Crisis in the Mediterranean: Naval Competition and Great Power Politics, 1904-1914 (New Perspectives on Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology)

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9781612514758: Crisis in the Mediterranean: Naval Competition and Great Power Politics, 1904-1914 (New Perspectives on Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology)
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Prior to July 1914, the extensive British grip on the
Mediterranean Sea was beginning to weaken, leading to a
wide-open competition between Austria-Hungary, Italy,
France, and Great Britain. This change, Hendrickson
contends, was driven by three largely understudied events:
the weakening of the British Mediterranean Fleet to provide
more ships for the North Sea, Austria-Hungary's decision to
build a navy capable of operating in the Mediterranean, and
Italy's decision to seek naval security in the Triple Alliance
after the Italo-Turkish War. These three factors radically
altered the Mediterranean balance of power, forcing
Britain and France to come to a mutual accommodation
and accelerate ship construction to defend their respective
interests in the region. However, the July Crisis and the
ensuing World War obscured these events, leading later
historians to ignore these events.

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From the Inside Flap:

The geopolitical situation in the Mediterranean before the First World War generally has been ignored by historians. In the years leading up to the war, however, waning British control of the sea occupied the minds of leaders from Austria-Hungary, Italy, and France to the isles of Great Britain. This change was driven by three largely understudied events: the weakening ability of the British Mediterranean Fleet to provide more ships for the North Sea, Austria-Hungary's decision to build a navy capable of operating in the Mediterranean, and Italy's decision to seek naval security in the Triple Alliance after the Italo-Turkish War. These three factors radically altered the Mediterranean situation in the years leading up to the First World War, and they forced Britain and France to seek accommodation from each other. These power shifts also prompted the French to undergo a rapid naval build up, commissioning new warships to defend their own interests as well as those of the British. All of this activity has been largely obscured by the July Crisis of 1914 and the ensuing world war. Traditional history has looked backward through the lens of the war in order to explain the situation in the Mediterranean in 1914. Hendrickson, however, reverses course, chronicling the naval and diplomatic events that unfolded in the region prior to the outbreak of fighting in order to understand how policymakers perceived the changing Mediterranean world they desperately wanted to control.

About the Author:

Jon Hendrickson is a PhD in military history from The Ohio State University. He was the first Class of 1957 Fellow in Naval History at the United States Naval Academy.

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