1506086037084The Great War in Europe had been raging for two and a half years before the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. The first U.S. Navy ships dispatched were the destroyers of Division Eight. On arriving at Queenstown, Ireland in May, they went into immediate service alongside the British Grand Fleet. The British government wanted United States ships to supplement shortages in Royal Navy flotillas, but the U.S. Navy did not want its ships separated. The difference of approach delayed the arrival of United States Battleship Division Nine until December 1917. It then entered service as the Sixth Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet. The squadron served in the North Sea. 

History Informs the Future Of American Sea Power at the U.S. Naval War College 

via the U.S. Naval War College Foundation web site

The U.S. Naval War College (USNWC) and the Naval War College Foundation (NWCF) have used the centenary of the first “great war” and the pandemic of 1918 to reconsider the historical influence upon contemporary discussions of future maritime strategy. Research in original documentary sources has enabled practitioners at the USNWC to develop fresh strategic perspectives about the future of American sea power. Just as Admirals Stephen B. Luce and Alfred Thayer Mahan used history with an applied purpose, the NWCF has encouraged contemporary historical research with the gracious support of the Pritzker Military Foundation, on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library.

Led by the experts at the Naval War College’s Hattendorf Historical Center, we have continued to discover fresh historical perspectives about the lasting influence of the First World War upon contemporary concepts of American sea power and the future of maritime strategy in the twenty-first century. The Naval War College Museum exhibit, To Win or Lose All, features singular artifacts recently donated to by the family of Admiral William S. Sims. As the first to command foreign naval forces in combat during the First World War, Sims also twice served as President of the Naval War College. Having learned from the methods pioneered by Sir Julian Corbett in the “Historical Section” of the Imperial Staff in London, Sims returned to the Naval War College to establish a “Historical Section” with Captain Dudley W. Knox and reserve Lieutenant Tracy Barrett Kittredge. The organization established in Newport later influenced the development of the “Historical Section” within the Office of Naval Intelligence under Dudley W. Knox. Within twenty years, the Historical Sections of the Naval War College and Office of Naval Intelligence evolved into the Office of Naval History within the context of the Second World War.

Naval War College efforts to use history as the foundation for achieving decisive results in both peace and war remained a guiding principle for the Office of Naval History. Notably, the President of the Naval War College, Admiral Edward C. Kalbfus, served as the first Director of Naval History with Commodore Dudley W. Knox serving as the deputy director. Meanwhile, Captain Tracy Barrett Kittredge helped synthesize the efforts of the Naval War College and the Office of Naval History. During service in Europe during the Second World War, Kittredge worked at the direction of Kalbfus and Knox to drive efforts behind enemy lines to secure enemy intelligence sources. In this role, Kittredge worked directly with U.S. Army Reserve Colonel John Nicholas Brown II. Brown remained closely involved with Kittredge during their postwar work together at the Naval War College, and, later, Brown became a founding member of the Naval War College Foundation.

Pursuant to understanding the influence of sea power upon history, the Naval War College continued developing means to use the past as a foundation for future strategy. After 1943, the President of the Naval War College, Vice Admiral William S. Pye expanded the historical research mission at the College — working in direct collaboration with the Office of Naval History, Office of Naval Intelligence, and joint service equivalents for the primary postwar purposes of establishing conditions for a sustainable peacetime end under the United Nations. Pye also built from the earlier work of the Naval War College. As the Second World War ended, Commodore Richard S. Bates also formed the Battle Studies Group with the assistance of other former Naval War College historians, including Knox and Kittredge. Notably, Bates also later joined forces with John Nicholas Brown II as a founding member of the NWCF. The Bates papers and those of the Battle Studies Group in the historical collections of the Naval War College remain a rich repository of documents and other sources, which will keep historians busy for many years to come. 

Read the entire article on the U.S. Naval War College Foundation web site here:


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