Winning the Western Approaches: Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland, 1917-18

University College Cork 5 – 7 July 2017

Industrial warfare during the First World War extended underwater, as submarines destroyed up to 5,000 vessels and altered the course of the conflict. Germany’s resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917 brought the United States into the war and created severe Allied shipping losses and dangerous food shortages. A transatlantic convoy system introduced that year relied heavily on US Navy escort vessels based in Ireland and France. These American escorts helped bring Allied shipping losses under control and protect troop ships packed with American soldiers bound for France. The American naval presence in Europe contributed to the final defeat of the Central Powers and announced the arrival of a new military power.

This multi-disciplinary conference will explore the consequences of underwater warfare during the First World War, with special emphasis on the US Navy’s deployment to Irish waters. We invite papers on all aspects of the First World War underwater campaign including: submarines, convoying, food control, naval aviation, shipwrecks, dirigibles, blockades, troop transportation, mines, merchant sailors, anti-submarine warfare, coastal communities, propaganda, and military/civilian relations.

Please submit paper proposals not exceeding 250 words along with a brief biographical note by 12 March 2017. Proposal should be sent to: usnavyireland1917@gmail.com

Organizers: Dr John Borgonovo (University College Cork), Dr Hiram Morgan (University College Cork), Prof. Timothy Hoyt (US Naval War College)