ordnance and gunnery, was instrumental in
equipping the all-steel Navy with improved
weapons systems. Against strong protests from
the Navy, Dahlgren demanded improved weap-
ons. He designed a new, reinforced gun breech;
advocated the first real sights; and urged the
rifling of cannons.
One of the reasons the Navy expanded during
this period was President Theodore Roosevelts
enthusiasm for a strong Navy. A large Navy gave
Roosevelt the opportunity to carry out his policy
of speak softly and carry a big stick.
WORLD WAR II
1 Sep. 1939
31 Oct. 1941
7 Dec. 1941
WORLD WAR I
1 May 1915
6 Apr. 1917
11 Nov. 1918
SS Gulfight torpedoed by Ger-
man submarine. First American
merchantman sunk by sub-
marine in World War 1.
United States declares war
against Germany. Navy strength
at 4,376 officer and 69,680
enlisted. United States seizes
and interns German ships in
World War I ends.
World War I involved a struggle between the
predominance of land power versus naval power.
Germanys leaders should have recognized that
the British navy, rather than the French army, was
Germanys principal barrier to success. A correct
appraisal of this situation as early as 1905, when
Germany began an earnest buildup of naval
strength, might have resulted in a reallocation of
Germanys war-making resources. Such action
could have provided Germany with a navy strong
enough to defeat the British navy. As it was,
Germanys leaders believed in land power.
Therefore, the Imperial army was the favored
servicea fact that caused Admiral von Tirpitz
to lament, We Germans do not understand the
sea! Too late, Germany recognized the U-boat
force, a powerful flotilla of submarines, as its
deadliest offensive weapon. Although the
measures taken by von Trpitz to expand the naval
arm of the German navy were extensive, his
efforts were never quite enough.
8 Dec. 1941
4 May 1942
4 Jun. 1942
6 Jun. 1944
23 Oct. 1944
9 May 1945
6 Aug. 1945
2 Sep. 1945
World War II begins as German
troops invade Poland.
USS Reuben James is torpedoed
and sunk by German submarine
off Iceland; about 100 sailors
killed. This is the first U.S.
naval vessel to be lost by enemy
action in World War II.
Japanese attack Pearl Harbor;
President orders mobilization of
United States declares war on
Battle of Coral Sea takes place;
this is the first carrier-versus-
carrier engagement and the first
battle in modern history in
which opposing ships do not
exchange shots; all damage is
inflicted by aircraft.
Battle of Midway (4-6 June)
begins; this battle is turning
point of war.
Allied Expeditionary Force
invades Western Europe. Land-
ings are made on the beaches of
Battle of Leyte Gulf takes place.
V-E Day occurs as Germany
surrenders unconditionally to
Western Allies and the Soviet
First atomic bomb is dropped
on Hiroshima, Japan.
World War II ends.
During World War II the Germans once again
demonstrated shortsightedness and the incapacity
to make the best use of their resources in sea
power. Again, they failed to plan for control of
the sea by building an adequate number of ships.