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Theodore Roosevelt's Naval Diplomacy: The U.S. Navy and the Birth of the American Century Hardcover – July 1, 2009
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About the Author
- Publisher : Naval Institute Press; First Editiion edition (July 1, 2009)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1591143632
- ISBN-13 : 978-1591143635
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,698,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Theodore Roosevelt appears to have been very good at recognizing brilliance in others. He became friends with and adapted wholesale Alfred Thayer Mahan's theoretical constructs for creating a strong navy as an indispensable adjunct to international trade. But he also looked to advice from such practical naval officers as William Sims who was an outstanding naval gunner of the period. Roosevelt and his naval advisors were at the forefront bringing the latest technology (such as wireless radio) to naval development. Roosevelt adopted the concept of the all big gun battleship as the back bone of the fleet, but also understood the importance of the marine torpedo and promoted the torpedo boat and latter the submarine. In doing this Roosevelt and his advisors created the foundation for the dominance that the U.S. Navy enjoys today.
Finally, although Hendrix does not really emphasize this, Roosevelt clearly recognized the value of the U.S. Marine Corps as central to the concept of force projection. It was during his administration that the Marines firmly established their reputation as the protectors of American interests in abroad.
This excellent book discusses with Roosevelt's understanding that the US navy is a critical instrument of a successful foreign policy, his strong advocacy for Congress to expand and improve the navy, his personal "hands on" intervention in the navy to modernize the service and his use of the navy in world affairs. The book's well written chapters present how Roosevelt adeptly used the navy to enforce the Monroe Doctrine to counter Imperial Germany and Great Britain in Central America. Personalities and the background events are clearly presented without getting lost in details. It documents how this gifted and energic leader grew in sophistication as he guided the rise of America on the world stage with the "big stick" available if needed.
This is not a book about war, it is an excellent book about a proven leader. During Roosevelt's presidency America's rose to become one of the world's great powers without fighting a war.
Before he was President, Teddy Roosevelt had a long history with the Navy. This experience was to have a profound effect on how he applied naval power during his future Presidency. As his honors thesis, Roosevelt chose to write "the Naval War of 1812", which Hendrix claims "remains a mainstay of historical literature surrounding the subject." Hendrix continues "That a civilian barely out of college (or still in college, in the case of the early chapters) grasped the technicalities of these great clashes still amazes readers." It was Roosevelt's expert work on this book that opened the door to be a lecturer at the Naval War College where he met Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan. Hendrix documents how this relationship blossomed, culminating in Roosevelt's selection as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. In his final acts as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt shifted American naval power from coastal defense to power projection.
Hendrix states "Few incidents of recent history have remained as clouded as the Venezuela Crisis of 1902-1903." He continues "[a] careful review of the official millitary records of the military commanders on the scene provides and unmistakable picture of Roosevelt's intentions in the Caribbean during the winter of 1902-03." Hendrix indeed makes the case for the careful application of American naval power in response to German colonial ambitions in South America.
Next Hendrix reviews the American naval response to the Columbian Senate's rejection of the "carefully crafted Hay-Herrain Treaty, by which the United States would be granted access to a narrow strip of land across the Columbian province of Panama." The author asserts "[t]he canal had long occupied the center fo Theodore Roosevelt's foreign policy, and he was determined to see it built." In response to the Columbian government, Roosevelt sent a naval flotilla and the Marines to secure the land required for what is now the Panama Canal.
Following the two succesful applications of naval power, Roosevelt naturally assumed the Navy and Marines could handle some pirates who took American citizens hostage. Hendrix examines the limitations of naval power for this scenario in Morocco.
No discussion of Teddy Roosevelt and the Navy can ignore the "Great White Fleet". Hendrix expertly reviews the implications of Roosevelt's influence on the transformation of the American navy and the ability of it to open up the closed empire of Japan.
In addition to the military application of naval power, Roosevelt also was an expert diplomat. Hendrix discusses how Roosevelt served as the intermediary between the warring Japanese and Russians, after the former's defeat of the latter at Tsushima Strait in 1905. It was for his work at the peace conference in Portsmouth, that Roosevelt earned the Nobel Peace Prize.
I was fascinated with the role that Theodore Roosevelt has played in American naval power. Being new to the subject, I was impressed with Hendrix' ability to explain the influences of this great man on the navy. This book is a great case study in the roles naval power play in the DIME (Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economic) pillars of foreign policy. It is a great read, and I highly recommend it.