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Superpowers at Sea: An Assessment of the Naval Arms Race

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN 0-19-829135-3
183 pp.

What are the facts about the superpower naval arms race? The Soviet and US navies are free to sail anywhere on the high seas, under very few international restrictions. The arms race at sea is a dangerous nuclear competition that is causing growing international concern and should be brought under control. However, virtually no measures of naval arms control are in force.

This book compares the two superpower navies and those of their allies, dispels some of the myths surrounding the naval arms race and documents the realities of the competition—especially the nuclearization of naval forces. The incisive and factual analysis of the naval forces of East and West concludes that, contrary to common perception, the US Navy has considerable military advantages over the Soviet Navy, a situation that is expected to be maintained for the foreseeable future. The book describes in detail the nuclear forces of all five nuclear navies, analyses the implications for security and arms control, and offers ideas for possible arms control measures. It concludes with a review of the issue of naval arms control.


Introduction and overview

Superpowers at Sea: The need for a new assessment

Richard Fieldhouse


Part I. Comparing the navies of East and West

1. The superpower naval buildup: A brief history

Shunji Taoka

2. East–West naval force comparison

Shunji Taoka


Part II. The naval nuclear arms race

3. Naval nuclear weapons: Status and implications

Richard Fieldhouse


Part III. Towards naval arms control

4. Naval forces and arms control

Richard Fieldhouse