Book Review-‘Warships After London: The end of the treaty era in the five major fleets, 1930–1936’ by J. Jordan

By Christopher W. Miller, published May 2021


Warships After London, John Jordan’s follow-up to 2011’s excellent Warships After Washington, aims to continue the story of naval fleet developments into the 1930s, and more specifically to cover the crucial years of the London Treaty of April 1930. This book, perhaps even more so than its predecessor, captures a period of rapid technological change. As Warships After Washington was (and is) one of this reviewer’s most relied-upon reference points for inter-war naval developments, 2020’s follow-up was something of a hard act to follow. Technological change is important, but there is no doubt that the book also covers an important, even critical, period in the history of seapower more generally. At the time of the London Treaty’s signing, armaments limitation was a widely accepted cornerstone of foreign policy among the world’s foremost military and naval powers, and the principal organization set up to maintain world peace, the League of Nations, appeared to be on a stable footing, even if the economic crisis rippling outwards from New York was beginning to cause tremors in Europe. Six and a half years later, the League of Nations had been reduced to near ruin, economic catastrophe had helped usher autarkic regimes to the forefront of global politics, and rearmament, rather than disarmament, was the pressing issue of the day. Indeed, hours after the after the conclusion of Jordan’s book, on 1 January 1937, Britain laid down the first two of five King George V class battleships in the largest such scheme of the inter-war years…

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Filed under: Interwar
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy

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