Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Naval History Magazine October 2011

The image is well-known: The underwater explosion of an atomic bomb sends a column of water skyward amid a collection of old warships anchored at Bikini Atoll in July 1946. Among the ships were the decommissioned aircraft carriers Saratoga and Independence, which were not far removed from steaming with the mightiest fleet of warships ever assembled, one that ranged the Pacific, landing Marines on enemy beachheads and delivering strikes against ship and shore. Yet at the beginning of the Cold War, the Navy faced an uncertain future in light of the atomic bomb. Delivery of the superweapon was viewed as the exclusive domain of the U.S. Air Force, which was created in 1947. Air power proponents saw little need for a large conventional navy in the Atomic Age. That notion, combined with a political climate of budget austerity, helped set the stage for interservice battles over roles and missions.