Explain The Economic Logic Underpinning Mahan’S Theory

1104 WordsMar 30, 20175 Pages
Explain the Economic Logic Underpinning Mahan’s Theory of Sea Power Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan published The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783 in 1890, in which he attempted to analyze the role of sea control throughout history. Mahan, a naval officer, used his sea experience to create a theory about naval history that is unlike any other history work. Upon examination of Theodore Momsen’s History of the Roman Empire, which included the history of the Second Punic War, Mahan emphasized the significant role that sea communications played in Rome’s victory. Additionally, he describes the relevance of different maritime campaigns in various battles that took place during the French and American revolutions. Mahan evaluates…show more content…
Mahan devotes most of his introduction to the history of sea power. He starts by discussing how the manner in which a war is fought changes as navies have evolved from galleys to steam ships as well as the advancement of weapons, but that the principles behind maritime war remain the same. In effort to illustrate the importance of sea power throughout history, Mahan details the impact that sea power had on the second Punic War. The control of the water by the Romans forced Hannibal to depart on the devastating venture through the Gaul. Instead of explaining the actual conflict at hand, Mahan explores the strategy that would have been necessary to defeat Rome. The Carthaginians would have needed to invade the Roman Empire in Italy either by sea or by transport through the Gaul. Rome had control over any strategic location available to the Carthaginians during the war and this was all made possible by the sea. Analyzing this war specifically through the actions of the Roman Navy proves that the history of sea power is crucial in understanding the history of the world. Mahan asserts his belief in the importance of learning from history by stating, “The battles of the past succeeded or failed according as they were fought in conformity with the principles of war; and the seaman who carefully studies the causes of success or failure will not only detect and gradually assimilate these principles, but will also inquire increased
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