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By William Oliver Stevens; Allan F Westcott

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Extra resources for A history of sea power

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The Admiralty may have been hoping to secu're its new standard 'by the back door,' for if its new interpretation of the one-power standard gained currency, the only point remaining for debate would be the difference between a 'deterrent' force and one capable of providing 'full security' for British interests. A naval victory in such a debate would have created a de facto two-power standard. In any event, this definition of the one-power standard was eventually accepted throughout Whitehall as the approved definition - a victory by default, which the navy slipped past the notice of the Treasury and of many historians.

To do so, it had to win the interdepartmental battle over how the standard would be interpreted. Would it apply only to capital ships, or should it cover other classes as well? Did equality mean numerical equality in warsh ips or parity in fighting power? Should requirements be calculated on the basis of equality in home, neutral, or enemy waters? All of the departments concerned with naval matters realized that the answers to these questions would have a significant impact on the Admiralty's ability to secure its future programs.

That is the foundation of the Naval Policy of His Majesty's Government. 2 7 This announcement was in fact a substantial victory for the Admiralty. Against formidable opposition it had secured a naval standard relative to the United States, a power it freely admitted Britain was unlikely ever to face in war; it obtained the only standard which might conceivably allow it to resume construction of capital ships in the near future; and it received a public commitment to this standard, which no future cabinet could renounce without risking political and public protest.

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