What was the importance of the naval race?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The naval race was a very important event. Its impact was far lasting. Countries began to build up their navies in the late 1800s and in the early 1900s.

Germany and Italy were interested in gaining colonies. They had become unified countries around 1870, and by that time, most of the land available for colonization was gone. In order to gain colonies, these countries most likely were going to have to fight for these lands. Part of the recipe for military success was to have a strong navy. When Germany and Italy increased their military size, which included the navy, other countries did the same thing. This was one of the factors leading to the start of World War I. Countries usually increase the size of their army and their navy because they have plans for military action.

Building up the navy also allowed countries to protect their world trade. Alfred Mahan’s book, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History: 1660-1783, stated that countries that are world powers must be able to protect their trade. Countries need to have bases around the world where their ships can stop and refuel and resupply. This book helped to encourage countries to build up their naval forces. The United States did this with its navy, nicknamed The Great White Fleet, which sailed around the world in the early 1900s to show other countries our military power.

The naval race in the late 1800s and in the early 1900s was an important event for many reasons.