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The Naval War College 

and the 

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 


No. 4 

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 
First Edition 








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. 

XVI, 246-248 




Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

Vlahos, Michael, 1951- 
The blue sword. 

(Historical monograph series/U.S. Naval War College; no. 4) 

Bibliography: p. 

Includes index. 

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 
College (U.S.)). 

V420.V55 359\07'1173 81-9654 







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 


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 





Chapter VII: The Callimorphosis of the Enemy: 
RED 99 

Chapter VIII: The Cacomorphosis of the Enemy: 


Chapter IX: Behind the Mask 122 


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 

NOTES 179 


INDEX 212 


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 
it strength; 

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 
this journey; 

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. 


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 
postulates." 5 

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 
"corporate ethos." 

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. 



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 
with, Europe. 

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 
seaborne frontier. 

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 
scene." 8 

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- 
mother 10 


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 
American personality. 

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; 
in 1832: 

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 
the 1880s, 

. . . 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 
Continentalist School. 

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. 



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 
Service l 


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 
"cultural" values. 

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 
U.S. Navy. 

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 
winter gale. 

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 
vanishment. 12 

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 
described. 18 

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 
stronger theme. 

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 
memories. 25 

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 
new berth. 

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" 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 
Navy propaganda: 

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 
of dignity. 

— 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 
seapower." 29 

— "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 
Standley's nightmare, 

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 
others. 47 


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 
view. 61 

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 
force. 72 

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 
nations 74 

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 
American. 77 

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 
national strategy. 

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 
decade's end. 

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, 
transoceanic, terms. 




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 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 
Navy's Nestor. 

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 
brains. 3 

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 
responsibilities. 24 

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 
course. 3 

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 
Pennsylvania Avenue. 

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 
action. 9 

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 
Lecture Course 
Combined Operations, 

while the 

STRATEGY Department focused on 

Scouting and Screening 
Chart Maneuvers, 

and the 

TACTICS Department 
continued to run through series of Tactical Maneuvers and 
Tactical Problems, 

and the 

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. 

The Lectures 

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 
that portage. 

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 
Japanese "enemy." 

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. 

The Bibliography 

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's thesis: 

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 
Defense." 29 

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. 

The Theses 

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 
with Japan. 

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 Offensive 

The Engagement 

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 
decision. 40 

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 


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 
order. 66 

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 
populations." 68 

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' 
1922 thesis: 

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. 

The Doctrine 

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 
truths. 88 

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 
done; and 

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 


Decision. Purpose. 

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." 

of Action 

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 
College. 105 

The Fraternity 

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 
enduring achievement. 

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 
College.... 111 

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 [1920] 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 


Staff Solution 

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 



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 
advantage." 8 

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- 
gray mid-Atlantic. 

"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 
growing strength. 

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 
Kingston! 16 

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 
guns. 31 

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 
trade. 35 

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 
naval leadership. 

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 
terms. 40 

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 
his service: 

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, 
at Jutland: 

... 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 



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 
Francisco. 1 

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 
needs. 3 

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" 
was bleak: 


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, 

advanced base. 
— 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 
error." 25 

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 
Pacific. 32 

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, 




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 
James Biddle: 

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 
world view. 

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 
comparison. 7 

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 
been born. 

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 

it 15 

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 
struggle." 29 

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 
righteous strength. 

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 
the guns: 


Department of Operations 


Period 19 July-24 July (incl.) 

First Day. Assemble in East Game Room at 0930. 



Drawing Instruments 

Maneuver Rules 

Chart and Board Maneuver 

BLUE Fleet 6 

Let the Game begin! 




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 
miniature. 1 

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: 

Tactical Presentations 

Search Problem 

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 

of Action" 
— 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. 

7. Protractors. 

8. Range wands. 

9. Plotting table, tracing paper, drawing instruments. 

10. Screens. 

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 

Charge (T-14)).\ 

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 


Visibility, Audibility, 

and Smoke Screens 






Torpedo Fire 








Chemical Warfare 

3.2% 13 


"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. 
To continue: 

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 smoke, 

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 

of range? 
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: 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. 



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 
game floor. 

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 

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 
prophetic scene: 

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 — 



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 
was simple: 

The primary objective is the breaking up of the enemy battle 
line . . . and to turn the advantage gained into a decisive 
victory. 3 

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 
world. 9 

We officers have a tremendous work before us to prepare 
ourselves and our fleet team to be always invincible in 
battle. 10 


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 battleship is the backbone of seapower. 1 

Battleship, Battlewagon, Ship of the Line, 

Dreadnought, Ironclad, 

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 
weapons system. 

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 
action. 9 

The fire action of the Battle Line, by reason of its power, 
dominates. 10 

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 
crumble 13 

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, 
Oklahoma, Arizona 

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 
all " 

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 
uncertain future. 











Great Britain 






New Zealand 


Indian Empire 










Netherlands East Indies 


















China Intervention 


U.S.A. (Domestic Contingency) 





Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet 
Commander Battle Force 

Battle Force 
Commander Scouting Force 

Scouting Force 
Commander Submarine Force 

Submarine Force 
Commander Base Force 

Base Force 
Commander Battleships, U.S. Fleet 

Battleships, U.S. Fleet 
Commander Battleships, Battle Force 

Battleships, Battle Force 
Commander Battleship Division 

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 

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 

Destroyer Flotilla 
Commander Destroyer Division 

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 

Carrier Division 
Commander Minecraft, U.S. Fleet 

Minecraft, U.S. Fleet 
Commander Minecraft, Battle Force 

Minecraft, Battle Force 
Commander Mine Squadron 

Mine Squadron 
Commander Mine Division 

Mine Division 
Commander Training Squadron 

Training Squadron 
Commander Submarine, U.S. Fleet 

Submarines, U.S. Fleet 
Commander Submarine Squadron 

Submarine Squadron 
Commander Submarine Division 

Submarine Division 
Commander Train Squadron 

Train Squadron 
Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet 
Commander Yangtze Patrol 

Yangtze Patrol 
Commander South China Patrol 

South China Patrol 




























(Drawn From Descriptions Used in Game Histories) 

Situation Key 









Game Motive Key 


Chart Maneuver 


Daylight Action 


Night Action 


Torpedo Action 


Scouting Problem 


Convoy Problem (Fleet Train/ Advanced B< 



Scouting and Screening Problem 


Raider Interception 


Concentration of Forces 


Battle Communications 


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 

C Caribbean 


Order Writing 


Battle Plans 


Maneuvering for a Position of Advantage 


Quick Decision Problem 


Approach and Deployment for Battle 


Engagement Problem 


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 








































































































































































































































































































EST/Red Superior Skill 




















EST/Red Superior Skill 
























































































QD-Based on Jutland 




















Fleet Standing Order 





QD/A-M-S/Treaty Navy 




















Trains Ops 






"Battle of the Marianas" 

























































Fleet Supply Schedule 














BO/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, 
from H 










SP-NJaps in 
LO Avacha Bay 



A&B games 







Base Screening & SO for 









Low visibility 







"The Battle of 
Sable Island" 






"The Battle of 








B-O Convoy 






C (Trinidad) 









(Anti-Landing Phil.) 





Fuel Sup. Schedule 





Base SO & SO for CP 










Jap. Home Waters 


























Base SO & SO for CP 




26 JP 

Ops. 1.2 



Los Visibility 










EST/Convoy attack/ 





















(ex-S&S 5.9) 


SO (Base & CP) 


Ops. II 




Chart Man.l 
(S&S 1.3) 




29 Sr. 

QD Problems: 















OB/BL: Offenj 

>ive screen 3CC/3BB 

30 Sr. 

QD Problems: 



RB/BL: Part 3 Blue BBs/5 Red BBs 



OB/BL: Van forces 4-3BBs 



OB/BL: melee 




31 Sr. 

QD Problems: 











Ops. 3 



LO (Newport,N.Bedford) 






S&S 1.4 





Ops 2 Sr. 



SO-Base & CP 

28 Sr. 

Ops. 5 



28 Sr. 

Ops. 4 



(Trans Pac: S & T) 

28 Sr. 

T. 104.1 




28 Jr. 


29 Sr. 

Ops. 3 


BO/Blue LOC/SO/Orange Bases 

(S.II, T.IV) 


29 Sr. 

Ops. 2 




29 Sr. 

Ops. 4 




Joint A-N COR 

29 Sr. 

Ops. 5 


BO/Initial Phase: 


Bases for TransPac Advance 




29 Sr. 

Ops. 6 



BO/LO-forced, Phil./M-AO 

29 Sr. 



BO/ EST/Chart & Board 
Maneuver of TE 1 

29 Sr. 




29 Sr. 




29 Sr. 




29 Sr. 




30 Sr. 

Ops. 4 


RB/-C & Panama Transit for BL 

30 Sr. 

Ops. 3 


BO/-Phil. battle O-North/B-South 

(w.Jr. i 

ifter one mo. play) 

30 Sr. 



BO/CP B leaving Truk 

30 Sr. 

Ops. II 


30 Sr. 

Ops. I 

OB/ Asiatic Fl.-Phil. Def. 

30 Sr. 

Tac. I 

OB/BL EST/BP & battle 

30 Sr. 


"A" Tac.2 



"B" Tac.3 



"C Tac.4 


31 Sr. 

Tac. I 

OB/BL EST/BP & battle 

30 Sr. 

Sect. V 


30 Sr. 

Ops. VI 

OB/LO-Support Group 

31 Sr. 

Ops. IV 


31 Sr. 

Ops. Ill 


31 Sr. 

Ops. I 


31 Sr. 

Ops. II 

OB/SP S. Phil. CP 

31 Sr. 

Ops. Ill 


32 Sr. 

Tac. I 


32 Sr. 

Tac. II 


32 Sr. 

Tac. Ill 


32 Sr. 

Tac. IV 

RB/B superiority 3:2 BL 

32 Sr. 

Tac. V 


"The Battle of Sable Island" 

32 Sr. 

Tac. VI 


32 Sr. 

Ops. I 

OB/ Asiatic Fl.LOC/Phil.Def. 

32 Sr. 

Ops. II 

OB/Suez LOC 

32 Sr. 

Ops. Ill 

RB/R-SLOC in Indian S.Atl./SA/Plan 
changes in course of play 

32 Sr. 

Ops. IV 


32 Sr. 

Ops. V 

Revision of IV Movement Trans-Pac 

32 Sr. 



OB/ 3 Blue BBs/5 Orange BBs 



OB/4 Blue BBs/6 Orange BBs 



RB/6 Blue BBs/4 Red BBs 

33 Sr. 

Ops. I 


33 Sr. 

Ops. II 

BO/S.Phil.def. Area control/LOC/LOG 

33 Sr. 



34 Sr. 

Ops. V 

BO/Trans-Pac 1 yr. after host. 




34 Sr. 


RB-2nd phase 


34 Sr. 

Ops. II 

OB/ Asiatic Fit 

:. EST/Ops.Plan 

34 Sr. 

Ops. Ill 

OB/ 2nd stage- 
convoys LOC 

■BF awaiting Ind.O. 


Ops. I 


34 Sr. 

Tac. I 


34 Sr. 



OB/ 3 Blue BBs/ 3 Orange BBs 



OB/7 Blue BBs/9 Orange BBs 



RB/11 Blue BBs/9 Red BBs 

34 Sr. 

Tac. VI 

OB/U.S. & U.S.S.R. vs. Japan 
(Java Sea/Kamchatka) 

34 Sr. 

Tac. V 


, Sable Is.(BL) 

34 Sr. 

Tac. Ill 


34 Sr. 

Tac. II 


CP 4 Blue BBs/ 5 Orange 
BBs Detachment N. of 

33 Sr. 

Ops. Ill 


SLOC attack on Red 

33 Sr. 

Tac. I 



33 Sr. 

Tac. II 




33 Sr. 

Tac. Ill 



33 Sr. 

Tac. IV 


BL/Full MB: 15-15 

"Battle of 


Sable Is." 


35 Sr. 

Tac. II 


BP/EST (Truk, B base) 
Blue-5BB;Orange;4 BBs 

35 Sr. 

Tac. Ill 


EST/OW/BL (Halifax 

35 Sr. 

Strat. II 



35 Sr. 

Tac. I 


Relief of Phil. (Manila) 

linked to Strat.I 

BL detachments 
(3 Orange CCs; 
3 Blue BBs) 

35 Sr. 


Blue Orange 




3 BBs 5BBs 




6 BBs 9 BBs 




6 BBs 6 BBs 




4 BBs 6 BBs 




4 BBs 6 BBs 


» F » 


6 BBs 6 BBs 




Night Raid 

35 Sr. 

Ops. I 


SP/CP/begins after 
advanced base in 



35 Sr. 
35 Sr. 

36 Sr. 
36 Sr. 

36 Sr. 

36 Sr. 
36 Sr. 

36 Sr. 


36 Sr. 
36 Sr. 

36 Sr. 
36 Sr. 
36 Sr. 
36 Sr. 
36 Sr. 

37 Sr. 


Ops. II 
Ops. Ill 

Tac. IV 

Strat. II 
Tac. I 




Tac. II 

Tac. Ill 
Tac. V 







Blue vs. Blue 


(Night Light Force/Orange attack) 



Raid on U.S. Coast 


Night Light Force attack 

on BLUE MB & Train 


Ops. I 

1 Blue against Orange 

commence in Brown area & SE Asia 

Ops. II OB 



Ops. Ill 


Ops. IV OB 

(Blue MB as Dumanquilas; 3 convoys to 

Suez; Orange to intercept) 

Strat. I OB 

Strat. II RB 

Crimson Neutral/Red 

Carib. Off. 


Strat. Areas/Fleet 


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 
near CZ 
Blue Orange 
3 BBs 5 BBs 

7 BBs 6 BBs 

8 BBs 8 BBs 

12 BBs 6 LCs & 12 
DesDivs./49 DDs 

CA/DD scouting forces 

Blue Red 

13 DDs 3 CAs/ 3 BBs 

Blue Orange 

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 
Flt;Red assumes 


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 
to Phil. 

37 Sr. Ops. IV OB Blue MB convoy prot. 

Dumanquilas to Suez 

37 Sr. QD: 

"A" OB Orange 5 BBs/Blue 3 BBs 

plus fort. 

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/ 

S.China Sea/EST/Ops. 
38 Sr. Ops.IV(Tac) OB BP Truk area familiariza- 

tion, safeguarding of 
Oahu-Dumanquilas route 




38 Sr. Ops.V(Strat.) OB 

-sub-problem: Defense of Atoll 
Advanced Bases 
Ponape -sub-problem: Attack on Isalnd 

Advanced Base 
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 
(3) Truk 

Battle off Sable Is. 
4 Blue BBs over 60% 

12 Red BBs over 60% 

SP/control of Phil./ 
China Sea 

(Silver & Black aiding Orange) 
sub-problem: defense of an Island Group 
(Yap)/when Blue Fit. passes meridian 
134°E., Brown ally of Blue 

38 Sr. 

Op. VIII (Tac.) 


Blue: 6 BBs, 8 CAs 


AB: Staring Bay in 


Orange: 9 BBs, 7 CAs 

seeking decisive action 

38 Sr. 




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 

38 Sr. 



U.S. assualt on Trinidad, 

Problem S-l 

Br. attempted simul.relief 
each 3 BBs, 4 CAs, 2-3 
CVs in covering & escort 

38 Sr. 



Relief of Wake by U.S., 

Problem S-2 

appr.complete MBs both 

39 Sr. 

Ops. I (Tac.) 


SP Aleutian (D.H.) 
Unalaska Base CP 

39 Sr. 

Ops. II(Strat.) 


SA-Carib.control of 

39 Sr. 



Raid on Orange SLOCs 
Blue CAs & 1 CV 
Indian Ocean, China Seas 

39 Sr. 

Ops. IV (Tac.) 






39 Sr. 

Ops. V(Strat.) 

39 Sr. 

Ops. VI (Tac.) 



39 Sr. 





"N-1" low 




OB SP-Cent.&W.-control of. 

Orange holds atolls-MB 

at Saipan;Blue MB at 

RB EST/SCS/To familiarize 

w/N.Atlantic Area 
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 

40 Sr. 

Ops. I (Tac.) 


40 Sr. 
40 Sr. 

Ops. II (Strat.) 


40 Sr. 

Ops. IV (Tac.) 



Ops. I (Tac.) 


41 Sr. 

Ops. II(Strat.) 


41 Sr. 

Ops. Ill 




Ops. IV (Tac.) 


Orange 5 BBs, Blue 3 BBs 
and fort, port 
6 BBs each 

Blue 9 BBs, Orange 4 LCs 

Amphib.assault on 
Trinidad: 2 CVs, 3 BBs 
covering force/ 
4CAs support attack force 
of 10 XAPs w/20,000 

CP/Unalaska, Dutch 
Harbor EST-Aleutians 
EST/Carib Control of 
Raid on Orange SLOCs 
EST/WestPac, China Sea 
5 Blue BBs, 6 Orange BBs 
Unalaska, D.H.3 BBs/ 
Orange Interception 
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. 
Orange threatening 
Aleutian- Wake-Samoa 
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 





41 S&J Ops. V(Strat.) 


Dec 41 

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-Silver-Gold Coalition 

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 

mand & 






continued in 




"Deny Axis bases in 
E. Carib." Silver, 1 BB, 
6 CA/Gold 1 CC, 1 CV 



1. Carroll N. Brown, Greek-English Dictionary (New York: Enossis Publishing, 1924). 


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), 
p. 542. 

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. 


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). 



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 
Papers, NHF. 

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. 


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 
1931 (Jahncke) 

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. 
Hugh Rodman) 

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 
Papers, NHF. 

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 
Journal, 1922). 

39. "The Price of Peace," Manuscript of article for Atlantic Monthly, April 1938, Knox 
Papers, NHF. 

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 
this country. 

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 
Historical Division. 

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 
Papers, NHF. 

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 
October 1944. 

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. 


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). 

6. Ibid. 

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 
Papers, NHF. 

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. 


1. Outline History of the United States Naval War College 1884 to Date (Newport: 
Collected Transcript, Bound, 1937). 

2. Ibid. 

3. Ibid. 

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 
(hereafter NHC). 

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 
Papers, NHF. 

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. 

92. Ibid. 

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. 

114. Ibid. 

115. "Slides Made By and Shown to Classes of 1925 Naval War College," Record Group II, 


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). 


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), 
pp. 172-185. 

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 
History Division. 

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 
Papers, NHF. 

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. 




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. 


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 
(hereafter NHF). 

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 
Historical Division. 

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. 

16. Ibid. 

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. 

29. Nimitz. 


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. 


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. 


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. 

4. Ibid. 

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'' 

30. Ibid. 

31. Frost to Sims, 14 October 1923, Sims Papers, NHF. 

32. Carl von Clausewitz, On War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 578. 


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." 


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. 


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. 

13. Ibid. 

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. 




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). 
June 1935. 

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 
January 1937. 

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. 
July 1897. 

Lieutenant John M. Ellicott, Sea Power of Japan. 
1900 (Confidential). 

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 
June 1914. 

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 
March 1915. 

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 
1924. (Confidential). 

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 
August 1925. 

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 
1933. (Secret). 

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 
1907. (Confidential). 

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. 
September 1908. 

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. 

Manuscript Collection 

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. 


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 




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-13, Volume! 
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). 


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 

Press, 1975. 
Albion, Robert Greenlaugh, and Connery, Robert Howe. 

Forrestal and the Navy. New York: Columbia University 

Press, 1962. 


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 

Press, 1970. 
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: 

Dorrance, 1930. 
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 

Hitchcock, 1941. 
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 

Press, 1976. 
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: 

Scribner, 1916. 
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: 

Doran, 1923. 
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, 

Brown, 1976. 
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, 

pp. 5-32. 
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 

Press, 1936. 
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 

Regnery, 1955. 
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: 

Putnam, 1948. 
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, 

Brown, 1899. 

N aval Administration and Warfare. Boston: Little, 

Brown, 1908. 

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 
Press, 1951. 

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: 

Morrow, 1935. 
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: 

Appleton, 1922. 
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: 

Norton, 1954. 
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 

Press, 1972. 
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. 

Off., 1950. 
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 

Press, 1963. 
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 

Anglophobia 46 
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- 
ment 139 
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 
corporate 6 
individual 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 
Great Britain 

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 
mission 112 

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 
34, 121 
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 
Jefferson, Thomas 

"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 
Trafalgar 149-151 

negative image of Jutland 105-106, 149-150 

role-model of the "Decisive Engagement" 
118, 141 

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 

system 158 
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, 

identity 141 
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 


Roosevelt, Theodore 

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 
Social Darwinism 

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 


War games 

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 

et seq. 
texture of game play 137-140 

War plans 

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 

Vision 4 

Zacharias, Rear Admiral Ellis Mark 93, 128