The Mediterranean Sea is the maritime crossroads where Europe, Asia and Africa meet. It was the most intensely contested body of water in World War II. More major naval actions were fought in the Mediterranean than in the Atlantic or Pacific. Its waters witnessed carrier strikes, battle-line shootouts, cruiser-destroyer engagements, convoy attacks, coastal actions, amphibious assaults, and bitter submarine campaigns. Despite the importance of the Mediterranean war, however, its recent literature is remarkably sparse and largely one-sided. The Struggle for the Middle Sea is a fresh study of the Mediterranean naval war. It analyses the actions and performances of each of the five major navies, the British, Italian, French, German, and American within a chronological, operational narrative of the entire five year campaign, and examines, without partisanship, the national imperatives that drove much of the action. The Struggle for the Middle Sea sidesteps the myths that haunt this campaign, like Great Britain enjoyed a moral advantage over Italy, or the French were Germans puppets, or the North African campaign contributed to the eventual Allied victory. The book documents how the British Royal Navy, despite brilliant victories, was bled white in a campaign with questionable strategic goals; how Italy followed its own coherent naval strategy, much to the frustration of its German ally; how the Marine Nationale was the strength of the independent French state and how it fought the Allies--and rejected the Axis--to maintain that independence. Finally, while the book concentrates on the 1940 to 1943 period, it also covers Germany’s improvised and remarkably successful fighting withdrawal at sea from 1943-1945.
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“A welcome and clarifying addition to the existing literature on the Mediterranean campaign.” ―The Washington Times
“. . . .A remarkably thorough narrative and analysis of a complicated topic. . . .The breadth and depth of the author's research is impressive....This book belongs in any respectable library of World War II naval scholarship. Readers already familiar with the subject almost certainly will find something new in its narrative and interpretations, and newcomers to the field will find it an excellent place to start.” ―Nautical Research Journal
“A new and stunningly important view of World War II...a fabulously readable and important book.” ―Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategy Policy
The Mediterranean is the maritime crossroads where Europe, Asia, and Africa meet. More major naval actions were fought there than in the Atlantic or Pacific yet remarkably little has been written about the subject. This fresh study of the Mediterranean’s naval war analyzes the actions and performances of the five major navies―British, Italian, French, German, and American―during the entire five-year campaign and examines the national imperatives that drove each nation’s maritime strategy. Struggle for the Middle Sea provides a history of the entire campaign from all perspectives and covers Germany’s largely unknown―and remarkably successful―struggle to employ sea power in the Mediterranean after the Italian armistice.
Vincent P. O’Hara is a naval historian and the author and editor of numerous books including To Crown the Waves and On Seas Contested. He holds a history degree from the University of California at Berkeley and lives in Chula Vista, CA.About the Author:
Vincent P. O'Hara is an independent scholar and the author of nine works including five published by the Naval Institute Press, most recently Torch. His articles have appeared in the Naval War College Review, Warship, MHQ, Storia Militare, and other periodicals and journals. He holds a history degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
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