Book Review-‘Crisis in the Mediterranean: Naval competition and Great Power politics, 1904−1914’ by J. J. Hendrickson

By David Morgan-Owen, published November 2020


All too often naval historians of the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been guilty of focusing upon developments in Europe’s northern waters. In many ways this is an understandable trend; the temptation to focus upon the Anglo-German naval arms race, which has become emblematic of the growing tensions between Britain and Germany in the years preceding the outbreak of the First World War, is clear. However, such an approach risks overlooking the important developments occurring in the navies of other European powers, to say nothing of those taking place in the United States and elsewhere. To ignore the dynamic, multi-vectoral arms race unfolding in the Mediterranean before the outbreak of war in 1914 is thus to misunderstand both the balance of naval power in a broader sense and to view the Anglo-German competition in isolation; a luxury contemporary politicians and planners did not have. In this book, based upon the author’s doctoral dissertation, Jon K. Hendrickson sets out to counter the emphasis placed upon Anglo-German developments by retelling the story of naval competition in the Mediterranean in the decade before the outbreak of the First World War. In doing so, Hendrickson sets himself the ambitious task of situating naval developments at the heart of the Great Power relationships which ultimately led to the outbreak of war in 1914. ‘Ultimately, then,’ Hendrickson writes, ‘this is a study that seeks to enhance our understanding of the context that surrounded the outbreak of World War I’ (p. 12)…

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Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

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