How They Became Legends (Part 1 of 8)

Originally posted on 26Jun2017 in its entirety as one long post, I have come to understand and appreciate certain truths about blogging – specifically, the investment in time to read such long entries.

While the story of how doctrine and the U.S. Naval Academy evolved during the years between the First and Second World Wars is important, it is difficult for many to sit down and contemplate a 28-page paper on the topic in one sitting.

Therefore, I have taken the time to break this one huge paper into eight separate parts. It is my desire that this story continues to provide inspiration and interest in the challenges between planned strategy/tactics, the operational realities, and the unifying aspect of the innovative men who tied it all together as they waged war against a distant enemy as well the closer and often problematic bureaucracy of their own forces.

I sincerely hope that the reader will find this series as enjoyable and informative. Please do not hesitate to comment. You have stumbled across this by chance, and any questions or continued dialogue will be appreciative and, quite possibly, inspirational for subsequent posts.

Thanks for reading!


Influences of Interwar Doctrine and Training on the Successes of U.S. Submarines in the Pacific Theater of Operations During the Second World War

0825710
USS Harder (SS-257) at Woleai, 1April1944. (Source: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08257.htm)

ABSTRACT

Current trends in leadership training often overlook historic examples of effective leadership – the developmental processes and the results of the professional background of leaders in an operational environment. The development of the submarine influenced the outcome of both the First and Second World War, but it was the leadership of the American submarine skippers in the latter conflict which provided examples of legendary and effective leadership. This thesis will address the question of how the interwar period influenced the doctrine and formal professional education of submarine skippers. Most importantly, however, will be the discussion of the contributing factors which combined to force a rapid evolution in leadership and employment of these submarines: technology, enemy, and internal bureaucratic resistance, to name a few factors.

Incorporating several primary sources with supporting information from noteworthy and authoritative secondary sources, an analysis and evaluation of the efforts of the United States Naval Academy and the Submarine School is supported by the reports, logs, and official documents from the Second World War. Divided into sections, this thesis illustrates the genesis of submarine doctrine, the interwar evolution of maritime warfare and the associated professional education of the officers charged with waging naval combat, and selected examples and an analysis of the relevance, interdependence, and successes of doctrine and leadership development. The dangers of overcomplicating the professional development of leaders is inherent in the present efforts to understand the basic art of motivation in any mission or task; however, understanding the core of what has produced effective leaders in the past will remain a challenge in understanding the delineation between excessive deliberation and the false simplicity of social influence. Leadership will always remain a vital component of human social interactions, and an understanding of what has worked in the past will continue to assist future generations of leaders in appreciating the resiliency and capabilities of the human mind and spirit.

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