Book Review-‘Great Britain, International Law, and the Evolution of Maritime Strategic Thought, 1856–1914’ by G. A. Frei

By Matthew S. Seligmann, published March 2021


Until relatively recently the vast majority of studies of the laws of war at sea in the run up to 1914 have focused principally on the question of belligerent rights and the extent to which the future combatants in this conflict, mindful of their expectations of prospective hostilities, had sought to enhance or limit these rights prior to the fighting. With the inexorable teleological awareness of the role that navies would play in the prosecution of economic warfare during four intense years of total conflict, historians were particularly eager to know how the major belligerents had prepared for this mode of attritional combat, whether they had accurately foreseen the part and degree it would play in undermining the sinews of their opponents and whether the legal norms that had taken root over the course of one hundred years of mostly great power peace were genuinely expected to survive the onset of battle. Scholarship was shaped accordingly…

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Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

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