tv Book Discussion on The U.S. Navy CSPAN March 30, 2016 9:05pm-10:10pm EDT
love for people. [laughter] please contact with the kitchen into the market we teach classes here all the time if you want to learn how to make your own and not by the package stuff. we have senator sheets. i don't know how much time you have but we have a meeting table and we reserve that meeting table. >> please either the book is fun to read. [inaudible conversations]
>> good evening. can you hear me? i and a program coordinator and i would like to welcome you to night to a very stimulating evening exploring with the history of the united states navy. always looking back to the smithsonian and added to u.s. neil history. and the first person to win the naval the excellence in teaching award had in
the prize for naval history in 2006. the 2008 book lincoln al and the admirals with the civil war in the lincoln prize and that abraham lincoln institute book award. the u.s. navy in to have available through the lecture hall. so with that said we will get you under way. from mr. craig simon. [applause] >> of very generous introduction.
i am delighted to be back at the smithsonian but also equally important for the exchange of ideas about where we have been very aware we are going. i am delighted so many have decided to come out on this rainy night to talk about the u.s. navy. the genesis is a short book that i wrote at the behest of my editors at oxford university press who has a series of very short introductions. can i have the first slide? it is also pretty colorful. id which the experts in various fields on a wide variety of topics specifically we are
commanded to write no more than 30,000 words. with those is to show history all encourage you to look into it. it is not the cliffs notes for those dollars to be synthetic stick to get away from that approach that is often an irresistible to many authors it look more broadly and philosophically at the big picture there are literally hundreds of titles in this series. to utopian end witchcraft some are ambitious or esoteric. the very short introduction
to complexity. to free will and to not ambitious enough there is this one. [laughter] i shouldn't complain about doing 250 years. it is a very short introduction into nothing but it is a philosophical discussion to think about broad strokes instead of starting at the beginning monday start with the present and i want to be as clear as possible.
the united states navy in 2015 is not only the most powerful seat for some of the planet, the most seafloors that has ever existed i have heard some alarmists readily -- rhetoric that somehow we're letting things slide. being alarmed seems to be quite popular these days. to note accurately there are fewer combat warships more than any time since world war i. tube hundred 83 is the current number. and by comparison in 45 there was a total of over
6,000 ships and commission and is a dramatic production. on the other hand, counting ships is not be accurate yardstick to measuring the influence it depends on what those ships can do. and with those technologies technology and in world war to the aircraft carrier displaced 30,000 tons and had airplanes with their range of two under miles delivering bombs that were aiming the airplane at your target to release the bomb. gravity did the rest. today they'd displays more than 100,000 tons the jet planes have range of 1200 miles thank kerry
laser-guided weapons of better so sophisticated that in 1945 they cannot even imagine. compared to the modern navy it is such a force. and with about a group with the embarked airplanes with the force that you see here has more potential firepower and destructive capability than the entire navy of any other nation on earth. and we have 10 of them. beside the tent that fly the american flag. day you know, which it is? not chinese or russian but the tricolor of france.
that ship is as we speak carrying out operations against isis forces in syria. it is about one-third the size of america's carriers. not russia or china or france to catch up with the united states navy during the lifetime of anyone here. but it is not always so. and 81 to have a navy and for half of the history there was a fierce debate initially it came from the american revolution the only
important role played. a private citizen could apply for a letter of markhor a permission slip to attack merchant ships of the enemy in those vessels that engaged to the practice for called privateers. they were small vessels often with only one master oregon as is the case in this example and packed with men who could serve as price cruz on the ships that the captured. they never fought a battle if they could help it but tusis of unarmed merchant ships and if they did they got to keep the ship and everything and.
one of two such captures made them rich because it isn't just the patriotism. during the american revolution those privateers captured 600 british merchant ships. you can do the math. but those who did got rich. this type of naval warfare not only made them wealthy but a wreaked havoc on british merchant commerce and many lost their ships and cargoes and all had to have dramatically increased maritime insurance rates. naturally they all complained to their representatives in the house of commons that created enormous pressure on the british government.
at the time they sought private tears as the maritime equivalent of a seagoing militia it was a military force that didn't require maintenance in peacetime or wartime since all of the expenses were borne by the shipowners. all the government had to do is print the permission slips relying on the private tears as the nation's primary seafloors was like having a navy of course, there were limits to what they could do. they could not fight off the enemy fleet many insisted a real nation needed a real they be. to show the flag overseas to protect american maritime interest abroad and command
the respect of other nations and private tears could do none of these. you needed the navy of national warships that meant ships this is an example of the kind of warship from the late 18th century and sun insisted the united states should have some of these as a symbol of the nation the problem is they were enormously expensive even if the money could be found no shipyard could build one in the united states couldn't build enough to make a difference it would be like throwing cold into the sea.
the best they can do is build a smaller type of warship called the frigate that is just beyond about this is also french but the key feature was the single roll of canon along both sides of the ship ever much smaller in within the hypothetical reach in the early republic during the revolution in the continental congress authorized 30 representing the 13 states creating the continental navy. this effort to build a real navy proves short of a disaster seven of the 13 in
the other six were immediately captured or destroyed by the british and essentially compared to the success of the privateers it was a story of overreach. the continental navy had one bright spot during the revolution that gave the fledgling navy when he won a signal victory off the coast of england itself. when given to him by the command of the french. this is the battle that jones responded to a demand i have not yet begun to fight it brings tears to my
eyes. and it still is but had absolutely no impact on the strategic outcome. it is worth pausing to note that the crew like on most warships as sailors come from every nation in europe frenchman in portuguese even english the ship captains from all nations willing to except anyone to point a gun. of today age of sail the captive may turn to the crew an offer on his own vessel and there wasn't much for those that accepted that kind of offer purpose if a few american successes have
a strategic impact it was the french fleet france became america's ally in 1777 and four years later the french fleet the one on the left drove the british fleet away from the chesapeake bay to keep cornwallis' trap dash yorktown for a franco american army that in hundreds of privateers to sap the al will of the house of commons to continue the war after cornwallis surrendered. the american navy ceased to exist warships were given away and sold off and went back to the merchant sailors.
there seem to be no good reason to have a navy. what is the point? but there was a threat from the city states of north africa from the early 19th century and to solve the problem congress authorized the construction of six new frigates it is tempting to see this as the nation decided not to have a navy because the ships were authorized for a specific task in the mediterranean could be bought off.
and we agreed to pay any annual tribute calculating it was cheaper than building the navy and if it was a war, it ended. since three of the six were near completion congress decided to complete those three but not the others. so for the first century of american history this was a pattern for the navy a small cadre of sailors to maintain a force of water to frigates to be carried out the dead duties of the navy and when roused by an emergency with the french for the british in 1812 to build up a temporary wartime fleet was again discarded.
reconstruction have been resolved by what was essentially a northern capitulation to the south worn out by passive and active resistance. northerners agreed to let southerners make their own rules about race relations which introduced a social arrangement known as jim crow that soon became aa national and not just sexual protocol for american race relations. 1890 census was published. not that the us is filled up by any means. this led americans to begin to look outward rather than in word. the 3rd influence that year was an otherwise obscure navy captain who
published aa book based upon his lectures at the naval war college in newport with the rather daunting title of the influence of seapower. 1660 to 7093. what he did was show how the small island country of great britain managed to become the greatest power on earth with an empire on which the sun never set on the secret, he said comeau was seapower. the fleet of battleships allowed britain to secure sea lanes which brought wealth to trade which brought power. here was a simple formula for anyone now this did not cause a change in american
not for any particular purpose but in the conviction that somehow a great nation should have some battleships. and was secretary had call the splendid little war it was a milestone in our nations history. the new battleships of the u.s. navy utterly destroy the older and weaker spanish vessels the 1st important
when the world war broke out in 1914 the united states immediately declared his determination inevitably ostensibly the reason was american opposition unrestricted submarine warfare by the early 20th century united states have become too prominent and powerful to remain involved in those great power rivalries. once again those were hot battle ships, the british had quite enough of those. they needed convoys to fend off the u-boats. they set aside those battleships and cruisers in
1919 in the end of the war the united states was the largest naval power on earth. or would be as soon as it finished building those 20 or so battleships and battle cruisers still sitting on the building way. traditionally the united states has now began to divest itself of those wartime ships and it did but in a way that allowed it to maintain its knew global superiority. it is. invited the other naval power -- powers to join the united states or plan demobilization. the rye the united states and britain maintained an equal number of battleships
it was not only the largest navy on earth it was larger than all the other navies combined. in the 18 months the navy processed out three and a half million men and scrapped or mothballed thousands of ships but it did not return to its peacetime talker due to the almost immediate onset of the cold war the united states took more than 1000 ships on apt to have kept more than a thousand ships on active service.
the numbers vary from 300 to 500. fun to boost the numbers reaching a peak of 592 including a number of refurbished older ships kept on active service more to make a statement. reached on law in 2,007, 278 283. critics are correct to note that by historic standards this is a low number, but as i suggested, that is misleading. if we use lightly longer lenses the current number is significantly greater than the nations historical average. the real difference is the
nation has now accepted and even embraced the notion that we should not only have a powerful navy but that it should be, and d, and he that it must be the most powerful navy on earth and that we should shoulder the responsibility of patrolling patrolling the world's oceans come on duty that we did not believe fell on us until our generation. whether that is good, bad, good, bad, or simply a fact of life, it is a conversation we could have later on. i am almost finished in the can go to q&a. let me make a brief comment about the navy as an institution. like all great national public institutions, the u.s. navy is a mirror of our culture and values as well as our strengths command there are few ways in which the navy is dramatically different than the 19th or 20th century. as noted earlier, the
principal duty of crewmen was to move heavy objects around which is why especially in britain men were often recruited by simply banging them over the head and dragging on board. we were a bit more settled in the us, not particularly picky. by the 20th century this was no longer the case not only due to a more enlightened view of citizen rights but also because service in the late 20th and certainly in the 21st century requires much more sailors then pulling on a rope and moving a canon around the deck. aviation electronics technician, information systems technician, missile technician, though the traditionalists someone you will no doubt be glad to hear we still have thinners
the officers were all white. cooks, stewards, or some other support role. that began changing in the 1960s and accelerated in the 70s and obviously there are no such restrictions today. in fact, 10 percent of the navy's emeralds are african-american. nor is the navy any longer all mail. women began serving as early as the civil war when they volunteered as nurses. when the call went out the expectation was that the volunteers would be mail. nurses were almost exclusively male. when women volunteered no one knew what to do and so their service was accepted. during the 20th century
the navy net -- navy manpower needs for such that the navy reached out. there is irony and obvious sexism in this recruiting poster from 1917, but within months women did indeed join thejoined the navy initially as secretaries and administrators within a wide variety of posts, though not on, ships. world war ii the navy eagerly sought women for was called the wave, an acronym for women accepted for voluntary emergency service. by 1943 there were 27,000 women in the navy. this time they serve not only as administrative assistance of met people think women in the navy are
still in the waves. they are not. the navy reflects the nation at large. 20 percent identify as black , a slightly larger percentage than the country as a whole. latinos make up 16 percent. 18 percent of women and the laws that previously barred them from combat of come down as well. the last barrier in the navy was breached in 2011 when two women reported on board one of the navy's nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines. you may have seen in the news to army officers who were women accepted and successfully passed ranger training. so far know female seals, but i am sure it is only a
matter of time, and not long. finally, gays and lesbians now openly serve in the army and navy. the uniform code of military justice made homosexuality a crime punishable of physical punishment as well as dishonorable discharge, but no more and from my view no one of the 30 seems to care. "this up for the general patriotic and alec forward to your questions. thank you. [applause] now, because we are being recorded for c-span tonight, if you have a question i ask you to come up to the microphone so that the viewers can here your question in order after repeated. we can get through this
efficiently. and even now the idea of airplane attacking what is the defense for carrier group, any nation that has ballistic missiles. >> the technology is remarkable. i will point out the ship cc escorting the big carrier which do not go to sea without escorts, never did, and, and they carry with them a number of defensive capabilities. they can shoot down inbound missiles.
and they are very well protected. but too many eggs in the two few baskets. >> ran through the northern. >> hundreds. the subject of attacks on the lincoln administration. the new york "herald" was particularly vicious because so often confederate ships managed to run this blockade. the blockade runners got through anyway. are you in missiles? no blockade could be utterly
impermeable. the number of ships the never tried to run the blockade because they feared capture by the blockading ships. while most did so successfully thousands did not do so. it was reduced by more than 90% in90 percent in just the 1st year of the war. and actively blockading force that strangled the economy. >> mentioned briefly the conflicts within the navy. oriented.
that promotions have been based more on the willingness and ability of officers to cooperate within and among service branches. being a purple suitor and put them on the hot cycle they would come out purple. someone who embraces all of the services together and is not committed to my specialty. it used to be you got promoted by your own specialty. now being a purple suitor is
a fasta fast-track to promotion which has changed the dynamic and culture. and virtually everyone is a purple suitor. i think that is a good thing. not that we do not squabble a little, the army. >> tomorrow night you are having dinner. before the navy people from the very beginning through last night, who would you have dinner with and why? >> a trick question. there are, i think, and all the services but particularly the navy to personality types. the chester nimitz type, quiet, contemplative, thoughtful, widely read individual who will listen as well as talk and the bull
halsey type who wants to grip the bit in his teeth and go kill jobs. i particularly admire the former. both nimitz and raymond, his sometimes piece chief -- sometimes chief of staff was described as being more like a professor the naval officer which is probably why like him. i will probably pick surrogate for much the same reason and just to stir the drink stephen decatur because although he was the bit in the teeth sort of commander he died so young and age 30 that is brilliance never had an opportunity to show on the world stage.
>> the nimitz, chester nimitz, raymond spruance, david glasgow surrogate from the civil war era and stephen decatur from the age of sail. they were the quiet warriors. thoughtful rather than reactive commanders. last one was stephen decatur. the bit in the teeth go get the bad guys. and you need some of those. you want one on your side things get tough. but maybe not at the dinner table.
>> 282 active ships. give us an idea? >> i cannot off the top of my head. there is a wonderful book that comes out every year from the most recent addition, and it outlines the navy of every nation on earth. it is a fat books, as you might suspect. we talk about spies and so forth. i would recommend jane's fighting ships. i mentioned carriers in particular. the carriers are enormous. a hundred 10,000 tons of displacement. dozens of billions of dollars.
and then of course the embarked airways. the budget is greater than the entire budget of any other navy on the planet. enormously effective and capable. the next largest, the frigate destroyer types, the term borrowed from the age of sail now applied to a slightly larger surface combatant worship, many of these in the designations change all the time. we just decided we would call that a frigate, too. when you think of a navy ship a frigate type vessel
would be most popular. very impressive. they have visiting days. i recommend it. >> somewhat related to earlier questions my marines often say the navy provide them a right to various locations. he is not able to talk too much. could you say more? >> the idea of the last 25 years is that the navy is less frequently going to be called upon to fight a conventional falls gail global naval war