The British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared recently that there
was no bigger long-term question facing the global community than
the threat of a climate change due to man-made greenhouse gases.
Unfortunately, the focus is misplaced. It is not the atmosphere
which determines the fate of the climate. It is the ocean which
Naval warfare during the two World Wars determined two major
climate changes: a sustained warming which started at the end of
World War I and lasted 20 years, and the next climatic shift which
started during the winter 1939/40 and caused a four-decades global
cooling. The extensive fighting at sea was a real threat for the
normal course of the climate.
How could the course of international conflicts have been
managed if the world's leading statesmen of the 20th century had
been concerned with the climatic changes due to the impact that a
war at sea could have had on the ocean and on the climate? Would
Adolf Hitler have reconsidered his war aims in the summer of 1939
if the United States had warned him of their immediate implication
in the looming war in case his decision would bring 1000 naval
ships out on sea, thus generating a substantial climatic shift?
The naval war thesis is an intriguing contribution to the
'global warming issue' and has the potential of revolutionising the
current climate change debate.
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