Naval Strategic Thought, the Ideology of Sea Power, and the Tirpitz Plan, 1875-1914
Author: Rolf Hobson
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.
Author: Rolf Hobson

At the end of the Cold War, American neoconservatives posed as the conscious inheritors of the civilizing mission of 19th century liberalism and the British Empire. They advocated the use of force, if necessary, to export democracy and free markets to those areas of the world which were cut off from the benefits of globalization. Although a tightly knit group mostly comprised of defense intellectuals, the neocons could draw on strong, cross-party currents in US political culture, as well as historical interpretations and fashionable social science theories, to buttress their arguments. Meanwhile, the dominant strategic concept of the 1990s, the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs, held out the promise that regime change was a feasible, even facile task for the US military. The unacknowledged American nationalism underlying the various strands of this programme blinded its proponents, and public opinion, to the resistance it would engender.

In: Civilizing Missions in the Twentieth Century
In: Northern European Overture to War, 1939-1941
Volume Editors: Boris Barth and Rolf Hobson
The civilizing mission associated with nineteenth-century colonialism became harder to justify after the First World War. In an increasingly anti-imperialist culture, elites reformulated schemes for the “improvement” of “inferior” societies. Nation building, social engineering, humanitarianism, modernization or the spread of democracy were used to justify outside interventions and the top-down transformation of non-western, international or even domestic societies.

The contributions in Civilizing Missions in the Twentieth Century discuss how these justifications influenced Polish nation building, Scandinavian disarmament proposals and technocratic social policies in the interwar years. Treatment of the second half of the century covers the changing cultural context of European humanitarianism, as well as the influence of American social science on US foreign policy, more particularly democracy promotion.

Contributors are: Boris Barth, Rolf Hobson, Jürgen Osterhammel, Frank Ninkovich, Bianka Pietrow-Ennker, Karen Gram-Skjoldager, Esther Moeller, and Jost Dülffer.