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Old March 24th, 2014, 01:03 PM   #51

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The unquestioned ruler of the sea had already decisively defeated Germany at the Battle of Jutland, ending any hopes that the Kaiser had entertained of a direct invasion of Britain. Faced with this setback, Germany decided to turn the Crown’s greatest strength against her: her geography. ..............
Germany was not decisively defeated at Jutland at all, this would seem to confirm that your grasp of WWI Naval Warfare is slim.

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He unleashed a fleet of submarines in an effort to sink sufficient British imports that the Crown would be starved into submission. Submarines had never before been used on a large scale, so the British were utterly unprepared to confront this new threat. The effects were nothing short of devastating. In April 1917, the high tide of the submarine war, German submarines sunk 860,000 tons of British merchant shipping alone in a single month. ..............
The Germans had been sinking ships from the beginning of the war, what you are mistaking is the use of unrestricted submarine warfare rather than following the pre-war rules – surfacing challenging the ship, allowing crew to escape etc.

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Desperate to save themselves, the British resorted to a number of tactics of questionable morality. They began to falsely fly the flags of other nations upon their transports and smuggled weapons and ammunition aboard passenger liners, ships traditionally viewed as outside the realm of legitimate military targets. By doing this, the British put the lives of genuine innocents at risk. ................
Got a source for the false flags or ‘smuggling’ on liners? Or that the British were deliberately putting innocent lives at risk?

One could not blame a starved dog for attacking a child who teased it with hamburger! Understandably, the German Naval Command decided to take steps to neutralize this treachery.

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If London could play dirty, so could Berlin. The submarines began sinking all vessels headed into British waters, not just those flying the Union Jack. In an attempt to lessen the moral indignation caused by photographs of German vessels firing upon neutral recreational ships, the various German embassies warned the citizens of neutral nations (including the United States) to refrain from sailing aboard ships headed into British waters. Unfortunately, many Americans dismissed these warnings as empty bluster from a nation that knew it was losing......................
In what way was London playing dirty?

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On May 7th, 1915, the Lusitania, a British passenger liner, was sunk in fifteen minutes by a single German torpedo. 128 Americans died alongside 1,050 citizens of other nations. Despite the fact that the Lusitania had carried a cargo of weapons and gold, America was outraged. With many calling for war with Germany, the Kaiser reluctantly ordered a cessation to the “sink-on-sight” campaign, preferring to target only ships flying the British flag. The benefits that came with the reduction of British shipping were far outweighed by the threat of war with America.
The Lusitania sank a whole year before Jutland and was not part of unrestricted warfare, that’s why the Germans tried to cover it up and then used the story that it was carrying war goods.
Now the British denied this but I believe research has shown it was carrying a small amount of ‘military stores’ so was technically a legitimate target, however the Germans could not have known this so did fire upon a civilian vessel without warning.

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As soon as the Kaiser announced this, the Lord of the Admiralty commanded that over thirty percent of all British military shipping be conducted under neutral flags................
Source for this? That the Admiralty commanded that neutral ships be used and not just using whatever shipping it could get its hands on.

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Kaiser’s actions, but he knew full well that the Crown had deliberately attempted to use civilians as shields for its weapons. Today, we blame the Taliban for doing this, so why should we treat the British differently?.....................
Just how did Britain use human shields in WWI?
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Old March 24th, 2014, 01:33 PM   #52

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Got a source for the false flags or ‘smuggling’ on liners?
It's fairly common knowledge. I believe there was an official protest from the US to Britain over abuse of the Stars & Stripes in this way. Even Lusitania gave it a whirl:

"The crossing had been rough, and as Lusitania approached Ireland, Captain Daniel Dow raised the American flag, causing much excitement aboard. Of course, even if Captain Dow had been doing so under the Admiralty orders of flying neutral flags, Lusitania was far too famous and the United States did not have any four-funneled ships of her own to provide Lusitania with an adequate disguise."

War » The Lusitania Resource
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Old March 24th, 2014, 01:43 PM   #53

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It's fairly common knowledge. I believe there was an official protest from the US to Britain over abuse of the Stars & Stripes in this way. Even Lusitania gave it a whirl:

"The crossing had been rough, and as Lusitania approached Ireland, Captain Daniel Dow raised the American flag, causing much excitement aboard. Of course, even if Captain Dow had been doing so under the Admiralty orders of flying neutral flags, Lusitania was far too famous and the United States did not have any four-funneled ships of her own to provide Lusitania with an adequate disguise."

War » The Lusitania Resource
And just how did they 'smuggle' into a war zone?

On both side auxiliary cruisers used false flag's as a disguise and the British used 'Q' ships to try and trap U-boats.

A false flag would only be a protection if there was unrestricted warfare since by the rules at the start of the war the Germans were supposed to board anyway.
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Old March 24th, 2014, 01:44 PM   #54

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That's food, manufactured goods and ammunition, but not weapons. The US could ship millions of troops to Europe, but these had to be primarly armed by France, using the produce of French arms industries.
Yes, weapons was what I meant, thank you. I did not mean to suggest that the US had more trade with Germany than with Britain and France.
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Old March 24th, 2014, 01:52 PM   #55

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And just how did they 'smuggle' into a war zone?
I think he was probably referring to the munitions aboard the Lusitania. We really have no way of knowing how common a practice that was. That might have been the only time it was ever done for all we know.

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On both side auxiliary cruisers used false flag's as a disguise and the British used 'Q' ships to try and trap U-boats.

A false flag would only be a protection if there was unrestricted warfare since by the rules at the start of the war the Germans were supposed to board anyway.
I neither advocate nor condemn the use of false colours. I merely point out that it was common.

To return to the question "Should the US have joined ww1?" the only legitimate cassus belli I can think of is the Zimmerman telegram, which, while inflammatory, hardly justifies the cost in blood and treasure to the US in what was essentially an imperialist struggle.

Last edited by Tercios Espanoles; March 24th, 2014 at 03:21 PM.
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Old March 25th, 2014, 06:29 AM   #56

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinmeath View Post
And just how did they 'smuggle' into a war zone?

On both side auxiliary cruisers used false flag's as a disguise and the British used 'Q' ships to try and trap U-boats.

A false flag would only be a protection if there was unrestricted warfare since by the rules at the start of the war the Germans were supposed to board anyway.
My apologies for the ambiguous comment about Jutland. I meant that it was a decisive strategic victory in that it was the last chance for Germany to launch a traditional invasion of England. Sorry about the poor wording.
By smuggling their goods aboard civilian vessels (Lusitania), the British assumed that Germany would be unwilling to attack civilians, thereby using the civilians as shields. "The U-Boat War" by Gray is my source for my statement about the Admiralty.
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Old March 25th, 2014, 10:04 AM   #57

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however the Germans could not have known this so did fire upon a civilian vessel without warning.
Lusitania was listed in Jane's as an auxiliary cruiser - a legitimate military target.

I find it odd, and not a little hypocritical, that this attack on one ship, justified or not, or Germany's use of unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917, is considered such a heinous act, while the allied blockade of Germany, maintained until 1919, long after the armistice, and which accounted for hundreds of thousands of dead civilians (estimates vary as to the actual number - something in excess of 400,000 civilian deaths appears to be the middle number), gets no criticism at all. Certainly the US had no qualms about adopting unrestricted submarine warfare against Japan in WW2, issuing that order just six hours after the Pearl Harbor raid.

Last edited by Tercios Espanoles; March 25th, 2014 at 10:36 AM.
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Old March 25th, 2014, 11:24 PM   #58
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Under the existing conventions of war unrestricted submarine warfare WAS illegal. It did directly kill American citizens.

The British Blockade I treat as very skeptically about claims of hundred of thousands of civilian deaths.

Remember the massive flu epidemic going on at the time. (which generally took the fit) There was some food aid to Germany in 1919 (hoover, I haven't got the date it started but early on I think )
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Old March 25th, 2014, 11:49 PM   #59

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I'm glad they did, but, I wish Wilson hadn't got sick or whatever was wrong with him during the Versailles Conference. He was the man that was needed there, but he got sidelined because he was ill (or something). He might've been able to get a more fair peace. There's a possibility that might have thrown some water on the Dolchstoßlegende ... preventing WW2 ... or maybe not, but worth the chance at least.

Clemenceau and Lloyd George thought they were smart by being jerks and rubbing the defeat that never came (despite being inevitable) in Germany's face. They were complete morons, in this.

Last edited by Edgewaters; March 25th, 2014 at 11:52 PM.
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Old March 26th, 2014, 03:00 AM   #60

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Under the existing conventions of war unrestricted submarine warfare WAS illegal. It did directly kill American citizens.
As was the blockade which directly interfered with American trade with the central powers.

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The British Blockade I treat as very skeptically about claims of hundred of thousands of civilian deaths.

Remember the massive flu epidemic going on at the time. (which generally took the fit) There was some food aid to Germany in 1919 (hoover, I haven't got the date it started but early on I think )
I gave the middling figure. It could be much higher or lower. Flu deaths are not included.

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockade_of_Germany]Blockade of Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
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