Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-6954-5 • Hardback • August 2017 • $45.00 • (£35.00)
978-1-4422-6955-2 • eBook • August 2017 • $42.50 • (£30.00)
Lawrence Sondhaus was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He received his BA at Elon University and, after studying as a Fulbright Scholar in Austria, he obtained his PhD at the University of Virginia. Since 1987 he has been on the faculty of the University of Indianapolis, where he currently serves as professor of history and director of the graduate program in history. He is the author of thirteen books on naval and military strategy and policy, including Strategic Culture and Ways of War, World War I: The Global Revolution, and The Great War at Sea: A Naval History of the First World War. He lives in Indianapolis.
Chapter 1: Origins
Chapter 2: False Start
Chapter 3: Interlude
Chapter 4: Preparation
Chapter 5: The Sharpest Weapon
Chapter 6: Falling Short
Chapter 7: Anxious Months
Chapter 8: Defeat
Chapter 9: Aftermath
Sondhaus, professor of history at the University of Indianapolis, concisely and perceptively analyzes Germany’s U-boat campaign during WWI. He correctly describes the genesis of total war at sea as a response to a British surface blockade that, from the war’s beginning, was an ever-tightening noose around the Reich’s economic windpipe. The German navy’s relative ineffectiveness against its opponent further encouraged the German high command to seek an alternative—even at the risk of offending the U.S., whose economic interests were linked to the principle of freedom of the seas. Germany’s submarine force was small; its primary objective was intercepting warships, not merchantmen. Doctrine and policy for the projected campaign were embryonic, and, as Sondhaus shows, the resulting false start culminated in the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania and significantly antagonized America without seriously troubling Britain. By 1916, with the war stalemated, the German government saw ‘no alternative’ to unrestricted submarine warfare, whatever the risks of U.S. intervention. The results were immediate, Sondhaus notes: America’s declaration of war and the Royal Navy’s adaptation of ‘convoys, countermeasures, and [mine] barrages.’... [Sondhaus] persuasively demonstrates how Germany’s submarine policy cost them the war.
— Publishers Weekly
In this compelling study of the impact of the law on warfare, Lawrence Sondhaus demonstrates how the German decision to adopt unrestricted submarine warfare failed to win the First World War, brought the United States into the conflict, and ultimately sank Imperial Germany.
— Andrew Lambert, Laughton Professor of Naval History, King's College, London
In yet another gem from one of naval history's finest practitioners, Sondhaus offers a brilliant thesis, flawless research, and perfect readability.This investigation into Germany’s choice of unrestricted submarine warfare as one of the earliest applications of total-war thinking and its devastating miscalculations should be widely read and discussed.
— Eric Rust, Baylor University
Lawrence Sondhaus has given us a lucid, engrossing, and well-documented examination of a portentous development in the history of warfare. Those in search of the operational history of German U-boat operations in World War I, accompanied by a pithy analysis of the fateful political and strategic decisions that led to their employment against unarmed merchant vessels, need look no further.
— John Beeler, University of Alabama
Sondhaus tells his tale well and adds instructive accounts on the operational history of the German submarines. He also offers an interesting account of the contemporary and subsequent German debate about how best to conduct submarine warfare. Drawing heavily on German memoirs, this is a useful contribution to naval history, more especially of World War One.
— European History Quarterly