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  • Unrestricted Submarine Warfare wasn't

    Why did Germany shoot itself in the foot?

    Isn't it always the case? Exactly two years after I wrote an essay on the blockade I find a source I should have read. [German Submarine Warfare 1914-1918 in the Eyes of British Intelligence Selected Sources from the British National Archives, Kew Edited by Hans Joachim Koerver]. Unrestricted Submarine Warfare wasn't unrestricted. Germany negotiated all sorts of exemptions with both neutral and belligerent countries (secret back channels were available through the Hague). The one major neutral country with which no deals were done was the USA - unrestricted meant unrestricted. Now if anything could be guaranteed to bring the USA into the war on the Allied side that was it. Was it a huge gamble? Did the Germans think they could throttle Britain before the USA could enter the war effectively? In fact they were simply unable to throttle Britain.
    Last edited by MarkV; 20 Jun 16, 12:48.
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

  • #2
    America was already pumping huge amounts of military aid into Great Britain; therefore, America had no claim to neutrality, and unless the aid from America could be halted, Germany was doomed anyway.
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
      America was already pumping huge amounts of military aid into Great Britain; therefore, America had no claim to neutrality, and unless the aid from America could be halted, Germany was doomed anyway.
      So it was a desperate gamble.
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
        America was already pumping huge amounts of military aid into Great Britain; therefore, America had no claim to neutrality, and unless the aid from America could be halted, Germany was doomed anyway.
        It was also flowing directly into France. The Germans were banking on extracting sufficient resources from the annexed parts of the Russian Empire to offset any the Blockade.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
          It was also flowing directly into France. The Germans were banking on extracting sufficient resources from the annexed parts of the Russian Empire to offset any the Blockade.
          A dismal failure - they put a garrison of nearly one million into the Ukraine - it was barely able to feed itself and there was no surplus to send back to Germany.
          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

          Comment


          • #6
            n a break with pre-war doctrine (which, like Japan's, had presumed a rush across the Pacific and a "decisive battle" between battleships),[27] with the London Naval Treaty, and with long-standing U.S. defense of freedom of the seas, U.S. naval commanders in the Pacific were ordered by the U.S. Navy Chief of Staff to "execute unrestricted air and submarine warfare against Japan" on the afternoon of 7 December 1941, six hours after the Japanese attack.[28] This order authorized all U.S. submarines in the Pacific to attack and sink any warship, commercial vessel, or civilian passenger ship flying the Japanese flag, without warning. Hart—on his own initiative (but knowing Stark intended to do so)—issued the same order at 03:45 Manila time (09:15 in Hawaii, 14:45 in DC).[29] The Pacific Fleet submarine force had emerged unscathed from the attack on Pearl Harbor and USS Gudgeon departed on the fleet's first offensive war patrol on 11 December. The Asiatic Fleet's 27 submarines (including more fleet boats than at Pearl Harbor)[30] also went into action on the first day of the war, beginning war patrols in the waters around the Philippines and Indochina.[31] Due to inadequate prewar planning, which made no provision for defensive minelaying,[32] nor for placing submarines on station around the Philippines,[33] nor off enemy harbors,[34] the Asiatic Fleet's efforts to counter the Japanese invasion of the Philippines were unsuccessful and the fleet's surviving submarines were forced to withdraw to Surabaya in the Dutch East Indies (DEI).[35]
            Pissed us off, you did.
            Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
            Hyperwar, Whats New
            World War II Resources
            The best place in the world to "work".

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            • #7
              Originally posted by OpanaPointer View Post
              Pissed us off, you did.
              What you quoted wasn't full unrestricted submarine warfare which would include any neutral ships presumed to be trading with Japan not just ships under the Japanese flag
              Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
              Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                What you quoted wasn't full unrestricted submarine warfare which would include any neutral ships presumed to be trading with Japan not just ships under the Japanese flag
                What I quoted was what they said.
                Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
                Hyperwar, Whats New
                World War II Resources
                The best place in the world to "work".

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by OpanaPointer View Post
                  What I quoted was what they said.
                  Doubtless and what they said was strictly speaking incorrect
                  Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                  Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                    Doubtless and what they said was strictly speaking incorrect
                    I'm not disagreeing.

                    I read an interesting study on the decisions by the Kaiser's government and by A.H. to conduct submarine warfare against the US. In both cases the reasoning was the same, "We can beat the British (and French in one case) before the US can affect the course of the war."
                    Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
                    Hyperwar, Whats New
                    World War II Resources
                    The best place in the world to "work".

                    Comment

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