A One-way Street? Admiral James Somerville and Anglo-American Naval Relations, 1942

By Corbin Williamson, published August 2020


Admiral Sir James Somerville’s command of the Eastern Fleet in 1942 caused serious tensions in Anglo-American naval relations despite the admiral’s personal efforts to cultivate closer ties with the US Navy. Specifically, US Navy admirals such as Ernest King felt that while the US Navy had helped the Royal Navy in its hour of need, the favour was not returned by the British. Diverging assessments of the value of the Indian Ocean and the Royal Navy’s wartime experience were the critical factors that led to these tensions. This article highlights the limits of individual attitudes in shaping wartime Anglo-American naval relations. One admiral’s personal views could not overcome differences in British and American naval thinking which led to frustration and resentment rather than greater harmony.

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Filed under: WW2 | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

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