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The Relationship Between World War and the Future U.S Navy: The Victory at Sea: Naval Lessons of the Great War and the U.S Navy of the Twenty First Century.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Victory at Sea: Naval Lessons of the Great War and the U.S Navy of the Twenty First Century
Published15 Mar 2019
EventVictory at Sea

: Naval Lessons of the “Great War” and the U.S. Navy of the Twenty-First Century
- U.S Naval War College, Newport, United States
Duration: 13 Mar 201915 Mar 2019


ConferenceVictory at Sea

CountryUnited States


King's Authors


Attached Document contains paper abstract of 'The Relationship Between World War and the Future U.S Navy'

Conference Theme:

In January of 2017, the Naval War College marked the beginning of U.S. Naval involvement in the First World War by examining the cybernetic influence of the Zimmermann Telegram on American maritime strategy. Building from those earlier scholarly discussions, this conference marks the end of American involvement in the First World War by celebrating the centennial of the return to Newport of Admiral William S. Sims in March of 2019.

A century ago, the First World War raged in Europe, as Sims left campus as the President of the Naval War College to conduct a secret mission in London. He sailed incognito from New York, without a uniform, on 31 March 1917. After making the transatlantic voyage through waters patrolled by German submarines, Sims arrived in London on 10 April – four days after the formal American declaration of war.

Largely by default, he received the wartime mission of organizing U.S. Naval operations in European waters. Within fewer than six weeks, Sims promoted from the rank of captain to the temporary rank of three-star as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe. His friend, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, also enabled Sims to become the first U.S. Naval officer to hold formal command over Royal Navy forces in wartime. After the armistice, he received the promotion to four-star rank in December of 1918.

Sims had the opportunity to continue in four-star rank with the chance of serving as Chief of Naval Operations, or as a seagoing fleet commander. Instead, Sims volunteered for a second tenure as President of the Naval War College. The college reopened on 15 March 1919, and Sims made his triumphant return to Newport a month later. Drawing from wartime experiences as the first American to hold formal command over foreign naval forces as part of a multinational coalition, Sims returned to the Naval War College to overhaul the curriculum to support the idea of a multinational “League of Nations Navy” in the interwar period.

The educational reforms instituted by Sims enabled the Naval War College to inform American concepts of sea power. The naval lessons of the “great war” also informed Sims in writing the Pulitzer Prize winning memoir, The Victory at Sea. In the century since Sims returned from the First World War, the Naval War College is pleased to provide the academic forum for discussing the “Victory at Sea: Naval Lessons of the ‘Great War.’” Among other key themes, participants will discuss the historical legacy of Sims, the revolution in professional naval education after the first “great” war of the twentieth century, the vision of a U.S. Navy “second to none” within the context of a United Nations Navy after the Second World War, and the fundamental historical influence of the Naval War College as an international forum for historical scholarship and naval strategy into the twenty-first century – and beyond

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