Naval History: Britain’s Wireless and Its Impact (1919-1945)

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MA Naval History: Undermining Britain’s Imperial PowerWireless and Its Impact on Geopolitics and Naval Operations (1919-1945)


            The transition of sea power from the battleship dominated Royal Navy of the First World War to the carrier dominated United States Navy of the Second is well recorded in historiography. This research investigates a small but important part of that transition, elements of which have been previously researched, but where important connections have not been made and where in current British historiography the full picture has perhaps been hidden behind the achievements of one-man, Guglielmo Marconi.

            The contribution of wireless to the transition of sea power had its roots in the immediate aftermath of the First World War. This research reveals that it involved a somewhat clandestine effort by the United States Navy to undermine British dominance in global communications, at that time based on submarine cables. It reveals how Britain’s Imperial obligations and a post-war need for greater control over their communications by Britain’s Colonies also contributed to the undermining of the Royal Navy position.

            By a thorough review and new interpretations of existing historiography, plus some additional archive material, this work identifies connections between Geography, Economics, Technology and Political Will that were key in the United States Navy attaining a superior post-war position in wireless technology. It shows how these connections enabled them to benefit from Marconi’s discovery of Short-Wave Radio and how that discovery, by enhancing the role of signals intelligence, changed the face of naval operations forever.

Date and Time


Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 870 9205 6196
Passcode: 183760

  • Montreal
  • Canada H2W 2K4
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  • Starts 22 December 2020 08:31 AM
  • Ends 29 December 2020 08:31 PM
  • All times are Canada/Eastern
  • No Admission Charge


Mr. Peter Garland



Undermining Britain’s Imperial PowerWireless and Its Impact on Geopolitics and Naval Operations (1919-1945)