To what degree did British naval superiority cause the victory of WWI?

Jan 2015
929
England
I’ve read from a number of sources that Britain’s naval superiority was one of, if not the most decisive factor that enabled the Allies to win World War I. Can anyone else shed more light on that?
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,461
Dispargum
I'm convinced Britain's blockade of Germany was the most decisive factor in bringing about Germany's collapse. By 1918 German agriculture had collapsed, the people were starving. The agricultural recovery actually took several years. Food-wise Germany was still a basket case into the 1920s as the crop fields only slowly recovered from wartime abuse and neglect.

Hitler thought so, too. (Not that I take pride in agreeing with Hitler.) Hitler's approach to WW2 was 'Next time we'll avoid all of the mistakes of WW1.' A major reason for Hitler signing the non-aggression pact with the Soviets was so Germany could import grain and oil in defiance of any second British blockade.
 

Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,460
Japan
It was very important.
I don’t think you could say it was the single greatest factor though.

War fatigue.
Sheer volume of enemies.
USA joining.
Unable to win any major land offensives.
All contributed to why Germany lost.
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,477
Though there is no doubt the Germans were in desperate need of things that could be imported. if there was no blockade , how could all these things be paid for?
Germany dod not have the vast amount of investiments in the USA that bore the brunt of funding British imports for most of the war. Has anyone got figures for German hldings that could be liquidated for paying import costs, because otherwise Germany would have to be exporting what exactly that the USA or others needed to pay for the importing?
 
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Jan 2015
929
England
It was very important.
I don’t think you could say it was the single greatest factor though.

War fatigue.
Sheer volume of enemies.
USA joining.
Unable to win any major land offensives.
All contributed to why Germany lost.
Bear in mind that I’m not just talking about the blockade in particular. I’m talking about Britain’s naval superiority in general. One source I found concerning this pointed out that it was command of the seas that enabled the Allies to transport the necessary resources and manpower to wherever they needed to be, like the Western Front and elsewhere.

So, surely at least some of those extra things you just mentioned could also be considered a result of Britain’s naval superiority?
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,461
Dispargum
Germany did try to blockade Britain with the submarine war. Germany was unsuccessful due to Britain having enough destroyers.

British naval superiority also allowed Britain to attempt peripheral operations like the Dardenelles. While that operation was not successful, it forced Germany and the other Central Powers to divert resources against any possible future raid or invasion.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,961
Sydney
the blockade was crushing once the neutral countries were severely limited in their imports of food to their bare minimum internal consumption
before that a flourishing trade was the re-export of food to Germany

once the German decided on unlimited submarine warfare , the gloves came off and the Germans remembered the winter of 17/18 as the "Turnip winter "

women aborted due to poor nutrition , the mothers failed to have milk and the babies died , the weakened civilians fell prey to diseases
wounded in the hospitals could not heal due to poor nutrition and many died too

the generals didn't really care but the civilians morale plummeted
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,957
Iowa USA
Germany did try to blockade Britain with the submarine war. Germany was unsuccessful due to Britain having enough destroyers.

British naval superiority also allowed Britain to attempt peripheral operations like the Dardenelles. While that operation was not successful, it forced Germany and the other Central Powers to divert resources against any possible future raid or invasion.
Some English speaking students of the war are completely unaware that the Entente invaded Hungary from the South during final two weeks of the war. The ultimate first cause of that campaign was the Gallipoli operation. Ultimately there was a pay off to that tactical blunder.
 
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