Full disclosure, the following section depends heavily on memory and help from the Turtledove Wiki since I don't have my copy of Return Engagement handy and only have American Front and The Victorious Opposition handy. This is my rough take on carrier construction between 1918 and 1940. Any corrections and suggestions welcome. Part I The Interwar Naval Build Up Between the Great War and the Second Great War the build up of naval power by both Germany and the United States was substantial, however, it paled in comparison to the build up of the Royal Navy. The humiliating reverses which had led the British Empire to seek an armistice and lose her North American holdings had propelled increasingly hawkish governments to power. This had seen an increased naval spending as Britain sought to ‘make good’ her losses from the previous war. It was also aimed at bringing the British up to strength against her enemies, the High Seas Fleet and the United States Navy. Renewed naval spending was spurred initially by the humiliating failure to provide for the Protestant Rebels in Ulster in 1924. The idea that Britain could not provide adequate support for sympathetic peoples in her own backyard shocked not only the public at large, but also the naval establishment. Parliament began a crash program of modernization of the fleet’s lighter forces and cruisers. Through the 1920s and 1930s the naval build up was truly prodigious, to the extent that even at the height of the Depression men did not go out of work at the Royal Navy’s yards. However, it was not until the rise of Churchill/Mosley government in 1932 that a true modernization began. The Royal Navy had initially, like many thinkers, been skeptical of the aircraft carrier as a method of winning wars. Only commissioning the HMS Hermes in 1924, too late to play any role in the uprising. It was only with the inventive use of carriers by the Japanese Navy in the Pacific War, the Churchill ordered the Royal Navy to begin commissioning its own aircraft carriers. This would lead to the launch of the famous HMS Ark Royal in 1938, and she would be followed by four sisters of the Illustrious Class which were laid down and slowly commissioned through the 1940s. Despite this interest in naval power projection, Churchill still spent enormous amounts of money on capital ships, competing with the German naval program. The German Navy for its part, had gone in an opposite direction. The loss of their Pacific Colonies in the Great War had soured many in the Reichstag on naval spending, and the glory won by the army had meant that funds were heaped on maintaining the new puppet states in the East and the burgeoning colonies in Mittelafrika. The Navy, until 1932, was the ‘poor cousin’ of the army. However, the Kaiser’s interest in the High Seas Fleet had not diminished, it was merely a matter of time before he cajoled the de-facto leader, Hindenburg, into more navy spending. In the interwar years the navy had largely languished, until the 1930s when the aging Kaiser got his wish and was able to spend funds on more battleships. Though his admirals desired to build some carriers, the Kaiser maintained that dreadnoughts, and more importantly his cherished project of the Tripitz Class Superdreadnoughts, would rule the seas. Though the High Seas Fleet would lay down one carrier in late 1938, and another in 1939, neither the Graf Von Zeppelin or Manfred von Richtofen would be ready when war broke out in 1941. Even then, the High Seas Fleet would concentrate its main strength on its gun line to oppose the power of the renewed British fleet in the North Sea and the Baltic. The US Navy, unlike its German counterpart, had embraced aircraft carriers in the interwar years, learning from the Pacific War and their use of the USS Remembrance. This had lead to the commissioning of the USS Sandwich Islands and the USS Bahamas. With the events of the Pacific War, the United States and Japan became arguably the most skilled naval tacticians in the world at using carriers. The Though the United States planned a massive carrier expansion program to modernize and expand the fleet in the wake of the Pacific War, the election of the Socialist Party to power curtailed these plans as spending cuts across the board were made. The armed forces would suffer the most from these, much to their detriment in 1941. ----- 1] I find the lack of numerous US Carriers a bit disturbing. My memory may be faulty, but the USN having only two carriers at the outbreak of war seems insane to me. The Bahamas is my solution to that, I haven’t read the in book sections about the Pacific War in nearly eight years so maybe that accounts for it?