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Friday, January 05, 2007

The next naval race from 1918

The shape of future conflicts were already visible by 1918. There was great concern, in some circles, about the United States, and whether they might become the major rivals to Great Britain. In fact, though, the seeds of future cooperation were planted during 1917 and 1918. Stanley Goodall, future DNC, was advising the Americans when the war ended. The real threat lay in Japan, who had expansionist dreams and a great building program under way. The idealists stopped the immediate plans cold, with the Washington Naval Treaty of 1921. The effect of the treaty was to postpone the next naval race by 10 years. By the early 1930's, the next round of battleship building had commenced and existing ships were being modernized. The reality was, though, that every country was cheating, although the British at least felt guilty about it. The Japanese had no guilt, and as soon as they felt free to do so, they designed the Yamato class ships, developed an 18in gun, and started building under high security. They were the late 1930's embodiment of what would have been built in the 1920's. They were the only country to build any of the next generation ships.

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