Cover: Nexus: Strategic Communications and American Security in World War I, from Harvard University PressCover: Nexus in PAPERBACK

Harvard Historical Studies 162


Strategic Communications and American Security in World War I

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Product Details


$32.50 • £26.95 • €29.50

ISBN 9780674725775

Publication Date: 09/02/2013


358 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

6 maps, 3 charts

Harvard Historical Studies


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.—Mark R. Wilson, Business History Review

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 thatexamine 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.—Christopher H. Sterling, Journal of American History

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 U.S. 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, Choice

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, AustinBay.net

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.—Richard R. Fernandez, The Belmont Club

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.—H.W. Brands, University of Texas, Austin

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.—Matthew Connelly, author of Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population

Winkler tells a story that should figure into all future accounts of U.S. participation in World War I.—Ernest R. May, Harvard University

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.—Emily S. Rosenberg, University of California, Irvine

Also Available As

Jacket: Nexus

HARDCOVER | $80.00

ISBN 9780674028395


Awards & Accolades

  • 2010 Paul Birdsall Prize, American Historical Association
  • 2009 Distinguished Publication Award, Ohio Academy of History
  • 2008 Theodore & Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize, FDR Presidential Library, Roosevelt Institute, Theodore Roosevelt Association, and the New York Council, Navy League of the U.S.
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