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WETTERN, Desmond. The Decline of British Seapower. (London) : Janes, (1982). First Edition. Pp (10),1- 452,(2) + 32 pages of b&w photos. Maps and tables in the text. 8vo, red cloth, silver lettering to spine.
A book which traces how the Royal Navy has transformed itself strategically and socially under pressures of political and economic neglect in the post-World War Two period.
"This important, timely and controversial book is an almost month by month account of the many activities of the Royal Navy since 1945. Although Britain can take great pride in the achievements of its post-war Navy, this book is also a cogent argument for a larger and more efficient Navy able, once again, to play its traditional role as principal defender of an island nation depending almost entirely on seaborne trade.
From Palestine to the Pacific islands, from Iceland to Indonesia, the Royal Navy for the past quarter of a century has played a part in virtually every incident in which Britain was involved beyond her shores. Hardly a month went by in which British warships were not called upon somewhere to perform their centuries old task of providing 'a security for such as pass on the seas upon their lawful occasions' — whether protecting merchant ships from the forces of power-hungry dictators East of Suez or fishermen against the depredations of foreign poachers in the Channel.
Economic problems, bureaucratic delays and successive political leaders, by their failure like many before them to understand the continuing importance of the Navy to Britain, have reduced it to a shadow of its power of even twenty years ago, and this is a process that continues unchecked.
Desmond Wettern's book is a fascinating history which shows not only that the Navy, against a background of an almost constant shortage of men, money and ships, has served the nation and the world well, particularly in the field of safety at sea: minesweeping, survey work, charting and destroying wrecks, inventing a more efficient method of carrier landings and safer escape systems for submarines.
It has, like the society from which it springs, changed almost beyond the recognition of those who served in it in the Second World War. Missiles have replaced guns, helicopters largely do the work of destroyers and one nuclear submarine is more powerful than whole battlefleets of the past.
It is also an account of social changes. Today's sailor going ashore in sweater and jeans would find it hard to comprehend a system that could decree that an off-white uniform lanyard or a scuffed shoe could doom plans for a weekend's leave. Similarly, rare indeed would be a naval officer of today who believes, as did many sailors thirty years ago, that 'a Commander Royal Navy can do most things but a Captain Royal Navy can do anything he pleases'." - from the dj.
24 chapters running down chronologically + Epilogue 1971-82.
With Appendix : Strength of the Fleet 1947 - 1981.
With bibliography and index.
Very good in unclipped dustjacket. 60.00
Title: Decline of British Seapower. First Edition in dustjacket.
Publisher: Janes, 1982,: 1982
ISBN Number: 0710600437
ISBN Number 13: 9780710600431
Item: 1.00 Item
Seller ID: 35251