The Naval War College Maritime History
Department and Museum Present

The Commodore Dudley W. Knox 
Lecture Series


History as the Basis for Modern Strategy, Sea Power, and Intelligence



Presented quarterly at the Naval War College throughout the year, the “Knox lecture” series is designed to serve as a venue for scholarly papers on historical subjects, which are of current strategic interest to the U.S. Navy.  Knox lecturers are encouraged to consider the example set by Commodore Dudley W. Knox as a strategic thinker, naval officer, professional educator, and as a maritime historian.  Given his enormous influence, the “Knox lecture” series will ensure that his ideas may continue to inform contemporary scholars and American naval thinkers into the twenty-first century and beyond. Lecturers interested in participating in the series may submit paper proposals to the Maritime History Department of the Naval War College at  


U.S. Navy Commodore Dudley Wright Knox epitomized the highest traditions of the American sea services.  During the first fifty years of the twentieth century, Knox inspired a close circle of likeminded U.S. Navy professionals to study maritime history.  Like many U.S. Naval officers of his generation, Knox embraced the late nineteenth century teachings of Alfred Thayer Mahan to understand that contemporary solutions to future strategic challenges lay, “just beneath the surface of naval history.”   The works of Mahan inspired Knox during his long career in the uniformed and civil service of the U.S. Navy.  During two world wars and into the postwar reconstruction of the Cold War era, Knox used history as a basic foundation for understanding contemporary challenges. He used this knowledge to provide historical insight to the decision makers, like Franklin D. Roosevelt, who shaped the twentieth century. Click Here to learn more about Commodore Dudley W. Knox.


The Upcoming Lecture:

Rear Admiral James Goldrick, RAN (ret.), author of Before Jutland: The Naval War in Northern European Waters, August 1914–February 1915

Date: Thursday, October 6, 2016

Time: 1200-1300

Location: Conolly Hall C-138                       

Before Jutland is a definitive study of the naval engagements in northern European waters in 1914–15 when the German High Sea Fleet faced the Grand Fleet in the North Sea and the Russian Fleet in the Baltic. Author James Goldrick reexamines one of the key periods of naval operations in the First World War, arguing that a focus on the campaign on the western front conceals the reality that the Great War was also a maritime conflict. Combining new historical information from primary sources with a comprehensive analysis of the operational issues, this book is an extensive revision of The King’s Ships Were at Sea, Goldrick’s earlier work on this naval campaign. In all, Before Jutland shows not only what happened, but how the various navies evolved to meet the challenges that they faced during the Great War and whether or not that evolution was successful.                                                                                        


JAMES GOLDRICK is a retired two-star rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy who led Australia’s Border Protection Command and the Australian Defence College. He lives in Canberra, Australia.

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