Norflicks Productions Ltd. - Library



Editor: Gina Binetti, Wesley Cudlip
Narrator: John Jarvis
Composer: Rob Plowman, Mark Camillari
Writer: Richard Nielsen
Producer: Richard Nielsen
Executive Producer: Robert Linnell
Director: James Hyslop

Produced by Robert Linnell Productions/Norflicks Productions


Seapower to Superpower is the story of how fewer than three million Englishmen, starting at the end of the 16th century, created, in the Royal Navy, an instrument that would give them military dominance for more than 350 years. That dominance in the 20th Century would pass from Britain to America and from sea to space. The English language, now the dominant language in the world, owes its prominence to the military reality that whoever controls the great commons of the sea and space dominates trade, and therefore dominates militarily.

Historian Mark Milner and Yale University professor Paul Kennedy are our guides in this five-part, five-hour documentary series which tells the story and explores that dominance and the relationship between power and prosperity.

Program one, Britain Arises covers the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the wars between the Dutch and the English for control of world trade, ultimately resolved by an alliance that placed Prince William of Orange on the throne of England along with his English wife, Mary. The alliance guaranteed the Dutch merchant marine access to the world’s oceans but left the Royal Navy supreme.

Program two, The 18th Century is concerned primarily with the battles between France, the greatest land power, and Britain, the greatest seapower, for world dominance. Program two includes the Battle for Quebec and the American Revolution and traces the decisive role played by naval power in both conflicts.

Program three, Pax Britannica – The British Peace, explores Britain’s function, in all but name, as a Superpower. Between 1815 and 1865, Britain adds territory around the world equal to one hundred Englands. By the end of the 19th century, technological innovation increases dramatically. Britain responds with a victory at Jutland in World War One but is exhausted financially after the struggle. Germany is defeated but America and Japan emerge from the conflict stronger than they entered it.

Program four, Changing the Guard marks the transfer of power midway through WWII from the Royal Navy to the US Navy and the growth of two unique 20th century weapons of war, the submarine and the aircraft carrier. But before that happens, the Japanese make a serious challenge to Britain and America’s domination of the great commons of the sea.

Program five, Space, the Great Commons. Naval strategists had concluded with the arrival of cheap land transportation that the advantage of seapower would be transferred to a land-based empire. By 1946, that challenger, the USSR, had arrived, and with it, atomic power, missiles and satellites. Space, the Great Commons explores the war over space between the United States and the Soviet Union and America’s final triumph while exposing its hidden vulnerabilities as we enter the 21st Century.

Seapower to Superpower explores the relationship between military dominance, technology, commercial realities, and the will of a nation and a people to excel. It also, at even greater depth, examines the relationship between fiscal innovation and responsibility and military accomplishment.