Sea transport

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In one of the very large volumes the US Army produced after the Second World War to describe the role of transportation, supply, and logistics corps in that conflict, the authors noted that ‘American soldiers were called upon to perform transportation jobs under every conceivable operating condition and on every continent but Antarctica.’ Their presence in American and British port cities, but also in Persian Gulf harbours, along the Brahmaputra River to the upper reaches of Assam, across French North Africa, or throughout the archipelagos of the Southern and Central Pacific underscores the essential feature of this war and transport's contribution to it: global engagement made possible by carriage of great numbers of men and enormous volumes of cargo to nearly every corner of the world. This was not the first truly global war where mastery of transport was pivotal. Much of what occurred between 1939 and 1945 had been rehearsed in the First World War. Then Allied victory had come from the ability to mobilize and move the world's resources, material and human, across the seas while denying these to the enemy. But the task in the Second World War was immensely complicated by the scale, weaponry and initial consequences of that conflict. Dispersal of major battle theatres to the Middle East, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific stretched shipping demands far beyond the once daunting challenges of the 1914–18 experience. In the Second World War it was incumbent on the maritime powers not only to sustain civilian supply and industrial production at their home bases but to convey, simultaneously, massive armies and their equipment to distant reaches of the planet. All this had to be accomplished against a submarine threat whose range and lethality were substantially greater than in the first global encounter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of the Second World War: Volume 3: Total War: Economy, Society and Culture
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages174-195
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781139626859, 9781107039957
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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    Miller, M. (2015). Sea transport. In The Cambridge History of the Second World War: Volume 3: Total War: Economy, Society and Culture (pp. 174-195). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CHO9781139626859.008