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German U Boats Essay

2309 words - 9 pages

German U-Boats

During World War I the Germans implemented a blockade on Britain in which they destroyed allied ships as well as British ships. They did this in response to the blockade that Britain had put on them. The Germans used U-boats to impose their blockade. As the war progressed the U-boats did more and more destruction to British ships and ships that were aiding the British. As American ships were destroyed the United States began to become more involved in stopping the Germans from using their methods of weakening the British.
The German attacks subsided for a while but resumed again doing even more damage than before. The attacks continued to involve American ships, which helped to bring the United States to be more sided with the Allies and more opposed to the Germans.
In 1915 Great Britain decided to take advantage of the strength of its navy and began a blockade of Germany. British ships stopped every ship to search for military and other vital supplies that could possibly reach the Germans. (Stewart, p. 18)
The blockade began affecting United States ships. Americans became angry and complained that the British were being too aggressive. American ships were being stopped from entering ports in Sweden, Denmark and other neutral nations. (Stewart, p. 18) "The British government apologized but claimed that a well-supplied Germany might win the war and the British refused to take that chance and would continue their search and seizures." (Stewart, p. 18)
The Germans became frustrated on the surface with the blockade implemented by Britain so they turned to "undersea warfare." (Terraine, p.167) The Germans speeded up production of submarines (U-boats) in hopes of controlling the bottom of the sea. The U-boats proved to be a valuable weapon for the Germans. They could slip undetected beneath or between the large British ships that formed the blockade. (Stewart, p. 20)
On February 4, 1915 the Kaiser proclaimed the waters around the British Isles to be a "war zone". Now neutral and British ships traveled at their own risk. "The Kaiser sent U-boats to implement his declaration". (Pimlott, p. 40)
The radius of the U-boats was 2,000 miles. (Hugh, p. 61) This blockade of the British Isles, what the Germans called Sperrgebiet (prohibited area), could be described as "a rectangle with cut corners." " It ran from 20 miles from the Dutch coast to the Terschelling light vessel, then north to Utsire off the Norwegian coast, and then northwest to 62 degrees north at its most northerly point, dropping to 3 miles south to the Danish-owned Faeroe Islands. It reached its most westerly point at 20 degrees west before angling back to the content 20 miles off Cape Finisterre and then extending 20 miles off the neutral Spanish coast to the French frontier. There was also a prohibited zone in the Arctic Ocean,...

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