Nexus: Strategic Communications and American Security in World War I

Overview

In an illuminating study that blends diplomatic, military, technology, and business history, Jonathan Reed Winkler shows how U.S. officials during World War I discovered the enormous value of global communications.

At the outbreak of war in 1914, British control of the cable network affected the Americans’ ability to communicate internationally, and the development of radio worried the Navy about hemispheric security. The benefits of a U.S. network became evident during the war,...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$22.91
BN.com price
(Save 18%)$27.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $26.29   
  • New (7) from $26.52   
  • Used (1) from $26.29   
Sending request ...

Overview

In an illuminating study that blends diplomatic, military, technology, and business history, Jonathan Reed Winkler shows how U.S. officials during World War I discovered the enormous value of global communications.

At the outbreak of war in 1914, British control of the cable network affected the Americans’ ability to communicate internationally, and the development of radio worried the Navy about hemispheric security. The benefits of a U.S. network became evident during the war, especially in the gathering of intelligence. This led to the creation of a peacetime intelligence operation, later termed the “Black Chamber,” that was the forerunner of the National Security Agency.

After the war, U.S. companies worked to expand network service around the world but faced industrial limitations. Focused on security concerns, the Wilson administration objected to any collaboration with British companies that might alleviate this problem. Indeed, they went so far as to create a radio monopoly and use warships to block the landing of a cable at Miami.

These efforts set important precedents for later developments in telephony, shortwave radio, satellites—even the internet. In this absorbing history, Winkler sheds light on the early stages of the global infrastructure that helped launch the United States as the predominant power of the century.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

austinbay.net

Winkler's book provides a lesson in the evolutionary nature of technological change. Winkler explores the first global internet—the international telegraph cable system that began shrinking Planet Earth at the end of the 19th century.
— Austin Bay

Choice

This story involves not only the history of communication, but also diplomatic, military, technology, and business history. While investigating interrelated developments in these fields, Winkler recreates the global communication network in place at the outbreak of the war and shows how each side engaged in the first real information war. Finally, he analyzes US officials' reaction to this new warfare and the policies they adopted to redress this nation's shortcomings in the field of global communication. A well-researched, high readable work that makes a valuable contribution to a number of historical areas.
— T. A. Aiello

Matthew Connelly
The fight for mastery of global telecommunications in the midst of the First World War is a subject of the deepest importance that had lain undiscovered until now. Jonathan Winkler has reconstructed the complex nexus of strategy, technology, and diplomacy with admirable clarity. It is a fundamental contribution that demonstrates the need for a whole new field of historical inquiry.
Richard R. Fernandez
In a landmark book, Winkler shows how most of the issues of the information economy--and its handmaiden, information security--were thrust upon the United States by World War I, when the nation found that British domination of the cable infrastructure, combined with London's strategic grasp of its possibilities, reduced the U.S. to a humiliating dependence. How America tried to escape from the shackles of the British monopoly on communications makes a fascinating tale.
H. W. Brands
As children of the information age, we appreciate the vital role of communications in national security planning. Jonathan Winkler takes us back to an era when the principles of informational warfare were first being thrashed out--in foreign ministries, in military headquarters, under the sea, and in the atmosphere. A fascinating tale of technology, diplomacy, and intrigue.
Ernest R. May
Winkler tells a story that should figure into all future accounts of U.S. participation in World War I.
Emily S. Rosenberg
By examining the ways in which World War I sparked official recognition of the commercial and strategic importance of cable and radio, Winkler illuminates a vital, but neglected, chapter in the history of global communications. This is a thoroughly researched, well-written, and engaging study.
austinbay.net - Austin Bay
Winkler's book provides a lesson in the evolutionary nature of technological change. Winkler explores the first global internet--the international telegraph cable system that began shrinking Planet Earth at the end of the 19th century.
Choice - T. A. Aiello
This story involves not only the history of communication, but also diplomatic, military, technology, and business history. While investigating interrelated developments in these fields, Winkler recreates the global communication network in place at the outbreak of the war and shows how each side engaged in the first real information war. Finally, he analyzes US officials' reaction to this new warfare and the policies they adopted to redress this nation's shortcomings in the field of global communication. A well-researched, high readable work that makes a valuable contribution to a number of historical areas.
Business History Review - Mark R. Wilson
Thanks to Winkler's careful work in military and civilian records, the book recounts in detail how a small group of American officials, spurred into action by the war emergency, tried to increase their nation's control over global information networks...Winkler's outstanding original research and clear writing make Nexus a valuable contribution to the history of information warfare, a subject that will almost certainly attract greater interest in the years to come.
Journal of American History - Christopher H. Sterling
This is a well-researched and important study assessing the role of global communication technologies and their control in wartime. It provides a cogent analysis of how the need to develop our own cable and radio links drove government policy. And it adds to the slowly growing number of studies that examine the increasingly central role of rapid and secure communication in both diplomatic and military policy in the 160 years since the development of the electric telegraph.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674725775
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/2/2013
  • Series: Harvard Historical Studies , #162
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 358
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Reed Winkler is Associate Professor of History at Wright State University.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Maps and Figures     vii
Introduction     1
The Information Network and the Outbreak of War     5
Neutrality and Vulnerability     34
Security and Radios     61
At War in Europe     100
In Pursuit of Cables to Asia and the Americas     136
Radio, the Navy, and Latin America     165
The Quest for Independence     206
The Illusion of Success     239
Conclusion     266
Abbreviations     283
Primary Sources     285
Notes     289
Acknowledgments     337
Index     339
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)