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Arms Races in International PoliticsFrom the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century$
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Thomas Mahnken, Joseph Maiolo, and David Stevenson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198735267

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735267.001.0001

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The Anglo-German Naval Race, 1898–1914

The Anglo-German Naval Race, 1898–1914

(p.21) 1 The Anglo-German Naval Race, 1898–1914
Arms Races in International Politics

Matthew S. Seligmann

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the dynamics of the Anglo-German naval race focusing in particular on the impact of continuous technological development and its natural concomitant ever-rising costs. It demonstrates that the consequences of these core features fell more heavily on the German Navy than the Royal Navy, a fact that was not only anticipated by the framers of British naval policy, but was deliberately used by them to impose burdensome cost constraints on their opponents. The result was that Germany, whose leaders had hoped to participate in a simple single-metric competition, needed to funnel ever greater resources into the naval race in order to participate— something they were unable to do in the long term. The result was a British victory brought about by a deliberate strategy of financial pressure.

Keywords:   arms race, naval arms race, origins of the First World War, Royal Navy, Admiral Tirpitz, dreadnought battleship, sea power

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