Q5. W h a t
w a s
t h e
m a j o r
c a u s e
t h e
Q6. Who was instrumental in quickly ending the
THE NAVY FROM 1900 THROUGH
WORLD WAR I
Learning Objective: When you finish this chapter, you
will be able to
Recognize the roles and responsibilities of the
Navy during World War I.
The 20th century began with a world at uneasy
peace. Between the end of the 19th century and WWI,
the U.S. Navy developed some new weapons. For
example, in April 1900 the Navy accepted its first
operational submarine, USS Holland.
The Navy continued to experiment with the
development of submarines throughout the next decade.
One of the main problems continued to be the gasoline
engineit heated up and gave off fumes that overcame
many of the crew.
The gasoline engine was replaced by the diesel
engine. The first diesel engines were installed in the
USS Skipjack (SS 24) and the USS Sturgeon (SS 25).
These new engines required no complicated ignition or
sparking systems, produced fewer fumes, and were
cheaper to operate. The diesel engine and electric
battery remained as the main propulsion systems for
submarines until nuclear power emerged in the 1950s.
Destroyers had been used primarily to deliver
torpedo attacks. With the development of the
s u b m a r i n e , t h ey b e c a m e s u b m a r i n e h u n t e r s .
Construction of our first destroyer, which displaced 420
tons, began in 1899. Destroyers proved so successful
that building these ships began on a large scale. From
1892 to 1914, the start of World War I, over 50
destroyers were built; and 273 were ordered during the
CRUISERS AND BATTLESHIPS
The battleship resulted from the major changes in
ship design that took place during the 19th century.
Battleships carried heavy guns and corresponding
armor protection. The United States had begun building
its battlewagons in the late 1880s; each succeeding class
had more firepower than the one before.
By 1895, the heavy elements of the U.S. Fleet
consisted of 15 steel cruisers, the heavy cruiser USS
New York, and three battleships. The first two
battleships were the USS Texas, commissioned on
August 15, 1895, and the USS Maine, commissioned on
September 17, 1895. Both were listed as second-class
battleships. The third ship, the USS Indiana (BB 1), was
commissioned in 1895. It was our first first-class
In 1906, the United States began a large
battleship-building program. Five battleships were of
the same class as the USS New Mexico and USS
Colorado; however, they werent completed until after
World War I. Based on lessons learned from wartime
experiences, many improvements were incorporated
into their design. For example, battleships of the same
class as the USS Colorado were the first ones equipped
with 16-inch guns.
As the 19th century drew to a close, the Wright
brothers were working on their flying craft. The Wright
brothers first flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina,
began the vision of the future. Most people thought of
flying as a stunt or a sport, while others talked about