Thinking Wisely, Planning Boldly

The Higher Education and Training of Royal Navy Officers, 1919-39

Joseph Moretz

Date Published :
February 2015
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Modern Military History
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781909982901
Pages : 528
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available


"Thinking, Wisely, Planning Boldly" examines the style, content and manner of Royal Navy executive officer higher education and training between the World Wars. Based on official and private archival records, oral histories and the secondary literature extant, this book traces the changes the Navy made in how it prepared its midlevel officers following the First World War, contrasts this approach with that of the British Army and Royal Air Force and addresses the use the Royal Navy made of the officers so trained. In the process, the work offers a fundamental reappraisal of the inter war Royal Navy challenging many of the accepted conclusions rendered by earlier authors who failed to actually examine the style and content of officer education and did not weigh the many competing factors the service had to balance in any professional development program. Along the way, it offers insight into the relative centrality of the Battle of Jutland in inter war training and concludes that contrary to received wisdom its role was a secondary one at best and that the experience of most relevance in the Navy’s educational efforts was the Dardanelles campaign.

This work is original in scope and original in interpretation with no other book-length volume in print now or previously covering the subject. Beyond saying something valuable about the 1919-39 Royal Navy, it discusses issues that resound with contemporary military officers faced with the eternal question of what to teach, how to teach it, and the pitfalls faced in preparing officers in an uncertain world. It sheds fresh light on such noted figures as Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond and Major General J. F. C. Fuller and offers insight into such events as the Washington Naval Treaty and the Invergordon Mutiny not previously considered.

Though many writers have had much to say about inter war training, none actually took the time to examine what was taught, how instruction was imparted, and the aims that the Navy sought to achieve. Thinking Wisely, Planning Boldly fills the void and in the process speaks to the continuing issues facing professional military education.

About The Author

Joseph Moretz is an independent researcher and author whose primary focus is the evolution of naval thought and the development of joint doctrine in the British setting from 1882 onwards. Following a career in computing and telecommunications with the United States Department of Defense - culminating as the Director of Information Assurance with the Defense Contract Management Agency - the author retired in 2010. Holding both an MA and PhD in War Studies from King’s College London, he graduated with distinction from the United States Naval War College in 1989. Dr Moretz is a member of the British Commission for Military History, the Army Records Society, the Navy Records Society and the Society of Military History. Towards a Wider War is his third book and the second to be published by Helion & Company.


“ … a serious study of an important topic which, surprisingly, has not been examined in such detail and depth before.”

- Warship

“Joseph Moretz has written what should be considered an authoritative and in-depth account of Royal Navy senior officer education in the interwar era. In doing so, he has made not only an important and needed contribution to the scholarship on the period, but he also offers analysis and important frames of reference for modern discussions and debates. How to prepare officers for the responsibilities of command and strategic decision making is a question of perennial relevance as the world’s navies face the sole constant of history: change.”

- Naval Historical Foundation

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