Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 21 Issue 03

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Volume 21, No. 3
Pages 14 - 21


Glimpses of Oceanography in the Postwar Period

Walter Munk | Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA
Deborah Day | Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA

First Paragraph

Several recent histories give a critical review of American oceanography in the postwar period. Ronald Rainger (2000a,b, 2001), who has written extensively about the history of oceanography, reviews the Navy-oceanography partnership, and Jacob Darwin Hamblin’s monograph, Oceanographers and the Cold War, examines the history of Soviet-US oceanographic relations at a time of increasing Navy sponsorship of US oceanography (Hamblin, 2005). Written by professional historians, these books give a long view of oceanography. Here, I share some personal glimpses of this era, which differ from the historians’ accounts, especially in regard to relationships between oceanographers and the Navy. Oceanography is again in a state of great flux—the reviews by Rainger and Hamblin may offer guidance concerning future developments.


Munk, W., with D. Day. 2008. Glimpses of oceanography in the postwar period. Oceanography 21(3):14–21, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2008.30.

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