Discussion:
AHC: Make Anglo-American Naval Competition a non-issue without any formal treaties
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Rob
2017-07-15 16:55:58 UTC
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The victorious Allied powers turned on each other right quick after WWI, viewing each other as threats, with the Americans and British and Japanese persisting in competitive naval building. This was resolved after a couple years via the Washington Treaties in OTL.

What would it have taken for either the U.S. or the U.K to not care overmuch if the other one overtook them in the naval sphere and to have a naval policy just built on their own unilateral concerns and budgetary circumstances?

What would the fleets of the world, and the geopolitics of the world, look like in 1930 under such circumstances?
John Dallman
2017-07-15 17:44:00 UTC
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Post by Rob
What would it have taken for either the U.S. or the U.K to not
care overmuch if the other one overtook them in the naval sphere
and to have a naval policy just built on their own unilateral
concerns and budgetary circumstances?
This is quite difficult. The British Empire was utterly dependent on
shipping, as had been pointed out very clearly by the German U-boats. A
British fleet adequate to defend shipping inevitably had the capability
to interfere with US overseas trade.

That isn't quite as bad for the USA as the corresponding restriction is
for the UK, but it still results in the US sustaining huge financial
losses. If the US became very, very isolationist, such that it became
unacceptable to own anything overseas, or to trade with foreigners, that
would do it, but this would also cause a world-wide economic collapse.

John
Rob
2017-07-18 03:26:03 UTC
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Post by John Dallman
Post by Rob
What would it have taken for either the U.S. or the U.K to not
care overmuch if the other one overtook them in the naval sphere
and to have a naval policy just built on their own unilateral
concerns and budgetary circumstances?
This is quite difficult. The British Empire was utterly dependent on
shipping, as had been pointed out very clearly by the German U-boats. A
British fleet adequate to defend shipping inevitably had the capability
to interfere with US overseas trade.
That isn't quite as bad for the USA as the corresponding restriction is
for the UK, but it still results in the US sustaining huge financial
losses. If the US became very, very isolationist, such that it became
unacceptable to own anything overseas, or to trade with foreigners, that
would do it, but this would also cause a world-wide economic collapse.
John
It does strike me as easier for the U.S. to not care about naval superiority than for Britain. After all the U.S. had lived with being way behind a larger British fleet its whole national life. Plus, it hadn't been used in anger against the US for over a hundred years, and since the 1890s even the navally superior British had time and again decided to avoid standing in the way of the US getting anything it really wanted.

At the same time, the British could have taken that logic further and seen that America was impossible to compete with, and not really a competing power, as America never escalated business competition to naval action, and the one time it projected its power into Europe and the Atlantic is was on the same side as Britain.
kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
2017-07-18 09:03:00 UTC
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Post by Rob
It does strike me as easier for the U.S. to not care about naval
superiority than for Britain.
There are several factors to consider, the aims of the USN and the RN,
and the willingness of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to fund
these aims. The RN needed cruisers as well as capital ships and was
seriously annoyed when later treaties imposed limits on non capital ship
construction.
Rob
2017-07-20 02:53:37 UTC
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Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by Rob
It does strike me as easier for the U.S. to not care about naval
superiority than for Britain.
There are several factors to consider, the aims of the USN and the RN,
and the willingness of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to fund
these aims. The RN needed cruisers as well as capital ships and was
seriously annoyed when later treaties imposed limits on non capital ship
construction.
Which later treaties, 1930 London?

While we're at it, does anybody think Britain's budgetary "ten year rule" limiting naval spending hurt Britain in WWII?
kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
2017-07-20 09:02:00 UTC
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Post by Rob
Which later treaties, 1930 London?
The 1930 London treaty put limits on cruiser construction and the 1936
London treaty extended these to everything but sloops.

As for the ten year rule Capital ships and aircraft carriers were
limited by Washington anyway until 1930 (later extended for capital ships
until 1936) when British rearmament actually started. Where it hurt was
in the preservation off older ships that could have been used as convoy
escorts, though surviving V and W and S class destroyers required
extensive conversion work. It also slowed the conversion of WW1 cruisers
(C and D class) into AA vessels. New construction was affected but not
that significantly. What was slowed significantly was the development of
new weapons and equipment for all services

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