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.