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Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

Albert Close. The Naval War in the North Sea. London: Edward Stanford, Ltd., ca. 1919. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (194.00.00)

The Naval War at Sea

This post-war, commercially produced map summarizes the story of the complex war at sea and was created to celebrate the Allied victory. Both the Allies and the Central Powers recognized the crucial importance of controlling the seas—principal routes for securing food, medicine, and military supplies. As soon as it entered the war in 1914, Great Britain deployed its powerful surface fleet and used sea mines to blockade the Central Powers, with help from France and, later, the United States. Effectively bottled up in its home waters for most of the war, the German surface fleet could do little to break the Allies' increasingly strong stranglehold. After February 1915, the Germans relied, ever more heavily, on U-boats (submarines) to prevent supplies from reaching the Allies.