Needs & Opportunities in Studying German Naval History and Recent Maritime Strategy

"The Navy," Admiral George Anderson, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) said in 1961, "has both a tradition and a future, and we look with pride and confidence in both directions." While this is certainly much easier said than done, in particular in a country with a chequered history such as Germany, the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University (ISPK) and its adjunct Center for Maritime Strategy & Security (CMSS) set out to host a workshop in order to identify needs and opportunities in naval history, with a particular focus on Germany. On the occasion of the inaugural Kiel International Seapower Symposium, the workshop brought twenty academics from seven countries to the University of Kiel. The German MoD-led debate about what constitutes tradition in the German Armed Forces, which broke out earlier this year, added additional relevance to the subject.

The workshop kicked off with a presentation from RADM (Royal Navy, ret.) Dr. Christopher Parry, a Falklands War veteran and seasoned analyst on naval matters. On the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the war between Argentina and Great Britain, Dr. Parry's keynote talked about the enduring relevance of the conflict for naval historians and political scientists alike. This reflected the opening remarks of Dr. Sebastian Bruns (ISPK), who noted that fora where professional naval historians and strategists interact, were in dire need and that Kiel seeks to be part of that conversation. Two panels then delved into the particulars of German naval history and recent strategy, outlining such diverse issues as World War I at sea, the Kriegsmarine in East Asia, underwater archeology, the US Baltops exercise, naval procurement, and transformation of the post-Cold War German Navy. The conference identified a number of needs in naval history and strategy that should be subject to further research in PhD and M.A. studies.