Essays in naval history from medieval to modern
Part 3, which examines the sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries, confirms that this period was one of significant change in naval organization and policy fueled by concurrent changes in state organization and advances in military and maritime technologies. As Nicholas Rodger states in his essay on the "new" Atlantic: "Important emphasis, however, is given to the strong relationship between domestic interests and overseas expansion and its implications for naval organization and warfare. In the sixteenth century, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and northern Europe collided" (p. 241). The essays in this section examine the transition from the medieval to the early modern world, engaging accepted naval theory more directly than do those essays addressing the earlier medieval period. Jan Glete's examination of sixteenth-century naval power in the Baltic explains the importance of technological change to the development of strong naval administrations in Denmark-Norway and Sweden at a time when the naval strength of the Hanse towns was waning. Rodger offers an insightful examination of the different forms of naval organization existing prior to the seventeenth century and the advent of Mahan's modern navy. His insistance that it is a mistake to clothe pre-modern maritime history in "modern dress" is one that Richard Unger continues in his conclusion.
Essays in Naval History, from Medieval to Mode… | …
Essays in Naval History, from Medieval to Modern
Advances in technological development, most particularly advances in military technology, are among the many factors considered by historians to have contributed to the rise of the West in the early modern era. The relationship between this technical advancement and social development is often thought to be reciprocal, even symbiotic. In the late-nineteenth century, German military historian Hans Delbrück was one of the first to address the interaction of military development and social change. He emphasized the relationship of strategy to policy, shifting historical focus from the fighting of war to the making of war. In the same vein, the work of the nineteenth-century naval theorist Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783 (1890), became a classic study on the interaction of military technology and economic development. His work influenced many twentieth-century scholars, who have effectively linked developments in maritime technology with those in the production and use of firearms to explain Europe's expansion during the early modern era, and especially its commercial dominance of other regions throughout the world. As John Hattendorf's perceptive introduction adumbrates, historians of medieval naval and maritime history have applied Mahan's theories to less effect.
Essays in Naval History, from Medieval to Modern.