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Decision in the AtlanticThe Allies and the Longest Campaign of the Second World War$
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Marcus Faulkner and Christopher M. Bell

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781949668001

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9781949668001.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

The Atlantic War, 1939–1945

The Atlantic War, 1939–1945

The Case for a New Paradigm

(p.5) 1 The Atlantic War, 1939–1945
Decision in the Atlantic

Marc Milner

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter by Marc Milner challenges the popular perception of the "Battle of the Atlantic" as a shooting war, and the notion that Allied strategy was impaired by the depredations of Germany's U-boats. He asserts that the Atlantic war of 1939-45 is better understood like the great maritime wars of the age of sail, in which battle played a small part in the larger struggle for resource accumulation and the application of power ashore. The British and Canadians understood the Atlantic war in precisely this way, and focused on avoidance of the enemy as their primary method of defending shipping. In contrast, the USN followed a Mahanian concept of naval warfare in which destruction of the enemy was the underlying concept of escort operations. In this "new" paradigm, the Allied (really British) victory over the U-boats in 1943 was not something that could be achieved quickly. Rather, like the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, it was the culmination of a long process that forced the enemy to stand and fight in a campaign he had already lost.

Keywords:   Battle of the Atlantic, maritime air forces, naval control of shipping, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Navy, U-boat, United States Navy, wolf pack

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