About this lecture series
Lectures of Opportunity (LOOs) offer Naval War College (NWC) students, faculty and staff an opportunity to learn more about national and international socio-political subjects that may be of relevance to the NWC community.
A hundred years ago, a looming naval competition between Great Britain and the United States threatened to wreck the peace negotiations underway in Paris to end the First World War. British leaders viewed a buildup in the American navy as a challenge to their country’s standing as the world’s leading sea power. Britain’s Prime Minister David Lloyd George chose the setting of the peace negotiations to force a showdown with American leaders in an attempt to end this challenge. Much to Lloyd George’s chagrin, the Americans proved obdurate in negotiations. President Woodrow Wilson and his naval advisors refused to stop the American buildup of large and powerful capital ships. The deadlocked talks between American and British naval leaders threatened the peace negotiations and the establishment of the League of Nations. To prevent a breakdown in Anglo-American relations at Paris, two experienced negotiators Sir Robert Cecil and Colonel Edward House were tasked with reaching an agreement. They found a compromise that pledged both countries to work toward a settlement of their naval rivalry. These negotiations about sea power would later become known as the naval battle of Paris. This lecture of opportunity looks back to these events of a hundred years ago that threatened the negotiations in Paris to end the First World War.