A Comparative Study of the Effectiveness of German Submarine Warfare on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States in the World Wars.
(Under the direction of Professor Michael Palmer) Department of History, 2006.
During the course of the First World War, German submarines sank over 160,000 tons of merchant tonnage along the eastern seaboard of the United States. America's entry into the war was largely due to previous German submarine activities in Europe. That these attacks failed to prevent the collapse of Germany, and the eventual outcome of Versailles meant that historians have often overlooked this era, especially since German attacks on the eastern seaboard during World War Two were far more spectacular. Over the course of the first seven months of 1942, German submarines sunk over three million tons of allied shipping off the Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada.
A comparative analysis of the two periods will show that the First World War actually came closer to achieving Germany's goals than the more spectacular attacks in World War Two. This analysis will focus on issues related to the effectiveness of Anti-Submarine Warfare in both periods, relative efficiency and cost effectiveness of the operations and the impact, which each set of operations had upon the Allied war effort. In all three areas, the First World War era operations were far more effective.