Alfred Thayer Mahan

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Mahan, Alfred Thayer


Born Sept. 27, 1840, in West Point, N. Y.; died Dec. 1, 1914, in Washington, D. C. American naval theorist and historian; rear admiral (1906).

Mahan graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1859 and fought in the Civil War of 1861–65 on the side of the North. He was president of the Naval War College in Newport, R. I., from 1886 to 1888 and from 1892 to 1893. He commanded a cruiser from 1893 to 1895 and retired in 1896. He served as a member of the Naval War Board in the Spanish-American War of 1898 and as a member of the American delegation to the first Hague Conference of 1899.

Mahan was the author of many works that contain an abundance of factual material to substantiate the lawlike regularity of wars and justify the aggressive wars of the USA. At the same time as the British theorist P. H. Colomb, he created and substantiated what was called the theory of sea power, in which the navy is considered the chief branch of the armed forces and is assigned the decisive role in any war. According to Mahan, to secure the command of the sea is the fundamental law of war and the only mission, which, when accomplished, will ensure victory over the enemy and world domination. Mahan’s theory, which reflected the political conception of the imperialist bourgeoisie, had a great influence on the development of the naval thinking of the USA and other imperialist states.


Vliianie morskoi sily na istoriiu 1660–1783. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941. (Translated from English.)
Vliianie morskoi sily na frantsuzskuiu revoliutsiiu i imperiiu (1793–1812), vols. 1–2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
Sea Power in Its Relations to the War of 1812, vols. 1–2. London, 1905.
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For more on the relationship between Clausewitz and Mahan, see Jon Sumida, Inventing Grand Strategy and Teaching Command: The Classic Works of Alfred Thayer Mahan Reconsidered, 113.
A century ago, a renowned military and naval strategist, Alfred Thayer Mahan, said:
The one imperialist who used, and reveled in, the words "empire," "imperialism," and "colony" was imperialism's intellectual priest, naval Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan.
Geoffrey Till follows with discussion of Sir Julian Corbett, and John Hattendorf similarly with Alfred Thayer Mahan.
He is interested in strategies that, like those of Frederick Jackson Turner and Carl Becker, influence "the American people" (that convenient fiction), or strategies that persuade politicians, particularly military leaders, more directly, as did those of Alfred Thayer Mahan and Barbara Tuchman.
Cadet Stephen Dodson Ramseur shared a more serious attraction to his civilian friend David Schenck in the 1850s, and Alfred Thayer Mahan sent very demonstrative and affectionate letters to Samuel Ashe for forty years after the two met as midshipmen at the Naval Academy during the late 1850s.
In Gat's study of nineteenth-century military thought, Delbrueck is one of the major foils against whom other writers--Wilhelm Ruestow, Julian Corbett, Alfred Thayer Mahan, Ivan Bloch, Ardant du Picq and Friedrich Engels to name only a few--are compared.
The godfather of the big battle fleet idea in America was a 19th-century naval officer named Alfred Thayer Mahan, an original faculty member and the second president of the Navy's think tank, the Naval War College.
a historical analysis by Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914), supplemented by The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793-1812 (1892).
God and Sea Power: The Influence of Religion on Alfred Thayer Mahan
The Naval War College, in the tradition of its most famous lecturer and president Alfred Thayer Mahan, once again has demonstrated its intellectual firepower in the effort to protect and promote U.
It might also be agreed that China, itself a continental power, has actually embraced not Mackinder, with his emphasis on the central Eurasian landmass, but the American Alfred Thayer Mahan, who emphasised the importance of control not over the heartland but rather over the sea routes.