepted. 7
The moral factors to our benefit lay in the spiritual reaction
with the enemy. 8
As the decisive moment of the decisive action of a war, the battle
created an aura of historical gravity.
By historical implication, the battle fleet came to be perceived,
at Newport and throughout the Service, as the physical
instrument of American victory in future war: the agent of
national destiny. As national champion in a decisive arena,
operational ethos, in the course of the interwar era, was refined
into a sublime rarefaction of perceived national ethos. The
gaming of the battle provided an expressive ritual for future
commanders, to intensify their commitment to victory, so that
their "will to win" might mirror the full force of national will:
Our country's largest and most vital team is its naval battle
team — the most nearly perfect team of its kind in the
We officers have a tremendous work before us to prepare
ourselves and our fleet team to be always invincible in
In physical structure, the battle "plan approximates the general
plan and ideas followed by both fleets at Jutland." 11 As spiritual
symbol within the span of America's history, the battle was a
nearly transcendent test of naval and national character. Victory
in so profound a contest would be a sign of historical grace. For
this inheritance, the Navy looked not to the soiled image of
Jutland but to the shining shibboleth of Trafalgar. In the battle,
Nelson is evoked again and again. In "The Fire Action of the
Battle Line," the first diagrams are of Trafalgar and of the Nile,
to illustrate the existential postulates of decisive victory. 12
The pursuit of the battle on the game floor of Newport
between the wars was the spiritual quest of the U.S. Navy for an
American Trafalgar. For Great Britain, Trafalgar was the
physical and moral agent of 19th-century supremacy. More than
any modern battle, Trafalgar forged the spiritual strength of the
British Empire. At Newport, this navy cherished that single
recognition. As the climax of Mahan's thesis, Trafalgar was the
influence of seapower upon history: this truth indoctrinated at
the War College had become part of the Navy world view.
The battle, as played at Newport, was an attempt to lay the
spiritual foundations of an American Trafalgar in the next war.
The Board Maneuver Chronicles support this sensation.
Of 106 pure tactical games, 49 were fought against ORANGE,
5 against a BLACK-SILVER coalition in 1940-1941, and 52
against RED. In contrast to the record of strategic gaming,
where 93 percent of all problems were framed in BLUE-
ORANGE colors, RED was the enemy in 49 percent of all
tactical situations. Not all of these situations involved general
actions; only 71 tactical games involved a clash of battlelines.
From this sum of 71 battleline board maneuvers, fully 48 called
for decisive action against the RED battle fleet. The proportion
of BLUE-RED potential Trafalgars rises to 68 percent.
There were two motivations behind this board maneuver
obsession with the Royal Navy, when all strategic expectation
favored war with Japan. Britain's battleline was the force to beat;
the toughest challenge, the class opponent, the match game.
Then, as the service descendants of Nelson, the officers of the
modern Royal Navy wore the moral mantle of victory. To be
capable, even in game, of meeting and besting an opponent
physically equal and morally superior would mark a turning
point. This was the importance of the games highlighted in the
callimorphosis of RED. America fought 50 Jutlands against the
British Battle fleet: 50 battles played to the rules of Jutland, with
the texture of that North Sea fight. There the resemblance
ended. Spiritually, the U.S. Navy did not "refight the battle of
Jutland" on the game floor of the War College, as some have
claimed. 13 These were reruns of Trafalgar, fought with modern
weapons: the youthful challenger against the aging champion:
Personally, we believe that the whole attitude of the British
Navy had changed since the days of Drake, Hawke, Jervis,
and Nelson. Then it was young; now it had grown old Its
national policy was defensive, rather than offensive. That
affected its naval strategy and turned the British Navy to
thoughts of defense, rather than offense. 14
So the judgment of Commander Holloway Frost, writing on
Jutland, in 1936. The causal and inseparable link between naval
and national character is clear: the invidious comparison, of
Nelson with Jellicoe, of Trafalgar with Jutland, of triumph with
despair. Even in the 1920s, before the epoch of appeasement, the
commentary of American naval officers was harsh. In his thesis
on tactics, 1923, Cdr. H.R. Stark said simply that, at Jutland, the
Grand Fleet "lacked the fighting edge, the offensive spirit, the
will to win." 15 These phrases, by contrast, were the fighting
commandments of the War College Course, and made up the
concept of the battle:
There is only one successful way of going for the objective in
battle, and that is the offensive way Let us not forget that
though defensive tactics sometimes prevent defeat, only by
offensive tactics can a decisive victory be gained. 16
Trafalgar and Jutland became the symbolic moral examples of
greatness and of decline.
The battle was the epiphany of the ritual of the game. Like the
combat of two champions who fight in place of whole armies,
the big battle was a metaphoric enactment of the full activity of a
war. As a dramatic encounter in which the moral qualities of
each opponent cry for open evaluation, the very image of a
decisive battle implies an exhibition of spiritual strength.
If realistic tactical simulation were required, it was injected
into combat modeling in the Pacific theater. There, in a war with
ORANGE, no one forecast a classic clash of battlelines. Newport
anticipated a messy, awkward war of attrition. The majority of
tactical games played against ORANGE involved detachments:
groups of battleships, cruisers, or destroyers tangling at night or
in narrow waters; on shipping raids or convoy defense or
screening operations. The art of the engagement was a process
of daily combat, not a single showcase. Sharp, bloody, and
confused, the ORANGE tactical problems often seem to mirror,
in grimy reality, the coming war.
Those epic contests, given titles like "The Battle of the
Emerald Bank," and "The Battle of Sable Island," fought off the
fog banks of Nova Scotia as if in an ersatz North Sea, served a
special purpose. They taught the future commanders of the
American Navy, as Laning adjured, "to be always invincible in
The game was, in the guise of the battle, the oracle of Victory.
THE GAME AS ORACLE: THE WEAPON
The battleship is the backbone of seapower. 1
Battleship, Battlewagon, Ship of the Line,
The Big Ships, the Heavy Ships,
called, after the Washington Conference, through the interwar
era, the Capital Ship. 2 From the embryonic Naos of Vasco da
Gama, Europa embarking as Os Lusiadas, to conquer the Indies,
the concept of the capital ship had evolved into the first
independent strategic system, encoded into legal language,
enshrined by international treaty.
By 1922, law legitimized in limitation the triumphant
creation of Victorian technology: the dreadnought battleship.
The capital ship concept was that of an ark, a vessel transformed
into the ultimate instrumentality of power achieved in the
interwar era. As such standard, the 20th-century battleship
embodied an operational potential that transcended all
contemporary weapons systems:
THE greatest deliverable weapons payload, both in terms of
destructive power and of accuracy, over time, of any
contemporary weapons system.
THE greatest endurance, in terms of time on station in the
pursuit of operational objectives, of any contemporary
THE greatest staying power, in terms of defensive,
protective, and damage-control systems, of any
contemporary weapons system.
THE greatest strategic mobility, in terms of the most direct
deployment, at the highest initial state of readiness, of the
most concentrated form of applied military power, of any
contemporary weapons system. 3
The battleship was the key to American global power.
Between the wars, limited by treaty to 18, and then to 15, capital
units, the U.S. Navy still posited transpacific fleet movement on
the battleship backbone. As "the rallying point of all forces in
the fleet," the solid rock foundation of offensive planning, the
American battleship was both the instrument and the symbol of
national will. 4
All battleships, in the design process, were constrained by hull
size. At Washington, size was limited to 35,000 tons standard
displacement. Within this margin, a balance must be struck
between the four core components of operational capability —
weapons payload, endurance, staying power, and strategic
mobility — and calibrated to national strategic needs. The great
gray ships of the American battleline, between the wars,
emblemized American strategic goals.
They were built for transoceanic combat. Tough, belted and
"buttoned up" against mine and torpedo, strong-armed with
hollow engines long and round
Thick-rammed, at the other bore with touch of fire
Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth
From far, with thundering noise, among our foes,
Such implements of mischief, as shall dash
To pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever stands . . .
the American battleship inspired confidence. The gun was the
decisive weapon, and 16 inches, in the Navy, was the decisive
caliber. As H.R. Stark exclaimed, in 1937, as ChBuOrd:
AT LAST we have the decision on the gun caliber for the
capital ships and thank the Lord it is 16". 5
With such "devilish enginery," American battlewagons might
knock at the gates of Heaven. In earthly pride, crossing the
Pacific unscathed would prove to be task enough.
The American capital ship of the interwar era traded tactical
for strategic mobility. This was the crucial design compromise.
Topped off with 4,570 tons of oil, the New World dreadnought
could range halfway 'round the globe at 12 knots; 2 months'
steaming before her tanks ran dry. 6 This comfortable oceanic
reach prompted the image publicized by Puleston, of the
offensive, on the eve of war:
The American Fleet would cross the Pacific at about the
speed of translation of a cyclone — between 10 and 15 knots.
It would resemble the cyclone in a more important phase,
leveling everything in its path except a stronger fleet — and a
stronger fleet does not at present exist. 7
In private game post mortems at Newport, the vision was less
certain. After OP. IV, 1933, Capt. R.B. Coffey admitted, in his
BLUE, in this advance across the Pacific, has undertaken one
of the most difficult operations of war. His success rests,
above all else, on the maintenance of the battle line in
strength superior to ORANGE. 8
Both images, confident and questioning, rooted the reality of an
American transoceanic offensive on the battleship backbone.
Only through the capital ship concept, embodied by the
battleship, could the interwar Navy hope to operate offensively
in the Western Pacific. Only the battleship could venture
sustained operations, accept sustained punishment, and offer
sustained "impetuous fury" in return. In the mortal combat of
that age, only a battleship could overthrow a battleship.
If the American Battle Force were the source of strategic
thinking, the agent of transoceanic national will, the battleline
was in aggregate as well the "decisive weapon" of the "decisive
point" of the "decisive battle" of a war:
The modern sea battle is still centered around the main gun
The fire action of the Battle Line, by reason of its power,
The dominating phase in battle is the gun fight between
heavy ships. 11
The foundation around which the battle play of any fleet is
built is its heavy battle line 12
This evocative thunder, the "devilish enginery" of Paradise Lost,
permeates the subconscious of the vision of future war versified
at Newport. In the symbolic Big Battle, the hopes and fortunes
of two nations, two peoples, would be weighed in the single,
spasmodic clash of battlelines. If national destiny could be
reduced to the outcome of a single battle; battle distilled to a
climactic shock of battlelines; and the American line held by less
than a score of heavy ships
A dozen battlewagons were the Shield of the Republic.
Advancing across the Pacific, a dozen dreadnoughts forged the
offensive blade of American foreign policy: The BLUE Sword. In
the "Maneuver Rules," the text of the game, and in the triteuch
of the battle, the 12 champions of the battle force, girded in
adamantine armor, armed with "Hollow engines ... in triple
mounted row," were the ultimate arbiters of war. If, on meeting
the battleline of the enemy, the American BatDivs
. . .can hit that line a blow at the earliest possible moment
and keep hitting it with its full sxrength as long as the line
exists . . . then the enemy's battle line will be broken and
destroyed, and his whole fighting structure will
As an autopsy of the future, the game judged the fate of nations
on "The Fire Action of the Battle Line"; on a bloody instant of
battle that might, on a clear day, last only 21 to 84 minutes. 14
Strategic systems, the instrumentality of ultimate decision in
war, tend to promote the expectation of immediate decision. In
theoretical circumstance it was possible to annihilate the
battleline of an enemy in single battle; a la Trafalgar, it was
possible to "lose the war in an afternoon." Similar imagery
reigns today; it is all the fashion to blithely proclaim the tenure
of nuclear war in minutes . . . perhaps 21 to 84?
These shared assumptions give strength to deterrent theory
in time of peace. An instrument of decision seems more
formidable if the threat of its employment promises immediate
result. In the shock of war, strategic systems cannot be
squandered: reality is not so ready as the dramatic fantasy of
deterrence imagery. As the "backbone" of theater pressure, the
physical prop of campaign strategy, strategic systems, in war,
tend to be judiciously used.
In the BatDivs of the BatFor, the U.S. Navy developed
America's first strategic system. As the "backbone" of American
seapower, these dozen battlewagons were critical to the rigorous
campaign modeling at Newport, in strategic problems played
against ORANGE. As the champions of the battle, the band of
American battleships became the emotional symbols of the
Navy's perceived role in national destiny. With only 12 in the
BatFor, and on the game floor, each ship was invested with an
animus. Named after states of the Union, each ship became a
regional microcosm of America: as in ancient epic, a rollcall of
champions, of heroes, would summon men from every island
and every polis:
Maryland, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, California, West
Virginia, Tennessee, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania,
Full fifty ships beneath Achilles' care,
The Achaians, Myrmidons, Hellenians bear;
Thessalians all, though various in their name;
The same their nation, and their chief the same. 15
When war came, the Navy was ready to realize, in
synchronous realities, the remembered ritual of combat leader-
ship. The prophecy of the Game had come to pass. The battle
fleet, the proud instrumentality of expectant destiny, lay
wrecked in the fires of Pearl; but it rose again, as steel-clad
phoenix, to finish the job. A new fleet of fast carriers and sleek,
AA-bristled battleships wrested the Pacific from the Teiheyo
Kaigun, forcing their battered big ships back to the naked
harbors of the Japanese homeland.
The campaign in the Pacific lacked none of the components of
the great Board Maneuver, save one: The Battle, the American
Trafalgar. Midway was enshrined, but as a terrific, defensive
turning point in the fortunes of war. The Japanese Fleet escaped.
In the emotional search for a decisive battle, the big fleet battles
of 1944 missed. Philippine Sea and Leyte were, at last,
disappointments. Twice, the battlewagons of the Combined
Fleet squirmed away from the eager denouement fantasized by
three generations of American officers. How hard we tried to
make of Leyte the stuff of legend! When Samuel Eliot Morison
brought to history the specter of missed opportunity, the chance
to bring the "Jap Fleet" to battle, the judgment, even in 1958,
was almost too much for poor Bill Halsey to bear:
Ham Dow came in to see me last Friday and we discussed a
son-of-a-bitch named Morison. 1
This, the beginning of a tirade to Adm. Robert B. Carney,
ex-CNO. Carney, attempting to placate the old seadog, agreed
that "the battle's outcome was favorable and completely decisive
from the strategic viewpoint — and the effectiveness of Japan's
sea power was ended . . . . " 2
So it had been with Jutland: and the unstated comparison
carried little comfort. The fighting had been magnificent, but
Halsey had thrown in "Ching" Lee's battleships too late: the
promise of the enacted ritual of the game, and the making of
Nelsonic myth, was lost. The victorious American Navy was left
with a nagging frustration, and the historical usage only of
images like "effectiveness" and "favorable": a qualification of
the anatomy of glory.
If, in that last clash of arms, the Navy missed a certain ritual
catharsis, the Service realized, through the experience of the
Pacific War, the full geas of the Newport mission, and the
indoctrination of Sims and of Knox and of Kalbfus. In doing so,
they achieved not only the narrower objective of war, but the
unstated sense of destiny implicit in the Navy ethos. The Navy
collected its ships, and pushed the perimeter of this nation — its
invisible oceanic frontier — as though it were a palpable thing,
across the Pacific. The vision of Benton and Gilpin and
Whitman, like an ineradicable American verse, was planted on
the littoral margins of Eurasia. There it has remained.
As agent, the Navy achieved this tectonic displacement
through the instrumentality of the capital ship: not the old
BatFor, shattered at Pearl, but the sleek "task forces" of carrier
and fast battleship. Today, the imperial alliances and client
states of the American oikoumene are guaranteed by the
enduring emblem of the battleline: no longer the dreadnoughts
of the BatFor, but the carrier "battle groups" of the world island.
Forward deployed in Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, and
Indian waters, these 12 Brobdingnagian arks, three times the
bulk of a basket-masted battlewagon, remain the oceanic sinew
of the association of kindred states — this globe-spanning Delian
League — that we call The West. 3
Yet there was something more, something almost instinctual,
something in the very mortar of the War College. The abiding
purpose of the War College was — and is — to teach the "art of
war." Not simply the usage of war's instrumentalities, but the
meaning of its operational art. The college was created to
inculcate 0iAori/zta, the philotema of combat. Through the
ritual of the game, Newport taught generation after generation
the behavioral spirit of operational ethos. "The readiness is
In the decade following our self-inflicted Asian debacle, the
American military services have, unthinking, turned away from
the philotema of combat, and the training of operational ethos,
as though it were a barbaric atavism, a primitive ancestral
throwback to another, harsher age. As Richard Gabriel and Paul
Savage lamented, in their soul-searching autopsy, Crisis in
. . . the British sense of "the military way" and the French
sense of "elan" are qualities that escape definition ... a
similar "sense of the legion" is lacking in the American
military in general and the officer corps in particular .... It
is this quality, the discovering of a sense of community, a
sense of honor, a sense of the "way of the legion," which we
must attain. 4
The manager came, almost consciously, to eclipse the warrior;
for the philotema of the warrior — his operational ethos — and
the fraternity of his service — his corporate ethos — have been
forged in current argot to the evil image of an imperial mission,
and the "shameful" memory of Vietnam.
For the Navy, and its "home of thought," this judgment has
created a decade of dismantlement. The Estimate of the
Situation was abjured, and tours at the college became redolent
of "ticket-punching," a racking-up of career points. Manage-
ment courses became dominant fashion: costing methodology
triumphed over battle tactics. A swarm of petty assignments
greeted the middle-managing students of the new navy, ready
and armed to do battle in the grade-point melee.
Somehow the old doctrine evaded extinction, and may yet
prevail. Vice Adm. James Stockdale, as president, hammered
home a single theme, over all others, to his students:
Wars cannot be fought the same way bureaucrats haggle
over apportionments. The toll in human life in battle does
not lend itself to cost/benefit analysis .... As we follow
the peacetime horde down the prescribed track, let us not
adopt a false sense of security .... Have you thought it
through? When the whistle blows, are you ready to step out
of your business suit with both the philosophy and the belly
for a fight? 5
Like Luce, in 191 1, crying in the wilderness, Stockdale saw the
central meaning of his service, and the object of all endeavor:
Your profession is the art of war, and nature will be avenged
if you violate one of its laws in undertaking to make a part
greater than the whole. You give two years to marine
engineering and but seventy-eight days to the study of the
art you pretend to profess. This is a total eclipse of the
mental vision. You cannot even see the grim humor of it! 6
In the voices of these two men the lineage of mission at the War
College holds unbroken.
And there remains the game. As Stockdale writes:
We've made a conscious shift to war gaming in the Naval
Operations course, and our students participate to an ever
greater extent in major CINC-level games during the
year .... The reputation of the Naval War College was
built largely on the tremendous impact gaming had on
World War II. 7
Like an iron thread of continuity, the game goes on. At the
Center for War Gaming, SACLANT/CINCLANTFLT still
holds quarterly games: called now "Tactical Command Readi-
ness War Games." Begun in 1976 by Adm. Isaac Kidd, they share
kinship with the 1921 convocations of the Atlantic Fleet at
Newport. There, far from the politicking of the Capital, the
Navy, under Sims' tutelage, thought hard about battle. Now,
instead of the BatFor in the Philippine Sea, they play carrier
"battle groups" in the waters north of Iceland, extending
American seapower to the lair of "the enemy." When Kidd
would address his officers, in the pristine new gameroom in
Sims Hall, clotted with state-of-the-art electronics, his message
might have echoed in the galleried chamber of another age:
I don't want anyone here who isn't prepared to bleed for his
country .... When war starts, we're going to have to go to
work .... I don't want to go into the Norwegian Sea, but
we might have to ... . We've got to be prepared for
staggering losses . . . but we've got to go north where the
battle is .... I don't know what's going to happen when
war begins . . . that's what we're here for, to prepare for
war . . . . 8
In such men, the old ethos lives. They talk of mission, and
there is fire in their eyes. And then the game begins, as it has for
something like a finished century, by the waters of the gray
Atlantic; and the trappings of this age cannot obscure
ineluctable tradition. Though the fleets move on electronic
board, the squadrons of the enemy glow ORANGE. The
American battle groups move north of Iceland, as Kidd insists
they must, burning BLUE, like a sword in that computer fantasy.
In such men, the line of descent is clear. The young men, the
junior officers who exalt the shallow spirit of their age, must
discern the imprint of this ancestry. Now they mirror, more
than any earlier naval generation, the spirit of contemporary
society: an American society in search of mission. They must
seek within themselves the esprit, the "way of the legion," the
philotema of those who came before, those who fought for their
unyielding vision of America. For the Navy, and its young
officers, this means no less than a rediscovery of self. They must
be able to come to Newport and search out, once again, their
sense of higher mission in American life, and in this nation's
THE COLORS OF THE RAINBOW
Netherlands East Indies
U.S.A. (Domestic Contingency)
Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet
Commander Battle Force
Commander Scouting Force
Commander Submarine Force
Commander Base Force
Commander Battleships, U.S. Fleet
Battleships, U.S. Fleet
Commander Battleships, Battle Force
Battleships, Battle Force
Commander Battleship Division
Commander Cruisers, U.S. Fleet
Cruisers, U.S. Fleet
Commander Cruisers, Scouting Force
Cruisers, Scouting Force
Commander Cruisers, Battle Force
Cruisers, Battle Force
Commander Cruiser Division
Commander Destroyers, U.S. Fleet
Destroyers, U.S. Fleet
Commander Destroyers, Battle Force
Destroyers, Battle Force
Commander Destroyers, Scouting Force
Destroyers, Scouting Force
Commander Destroyer Division
Commander Aircraft, U.S. Fleet
Aircraft, U.S. Fleet
Commander Aircraft, Battle Force
Aircraft, Battle Force
Commander Aircraft, Scouting Force
Aircraft, Scouting Force
Commander Carrier Division
Commander Minecraft, U.S. Fleet
Minecraft, U.S. Fleet
Commander Minecraft, Battle Force
Minecraft, Battle Force
Commander Mine Squadron
Commander Mine Division
Commander Training Squadron
Commander Submarine, U.S. Fleet
Submarines, U.S. Fleet
Commander Submarine Squadron
Commander Submarine Division
Commander Train Squadron
Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet
Commander Yangtze Patrol
Commander South China Patrol
South China Patrol
WAR GAMES CONDUCTED AT
THE NAVAL WAR COLLEGE, 1919-1941 KEY
(Drawn From Descriptions Used in Game Histories)
Game Motive Key
Convoy Problem (Fleet Train/ Advanced B<
Scouting and Screening Problem
Concentration of Forces
Defense Against Aircraft
Estimate of the Situation
Strategy of the Pacific
N Northern Route
H-P Hawaii/Panama Defense
W WesPac through Carolines Base
Strategy of the Atlantic
Maneuvering for a Position of Advantage
Quick Decision Problem
Approach and Deployment for Battle
NM Night Maneuver Problem
LOG Logistics Problem
LOC Operations Against Lines of Communication
LO Landing Operations
BL Battleline/Fleet Action
CS Cruiser Screen/Scouting Operations
DS Destroyer Screen Operations
FS Fleet Submarines in the Engagement
SO Screening Operations in the Engagement
AO Aircraft Operations in the Engagement
G Gun Tactical Employment in the Engagement
T Torpedo Tactical Employment in the Engagement
M Mine Tactical Employment in the Engagement
FO Fleet Organization
CLASS PROBLEM NO.
SITUATION GAME MOTIVE
CLASS PROBLEM NO.
SITUATION GAME MOTIVE
EST/Red Superior Skill
EST/Red Superior Skill
QD-Based on Jutland
Fleet Standing Order
"Battle of the Marianas"
CLASS PROBLEM NO.
SITUATION GAME MOTIVE
Fleet Supply Schedule
EST/FS & BL
Battle of the Emerald
(w. essentially same nos.
as Sable Is.
, Blue lost ALL BBs in action, and Red had 1 1
BBs and 1 CC at end.)
SP-14 day prep,
LO Avacha Bay
Base Screening & SO for
"The Battle of
"The Battle of
Fuel Sup. Schedule
Base SO & SO for CP
Jap. Home Waters
CLASS PROBLEM NO.
SITUATION GAME MOTIVE
Base SO & SO for CP
SO (Base & CP)
>ive screen 3CC/3BB
RB/BL: Part 3 Blue BBs/5 Red BBs
OB/BL: Van forces 4-3BBs
Ops 2 Sr.
SO-Base & CP
(Trans Pac: S & T)
BO/Blue LOC/SO/Orange Bases
Joint A-N COR
Bases for TransPac Advance
CLASS PROBLEM NO.
SITUATION GAME MOTIVE
BO/ EST/Chart & Board
Maneuver of TE 1
RB/-C & Panama Transit for BL
BO/-Phil. battle O-North/B-South
ifter one mo. play)
BO/CP B leaving Truk
OB/ Asiatic Fl.-Phil. Def.
OB/BL EST/BP & battle
OB/BL EST/BP & battle
OB/SP S. Phil. CP
RB/B superiority 3:2 BL
"The Battle of Sable Island"
OB/ Asiatic Fl.LOC/Phil.Def.
RB/R-SLOC in Indian S.Atl./SA/Plan
changes in course of play
Revision of IV Movement Trans-Pac
OB/ 3 Blue BBs/5 Orange BBs
OB/4 Blue BBs/6 Orange BBs
RB/6 Blue BBs/4 Red BBs
BO/S.Phil.def. Area control/LOC/LOG
BO/Trans-Pac 1 yr. after host.
CLASS PROBLEM NO.
SITUATION GAME MOTIVE
OB/ Asiatic Fit
OB/ 2nd stage-
■BF awaiting Ind.O.
OB/ 3 Blue BBs/ 3 Orange BBs
OB/7 Blue BBs/9 Orange BBs
RB/11 Blue BBs/9 Red BBs
OB/U.S. & U.S.S.R. vs. Japan
, Sable Is.(BL)
CP 4 Blue BBs/ 5 Orange
BBs Detachment N. of
SLOC attack on Red
BL/Full MB: 15-15
BP/EST (Truk, B base)
Relief of Phil. (Manila)
linked to Strat.I
(3 Orange CCs;
3 Blue BBs)
3 BBs 5BBs
6 BBs 9 BBs
6 BBs 6 BBs
4 BBs 6 BBs
4 BBs 6 BBs
» F »
6 BBs 6 BBs
advanced base in
CLASS PROBLEM NO.
SITUATION GAME MOTIVE
Blue vs. Blue
(Night Light Force/Orange attack)
Raid on U.S. Coast
Night Light Force attack
on BLUE MB & Train
1 mo.Ops.by Blue against Orange
commence in Brown area & SE Asia
Ops. II OB
Ops. IV OB
(Blue MB as Dumanquilas; 3 convoys to
Suez; Orange to intercept)
Strat. I OB
Strat. II RB
Blue MB from Truk to
Cruiser action (San
Bernardino Str.) escort
force for convoy to
Manila/ 3 Blue BBs/
3 Orange BBs
CP (5 Blue BBs, 9 Orange
CAs) near Truk
EST/OW/BL Fleet Battle
U.S. Fleet divided,
Orange Off. TransPac
before Blue can reunite
3 BBs 5 BBs
7 BBs 6 BBs
8 BBs 8 BBs
12 BBs 6 LCs & 12
CA/DD scouting forces
13 DDs 3 CAs/ 3 BBs
9 BBs 3 CLs/35 DDs
West Pac: Flt.comp.
AB in East or South
China Seas/cut Orange
Same as Ops. I & II
Battle off "Pellew" as
Blue MB nears Phil.
Same as Ops I/II/III
arrive from U.S. via
Same as 1936 Ops.
Blue raiding of Indian
Ocean SLOCs weakens
CLASS PROBLEM NO. SITUATION GAME MOTIVE
37 Sr. Tac. II B-White (a hypothetical Fit. like
Orange to Blue, but
37 Sr. Tac. Ill OB CP N. of Truk/Orange
(Orange Superior: 7:5 BBs) force Truk to
37 Sr. Tac. IV RB Red MB on offensive to
keep Blue from taking
37 Sr. Ops. I OB Same as 1936 Ops. Blue
CA raiding Orange
SLOCs in S. China Seas
37 Sr. Ops. II OB Same as Ops.I; advance of
Blue MB on Truk
37 Sr. Ops. Ill OB Purple called pot. ally of
Blue/Blue MB from Truk
37 Sr. Ops. IV OB Blue MB convoy prot.
Dumanquilas to Suez
37 Sr. QD:
"A" OB Orange 5 BBs/Blue 3 BBs
37 Sr. "B" OB Orange 9 BBs/Blue 7 BBs
scattered by fog
"C" OB Orange 6 BBs/Blue 6 BBs
scattered by fog
"D" Indigo 8 BBs/Pink 8 BBs
(all Blue 48 type BB)
"J" RB Blue 5 CAs/Red 7 CAs,
"M" OB Orange 6 CCs, 39 DDs/
Blue 12 BBs, Night Torp.
"P" OB Orange 4 CLs, 36 DDs/
Blue 10 BBs
"N" RB Blue 6 CAs, Red 2 CCs
convoy, raiding force
38 Sr. Ops.I(Tac) OB Aleutians; 3 BBs each
38 Sr. Ops.II(Strat) RB SA Caribbean
BP defensive campaign
38 Sr. Ops.III(Strat) OB SP Indian Ocean/
38 Sr. Ops.IV(Tac) OB BP Truk area familiariza-
tion, safeguarding of
CLASS PROBLEM NO.
SITUATION GAME MOTIVE
38 Sr. Ops.V(Strat.) OB
-sub-problem: Defense of Atoll
Ponape -sub-problem: Attack on Isalnd
38 Sr. Ops. VI (Tac.) RB
38 Sr. Ops. VII
SP Central & West Pac
Control of West Pac
US to capture (1)
Eniwetok (2) Ponape
Battle off Sable Is.
4 Blue BBs over 60%
12 Red BBs over 60%
SP/control of Phil./
(Silver & Black aiding Orange)
sub-problem: defense of an Island Group
(Yap)/when Blue Fit. passes meridian
134°E., Brown ally of Blue
Op. VIII (Tac.)
Blue: 6 BBs, 8 CAs
AB: Staring Bay in
Orange: 9 BBs, 7 CAs
seeking decisive action
4 Blue BBs, 6 Orange BBs
Blue coastal fort.
8 Blue BBs, 9 Orange BBs
5 Red CAs, 5 Blue BBs in
6 Blue BBs, 6 Orange BBs
Blue BatFor, 6 CLs,
Orange convoy 12 BBs
SP/Night Torp. attack
U.S. assualt on Trinidad,
Br. attempted simul.relief
each 3 BBs, 4 CAs, 2-3
CVs in covering & escort
Relief of Wake by U.S.,
appr.complete MBs both
Ops. I (Tac.)
SP Aleutian (D.H.)
Unalaska Base CP
Raid on Orange SLOCs
Blue CAs & 1 CV
Indian Ocean, China Seas
Ops. IV (Tac.)
Ops. VI (Tac.)
NO. SITUATION GAME MOTIVE
OB SP-Cent.&W.-control of.
Orange holds atolls-MB
at Saipan;Blue MB at
RB EST/SCS/To familiarize
OB/Have been at war 2 yrs.
Blue-Brown Secret Alliance
British w/20,000 troops in 4 fast
(25 kt.) liners, 3 CCs, 2 CVs, 4 CAs
attempting to reinforce Trinidad,
which already has 7,000 troops
Ops. I (Tac.)
Ops. II (Strat.)
Ops. IV (Tac.)
Ops. I (Tac.)
Ops. IV (Tac.)
Orange 5 BBs, Blue 3 BBs
and fort, port
6 BBs each
Blue 9 BBs, Orange 4 LCs
Trinidad: 2 CVs, 3 BBs
4CAs support attack force
of 10 XAPs w/20,000
EST/Carib Control of
Raid on Orange SLOCs
EST/WestPac, China Sea
5 Blue BBs, 6 Orange BBs
Unalaska, D.H.3 BBs/
Black in N.Atl.,Narvik,
Iceland; Silver-Gold in
Med. to sortie to S.Amer.;
Gold bases in Cairb.
Monopoly of S.A. Trade
SP-minus new Atl. Fit.
line/ Blue must take
Eniwetok (C & M)
Defense of Truk/ Commitments in Atlantic-Brazil
prevent Blue offensive/Blue losses high, Japanese
low/Jap.attack w/BBs, 2 Blue BBs
SITUATION GAME MOTIVE
41 S&J Ops. V(Strat.)
OB EST/WestPac, China Sea
Raid on Orange SLOCs
Blue fully committed in Atl., unable to force decision
in Pac. Red neutral. Blue has Truk to hold line to Aus./4 CAs,
1 CV from Truk to Java Sea
Ops. VI (Tac) Black- Raider Warfare/CP
Black holds Eire, has "High Seas Fleet" of 5 BBs
1 CV at Trondheim/Blue has 3 BBs in Atl.
Ops.II (Strat.) Blue-Red/ against a
Black monopoly of Argentina/Uruguay/Brazil trade
Blue 3 BBs, 1 CV in So. Atl. "Brazilian Focal Area"
Black-Silver-Gold coalition 3 BBs, 1 CC, 2 CVs
41 CC Ops. II (Tac.)
OB Truk defense against
Orange 4 BBs, 2 CV, 9
CAs/Blue 2 No. Carolina
Class BBs, 4 CAs, 1 CV,
27 DD, 6 SS
41 CC Ops.III(Strat.) OB Raid on Orange SLOCs
Rendezvous 19 June, Coral Sea: destination, 1 July,
50 mi. SE of Singapore/ Blue 4 CAs, 1 CV in Java Sea
41 CC Ops. IV (Tac.) Blue-Red/Balck No. Atlantic/CP
Blue-Red convoy, 40 ships, 5 BB cover/Black 5 BB, 1 CV
Night search & attack
Blue 9 BB/Orange 4 CA,
32 DD (low visibility off
Blue 3 BBs, 4 CAs, 1 CV
"Deny Axis bases in
E. Carib." Silver, 1 BB,
6 CA/Gold 1 CC, 1 CV
PART I— ETHOS
1. Carroll N. Brown, Greek-English Dictionary (New York: Enossis Publishing, 1924).
CHAPTER I-THE NATURE OF ETHOS
1. E. Adamson Hoebal, The Cheyennes: Indians of the Great Plains (New York: Holt,
Rinehart and Winston, I960), p.87.
2. R. Redfield, The Primitive World and Its Transformations (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell
University Press, 1953), p.86.
3. E. Adamson Hoebal, Anthropology: The Study of Man (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1958),
4. Clyde Kluckhohn, "The Philosophy of the Navaho Indians," F.S.C. Northrop, ed.,
Ideological Differences and World Order (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1949), p. 359.
5. Hoebal, The Cheyennes, p. 87.
6. John A. Hostetler and Gertrude Enders Huntington, The Hutterites in North America
(New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967), p. 6.
7. Clyde Kluckhohn and William H. Kelly, "The Concept of Culture," Alan Dundes, ed.,
Every Man His Way: Readings in Cultural Anthropology (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall,
1968), p. 205.
8. Florence Rockwood Kluckhohn, "Dominant and Variant Value Orientations,"
Kluckhohn, et al., eds., Personality in Nature, Society, and Culture (New York: Knopf, 1953);
Kluckhohn and Kelly, "The Concept of Culture."
9. Hoebal, The Cheyennes, pp. 95-104; Kluckhohn, et al., eds., Personality in Nature,
Society, and Culture, pp. 3-71.
CHAPTER II-THE NATIONAL ETHOS
1. J.H. Elliott, The Old World and the New, 1492-1650 (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge
University Press, 1972), p. 104.
2. Vernon Louis Parrington, Main Currents in American Thought: Vol. I, The Colonial
Mind, 1620-1800 (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1927), p. ix.
3. Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform (New York: Vintage Books, 1955), pp. 23-25.
4. C. Vann Woodward, "The Age of Reinterpretation," The American Historical Review ,
October I960, pp. 1-19; Hofstadter, pp. 326-328.
5. Henry Nash Smith, The Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1950), p. 12.
6. Alexander Hamilton, "The Utility of the Union in Respect to Commercial Relations and
a Navy," The federalist, or The New Constitution (Avon, Conn.: Heritage Press, 1945), p. 70.
7. Ibid., p. 69.
8. Felix Gilbert, To the farewell Address: The Beginnings of American foreign Policy
(New York: Harper and Row, 1965), p. 114.
9. William Gilpin, Mission of the North American People, Social, Geographical, Political
(Philadelphia: 1874), p. 130. Quoted in Smith, p. 37.
10. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (Avon, Conn.: Heritage Press, 1937), pp. 225-226.
11. Frances Trollope, Domestic Manners of the Americans (London: The Folio Society,
1974), pp. 54-55.
12. James Fenimore Cooper to Commodore William Bradford Shubrick, 30 April 1847;
Cooper to Shubrick, 25 September 1847. Quoted in James Franklin Beard, ed., The Letters and
Journals of James Fenimore Cooper (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard
University Press, 1968), v. V, pp. 206-207, 236-237.
13- A.T. Mahan, From Sail to Steam: Recollections of Naval Life (New York: Harper and
Brothers, 1907), p.„197.
14. Oscar Wilde, "The Canterville Ghost," The Short Stories of Oscar Wilde (Avon, Conn.:
Heritage Press, 1968), p. 144.
15. Frederick Jackson Turner, "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," in
Everett E. Edwards, ed., The Early Writings of Frederick Jackson Turner (Madison: University of
Wisconsin Press, 1938).
CHAPTER III-THE CORPORATE ETHOS
1. Adm. Albert Gleaves, "Background," Autobiographical Manuscript (Unpublished),
Gleaves Papers, Naval Historical Foundation, Library of Congress (hereafter NHF), p. 1.
2. A.T. Mahan, From Sail to Steam: Recollections of Naval Life (New York: Harper and
Brothers, 1907), p. 69.
3. Ibid., p. 65.
4. Ibid., p. 66.
5. Rear Adm. Julius Augustus Furer to Capt. Philip F. Wakeman, 22 April 1961, Furer
6. Mahan, p. 74.
7. A.B. Anderson to Capt. Dudley W. Knox, 28 September 1935, Knox Papers, NHF.
8. Gleaves, "Background," Gleaves Papers, NHF, p. 2.
9. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (Avon, Conn.: Heritage Press, 1937), p. 508.
10. Furer to Theodore E. Stevenson, 13 March 1959, Furer Papers, NHF.
11. Adm. William Sowden Sims, Journal, June to August 1877, Sims Papers, NHF.
12. Mahan, p. 105.
13. Ibid., p. 48.
14. Capt. J. K. Taussig, "The Old Navy," Navy Day Annual, 1937 (Seattle: Master Mechanics
Association, 1937), Record Group II, Naval War College Naval Historical Collection (hereafter
15. Miscellany, Gleaves Papers; Miscellany, Taylor Papers, NHF.
16. Furer to Stevenson, 13 March 1959, Furer Papers, NHF.
17. Mahan, p. 101.
18. Herman Melville, Typee: A Romance of the South Seas (Avon, Conn.: Heritage Press,
1935), p. 3.
19. Adm. Albert Gleaves, "On the Road to China," Autobiographical Manuscript
(Unpublished), Gleaves Papers, NHF, p. 14; Melville, p. 256.
20. James O. Richardson and George C. Dyer, On the Treadmill to Pearl Harbor
(Washington: Dept. of the Navy, Naval History Division, 1973).
21. Adm. Harry E. Yarnell, "Sons of Gunboats," Yarnell Papers, NHF.
22. Ibid., pp. 4-8; Marcus Goodrich, Delilah (New York: Popular Library, 1978, originally
published in 1941).
23. Martin Swanson to Adm. Harry E. Yarnell, 3 June 1942, Yarnell Papers, NHF.
24. Yarnell to Swanson, 8 June 1942, Yarnell Papers, NHF.
25. Clifford Calfinch to Adm. Ernest J. King, 22 January 1941, King Papers, NHF.
26. King to Calfinch, 16 February 1941, King Papers, NHF.
27. Gleaves, "Background," Gleaves Papers, NHF.
28. Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Life of Nelson: The Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great
Britain (Boston: Little, Brown, 1897), p. 343.
29. Holloway H. Frost, The Battle of Jutland (Annapolis: The Naval Press, 1936), pp. 375,
514, 516, and others. See author's "The Fishing Off the Jutland Bank: The Search for a Symbol of
Victory," Unpublished Senior Essay, History Department, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.:
30. Mahan, The Life of Nelson, pp. 354, 396-400.
31. Mahan, From Sail to Steam, p. 124.
32. Furer Papers, King Papers, Bloch Papers, Yarnell Papers, NHF.
33- "Five and Fifty Years (Sam Wygant's Saga)," 24 March 1956, Furer Papers, NHF.
34. "Destroyer Men," Sims Papers, NHF.
35. "Spanish Ladies," Luce Papers, NHF.
36. J.V. Babcock to Dudley W. Knox, 16 December 1933, Knox Papers, NHF.
CHAPTER IV-MISSION AND ETHOS
1. Kenneth Bourne, "British Preparations for War with the North, 1861-1862," The
English Historical Review, October 1961, pp. 600-632.
2. George Washington, Fifth Annual Address to Congress, 8 December 1793, in John C.
Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1931-
1944), v. XXXIII, pp. 165-169.
3. Seward W. Livermore, "American Naval Development, 1898-1914," Unpublished
Dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.: 1944.
4. Craig Symonds, "The Antinavalists, the Opponents of Naval Expansion in the Early
National Period," The American Neptune, January 1979, pp. 22-27 '.
5. Howard I. Chapelle, American Neptune, The History of the American Sailing Navy
(New York: Norton, 1949), pp. 179-242.
6. Alexander Hamilton, "The Utility of the Union in Respect to Commercial Relations and
a Navy," The Federalist, or the New Constitution (Avon, Conn.: Heritage Press, 1945), p. 64.
7. Ibid., p. 68.
8. Ibid., p. 65.
9. Ibid., p. 66.
10. Ibid., p. 70.
11. Charles A. Beard, "The National Interest," 8 January 1935, Knox Papers, Naval
Historical Foundation, Library of Congress, (hereafter NHF), p. 10.
12. Ibid., p. 9.
13. Ibid., p. 6.
14. Ibid., p. 8.
15. The products of Knox's pen included:
Annual State Convention of the American Legion, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, 17 August
Recommissioning of the Constitution, June 1931 (Jahncke)
Chicago, 14 November 1931 (Adams)
Radio Address, Christmas Eve, 1931 (Adams)
Pennsylvania Military College, 7 June 1932 (Adams)
Navy Day, Washington Bicentennial, 29 September 1932 (Adams)
"George Washington as a Naval Strategist," Sons of the American Revolution, Lowell,
Massachusetts, 8 March 1932 (Jahncke)
Naval War College Graduation Speech, Newport, June 1932 (Adams)
Remarks on Decoration Day 1933 (Swanson)
Radio Address, CBS, May 1933 (Swanson)
Navy Day Radio Address, NBC, Chicago, 27 October 1933 (Standley)
"Building Up to Treaty Strength," 27 December 1933 (Standley)
Farewell to Byrd, October 1933 (Assistant Secretary Col. Roosevelt)
Remarks Before Aztec Club, November 1933 (Col. Roosevelt)
Radio Address, 19 September 1933 (Col. Roosevelt)
Address, Washington Cathedral, May 1934
Welcome Address for Italian Air Minister Balbo, Radio, July 1933 (Standley)
Radio Address, Los Angeles, September 1933 (Swanson)
Newsreel Interview, 12 July 1933 (Swanson)
Keynote Speech at Balbo Dinner, Washington, 30 July 1933 (Swanson)
Article for Hearst Papers, 23 July 1933
Newsreel Interview, Navy Day, 27 October 1933 (Standley)
Address, San Diego, October 1933 (Swanson)
Address, Seattle, October 1933 (Swanson)
Address, San Francisco, October 1933 (Swanson)
Address, Honolulu, October 1933 (Swanson)
"The United States Navy," Radio Address, 20 August 1933 (Standley)
Women's Patriotic Conference, January 1934 (Standley)
Radio Broadcast, June 1934 (Standley)
Navy Day Speech, 27 October 1934 (Rear Adm. J.K. Taussig)
Peary Anniversary, 6 April 1934 (Col. Roosevelt)
Women's Patriotic Conference on National Defense, Washington, 26 January 1934 (Adm.
Clark H. Woodward)
Women's Patriotic Conference on National Defense, Washington, (Rear Adm. E.J. King)
American Legion Speech, 23 July 1935 (Rear Admiral Stark)
Women's Patriotic Conference on National Defense, January 1935 (Rear Adm. J.K.
Armistice Day Speech, 1 1 November 1938 (Admiral Stark)
Farewell Luncheon to Leahy, July 1939 (Stark)
"Philippine Independence and Naval Bases," Policy Memorandum, August 1939 (Stark)
Chamber of Commerce Convention, 29 April 1940 (Stark)
Keynote Address, Navy Day Dinner, Chicago, 27 October 1940 (Stark)
Address, Washington Press Club, 10 April 1922 (Assistant Secretary Theodore Roosevelt)
District of Columbia Commandry of the American Legion, 12 February 1923 (Rear Adm.
Naval Academy Graduation Speech, Annapolis, June 1930 (Adams)
Address, Milwaukee, August 1931 (Jahncke)
Address on the Anniversary of Yorktown, 12 October 1931 (Adams)
Naval Academy Graduation Speech, Annapolis, June 1941 (Stark); Knox Papers, NHF.
16. Furer to Knox, 23 September 1927; Knox to Emmet, 29 September 1922; Babcock to
Knox, 17 October 1931; Moffet to Knox, 28 February 1933; Knox to Standley, 29 April 1935;
Stark to Knox, April 1940; Knox to Stark, Secret Memorandum October 1940, Knox Papers,
17. "Memorandum Prepared for the President at His Direction," 13 January 1938, Knox
18. Ibid., p. 11.
19. "Association with Franklin D. Roosevelt of Dudley W. Knox," Prepared by Knox for the
Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Foundation, Knox Papers, NHF.
20. Radio Broadcast, Cleveland, Ohio, 27 October 1939, Standley Papers, NHF.
21. "Our Navy and Other Factors of Sea Power," Radio Broadcast, Springfield, Mass., 27
October 1922, Gleaves Papers, NHF.
22. Hamilton, p. 66.
23. Dudley W. Knox, "Naval Power as a Preserver of Neutrality and Peace," Manuscript of
article for U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, May 1937, Knox Papers, NHF.
24. Quoted in "Memorandum Prepared for the President at His Direction," Knox Papers,
25. "Naval Power as a Preserver of Neutrality and Peace," Knox Papers, NHF.
26 Hamilton, p. 66.
27. Ibtd., p. 64.
28. "Seapower — What Is It?" Navy Day Address, 27 October 1936, Knox Papers, NHF, pp.
29. Radio Address, CBS, 10 August 1940, Standley Papers, NHF.
30. Radio Address, Pittsburgh, 27 October 1927, Furer Papers, NHF.
31. Quoted in "Memorandum Prepared for the President at His Direction," Knox Papers,
32. "Our Navy and Other Factors of Sea Power," Gleaves Papers, NHF, p. 13.
33. Radio Address, CBS, 10 August 1940, Standley Papers, NHF.
34. Hamilton, p. 67.
35. Radio Address, CBS, 10 August 1940, Standley Papers, NHF.
36. Hamilton, p. 67.
37. "Our Navy and Other Factors of Sea Power," Gleaves Papers, NHF, p. 9.
38. Dudley W. Knox, The Eclipse of American Sea Power (New York: Army and Navy
39. "The Price of Peace," Manuscript of article for Atlantic Monthly, April 1938, Knox
40. "Our Navy and Other Factors of Sea Power," Gleaves Papers, NHF, p. 8.
41. "The Price of Peace," Knox Papers, NHF.
42. Radio Address, Navy Day 1927, Furer Papers, NHF.
43. Frederick Merk, Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History (New York: Vintage
Books, 1966), pp. 228-260.
44. "Personality and Influence," Draft of speech delivered at the Royal Naval College,
Dartmouth, England, Mahan Papers, NHF.
45. Adm. Harry E. Yarnell, "Sons of Gunboats," Yarnell Papers, NHF.
46. For example, Marcus Goodrich, Delilah (New York: Popular Library, 1978); Vernon L.
Kellogg, Beyond War, A Chapter in the Natural History of Man (New York: Holt, 1912); George
Nasmyth, Social Progress and Darwinian Theory (New York: Putnam, 1916); John Hayes
Holmes, New Wars for Old (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1916); Walter E. Weyl, The End of the
War (New York: Macmillan, 1918); Morris Jastrow, The War and the Coming Peace: The Moral
Issue (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1918), for the paradigm transition during the second decade of
47. Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Interest of America in Sea Power (Boston: Little, Brown,
1897), p. 18.
48. "Memorandum Prepared and Read by Rear-Admiral Knight at the Meeting of the
General Board on July 28, 1915," General Board File 420-2, Naval Historical Division.
49. "U.S. Naval Building Policy," Memorandum No. 21, Planning Section, London, May
1918, Record Group 45, National Archives.
50. Dudley W. Knox, "National Strategy," 7 October 1932, Record Group XIV, Naval War
College Naval Historical Collection (hereafter NHC).
51. "Memorandum Prepared and Read by Captain W.L. Rodgers, Third Section at General
Board Meeting, July 27, 1915," General Board File 420-2.
52. "U.S. Naval Building Policy."
53. "The Blue-Orange Situation: Lecture Delivered by Captain R.R. Belknap, U.S.N., for
Fleet- War College Sessions, 1 November 1921," Record Group XIV, NHC.
54. "The Price of Peace," p. 15.
55. Outline History of the United States Naval War College 1884 to Date (Newport:
Collected Transcript, Bound, 1937).
56. Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Interest of America in International Conditions (Boston:
Little, Brown, 1910), p. 39.
57. "Memorandum," Rodgers, General Board File 420-2.
58. "U.S. Naval Building Policy."
59. "The Blue-Orange Situation."
60. W.D. Puleston, The Armed Forces of the Pacific (New Haven: Yale University Press,
1941), p. 29.
61. Adm. H.E. Yarnell, "Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet, to Chief of Naval Operations,
Situation in the Pacific," 26 November 1938, Record Group 8, NHC.
62. "U.S. Naval Building Policy."
63. "Memorandum" Rodgers, General Board File 420-2.
64. "Memorandum of George Dewey," 24 June 1904, General Board File 425, Naval
Historical Division; Seward W. Livermore, "Theodore Roosevelt, the American Navy, and the
Venezuelan Crisis of 1903," American Historical Review, April 1946, pp. 452-471.
65. The flavor of that adventure, for Americans, is brought out in Richard O'Connor, The
Spirit Soldiers: A Historical Narrative of the Boxer Rebellion (New York: Putnam, 1973); for a
direct, imagistic injection of the American role, see Frederick Remington's painting, "The Ninth
United States Infantry Entering Peking," at the Granger Collection.
66. Seward W. Livermore, "The United States Navy as a Factor in World Politics, 1903-
1913," American Historical Review, July 1958, pp. 863-879-
67. "Memorandum for Commander McCain," 15 August 1930, Knox Papers, NHF.
68. Ibid., p. 2.
69. Ibid., p. 3.
70. "Memorandum for Lt.Com. Emmet, September 29, 1922," Knox Papers, NHF.
71. "Our Navy and Other Factors of Sea Power," Gleaves Papers, NHF, pp. 9-10.
72. Ibid., p. 11.
73. Ibid., p. 12.
74. Navy Day Address, Pittsburgh, 1927, Furer Papers, NHF.
75. Hamilton, p. 70.
76. "Memorandum," Rodgers, General Board File 420-2.
77. "Memorandum on Naval Bases," undated (probably 1920), Knox Papers, NHF;
"Philippine Independence and Naval Bases," Memorandum prepared by Knox for Stark, August
1939, Knox Papers, NHF; "Naval Base in Philippines," Memorandum prepared by Yarnell
CINCASIATIC for Standley, CNO, 1 1 February 1937, Yarnell Papers, NHF; Rear Adm. Bradley
A. Fiske to Secretary of the Navy, 3 June 1924, Sims Papers, NHF; Sims to Fiske, 6June 1924,
Sims Papers, NHF.
78. "Proposed Plans for Establishment of League of Nations Army and Navy,"
Memorandum for CNO, PD 1 79- 1 , Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval
79. See Sims' letters to his wife, December 1910 to January 1911, Sims Papers, NHF.
80. Gerald E. Wheeler, Admiral William Veazie Pratt, U.S. Navy: A Sailor's Life
(Washington: Dept. of the Navy, Naval History Division, 1974), pp. 96-133.
81. "Cooperation with the Entente Powers," W.S. Benson to the Secretary of the Navy,
January 1918, Records of the Chief of Naval Operations.
82. "Building Program," Memorandum Number 67, Planning Section, London, 21
November 1918, Record Group 45, National Archives.
83- Outline History of the Naval War College.
84. Knox, "National Strategy."
85. Ibid., p. 12.
86. "Memorandum," Rodgers, General Board File 420-2.
87. "U.S. Naval Building Policy."
88. Knox, "National Strategy," p. 13.
89. Hamilton, p. 70.
90. Knox, "National Strategy," p. 11.
91. Ibid., p. 25.
92. "Memorandum," D.W. Knox to Senior Member, General Board, 8 September 1921,
Knox Papers, NHF.
93- Knox, "National Strategy," p. 18.
94. "Memorandum," Rodgers, General Board File 420-2.
95. "U.S. Naval Building Policy."
96. Knox, "National Strategy," p. 20; "Memorandum on Naval Bases," Knox Papers, NHF.
97. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (Avon, Conn.: Heritage Press, 1937), p. 226.
98. Knox, "National Strategy," p. 19; Hamilton, p. 67.
99. Knox, "National Strategy," pp. 7, 24.
100. Ibid., p. 9.
101. Outline History of the Naval War College.
102. Davis to Knox, 13 April 1934, Knox Papers, NHF.
103- Knox to Rear Adm. Bradley A. Fiske, 4 June 1934, Knox Papers, NHF.
104. Knox to Secretary of the Navy, "For Harper's Magazine," 17 February 1932, Knox
105. Ibid., p. 2.
106. Adm. William H. Standley, Address before Academy of Political Science, New York,
December 1937, Standley Papers, NHF; Harold R. Stark, Armistice Day Address, 1 1 November
1938 (written by Knox), Knox Papers, NHF; Capt. Dudley W. Knox, "Seapower-What Is It?"
Navy Day Address, 27 October 1936, Knox Papers, NHF.
107. "Building Program on Expiration of Washington and London Treaties," Kalbfus to
Standley, 1 October 1935, Record Group VIII, NHC
108. "Memorandum," Knox to Senior Member, General Board, Knox Papers, NHF.
109- Analysis of Order of Battle and Battle Ratios in 9 Engagements, 13 November 1943 to 25
110. "The Price of Peace."
111. "Situation in the Pacific," Yarnell to Leahy, 26 November 1938, NHC
112. Radio Address, CBS, Standley Papers, NHF.
113- Radio Address, Pittsburgh, 27 October 1927, Furer Papers, NHF.
114. Bryan Edwards, quoted inJ.H. Parry, Trade and Dominion (New York: Praeger, 1971), p.
1. Rear Adm. Stephen Bleecker Luce, "On the Relations Between the U.S. Naval War
College and the Line Officers of the U.S. Navy," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, October 191 1,
p. 25, Sims Papers, Naval Historical Foundation, Library of Congress.
2. Capt. J.R.P. Pringle, "Naval War College Course," 4 September 1924, Record Group II,
Naval War College Naval Historical Collection.
CHAPTER V-THE EVOLUTION OF MISSION
1. Rear Adm. Stephen Bleecker Luce, "On the Relations Bewtween the U.S. Naval War
College and the Line Officers of the U.S. Navy," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, October 191 1,
p. 28, Sims Papers, Naval Historical Foundation, Library of Congress (hereafter NHF).
2. Ibid., p. 25.
3. Ibid., p. 26.
4. Ibid., p. 29.
5. Adm. William Sowden Sims, Memorandum to Secretary of the Navy, "General
Recommendations Concerning War College," 15 January 1920, Record Group II, Naval War
College Naval Historical Collection (hereafter NHC).
7. Sims to Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., 22 December 1922, Sims Papers, NHF.
8. Sims, "Tentative Notes Concerning Possible Activities and Functions of the War
College," Record Group II, NHC.
9. See, for example, Sims to Coontz, 11 January 1922; Belknap to Sims, 17 July, 2 August
1923; Sims to King, 20 February 1914; Knox to Sims, 25 February 1917; Sims to Rodgers, 23
August 1921, Sims Papers, NHF.
10. Capt. Dudley W. Knox, "National Strategy," p. 11, Record Group XV, NHC
11. Ibid., p. 12.
12. Rear Adm. Bradley A. Fiske, Diary: "Notes of B.A. Fiske, Rear Admiral, U.S.N. ," entries
for 3, 4, 15 January 1915, Fiske Papers, NHF.
13. Rear Adm. Austin M. Knight, "Address Opening Course of January 1914," p. 11, Sims
14. Ibid., p. 9.
15. Ibid., p. 12.
16. Julius Augustus Furer, Administration of the Navy Department in World War II
(Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1959), p. 109-
17. Knox, Address of Secretary of the Navy Charles Francis Adams at 1932 War College
Graduation, p. 2, Knox Papers, NHF.
18. Ibid., p. 4.
19. Ibid., p. 5.
20. Ibid., p. 3.
21. Capt. Leonard James Dow, Address, Naval War College, June 1956, p. 4, Dow Papers,
22. Ibid., p. 11.
23. Ibid., p. 12.
24. Ibid., p. 13.
CHAPTER VI-THE COURSE
1. Outline History of the United States Naval War College 1884 to Date (Newport:
Collected Transcript, Bound, 1937).
4. Sims, "Tentative Notes Concerning Possible Activities and Functions of the War
College," Record Group II, Course Comparison, Outline History of the Naval War College.
5. Questions and Discussion, The Conference of 1905, The Conference of 1907, The
Conference of 1912, Record Group VIII, Naval War College Naval Historical Collection
6. Julius Augustus Furer, Administration of the Navy Department in World War II
(Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1959), pp. 115-123.
7. Ibid., pp. 111-114.
8. Rear Adm. Bradley A. Fiske, Journal, 5 November 1914, 17 March 1915, Fiske Papers,
Naval Historical Foundation, Library of Congress (hereafter NHF).
9. Rear Adm. Austin M. Knight, "Address Opening Course of January, 1914," p. 11, Sims
10. Outline History of the Naval War College.
11. Rear Adm. William S. Sims, "Organization of War College Staff," June 1922, p. 2; Capt.
J.R.P. Pringle, "Naval War College Course," 4 September 1924, p. 2, Record Group II, NHC.
12. Outline History of the Naval War College.
13. "Information Regarding Naval War College," 7 October 1925, NHC, p. 3; Pringle, p. 4.
14. Outline History of the Naval War College.
15. "The Naval War College Correspondence Course," 3 May 1920, Record Group II, NHC.
16. Ibid., p. 2.
17. James O. Richardson and George C. Dyer, On the Treadmill to Pearl Harbor
(Washington: Dept. of the Navy, Naval History Division, 1973).
18. The Class lists and Curriculum records aggregated in the typescript record, Outline
History of the Naval War College, are the basis for the statistical analysis of this section.
19. Professor John O. Dealey, "National Policies in the Pacific," 10 September 1921, p. 6,
Record Group XIV, NHC.
20. Professor John P. Baxter, "The Objectives and Aims of American Foreign Policy," "The
Navy as an Instrument of Policy," 1932-37, Record Group XV, NHC.
21. Professor George Grafton Wilson, "International Law, Orientation Talk," Department
of Intelligence, p. 2, Record Group II, NHC.
22. "Proposed Plans for Establishment of League of Nations Army and Navy,"
Memorandum for CNO, PD 179-1, Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations,
Operational Archives, Naval Historical Division.
23. Ronald Spector, Professors of War: The Naval War College and the Development of the
Naval Profession (Newport, R.I.: Naval War College Press, 1977), p. 147.
24. The German Aland Island operation of 1917 was the only rival of Gallipoli; see A.
Harding Ganz, "'Albion' — The Baltic Island Operation," Military Affairs, April 1978, pp. 91-97.
25. Naval War College to Bureau of Navigation, Memorandum: "Reading Course —
Professional Bibliography," 18 June 1928, p. 2, Record Group II, NHC
26. Naval War College, Educational Department, "Prescribed Reading Course," June 1934,
Record Group II, NHC.
27. Advanced Course, 1934-1935, "List of Books Reviewed," Record Group II, NHC.
28. Rear Adm. W.S. Pye, "Advanced Course of 1934-1935, Book Review: The Decline of the
West" p. 1, Record Group II, NHC.
29. Ibid., p. 2.
30. Capt. Byron McCandless, "Advanced Course, 1934-1935, Book Review: The Racial
History of Man',' Record Group II, NHC.
31. "Information Regarding Naval War College," 7 October 1925, NHC, p. 3; Pringle, p. 4.
32. Capt. J. M. Reeves, "Thesis on Tactics, Class of 1925," Department of Tactics, 23 February
1925, Record Group II, NHC.
33- Capt. J.O. Richardson, "The Relationship in War of Naval Strategy, Tactics, and
Command," Thesis, Senior Class of 1934, 7 May 1934, p. 2, Record Group XIII, NHC.
34. Spector, p. 150.
35. Capt. J.R. Poinsett Pringle, "Thesis on 'Policy,'" 13 September 1919, Record Group II,
36. Record Group XIII, Student Theses, NHC.
37. Ibid., scan of titles, 1919-1941.
38. Carl von Clausewitz, On War (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 605.
39. Capt. T.C. Hart, "Class of 1923: Thesis on Policy," 1 September 1922, p. 5, Record Group.
40. Hamilton to Washington, 10 November 1796; Hamilton's draft of Washington's Eighth
Annual Address to Congress, 10 November 1796; in Harold C. Syett, ed., The Papers of
Alexander Hamilton (New York: Columbia University Press, 1974), v. XX, pp. 381-387.
41. Clausewitz, p. 608.
42. Cdr. C.W. Nimitz, "Class of 1923: Thesis on Policy," 1 September 1922, p. 5, Record
Group XIII, NHC.
43- Clausewitz, p. 605.
44. Ibid., p. 581.
45. Capt. E.J. King, "Thesis: The Influence of the National Policy on the Strategy of a War,"
Senior Class, 1933, p. 7, Record Group XIII, NHC.
46. Clausewitz, pp. 585-586.
47. Capt. A.J. Hepburn, "Thesis: The Inter-Relation in War of National Policy, Strategy,
Tactics, and Command," Senior Class of 1931, 15 May 1931, p. 18, Record Group XIII, NHC.
48. Clausewitz, pp. 605-610.
49. Record Groups II and XIII, NHC.
50. Capt. J.W. Greenslade, "Thesis, Policy," Class of 1926, 5 December 1925, p. 9, Record
Group XIII, NHC.
51. Clausewitz, p. 594.
52. Bradley A. Fiske, Our Navy as a Fighting Machine (New York: Scribner, 1916), pp. 137-
143, 153-157; Charles W. Cullen, "From Kriegsakademie to Naval War College: The Military
Planning Process," Naval War College Review, January 1970, pp. 10-15.
53- Cdr. R.A. Spruance, "Thesis on Policy," Class of 1927 (Senior Class), 4 December 1926, p.
30, Record Group XIII, NHC.
54. Greenslade, p. 12.
55. Cdr. Husband E. Kimmel, "Thesis on Policy," Class of 1926, 5 December 1925, p. 4,
Record Group XIII, NHC.
56. Greenslade, p. 12.
57. Kimmel, p. 4.
58. Nimitz, p. 7.
59. King, pp. 25, 26.
60. Richardson, "Thesis," p. 6.
61. King, pp. 32, 33; Richardson, "Thesis," p. 7.
62. Capt. R.L. Ghormley, "Thesis: Present Trends in the Foreign Policy of the United States
in Regard to Europe," pp. 22, 25, Record Group XIII, NHC.
63- Greenslade, p. 2.
64. Hepburn, p. 22.
65. Capt. C.P. Snyder, "Thesis: Policy," Class of 1925, 6 December 1924, p. 1, Record Group
66. Capt. Joseph Reeves, "Thesis: Policy," Class of 1924, 4 September 1924, pp. 2-4; Nimitz,
pp. 1-5, Record Group XIII, NHC.
67. Nimitz, p. 1.
68. Ibid., p. 2.
69. Reeves, p. 3.
70. Cdr. R.E. Ingersoll, "Thesis on Policy," Class of 1927 (Senior Class), 4 December 1926, p.
23, Record Group XIII, NHC.
71. Nimitz, pp. 2, 3.
72. Ibid., p. 2.
73- Snyder, p. 6.
74. Nimitz, p. 2.
75. Hart, p. 8.
76. Ibid.; King, pp. 23-24.
77. Cdr. Ellis Mark Zacharias, "Thesis: The Relationship Between National Policy and
Strategy in War in the Russo-Japanese War," Senior Class of 1934, 1 February 1934, pp. 8, 56,
Record Group XIII, NHC.
78. Lt. W.D. Puleston, "Thesis: BLUE Strategy in the Pacific," July 1914, p. 2, Record Group
79- Zacharias, pp. 6-8; Puleston, pp. 5-7.
80. Kimmel, p. 17.
81. Nimitz, p. 21.
82. Puleston, p. 11.
83. Greenslade, p. 16; Puleston, p. 1 ; Nimitz, p. 2 1 ; Hart, p. 10; Kimmel, p. 19; Snyder, p. 19;
Kalbfus, p. 71; Reeves, p. 10.
84. King, p. 22; Richardson, "Thesis," p. 6.
85. Capt. C.C. Bloch, "Thesis: The Present Foreign Policies of the United States," Senior
Class, 1930, 26 April 1930, p. 52, Record Group XIII, NHC.
86. Capt. E.C. Kalbfus, "Thesis on Policy," Class of 1927 (Senior Class), 4 December 1926, p.
2, Record Group XIII, NHC.
87. Richardson, "Thesis," p. 6.
88. Lt. Cdr. D.W. Knox, "The Role of Doctrine in Naval Warfare," Reprinted from the U.S.
Naval Institute Proceedings, March- April 1915, with a Preface by the President, Naval War
College, 15 June 1936, p. 1, Knox Papers, NHF.
89- Rear Adm. Bradley A. Fiske, Journal, "Notes of B.A. Fiske, Rear-Admiral," 15 January
1915, Fiske Papers, NHF.
90. Knox, p. 8.
91. Ibid., p. 8.
93. Ibid., p. 5.
94. Ibid., p. 1.
95. Ibid., p. 2.
96. Thomas Hobbes, De Corpore Politico. Or, the Elements of Law, Moral and Politick
(London: J. Martin and J. Ridley, 1650).
97. Leonard Barkan, Nature's Work of Art: The Human Body as Image of the World (New
Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1975).
98. Rear Adm. Austin M. Knight, The Estimate of the Situation, June 1915, Revised by Naval
War College Staff, March 1921, p. 3, Record Group XXVII, NHC.
99. The Estimate of the Situation, Plans and Orders, Prepared at the United States Naval
War College, 1929, p. 9, Record Group XXVII, NHC.
100. "The Estimate of the Situation: Diagram to Show Sequence of Derivation," Record
Group XXVII, NHC.
101. Rear Adm. E.C. Kalbfus, preface to Naval War College reprint of "The Role of Doctrine
in Naval Warfare," p. 2, Record Group II, NHC.
102. Rear Adm. E.C. Kalbfus, Sound Military Decision, 22 July 1940, Record Group XXVII,
103. Ibid., p. 13.
104. Ibid., p. 45.
105. Richardson, "Thesis," pp. 14-15.
106. Rear Adm. Bradley A. Fiske, quoted in Sims to Fiske, 21 May 1923, Sims Papers, NHF.
107. Richardson and Dyer, On the Treadmill to Pearl Harbor.
108. Nimitz to Melson, 24 September 1965, NHC.
109 Outline History of the Naval War College.
1 10. Ibid.; Gerald E. Wheeler, Admiral William Veazie Pratt, U.S. Navy: A Sailor's Life
(Washington: Dept. of the Navy, Naval History Division, 1974), pp. 67-89; Elting E. Morison,
Admiral Sims and the Modern American Navy (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1942), pp. 293-294.
111. Vice Adm. Reginald R. Belknap to Rear Adm. William S. Sims, 17 July 1923, Sims Papers,
112. Belknap to Sims, 2 August 1923, Sims Papers, NHF.
113. Updated typescript, probably late summer 1912, Sims Papers, NHF.
115. "Slides Made By and Shown to Classes of 1925 Naval War College," Record Group II,
PART III-THE ENEMY
1. Belknap to Sims, 2 August 1923, Sims Papers, Naval Historical Foundation, Library of
2. Pratt Papers, Naval War College Historical Collection.
3. Herman Melville, Moby Dick (Avon, Conn.: Heritage Press, 1943).
CHAPTER VII-THE CALLIMORPHOSIS OF THE ENEMY: RED
1. Kenneth Bourne, "British Preparations for War With the North, 1861-1862," The
English Historical Review, October 1961, pp. 600-632.
2. For a contemporary commentary on America's 19th-century naval stagnation, see Rear
Adm. S.B. Luce, "The Fleet," North American Review, October 1908, pp. 564-576; "Naval
Strategy," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, March 1909, pp. 93-112; "Modern Navies. No.
1 — Navy of the United States," Army and Navy Journal, 12 August 1876, p. 7; "Annual
Address — 1888," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, v. XIV, no. 1, 1888, pp. 1-8; "Calhoun's
Opinion of the Navy," The Newport Mercury, 18 August 1906, p. 4; Alfred Thayer Mahan, From
Sail to Steam: Recollections of Naval Life (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1907), pp. 26-102.
3. Howard I. Chapelle,/4 History of the American Sailing Navy (New York: Norton, 1949),
4. Adm. George Dewey to Victor H.Metcalf, 25 April 1907, General Board Papers, File 420-
1, U.S. Navy Operational Archives, Naval Historical Division.
5. Cdr. N.H. McCully, "Organization, Mobilization and Distribution of Red Naval Forces in
Case of War with Blue," BNOpP, 18 March 1912, Record Group VIII, Naval War College Naval
Historical Collection (hereafter NHC).
6. Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Interest of America in International Conditions (Boston:
Little, Brown, 1910), pp. 161-164: Elting E. Morison, ed., The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1951 through 1954), v. II, pp. 1151, 1362, 1208, v. VI, p.
1292, v. VIII, pp. 1394, 1412, 1415, 1416; Theodore Roosevelt to Arthur James Balfour, 10
December 1918, v. VIII, p. 1415 cites:
We feel that the British Navy from the necessities of the British Empire should be the most
powerful in the world, and we have no intention of rivalling it
7. Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist or the New Constitution (Avon, Conn.: Heritage
Press, 1945), p. 70.
8. Rear Adm. Bradley A. Fiske, Diary, "Notes of B.A. Fiske, Rear Admiral," 12 February
1915, Fiske Papers, Naval Historical Foundation, Library of Congress (hereafter NHF).
9. The Joint Board, Joint Planning Committee, "Joint Army and Navy Plan for the Capture
and Occupation of the Azores (GRAY-WPL-47),"J.B. No. 325 (Serial 694), 28 May 1941; "Joint
Army and Navy Basic Plan for the Occupation of Iceland by a Permanent Garrison of the United
States Army (INDIGO)," J.B. No. 325 (Serial 697), 1 July 1941; Gen. L.T. Gerow to Rear Adm.
R.K. Turner (Dir WPD), "Plans for DAKAR Operations" (WPD4511-3), 23 July 1941, War
Plans Division (OP- 12), Records of the Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy Operational
Archives, Naval Historical Division.
These are the first forward defense, mid-Atlantic combined operations plans drawn up by
the Army and Navy. Two years earlier, Capt. R.L. Thormley, the Director of OP- 12, wrote a
memorandum to Adm. H.R. Stark, CNO, "State Department's letter 22 May 1939, requesting
comment on the extent of Liberian Protective Measures," 24 May 1939 (OP-12B-WHC (SC)
A14-7/RF39 D- 17446). Navy opinion, just months before the outbreak of European War, was
unable to support an African, transatlantic base, even with Liberian pleas in their ears. Atlantic
paradigm displacement would await the fall of France.
10. "Memorandum No. 67, Building Program," Planning section, London, 21 November
1918, pp. 2-11, Record Group 45, National Archives.
11. Ibid., p. 12.
12. Ibid., p. 15.
1 3- Rear Adm. Julius Augustus Furer, Radio Address, Pittsburgh, 27 October 1929, p. 2, Furer
Papers, NHF. Capt. E.J. King, Thesis, p. 21, Record Group XIII, NHC
14. Lt. Holloway H. Frost, "Strategy of the Atlantic," 9 September 1919, p. 1, Record Group
XIV, NHC; Cdr. H.E. Yarnell, Memorandum for Admiral McKean, OP- 56, 11 February 1919,
Yarnell Papers, NHF.
15. Frost, pp. 5, 16-17.
16. David Syrett, The Seige and Capture of Havana (London: Navy Records Society, 1970).
17. Lt. Holloway H. Frost, "The Naval Operations of a Red-Orange Campaign," Lecture
delivered at the General Staff College, 25 October 1920, "Received from Naval Operations,"
Record Group XIV, NHC.
18. Lectures from Army and Naval War Colleges, War Plans Division (OP-12), U.S. Navy
Operational Archives, Navy History Division. There are 300 such lectures in the records of the
War Plans Division.
19. Frost, "The Naval Operations of a Red-Orange Campaign," p. 1.
20. Ibid., pp. 6-10.
21. Frost to Sims, 14 October 1923, Sims Papers, NHF.
22. Great Britain, Admiralty, The Navy List (London: HMSO, 1920); U.S. Navy
Department, Report of the Secretary of the Navy (Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1920).
23. Great Britain, Parliament, Navy Estimates, 1921 (London: HMSO, 1921).
24. Holloway H. Frost, The Battle of Jutland (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1936), p. 514.
25. Dudley W. Knox, The Eclipse of American Seapower (New York: The American Army
and Navy Journal, 1922).
26. Capt. J.M. Reeves, "A Tactical Study Based on the Fundamental Principles of War of the
Employment of the Present BLUE Fleet in Battle Showing the Vital Modifications Demanded by
Tactics," p. 36, Record Group II, NHC.
27. Class of 1923, Tactical Problem IV, "The Battle of the Emerald Bank," Record Group II,
28. Class of 1924, Tactical Problem II, "The Battle of Sable Island," Record Group II, NHC.
29. Reeves, p. 36.
30. Ibid., Plate 48.
31. Ibid., p. 35.
32. General Board Records, pp. 420-422, 1925-1932, U.S. Navy Operational Archives, Naval
33. Reeves, pp. 31-32.
34. Reeves to Secretary of the Navy Charles Swanson, 17 May 1937, Records of the Secretary
of the Navy, Record Group 80, National Archives.
35. Rear Adm. H.E. Yarnell, "Memorandum on London Treaty," Spring 1930, p. 9, Yarnell
36. Senior Class of 1938, Operations Problem VI (Tactical), Record Group II, NHC.
37. Rear Adm. Hugh Rodman to Secretary of the Navy, "Officers Uniforms — changes in," 30
April 1918, Sims Papers, NHF.
38. General Board to Secretary of the Navy, "Questions to Be Answered in Connection with
Consideration of the Elevation of Guns," 23 December 1924, G.B. No. 420-6, Serial No. 1259,
General Board Records, Navy Operational Archives, Naval Historical Division.
39. Cdr. T.H. Thomson to Capt. Dudley W. Knox, 11 December 1923, Knox Papers, NHF.
40. Capt. D.W. Knox, "Strategy of the Atlantic in a War with a Major European Power," p.
14, Knox Papers, NHF.
41. Capt. E.J. King, "Thesis: The Influence of the National Policy on the Strategy of a War,"
p. 21, King Papers, NHF.
CHAPTER VIII-THE CACOMORPHOSIS OF THE ENEMY:
1. Board on Defenses, "War with Spain and Japan," p. 8, UNOpB, Record Group VIII, Naval
War College Naval Historical Collection (hereafter NHC).
2. Capt. Caspar F. Goodrich, "Strategic Features of the Pacific," 23 June 1897, p. 6, Record
Group VIII, NHC.
3. Lt. J.M. Ellicott, "Sea Power of Japan," 1900, JN, p. 23, Record Group VIII, NHC.
4. Ellicott, "The Strategic Features of the Philippine Islands, Hawaii, and Guam," 14 June
1900, XSTP, p. 4, Record Group VIII, NHC.
5. Rear Adm. George Remey, Memorandum reported in General Board Proceedings, 29
May 1902, General Board Records, U.S. Navy Operational Archives, Naval Historical Division.
6. Conference of 1902, "Solution of Problem of 1902," pp. 14-19, Record Group XII, NHC.
7. Conference of 1903, "Problem: Course of 1903," Record Group XII, NHC.
8. A.T. Mahan to Henry C. Taylor, 7 December 1903 in Robert Seager II and Doris D.
Maguire, eds. Letters and Papers of Alfred Thayer Mahan (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press,
1975), v. Ill, p. 86.
9. See A.T. Mahan, The Interest of America in International Conditions (Boston: Little,
Brown, 1910), pp. 38-46; Homer Lea, The Day of the Saxon (New York: Harper, 1907), pp.
216-223; Bradley A. Fiske, Diary, 12 February, 10 March 1915, Fiske Papers, Naval Historical
Division, Library of Congress.
10. Rear Adm. R.P. Rodgers, "Strategic Plan of Campaign Against Orange," 1911, Record
Group XII, Naval War College Naval Historical Collection (hereafter NHC); "War Portfolio
No. 2," General Board Records, U.S. Navy Operational Archives, Naval Historical Division.
11. Conference of 1906, "Solution of Problem," Record Group XII, NHC; General Board of
the Navy, "In Case of Strained Relations with Japan," 1906, Record Group XII, NHC.
12. Ibid., p. 3.
13. Ibid., pp. 9-14, 42-50.
14. Cdr. H.S. Knapp, "Memorandum," 31 January 1907,JNOpP, p. 3, NHC.
15. Mahan to Editor, New York Sun, 28 January 1907; Seager and Maguire, v. Ill, p. 206.
16. Lt. Cdr. W.D. MacDougall, "Study of Special Situation," 5 April 1907, JNOpP, p. 10,
Record Group VIII, NHC.
17. James O. Richardson and George C. Dyer, On the Treadmill to Pearl Harbor (Washington:
Dept. of the Navy, Navy History Division, 1973), pp. 383-402.
18. Cdr. J.H. Oliver, "Memorandum Submitted to the President of the War College," 20 April
1907, Record Group VIII, JNOpP, NHC.
19. Rodgers, pp. 52-57.
20. Ibid., p. 39.
21. Ronald Spector, Professors of War: The Naval War College and the Development of the
Naval Profession (Newport, R.I.: Naval War College Press, 1977), pp. 147-150.
22. Nimitz to Melson, 24 September 1965, NHC.
23. Oliver to Rodgers, 27 February 1911, with "Strategic Plan of Campaign Against Orange";
also, Outline History of the United States Naval War College 1 884 to Date (Newport: Collected
Typescript, Bound, 1937) ; Mahan to Capt. Raymond P. Rodgers, 22 February and 4 March 1911,
Letters and Papers of Alfred Thayer Mahan, v. Ill, pp. 380-388, 390-391.
24. Rear Adm. Bradley A. Fiske, Journal, 30 November 1914, Fiske Papers, Naval Historical
Foundation, Library of Congress (hereafter NHF).
25. Sims to Daniels, "Matters Connected with the Pacific," 13 August 1920, Sims Papers,
26. Capt. D.W. Knox, "Memorandum on Naval Bases" 1922(?), Knox Papers, NHF; Cdr.
Julius Augustus Furer, "Drydocking and Major Repairs in a Campaign in the Western Pacific,"
UNOpP, Record Group VIII, NHC.
27. Office of Naval Operations, "Synopsis of a Preliminary Technical Study-Basic Orange
Plan, Advanced Base," 1 December 1927, U.S. Navy Operational Archives, Naval Historical
28. Summation of ORANGE Economic Committee, "The influence of ORANGE Economic
Factors on BLUE's Strategy in War," XSTP, Record Group VIII, p. 6, NHC.
29. General Board, "Strategic Problem — Pacific," 7 October 1916, Record Group VIII,
UNOpP, p. 25, NHC.
30. Fiske to Sims, 3 June 1924, Sims Papers, NHF.
31. Adm. H.E. Yarnell, CINCASIATIC to CNO, "Situation in the Pacific," 26 November 1938,
p. 73, XSTP, Record Group VIII, NHC
32. Capt. R. A. Koch, "BLUE-ORANGE Study," 3 1 March 1933, UNOpP, Record Group VIII,
p. 17, NHC
33. Navy Basic Plan— ORANGE (WPL-13/Volume 1, WPL-14/Volume II, WPL-
15/ Volume III, WPL- 16/ Volume IV), March 1929, War Plans Division (OP- 12), Records of the
Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy Operational Archives, Naval Historical Division.
34. Ibid., p. 12.
CHAPTER IX-BEHIND THE MASK
1. Rear Adm. Stephen B. Luce to Vice Adm. Yamamoto Gombei, "To the Secretary of the
Imperial Japanese Navy," 1901, Luce Papers, Naval Historical Foundation, Library of Congress
2. Lt. John M. Ellicott, "Sea Power of Japan," JN, Record Group VIII, p. 4, Naval War College
Naval Historical Collection (hereafter NHC).
3. Conference of 1902, "Solution of Problem of 1902," pp. 14-19, Record Group XII, NHC.
4. Yarnell to Snyder, 10 January 1939, Yarnell Papers, NHF.
5. Homer Lea, The Day of the Saxon (New York: Harper, 1907), pp. 216-223; Dewey to
Bonaparte, October 1906, General Board Letters, U.S. Navy Operational Archives, Naval
6. Dewey to Newberry, 24 February 1909, General Board Letters, U.S. Navy Operational
Archives, Naval Historical Division, "Memorandum for the General Board Presented by Captain
Sargent," 15 June 1907, General Board Letters.
7. Rear Adm. B.A. Fiske, Journal, 30 November 1914, 12 February 191 5, Fiske Papers, NHF;
"Problem: Course of 1903," Record Group XII, NHC.
8. A.T. Mahan, The Interest of America in International Conditions (Boston: Little, Brown,
1910), pp. 38-39.
9- Fiske, Journal, 9 February 1915, Fiske Papers, NHF.
10. Professor John H. Latani, "The Relation of the United States and Japan," p. 26, 1913,
Record Group XIV, NHC.
11. Office of Naval Intelligence, "RE Orange Strategic Plan," 20 February 1914; "Japanese
Plan for a Campaign Against America," 22 May 1914; "War Between Japan and America: A
Picture of the Future" (ostensibly translated from articles in Japanese newspaper Manyo),
JNOpP, Record Group VIII, NHC.
12. Fiske, Journal 9, 10 February 1915, Fiske papers, NHF.
13. Lt. Cdr. L. A. Cotton, "Far Eastern Conditions from the Naval Point of View," 26 February
1915, p. 7, Record Group XIV, NHC.
14. Ibid., p. 2.
15. Ibid., p. 8.
17. Ibid., p. 11.
18. Ibid., p. 6.
19. Roger Pineau.ed., The Japan Expedition, 1832-1834. The Personal Journal of Commodore
Matthew C. Perry (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1968), pp. 159, 163.
20. Cdr. H.E. Yarnell, "Strategy of the Pacific-Japanese Characteristics," 8 September 1919, p.
7, Record Group XIV, NHC.
21. Office of Naval Intelligence, "Memorandum Regarding Japanese Psychology and Morale,"
JNP, Record Group XIII, NHC.
22. Capt. Edward Howe Watson, "Some Notes, Comparisons, Observations, and Conclusions
made in Japan, China, and the Far East," April 1939, 4A, JR, Record Group VIII, NHC.
23. Cotton, pp. 17-18.
24. Professor J.O. Dealey, "National Policies in the Pacific," 10 September 1921, p. 6, Record
Group XIV, NHC.
25. Cdr. C.W. Nimitz, "Thesis on Policy," 1 September 1922, p. 2 1, Record Group XIII, NHC.
26. Capt. T.C. Hart, "Thesis on Policy," 1 September 1922, p. 10, Record Group XIII, NHC.
27. Cdr. H.E. Kimmel, "Thesis on Policy," 5 December 1925, p. 17, Record Group XIII, NHC.
28. Capt. Byron McCandless, "Book Review. Advanced Course 1934-1935," The Racial
History of Man, 3 August 1934, p. 2, Record Group II, NHC.
30. Cdr. Ellis Mark Zacharias, "The Relationship Between National Policy and Strategy in
War in the Sino-Japanese War, and the Russo-Japanese War," 1 February 1934, p. 53, Record
Group XIII, NHC.
31. Lt. W.D. Puleston, "Thesis Blue Strategy in the Pacific,"July 1914, p. 22, Record Group
32. W.D. Puleston, Armed Forces of the Pacific (New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press,
1941), pp. 29, 43,56.
33. Yarnell to Knox, 6 September 1938; Yarnell to Snyder, 10 January 1939; Yarnell to
Hornbeck, 10 March 1939; Yarnell to Leahy, 11 October 1938, Yarnell Papers, NHF.
34. Yarnell to Puleston, 5 January 1938, Yarnell Papers, NHF; Preface by Adm. H.E. Yarnell
in Puleston, Armed Forces of the Pacific.
35. Sadao Asada, "The Japanese Navy and the United States" in Dorothy Borg and Shumpei
Okamoto, eds., Pearl Harbor as History: Japanese-American Relations, 1931-1941 (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1973), pp. 225-259; Stephen Pe\z, Race to Pearl Harbor: The Failure
of the Second London Conference and the Onset of World War II (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard
University Press, 1974), pp. 35-38.
PART IV-THE GAME
1. Capt. William McCarty Little, "The Strategic Naval War Game, Or Chart Maneuver,"
Lecture delivered by Capt. W. McCarty Little, June 1912, Record Group II, p. 10, Naval War
College Naval Historical Collection (hereafter NHC).
2. William Shakespeare, Henry V, Chorus.
3. Capt. John Stapler to Capt. J.V. Babcock, 18 November 1931, Record Group II, NHC.
4. Little, p. 12.
5. Ibid., p. 3.
6. Senior Class of 1929, Department of Operations, Information Sheet, Tactical
Demonstrative Exercises, 18 July 1929, Record Group II, NHC.
CHAPTER X-THE GAME AS RITUAL: EXPEDE HERCULEM
1. Rear Adm. Stephen Bleecker Luce, "The Naval and Military Conference of 1909," Naval
War College, Summer 1909, Naval Historical Foundation, Library of Congress (hereafter NHF).
2. Ibid., p. 9.
3. Adm. W.S. Sims, Excerpt from Address to Opening Class of June 1919, General
Correspondence, Sims Papers, NHF.
5. Outline History of the Naval War College (Newport, R.I.: Collected Typescript, Bound,
6. Department of Tactics, "Demonstrative Search Problems," Annual Classes, 1922 to 1941,
Record Group II, Naval War College Naval Historical Collection (hereafter NHC).
7. Department of Tactics, Demonstrative Exercise Materials, Annual Classes, 1922 to 1941,
Record Group II, NHC.
8. Department of Operations, The Conduct of Maneuvers, June 1935, p. 2. Record Group
9. Ibid., pp. 2-3, 24. See also, Rear Adm. E.C. Kalbfus, Sound Military Decision, 22 July 1940,
Record Group XXVII, NHC.
10. The Conduct of Maneuvers, p. 17.
11. Ibid., p. a.
12. Ibid., pp. 24-25.
13 Department of Operations, Maneuver Rules, Record Group II, NHC.
14. Ibid., pp. 126-137.
15. The Conduct of Maneuvers, p. a.
16. Ibid., p. 2.
17. Ibid., p. 7.
18. Ibid., p. 8.
19. Ibid., p. 7.
20. Ibid., p. 27.
21. The Chief of the Bureau of Navigation (C.W. Nimitz) to President, Naval War College,
"Request for fifty copies of drawings to accompany specifications for Mark III War Game Outfit,"
12 June 1935, plus enclosed drawing, Record Group II, NHC.
22. The Conduct of Maneuvers, p. 29.
23. Maneuver Rules, p. 10.
24. The Conduct of Maneuvers, p. 15.
25. Torpedo Fire Cards, October 1930, Record Group II, NHC; "Table 4: Target Maneuvers,"
"Table 5: Hits Alongside," "Table 6: Hit Values," Maneuver Rules, pp. 130, 132.
26. Sample Forms Used in Conduct of Maneuvers, 25 November 1930, "Umpire's Damage
Sheets: Blue, Orange, Red Fleets," Record Group II, NHC.
27. Maneuver Rules, "Section F — Gunfire," pp. 61-84.
28. Sims to Coontz, 1 1 January 1922, Sims Papers, NHF.
29. Luce, "The Naval and Military Conference of 1909''
31. Frost to Sims, 14 October 1923, Sims Papers, NHF.
32. Carl von Clausewitz, On War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 578.
CHAPTER XI-THE GAME AS ORACLE: THE CAMPAIGN
1. Bradley A. Fiske, Our Navy as a Fighting Machine (New York: Scribner, 1916), p. 209-
2. Carl von Clausewitz, On War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 358.
3. Ibid., p. 119.
4. Class of 1923, "The Battle of the Marianas," Tac, p. 96, 1923, Record Group II, Naval War
College Naval Historical Collection (hereafter NHC).
5. Senior Class of 1928, Operations Problem IV, 1928, Record Group II, NHC.
6. Senior Class of 1933, Operations Problem IV, 1933, Record Group II, NHC.
7. "Stenographic Notes Taken at Critique," Senior Class of 1933, Operations Problem IV,
May 1933, p. 11, Record Group II, NHC.
8. "Remarks of President Naval War College Preliminary to Solving Operations Problem
III," Senior Class, 1935, 20 February 1935, Record Group II, NHC.
9. Senior Class of 1938, Operations Problem V (Strategic), 1938, Record Group II, NHC.
10. Senior Class of 1938, Operations Problem VII, 1938, Record Group II, NHC.
11. Ibid.; Senior and Junior Classes of 1939, Operations Problem VII, 1939, Record Group II,
12. Senior and Junior Classes of 1939, Operations Problem VII, 1937, Record Group II, NHC.
13. U.S. Army War College-U.S. Naval War College, Operation Problem VI- 1929, Joint
Army and Navy Operations with Forced Landing, Part II, Estimate of Situation and Decision, 1
July 1928, p. 6, Record Group II, NHC.
14. Ibid.; Part I, The Preliminary Situation, Annex (A), pp. 5-7.
15. Ibid.; "Stenographic Notes Taken at Critique," Record Group II, NHC.
16. Operations Problem VI- 1929, Joint Army and Navy Operations with Forced Landing,
Part XII, Support Force Operation Orders and Accompanying Annexes of Commanders, Naval
Landing Groups and Air Group, 15 March 1929, Record Group II, NHC.
17. Ibid., Part VIII, Operation Order, No. 1 Support Force, Annex VI, Boat Data.
18. "Stenographic Notes Taken at Critique."
CHAPTER XII -THE GAME AS ORACLE: THE BATTLE
1. Carl von Clausewitz, On War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 227.
2. Rear Adm. Harris Laning, President, Naval War College, The Naval Battle, May 1933, p.
1, Record Group II, Naval War College Naval Historical Collection (hereafter NHC).
3. Ibid., p. 55.
4. Ibid., p. 1.
5. Ibid., p. 55.
6. Department of Operations, The Fire Action of the Battle Line, 23 May 1932, p. 2; Cruisers
and Destroyers in the General Action, June 1936, p. 1, Record Group II, NHC.
7. Laning, p.* 55.
8. Dept. of Operations, The Fire Action of the Battle Line, p. 45.
9. Laning, p. 2.
10. Ibid., p. 57.
11. Ibid., p. 3.
12. Dept. of Operations, The Fire Action of the Battle Line, Plates 1-4.
13. Ronald Spector, Professors of War: The Naval War College and the Development of the
Naval Profession (Newport, R.I.: Naval War College Press, 1977), p. 150; Malcolm Muir, Jr.
"The Capital Ship Program in the Unk,d States Navy, 1934-1935," Unpublished dissertation,
Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 1976, p. 38.
14. Holloway H. Frost, The Battle of Jutland ( Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1936), p. 516.
15. Cdr. H.R. Stark, "Thesis on Policy," p. 32, Record Group XII, NHC
16. Laning, p. 48.
CHAPTER XIII-THE GAME AS ORACLE: THE WEAPON
1 . The vertebral metaphor of the battleship guided all interwar imagery: it was the supreme
naval shibboleth. Every public address made by a naval officer of this era could be certain to
encompass both "battleship" and "backbone" in the same breath. The personal papers sifted by
this writer — from Gleaves to Furer to Knox to Sims to Bloch — support the spinal cliche in
familiar battleship imagery. Occasional antomical variations like "The Heart of the Fleet," U.S.
Naval Institute Proceedings, April 1940, were acceptable, though rare. Britain had "The Sure
Shield of Empire," in Geoffrey Parratt, The Royal Navy (London: Sheldon Press, 1937), but
America could count on "The Backbone of the Fleet," Scientific American, September 1921, or
better yet, "The Backbone of the Monroe Doctrine," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, June 1940.
2. U.S. Department of State, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States,
"Conference on the Limitation of Armament, Washington, 12 November 1921-16 February
1922; Treaty Between the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan,
Signed at Washington, 6 February 1922; Chapter II, Part IV, Definitions," v. I, 1922
(Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1938), p. 264.
3. Michael Vlahos, "A Crack in the Shield: The Capital Ship Concept Under Attack," The
Journal of Strategic Studies, May 1979, p. 52.
4. In spite of the tides of "isolationism" and "disarmament," the battle fleet remained, in the
collective American imagination, the emotional symbol of security for this New World
sanctuary. The writer's father remembers audiences at movies cheering and throwing their hats
into the air every time the U.S. Battle Fleet appeared at the end of a newsreel. This was the
normal response to America's strategic forces in the 1930s, Springfield, Ohio, the Heartland. As
Adm. C.C. Bloch, then CINCUS, wrote of a similar scene in California, 1939:
A friend of mine reports that his wife and child were in a movie house last week in Los
Angeles and had seen newsreels of a foreign navy in action, which left the audience
wondering just how the United States Navy was. Immediately after the newsreel, your
"Filming the Fleet" came to the screen. During its showing and afterwards, the audience
applauded with much gusto.
Adm. C.C. Bloch to Mr. Truman Talley, 7 November 1939, Bloch Papers, Naval Historical
Foundation, Library of Congress (hereafter NHF).
5. Rear Adm. H.R. Stark to Adm. C.C. Bloch, 12 July 1937, Bloch Papers, NHF.
6. C.V. Ricketts, "Battleships and Cruisers," 7 August 1947, Record Group XIV, Naval War
College Naval Historical Collection (hereafter NHC).
7. W.D. Puleston, The Armed Forces of the Pacific (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University
Press, 1941), p. 242.
8. Critique by Capt. R.B. Coffey, Senior Class of 1933, Tactical Probelm V, Operations
Problem IV, May 1933, p. 1, Record Group II, NHC.
9. Rear Adm. Harris Laning, President, Naval War College, The Naval Battle, May 1933, p.
7, Record Group II, NHC.
10. Department of Operations, Cruisers and Destroyers in the General Action, June 1936, p.
1, Record Group II, NHC.
1 1. Laning, p. 9.
12. Ibid., p. 46.
14. Capt. J.M. Reeves, "A Tactical Study Based on the Fundamental Principles of War of the
Employment of the Present BLUE Fleet in Battle Showing the Vital Modifications Demanded by
Tactics," 20 March 1925, Plates 4-7, Record Group II, NHC.
15. These, the dozen battleships of the battle force in the Pacific — four divisions of three
ships each — in the last year of peace: 1940. The oldest of the American ironclad veterans, New
York, Texas, and Arkansas, were already patrolling the raider-crossed waters of the North
1. Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey to Admiral Robert B. Carney, 10 November 1958, Dow
Papers, Naval Historical Division, Library of Congress.
2. Adm. Robert B. Carney, Review of "Leyte," typescript, 1959, Dow Papers, Naval
Historical Division, Library of Congress.
3. Michael Vlahos, "A Crack in the Shield: The Capital Ship Concept Under Attack," The
journal of Strategic Studies, May 1979, pp. 69-75.
4. Richard A. Gabriel and Paul L. Savage, Crisis in Command: Mismanagement in the Army
(New York: Hill and Wang, 1978), p. 179.
5. Vice Adm. J.B. Stockdale, "Taking Stock," Naval War College Review, January 1979, p. 2.
6. Rear Adm. S.B. Luce, "On the Relations Between the U.S. Naval War College and the
Line Officers of the U.S. Navy," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, October 1911, p. 29.
7. Vice Adm. J.B. Stockdale, "Taking Stock," Naval War College Review, April 1979, p. 1.
8. From conversations with Fleet Games participants.
I. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NAVAL HISTORICAL
Record Group 2: "Administrative Records" (Operational
Serial No. 1836:
Serial No. 1980:
Serial No. 1981:
Serial No. 1997:
Serial No. 1998:
Serial No. 1999:
Serial No. 2095:
Serial No. 2107:
Serial No. 1687:
Serial No. 1502-A:
Rear Admiral Harris Laning, President,
Naval War College. The Naval Battle,
(Confidential). May 1933.
Department of Operations, Naval War
College. The Conduct of Maneuvers,
(Confidential). June 1935.
Department of Operations, Naval War
College. Maneuver Rules, (Confidential).
Department of Operations, Naval War
College. Blue Fire Effect Tables, (Confiden-
Department of Operations, Naval War
College. Orange Fire Effects Tables, (Confi-
Department of Operations, Naval War
College. Red Fire Effect Tables, (Confiden-
tial). June 1935.
Department of Intelligence, Naval War
College. Fleet Organizations: Blue, Red and
Orange, (Confidential). June 1935.
Department of Operations, Naval War
College, Cruisers and Destroyers in the
General Action, (Confidential), June 1936.
Torpedo Fire Cards, (Confidential). Naval
War College. October 1930.
Sample Forms Used in Conduct of
Maneuvers, (Confidential). Naval War
College, Master Copy, 25 November 1930.
Serial No. 1800-D: Description and Use of the Relative Plot
Game Board and Maneuver Protractor,
(Restricted). Naval War College, 22
Record Group 8: Intelligence and Technological
Captain C.F. Goodrich. Strategic features of the
Pacific. Letter to Assistant Secretary of the Navy
on War with Japan. 23 June 1897.
Board on Defenses. War with Spain and Japan.
Lieutenant John M. Ellicott, Sea Power of Japan.
W.W. Taylor. Japanese Operations About
Gens an. 5 February 1905. (Confidential).
Navy Department, General Board. War Plan:
Orange-Blue Situation, assumed September,
1906. June 1907. (Confidential).
Major L.C. Lucas. Armored Ships-Blue and
Orange-Values. May 1909. (Confidential).
Navy Department, Office of Naval Intelligence.
Japanese Naval War College. 10 August 1910.
Rear Admiral R.P. Rodgers, President, Naval
War College. Strategic Plan of Campaign Against
Orange. 15 March 1911. (Confidential).
Commander N. A. McCully. Organization, Mobili-
zation, and Distribution of Red Naval Forces in
Case of War with Blue. 18 March 1912.
Captain E.H. Ellis. Naval Bases: Their Location,
Resources, and Security. 1913. (Confidential).
Navy Department, Office of Naval Intelligence.
Possibilities of a Japanese- American War. 26
Navy Department, Office of Naval Intelligence
RE Orange Strategic Plan. February 1914.
Navy Department, Office of Naval Intelligence.
Orange Strategic Plan, Japanese Plan for a
Campaign Against America. 22 May 1914.
Navy Department, Office of Naval Intelligence.
Plans of the Japanese Government in the Event
of War between the United States and Japan. 17
Major General Clarance R. Edwards. Translation
of an article from frankfurter Zeitung: "War
Between Japan and America, A Picture of the
Future," 27 May 1915.
Commander W.V. Pratt. Scheme for the Progres-
sive Development of the Fleet. 1915.
Navy Department, General Board. Strategic
Problem — Pacific. Solution by General Board of
Blue-Orange Problem submitted by Department.
7 October 1916. (Confidential).
Captain W.V. Pratt. Naval Bases from the View-
point of a Definite Policy. 15 December 1919.
Navy Department, Office of the Chief of Naval
Operations, Plans Department. Building Pro-
gram XIII Appendixes. 8 June 1920. (Secret).
Lieutenant Commander H.H. Frost. The Naval
Operations of a Red-Orange Campaign. 25
October 1920. (Secret).
Commander R.B. Coffey. The Navy War Plans
Division. Naval Plans and Planning. 1 1 March
Navy Department. General Board. Matters
Connected with the Pacific. 13 August 1920.
Lieutenant Commander S.F. Bryant. Pacific War
Plan Notes. 22 November 1921. (Secret).
Office of the Naval Attache, American Legation,
Peking. Japanese War Plans. 8 September 1923.
Navy Department, Office of Naval Intelligence.
The Next Great Naval War: Criticism of Hector
Bywater's Book, "The Great Pacific War." 27
Captain J.M. Reeves. A Tactical Study based on
The Fundamental Principles of War of the
Employment of the Present Blue Fleet in Battle
showing Vital Modifications Demanded by
Tactics. 25 March 1925. (Secret).
Navy Department, Office of Naval Intelligence.
Memorandum Regarding Japanese Psychology
and Morale. 1 March 1927. (Confidential).
Navy Department, Office of Naval Intelligence.
The Strategical Situation in the Pacific (Naval
Attache Report W-28, 1927). 27 January 1927.
Captain J.W. Greenslade. Joint Estimate of the
BLUE-ORANGE Situation. 1928. (Secret)
Rear Admiral Harris Laning, President, Naval
War College. Building Program, 1932 (War
College Suggestion). 19 September 1930. (Confi-
Commander H.H. Frost. BLUE Naval Strategy in
the Atlantic. 16 February 1932. (Secret).
Captain R.A. Koch. Blue-Orange Study. 31 March
Naval War College, Orange Economic Com-
mittee. The Influence of Orange Economic
Factors on Blue's Strategy in War. 21 March 1933.
Correspondence between Rear Admiral H.E.
Yarnell and Rear Admiral E.C. Kalbfus, Presi-
dent, Naval War College; 21 November 1934, to
18 December 1934.
Rear Admiral H.E. Yarnell, and Rear Admiral
E.C. Kalbfus. Northern Pacific — Strategy of.
November 1934. (Confidential).
Rear Admiral W.H. Standley, President, Naval
War College. Building Program on Expiration of
Washington and London Treaties. 1 April 1935.
Ensign August Smiley. A History of the
Campaign. 7 April 1936.
Commander R.R.M. Emmet. Comment on Plan
of Operations submitted by Advanced Class of
1935-1936. 15 August 1938. (Confidential).
Admiral H.E. Yarnell, Commander in Chief,
Asiatic Fleet. Situation in the Pacific. 26
November 1938. (Confidential).
Captain Edward Howe Watson. Some Notes,
Comparisons, Observations, and Conclusions
made in Japan, China, and the Far East after an
absence of 15 years. April 1939.
Joint Efforts of Army and Navy War Colleges:
JNOpP: Correspondence between Lieutenant
Colonel W.W. Wotherspoon, President,
Army War College, and Rear Admiral J.W.P.
Merrell, President, Naval War College, 23
February 1907, and 21 April 1907.
JNOpP: Army War College, Joint Army-Navy Com-
mittee. Memorandum Prepared for the President
of Army War College by Joint Committee. Consider-
ation of Special Situation. 18 February 1907.
JNOpP: Army War College, Joint Army-Navy Committee.
Problem Involving War Between Orange and
Blue. Course of 1907-1908.
JNOpP: Lieutenant Commander W.D. MacDougall. Study
of Orange-Blue Situation of 1906-1907. 5 April
JNOpP: Commander J.H. Oliver. Military Policy in the
Pacific. 20 April 1907. (Confidential).
JNOpP: Army War College, Joint Army-Navy Committee.
Preliminary Papers in Army War College Joint
Committee's Work. 25 January 1907 to 14
February 1907. (Confidential).
UNOpP: Army War College, Memorandum for the
Director, G-4 Division. Estimate of maximum
Blue forces which can be transported to and
maintained in Western Pacific and Asiatic
Mainland. 21 December 1925. (Secret).
UNOpP: Army War College, Course at the Army War
College, 1923-1924. The Logistic Plan of the
Orange War Plan. Committee No. 5. Naval
Supply. 27 February 1924. (Secret).
Part I. Introduction, and Discussion of Basic
Strategic Plan, Orange.
Part II. Discussion of the Basic Logistic Plan,
Record Group 12: Student Problems and Solutions
Naval War College. Solution of Problem of 1902. Strategy and
Military Operations. Summer 1902. (Con-
fidential). 3 Appendixes.
Naval War College. Conference of 1906. Solution of Problem.
Summer 1906. (Restricted). Three Parts.
Naval War College. Problem of 1908. Informal Memorandum
Relating to Questions of Fleet Supply.
After 1918: See Appendix III.
Record Group 13: Student Theses
Captain C.C. Bloch, "Thesis: The Present Foreign Policies of the
United States," 26 April 1930.
Captain Aubrey W. Fitch, "Thesis: Present Trends in the
Foreign Policies of the United States as Affecting the Monroe
Doctrine," 18 April 1938.
Captain R.I. Ghormley, "Thesis: Present Trends in the Foreign
Policy of the United States in Regard to Europe and the Near
East," 18 April 1938.
Captain J. W. Greenslade, "Thesis: Policy," 5 December 1925.
Captain T.C. Hart, "Thesis on Policy," 1 September 1922.
Captain T.C. Hart, "Thesis: Tactics," 28 April 1923.
Captain A.J. Hepburn, "Thesis: The Inter-Relation in War of
National Policy, Strategy, Tactics and Command," 15 May
Lieutenant J. L. Holloway, Jr. "Thesis Number One: Destroyer
Operations at the Battle of Jutland," 30 October 1930.
Commander R.E. Ingersoll, "Thesis on Policy," 4 December
Captain E.C. Kalbfus, "Thesis on Policy," 4 December 1926.
Commander H.E. Kimmel, "Thesis on Policy," 5 December
Captain E.J. King, "Thesis: The Influence of the National Policy
on the Strategy of a War," 1933.
Captain Harris Laning, "Thesis: Tactics," 22 April 1922.
Commander C.W. Nimitz, "Thesis: Policy," 1 September 1922.
Lieutenant W.D. Puleston, "Thesis: BLUE Strategy in the
Pacific," July 1914.
Captain J. M. Reeves, "Thesis: Tactics," 1 May 1924.
Captain J. M. Reeves, "Thesis: Policy," 4 September 1924.
Captain J. O. Richardson, "Thesis: The Relationship in War of
Naval Strategy, Tactics, and Command," 7 May 1934.
Commander R.A. Spruance, "Thesis on Policy," 4 December
Captain C.P. Snyder, "Thesis on Policy," 6 December 1924.
Commander H.R. Stark, "Thesis Tactics," 28 April 1923.
Commander Ellis Mark Zacharias, "Thesis: The Relationship
Between National Policy and Strategy in War in the Sino-
Japanese War, and the Russo-Japanese War," 1 February 1934.
Record Groups 14 and 15: Faculty and Staff Presenta-
tions, and Guest Lectures
Professor John H. Latani, The Relation of the United States and
]apan. Lecture — summer conference, Naval War College,
Lieutenant Commander L.A. Cotton , Far Eastern Conditions
from Naval Point of View. Lecture delivered at Naval War
College, 26 February 1915.
Captain H.E. Yarnell, Strategy of the Pacific. Lecture delivered
before Army General Staff College, 8 September 1919.
Commander H.H. Frost. Strategy of the Atlantic. Lecture
delivered before the General Staff College, 9 September 1919.
Professor J.O. Dealey, National Policies in the Pacific. A lecture
delivered before the officers of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, at the
Naval War College, 10 September 1921.
Captain R.R. Belknap, The Blue-Orange Situation. Lecture
delivered for Fleet- War College Sessions, 1 November 1921.
Captain J. A. Furer, Drydocking and Major Repairs in a
Campaign in the Western Pacific. Lecture delivered for Fleet-
War College Sessions, 21 November 1921.
Captain W.S. Pye, War Plans. Lecture delivered at the Naval
War College, 7 January 1926.
Captain D. W. Knox, National Strategy. Lecture delivered at the
Naval War College, 7 October 1932.
Record Group 27: General Subjects
The Estimate of the Situation, Revised and Printed for the Use
of Officers in Attendance at the Naval War College. Master
Copy. Naval War College. May 1921.
The Estimate of the Situation, Plans and Orders, Prepared at the
Naval War College. Naval War College. 1929.
Sound Military Decision, Including the Estimate of the Situa-
tion, the Elements of Planning, and the Formulation of
Directives. Naval War College. 22 June 1940.
This list contains personal papers of United States Navy
officers. This collection complements the holdings of the Naval
Historical Foundation at the Library of Congress.
Ms. Coll. 12: Raymond Ames Spruance. Papers, 1942-1968. 7
boxes, 5 vols.
Ms. Coll. 13: William McCarty Little. Papers, 1880-1915. 3
boxes, 3 vols.
Ms. Coll. 17: Alfred Thayer Mahan. Papers, 1880-1908. 14
vols., 15 folders.
Ms. Coll. 24: William Veazie Pratt. Papers, 1903-1963. 18
boxes, 22 vols.
Ms. Coll. 28
Ms. Coll. 30
Ms. Doc. 15
Richard W. Bates. Papers, 1932-1972. 19 boxes.
Richard G. Colbert. Papers, 1932-1973. 21 boxes.
Harris Laning. Unpublished autobiography "An
Admiral's Yarn," 1 vol.
Ms. Doc. 24: Charles M. Remey. Unpublished "Reminiscences,
George C Remey, Rear Admiral, USN," 1920. 2
Ms. Doc. 43: Charles L. Melson. "Reminiscences of Vice
Admiral Charles L. Melson," 1974, 413pp.
II. THE NAVAL HISTORICAL FOUNDATION,
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, MANUSCRIPT DIVI-
Baldridge, Harry Alexander, 1880-1952 (100).
Belknap, George Eugene, 1832-1903 (1400).
Belknap, Reginald Rowan, 1871-1959 (7100).
Bingham, Donald Cameron, 1882-1946 (100).
Bloch, Claude Charles, 1878-1967 (1400).
Chambers, Washington Irving, 1856-1934 (12000).
Cotton, Charles Stanhope, 1843-1909 (600).
Cushing, Leonard R, 1901-1962 (3600).
Dahlgren, John Adolphus, 1809-1870 (700).
Farragut, David Glasgow, 1801-1870 (400).
Fullam, William Freeland, 1855-1926 (3850).
Furer, Julius Augustus, 1880-1963 (2800).
Gleaves, Albert, 1858-1937 (6000).
Halsey, William Frederick, 1882-1959 (22000).
Home, Frederick Joseph, 1880-1959 (1000).
Jones, Hilary Rollard, 1863-1938 (2400).
Kimmel, Husband Edward, 1882-1968 (200).
King, Ernest Joseph, 1878-1956 (10000); these papers contain
complete material for King's two courses of study at NWC
Knox, Dudley Wright, 1877-1960 (6500).
Lockwood, Charles Andrews, 1890-1967 (7600).
Luce, Stephen Bleecker, 1827-1917 (8000).
Merrill, Aaron Stanton, 1890-1961 (600).
Porter, David Dixon, 1813, 1891 (600).
Richardson, Holden Chester, 1878-1960 (3600).
Rodgers Family, 1788-1944 (15500).
Sargent, Nathan, 1849-1907 (2700).
Sellers, David Foote, 1874-1949 (6500).
Shafroth, John Franklin, 1887-1967 (1800).
Sims, William Sowden, 1858-1936 (43000).
Standley, William Harrison, 1872-1963 (2500).
Symington, Powers, 1872-1963 (2500).
Taylor, Henry Clay, 1845-1904 (300).
Taylor, Montgomery Meigs, 1869-1952 (1200).
Wainwright Family, 1842-1941 (18).
Wilkinson, Theodore Stark, 1888-1946 (200).
*Dupont, Samuel Francis.
*Fiske, Bradley Allen.
*Yarnell, Harry Ervin.
•Collections not part of Naval Historical Division
III. UNITED STATES NAVY OPERATIONAL
ARCHIVES, NAVAL HISTORY DIVISION,
WASHINGTON NAVY YARD.
General Board. Letter Books, 1900-1911.
General Board. Proceedings, 1900-1916.
General Board. Subject File Records:
420-2. Building Programs and Overall Policy, 1914-1945.
420-6. Battleships, Design and Employment, 1900-1937.
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, War Plans Division.
Navy Basic War Plan— Red. 1930.
WPL-22, Volume I.
WPL-23, Volume II.
WPL-24, Volume III.
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, War Plans Division.
Navy Basic Plan — Orange. March 1929.
WPL-14, Volume II.
WPL-15, Volume III.
WPL-16, Volume IV.
The Joint Board, Joint Planning Committee.
Joint Army and Navy Basic Plan for the Capture and
Occupation of the Azores, GRAY—WPL-47,].B. No. 325
(Serial 694), 28 May 1941.
The Joint Board, Joint Planning Committee.
Joint Army and Navy Basic Plan for the Occupation of Iceland
by a Permanent Garrison of the United States Army,
INDIGO, J. B. No. 325 (Serial 697).
IV. PUBLISHED WORKS
This list contains many of the autobiographies, biographies,
memoirs, and journals that I have consulted, as well as those
relatively few histories dealing with the Navy of the interwar
period. In my investigation of the Navy ethos, all of these have
been of use.
Abbazia, Patrick. Mr. Roosevelt's Navy: The Private War of the
U.S. Atlantic Fleet, 1939-1942. Annapolis: Naval Institute
Albion, Robert Greenlaugh, and Connery, Robert Howe.
Forrestal and the Navy. New York: Columbia University
Arnold, Henry H. Global Mission. New York: Harper, 1949.
Arpee, Edward. From Frigates to Flat-Tops: The Story of the
Life and Achievements of Rear Admiral William Adger
Moffet, U.S.N. Lake Forest, 111.: privately printed, 1953.
Bailey, Thomas A. "Dewey and the Germans at Manila Bay,"
American Historical Review, October 1939, pp. 59-81.
Ballantine, Duncan S. U.S. Naval Logistics in the Second World
War, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947.
Beard, Charles A. The Navy: Defense or Portent? New York:
Harper and Brothers, 1932.
Bishop, Joseph. Charles Bonaparte, His Life and Public Services.
New York: Scribner, 1922.
Borg, Dorthy, and Shumpei, Okamoto, eds. Pearl Harbor as
History: Japanese- American Relations, 1931-1941. New
York: Columbia University, 1973.
Braisted, William R. The United States Navy in the Pacific,
1897-1909. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1958.
The United States Navy in the Pacific, 1909-1922.
Austin: University of Texas Press, 1971.
"The United States Navy's Dilemma in the Pacific,
1906-1909," Pacific Historical Review, August 1957, pp.
"The Philippine Naval Base Problem," Mississippi
Valley Historical Review, June 1954, pp. 21-40.
Brownlow, Donald Grey. The Accused: The Ordeal of Rear
Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel, U.S.N. New York:
Vantage Press, 1968.
Buckley, Thomas A. The United States and the Washington
Conference, 1921-1922. Knoxville: University of Kentucky
Buell, Thomas B. The Quiet Warrior: A Biography of Admiral
Raymond A. Spruance. Boston: Little, Brown, 1974.
Bywater, Hector C. The Great Pacific War: A History of the
American-Japanese Campaign of 1931-1933. Boston:
Houghton Mifflin, 1925.
Navies and Nations: A Review of Naval Develop-
ments Since the Great War. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1927.
Sea Power in the Pacific: A Study of the American-
Japanese Naval Problems. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1934.
Carter, Worrall R. and Duvall, Elmer E. Ships, Salvage and
Sinews of War: The Story of Fleet Logistics Afloat in Atlantic
and Mediterranean Waters During World War II. Washing-
ton: Navy Department, 1954.
Challener, Richard D. Admirals, Generals, and foreign Policy,
1898-1914. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973.
Clark, Joseph J. with Reynolds, Clark G. Carrier Admiral. New
York: David McKay, 1967.
Clinard, Outten Jones. Japan's lnf hence on American Naval
Power, 1897-1917. Berkeley: University of California Press,
Coontz, Robert E. From the Mississippi to the Sea. Philadelphia:
Cronan, Robert E. The Cabinet Diaries of Josephus Daniels,
1913-1921. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1963.
Cummings, Damon E. Admiral Richard Wainwright and the
U.S. Fleet. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1962.
Davis, Forrest. The Atlantic System: The Story of Anglo-
American Control of the Seas. New York: Reynal and
Davis, George T. A Navy Second to None: The Development of
Modern American Naval Policy. New York: Harcourt, Brace,
Dingman, Roger. Power in the Pacific: The Origins of Naval
Arms Limitation, 1914-1922. Chicago: University of Chicago
Dyer, George Carroll. The Amphibious Came to Conquer: The
Story of Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner. Washington: U.S.
Govt. Print. Off., 1972.
Evans, Holden A. One Man's Fight for a Better Navy. New
York: Dodd, Mead, 1940.
Fiske, Bradley A. From Midshipman to Rear Admiral. New
York: Century, 1919.
The Navy as a Fighting Machine. New York:
Frank, Benis M. Halsey. New York: Ballantine Books, 1974.
Frost, Holloway H. The Battle of Jutland. Annapolis: Naval
Institute Press, 1936.
Fry, Michael G. Illusions of Security: North Atlantic Diplomacy,
1918-1922. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1972.
"The North Atlantic Triangle and the Abrogation
of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance." Journal of Modern History,
March 1967, pp. 353-362.
Furer, Julius Agustus. Administration of the Navy Department
in World War II. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1959.
Gleaves, Albert. The Life of an American Sailor: Rear Admiral
William Hemsley Emory, United States Navy. New York:
Halsey, William F., and Bryan J. III. Admiral Halsey's Story.
New York: Whittlesey House, 1947.
Herwig, Holger H. The Politics of Frustration: The United
States in German Naval Planning, 1889-1943. Boston: Little,
Herwig, Holger H., and Trask, David F. "Naval Operations
Plans Between Germany and the United States of America,
1898-1913: A Study of Strategical Planning in the Age of
Imperialism." Militareschichliche Mitteilungen, v. II, 1970,
Hoyt, Edwin P. How They Won the War in the Pacific: Nimitz
and His Admirals. New York: Weybright and Talley, 1970.
Ichihashi, Yamato. The Washington Conference and After.
Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1928.
Ishimaru, Tota. japan Must Fight Britain. New York: Telegraph
Jones, Ken, and Kelley, Hubert Jr. Admiral Ar lei gh (31 Knot)
Burke, The Story of a Fighting Sailor. Philadelphia: Chilton,
Karsten, Peter. The Naval Aristocracy: The Golden Age of
Annapolis and the Emergence of Modern American Navalism.
New York: Free Press, 1972.
Kimmel, Husband E. Admiral Kimmel's Story. Chicago: Henry
King, Ernest J., and Whitehill, Walter Muir. Fleet Admiral
King: A Naval Record. New York: Norton, 1952.
Kittredge, Tracy B. Naval Lessons of the Great War. Garden
City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page, 1921.
Knox, Dudley W. The Eclipse of American Sea Power. New
York: Army and Navy Journal, 1922.
- A History of the United States Navy. New York:
Leahy, William D. / Was There. New York: Whittlesey House,
Leutze, James R. Bargaining for Supremacy: Anglo-American
Naval Collaboration, 1937-1941. Chapel Hill: University of
North Carolina Press, 1977.
Livermore, Seward W. "The American Navy as a Factor in
World Politics, 1903-1913." American Historical Review, July
1958, pp. 863-879.
Livermore, Seward W. "American Strategic Diplomacy in the
South Pacific." Pacific Historical Review, March 1943, pp.
"Battleship Diplomacy in South America."
Journal of Modern History, March 1944, pp. 31-48.
"Theodore Roosevelt, the American Navy, and the
Venezuelan Crisis of 1902-1903." American Historical
Review, April 1946, pp. 452-471.
Lockwood, Charles A., and Adamson, Hans Christian. Tragedy
at Honda. Philadelphia: Chilton, I960.
Long, John D. The New American Navy. New York: Outlook,
Lundstrom, John B. The First South Pacific Campaign: Pacific
Fleet Strategy, December 1941 -June 1942. Annapolis: Naval
Institute Press, 1976.
Mahan, Alfred Thayer. From Sail to Steam: Recollections of a
Naval Life. Boston: Harper and Brothers, 1907.
The Interest of America in Sea Power, Present and
Future. Boston: Little, Brown, 1897.
- The Lessons of the War with Spain. Boston: Little,
N aval Administration and Warfare. Boston: Little,
Naval Strategy, Compared and Contrasted with the
Principles and Practice of Military Operations on Land.
Boston: Little, Brown, 1911.
Matloff, Maurice, and Snell, Edwin M. Strategic Planning for
Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942 in subseries The War Depart-
ment, Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of
the Army series The United States Army in World War II.
Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1953.
Mayo, Claude Banks. Your Navy. Los Angeles: Parker and Baird,
Melhorn, Charles M. Two-Block Fox: The Rise of the Aircraft
Carrier, 1911-1929. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1974.
Mills, Walter, ed. The Forrestal Diaries. New York: Viking
Morison, Elting E. Admiral Sims and the Modern American
Navy. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1942.
Morison, Samuel Eliot. History of United States Naval Opera-
tions in World War II. Boston: Little, Brown, 1947-1962. 15
O'Connor, Raymond G. Perilous Equilibrium: The U.S. and the
London Naval Conference of 1930. Lawrence: The University
of Kansas Press, 1962.
O'Gara, Gordon Carpenter. Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of
the Modern Navy. Princeton: Princeton University Press,
Palmer, Wayne Francis. Men and Ships of Steel. New York:
Pelz, Stephen E. Race to Pearl Harbor: The Failure of the Second
London Naval Conference and the Onset of World War II.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974.
Pomeroy, Earl S. Pacific Outpost: American Strategy in Guam
and Micronesia. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1951.
Potter, E.B. Nimitz. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1976.
The United States and World Sea Power. Engle-
wood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1955.
Puleston, W.D. The Armed Forces of the Pacific. New Haven:
Yale University Press, 1941.
Mahan: The Life and Work of Captain Alfred
Thayer Mahan. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1939.
Rappaport, Armin. The Navy League of the United States.
Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1962.
Reynolds, Clark G. Command of the Sea. New York: Morrow,
, The Fast Carriers. New York: McGraw-Hill,
Richardson, James O., and Dyer, George C. On the Treadmill to
Pearl Harbor: The Memoirs of Admiral James O. Richardson,
U.S.N. Washington: Navy History Division, 1973.
Schroeder, Seaton. A Half Century of Naval Service. New York:
Seager, Robert II. Alfred Thayer Mahan: The Man and His
Letters. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1977.
Seager, Robert II, and Maguire, Doris D., eds. Letters and Papers
of Alfred Thayer Mahan. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press,
1975. three volumes.
Sherman, Frederick C. Combat Command: The American
Aircraft Carriers in the Pacific War. New York: Dutton, 1950.
Sims, W.S., and Hendrick J.B. The Victory at Sea. Garden City,
N.Y.: Doubleday, 1920.
Spector, Ronald. Admiral of the New Empire: The Life and
Career of George Dewey. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State
University Press, 1974.
Standley, William H., and Ageton, Arthur A. Admiral Ambas-
sador to Russia. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1955.
Stirling, Yates. Sea Duty. New York: Putnam, 1939.
Taussig, Joseph K., and Cope, Harley F. Our Navy — A Fighting
Team. New York: Whittlesey House, 1943.
Taylor, Theodore. The Magnificent Mitscher. New York:
Tillman, Seth P. Anglo-American Relations at the Paris Peace
Conference of 1919. Princeton: Princeton University Press,
Trask, David F. Captains and Cabinets: Anglo-American Naval
Relations, 1917-1918. Columbia: University of Missouri
U.S. Bureau of Navigation, Navy Department. Information
Pamphlets for Officers Ordered to the Asiatic Stations.
Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1930.
U.S. Navy Department. Navy Directory of Ships and Stations.
Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1921.
Watson, Mark S. Chief of Staff : Prewar Plans and Preparations,
in subseries The War Department, Office of the Chief of
Military History, Department of the Army series The United
States Army in World War II. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print.
Wheeler, Gerald E. Admiral William Veazie Pratt, U.S. Navy, A
Sailor's Life. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1974.
Prelude to Pearl Harbor: The United States Navy
and the Far East, 1921-1931. Columbia: University of Missouri
Wiley, Henry A. An Admiral from Texas. Garden City, N.Y.:
Doubleday, Doran, 1934.
Adams, Charles Francis 32
Allen, Rear Admiral Burrell C. 26
Rites of Passage 15
role in corporate acculturation 16
Dealey, Professor John Q. 68, 127
Demonstrative exercises 134
Role in Operational Ethos 89-90, 141,
Evolution of, from Knox to Kalbfus
Dow, Rear Admiral Leonard James 62,
Babcock, Captain J. V. 28
Baxter, Professor J. P. 68
Beard, Professor Charles 31
Belknap, Admiral Reginald R. 93, 94, 97
Benson, Admiral William S., center of Navy
Bloch, Admiral C.C 26, 84
Board maneuvers 135
Ellicott, Lieutenant J. M. 115
Elliott, Professor William Y. 68
American frontiers and ethos 8-14
Corporate iii, iv, 1 et seq.
Institutional 3, 29
Operational 89-90, 141, 160
The Capital Ship
at Newport, place of the capital ship
concept within the naval war game 140
critical instrument in planned transpacific
offensive 143-144, 153-156
defender of the "Monroe Doctrine" 36, 99
dominance of the battleship in the engage-
dominance of the engagement in tactical
thought 147 et seq.
emotional image of the battleship as "Shield
of the Republic" 152
growing awareness of the potential of the
aircraft carrier 136-137, 145
role of the battleship in U.S. naval strategy
Carpenter, Rear Admiral Arthur S. 26
Chart maneuvers 134
Clausewitz, role in War College thinking:
Operational Ethos 76, 77, 78-79, 141, 147
Cooper, James Fenimore 13
Cotton, Lieutenant Commander L.A. 124-126,
Cultural personality 5
national society 5, 7
Fiske, Rear Admiral Bradley 85, 91, 119, 143
Foote, Rear Admiral Percy W. 26
Frost, Commander Holloway 103, 105-106,
Furer, Rear Admiral Julius Augustus 17, 36, 53,
Furlong, Rear Admiral W.R. 26
Game histories and scenario development for
the Pacific War 141, 143 et seq. 157-158
Ghormley, Admiral R.L. 81
Gleaves, Admiral Alfred 18, 25, 34, 35, 43, 44
Goodrich, Captain Caspar S. 114
Goodrich, Professor L.M. 68
as ally and future friend/fraternal rival 46
as declining empire according to Darwinist
images 106, 110-112
as role-model 101-102, 104
as role to be inherited, future national
as traditional antagonist 98 et seq., 104
Greenslade, Admiral J. W. 79
Daniels, Josephus 119
Halsey, Admiral William S. 93, 157-158
Hamilton, Alexander 10, 30
importance of Federalist Papers 31
"Navalist" School 100-102
role in Monroe Doctrine 31
traditional Atlantic Strategy, Navy mission
Hart, Admiral Thomas C. 26
Hepburn, Admiral AJ. 78, 81
Jahncke, Ernest Lee 32
Japan, image of future enemy and future war
98, 113 et seq.
Japan and Social Darwinism 40-41, 82-84
place of Japan in naval historicism as
inevitable enemy 129
racism toward Japanese culture 82, 83, 122-
role of Newport in creating hostile mask
40-41, 68-69, 73, 82-84, 114, 122-130
"Anti-Navalist" School as symbolic father
role in "Continentalist" School 30
Jellicoe, Admiral John 150
impact of battle on naval thinking 70, 111
role in Newport war gaming 148-151
U.S. Navy attitudes toward British perfor-
mance 103, 111-112
Morison, Samuel Eliot 157
Mythologies of American persona, Navy and
American myths 8, 9
The Naval Battle
game search for a pattern for an American
negative image of Jutland 105-106, 149-150
role-model of the "Decisive Engagement"
Trafalgar, Tsushima 148
Naval War College
approach to history 58-59
approach to Navy mission 76
bibliography 71 et seq.
curriculum focus 65
educational role within Navy 63 et seq.
lectures 67 et seq.
role of student thesis in indoctrination/
acculturation of mission 75-85
Nimitz, Admiral C.W. 77-78, 80, 83, 92, 128
Oikoumene, nation in embracing cultural
Oliver, Commander J. H. 118
Operations problems 134, 135
Kalbfus, Admiral E.C. 52, 84, 90
Kidd, Admiral Isaac 160, 161
Kimmel, Admiral Husband 79, 83, 128
King, Admiral Ernest J. 24, 80, 93, 110
Knight, Rear Admiral Austin M. 39, 60, 64, 86,
Knox, Captain Dudley W. 32, 33, 34, 36, 39, 43,
47 et seq., 59, 61, 85, 93, 110, 119
Laning, Admiral Harris 93, 147
Lee, Admiral Willis 93, 132, 158
London Planning Section
role in promoting Darwinian world view 39,
Luce, Rear Admiral Stephen Bleecker 57, 121,
133, 140, 141, 159
Mahan, Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer 13, 16,
20,37,38, 101, 115, 117, 119
McNamee, Admiral Luke 93
Melville, Herman 22
Merk, Professor Frederick iv, 37
Mission v, 4, 29, 55 et seq.
Mitchell, Brigadier General, William 70
Greek concept of honor, self-esteem,
its place in the formation of a distinct
operational ethos within the Navy 158-
Pratt, Admiral William Veazie 45, 93, 95, 97,
Pringle, Admiral J.R. Poinsett 55, 93
Puleston, Captain W.D. 41, 128-129, 153-154
Pye, Rear Admiral W.S. 74
Quick-decision problems 134
Reeves, Admiral Joseph 92, 107-108
Remey, Rear Admiral George 115
Richardson, Admiral J.0. 23, 75, 80, 84, 91, 93,
Rodgers, Rear Admiral Raymond P. 118
Rogers, Admiral W.L. 45, 48, 93, 119
Roosevelt, Franklin Delano
role in Navy mission definition in interwar
period, creation of historical precedent
during Barbary Wars and Quasi- War 33
role as "Founding Father" of modern Navy
Schofield, Admiral F.H. 46, 94, 119
Search problems 134
Sims, Admiral William Sowden 19, 27, 58, 67,
92,93,94, 106, 119, 133, 141
Snyder, Admiral C.P. 26, 81, 82
role in early 20th century Navy world view
37 et seq., 75, 80, 81, 104
Spruance, Admiral Raymond A. 79
Standley, Admiral William H. 33, 35, 36, 93,
Stark, Admiral Harold R. 26, 150
Stockdale, Vice Admiral James 159-160
Swanson, Claude 32
origin at Newport, role of McCarty Little in
role of the war game in indoctrination of
operational ethos 141-142, 160-161
structure of game play, Maneuver Rules 133
texture of game play 137-140
continuities of focus on potential enemies
enemy fleets, color-coding of 97
RED, ORANGE, BLACK, etc. Appendix I
role of War College in formulation 98
role of War College in preparation 60
Watson, Captain Edward Howe 126
Whitman, Walt 11, 19,50
Wilde, Oscar 14
Wilson, Professor George Grafton 69
World View iii, 1, 3 et seq.
Tactical problems 134
Taussig, Admiral Joseph 21, 93
Taylor, Admiral Montgomery Meigs 21
Yarnell, Admiral Harry E. 23, 24, 93, 122-123
Zacharias, Rear Admiral Ellis Mark 93, 128