Britain At Sea - Omnibus


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Admiral Lord West begins his history of the Royal Navy in the twentieth century, covering the period from 1900 to 1939.

In this first week's omnibus, Lord West describes how the extraordinary technical, social and geo-political change of the first four decades of the century affected, and in turn were affected by, the Navy.

It was a period in which decisions about the Navy had a dramatic impact not just on Britain, but the rest of the world. Lord West describes the Navy's key role in how Turkey entered the First World War, explores how the Navy's switch from coal to oil altered the course of the entire twentieth century, and reveals the Navy's vital role in winning the First World War.

Producer: Giles Edwards.

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Admiral Lord West continues his history of the Royal Navy in the twentieth century, covering the Second World War and early Cold War.

In this second week's omnibus, Lord West explains the Royal Navy's vital role in sustaining Britain during the Second World War. He describes the story of the Battle of Norway, and hears from veterans how Britain won the Battle of the Atlantic. He tells the story of Admiral Cunningham in the Mediterranean, the last Admiral to command an entire theatre from the bridge of a battleship, and of the Royal Navy's instrumental role in winning the war in North Africa. And in the Pacific, he describes the vital role of air power, and how the Royal Navy was gradually replaced by the United States Navy, presaging a wider redistribution of global power in the post-war world.

The post-war period saw dramatic change for the Royal Navy: socially, technologically and strategically, and Lord West describes how the Navy accommodated itself to these changes and prepared for the long Cold War.

Producer: Giles Edwards.

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Lord West concludes his history of the Royal Navy in the twentieth century by examining the period since the end of Empire.

He covers decolonisation, the coming of nuclear technology to the Royal Navy and inter-service battles. He looks at the Navy's focus on the North Atlantic in the late Cold War and the part played by the submarine service and Royal Marines in that theatre. And he explores modern social history: the effect of nuclear weapons on society, and the changing roles of women and gay service men and women in the Royal Navy.

Lord West served in the Falklands War, and tells the story of that conflict, including the dramatic and rarely told effect it had on the end of the Cold War, and other navies around the world.

Producer: Giles Edwards.