Imperialism at Sea

Naval Strategic Thought, the Ideology of Sea Power, and the Tirpitz Plan, 1875-1914


Was Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz' plan for naval expansion and the development of a "risk fleet" as a way to position Wilhelmine Germany as a world power to rival Britain so unique? This comparative study of the modern naval strategy of Germany, Britain, France, and the United States seeks to answer that question. First, Hobson is the only naval scholar to simultaneously compare the "Tirpitz Plan" with plans of the other leading nations of that time. Second, Hobson also interacts with how other scholars have assessed the complex interplay between naval history--both in and outside Germany--maritime law, and naval strategy. Hobson offers a unique interpretation of the causes and objectives of the German Imperial Navy at the end of the nineteenth century, forces that ultimately led to the First World War.

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Rolf Hobson is Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Defence Studies in Oslo. In 1999 he received a prize for scholarly merit from the Royal Norwegian Society of Science and Letters.
' …a thorough analysis of the development of German naval thought between 1875 and 1914.' Terrell D. Gottschall, International Journal of Maritime History. ' Hobson analyzes the rise of Imperial German naval power within the context of the changes in international relations, industrial development, and naval strategy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This thoroughly researched, well-organized volume adds much to the existing literature on Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz and Germany’s quest for sea power...Hobson has produced a welcome addition to the literature on the Imperial German navy. While specialists will find this work especially appealing, the even-handed discussion of the historiography makes it accessible to a broader audience of scholars and students seeking an introduction to the field.' Lawrence Sondhaus, Central European History, Vol. 37.