By William N. Still Jr.
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Extra resources for Crisis at Sea: The United States Navy in European Waters in World War I
His mediocre academic background possibly impelled him to read extensively later in life. The writings of Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and above all Henry George stimulated him. He became an advocate of naval reform, joining a legion of political and social reformers during the Progressive Age from 1900 to 1921. Sims’s early career, according to one classmate, was less than brilliant, but “he was always full of life and fun. . ” Even then, however, he displayed impatience with what he considered stupidity and sham.
6 With individuals outside his staff and supporters who disagreed with him, he was often intolerant, contentious, occasionally abrasive, and egocentric. ” The confident Sims once wrote his wife: “There is no doubt whatever that my recommendations have been sound. . ”7 Sims’s impulsiveness, frankness, and at times tactlessness were refreshing to many writers and fellow naval officers. ” Fleet Admiral William F. ” Perhaps his conviction of rightness hardened his opinions. His superiors, however, were less tolerant.
Sims reacted to the immediacy of the submarine crisis, whereas the CNO concerned himself with protecting the American coast and the possibility of British defeat. 93 By June 1, twenty-four had appeared in British waters, and within a month twentyeight of the available fifty-two destroyers were able to conduct operations from Ireland. Admiral Albert Gleaves, who commanded the Atlantic Fleet’s Destroyer Flotilla, wrote in some anguish: “The first thing I noted in [the newspapers] this morning were Reveille in Washington the glaring headlines of destroyers (my destroyers) in Europe and praise for Sims.