THE WAR AT SEA 1914-18 by sdfwerte


									    THE WAR AT SEA 1914-18
 The War at Sea during the First World War
  consists mainly of:
 The impact of Germany’s U-boat campaign
  against the British merchant fleet and
 The Battle of Jutland
   The U-boat campaign:
restricted submarine warfare
 Germany made very effective use of its
  small U-boat fleet (only 23 at the start of the
 At first, the Germans stuck to the rules of
  war by sinking only merchant ships
  belonging to Britain and her allies.
 This resulted in a small number of sinkings:
  only ten by Feb. 1915.
 After Feb. 1915 the Kaiser ordered a change
  of tactic.
        Un-restricted submarine
        warfare, Feb-Oct 1915
   From Feb. 1915 the Germans
    declared that any ship in British
    waters (even neutral ones) would
    be attacked – this was unrestricted
    submarine warfare
   Sinkings shot up – in August 1915
    alone, U-boats sank 42 merchant
   One of their victims was the British
    passenger, the Lusitania, torpedoed
    in May, 1915. Among the 1200
    civilian dead were 128 Americans
   The sinking was a public relations
    disaster for the Germans and US
    opinion was outraged.
   After the war, it became known
    that the Lusitania was carrying
    munitions for Britain – a breach of
    the rules of war
   1. What risk do you think the
    Germans were running with
    their un-restricted submarine
    warfare campaign?
   2. Why, nonetheless, do you
    think they went ahead with it?
   3. Why was the sinking of the
    Lusitania a public relations
    disaster for the Germans?
   4. What does the poster suggest
    was another benefit for the
German propaganda disaster
 The actual sinking of the Lusitania was enough of
  a disaster.
 It was made even worse when a German medal-
  maker decided to cast a medal to celebrate its
 The British circulated copies as further evidence
  of German ‘barbarism’.
 The German government ordered all German
  copies to be destroyed – but too late.
This, in fact, is the second edition of the medal. The first had the
Wrong date for the sinking (5 May instead of the 7 May)
April 1917: US enters the war
   The Germans suspended their campaign in September 1915 because of
    the hostile reaction of neutral (especially American) opinion.
   However, the British naval blockade of Germany’s ports was causing
    terrible shortages of food and there was pressure to resume the
   In February 1917 the Germans resumed their campaign.
   US opinion was further angered by the publication by the British of the
    Zimmerman telegram in the same month. In this secret telegram the
    German gov. promised Mexico three US states if they would declare
    war on the US!
   This hare-brained scheme finally drove the United States to declare
    war on 6 April, 1917.
The Battle of Jutland, May 1916
                 This was the biggest sea battle of
                  the war, fought between the British
                  fleet of Admiral Jellicoe and the
                  German fleet of Admiral von
                 Von Scheer decided to take his
                  fleet out to sea to break the Royal
                  Navy blockade of Germany which
                  was causing such hardship among
                  German civilians.
                 The British were waiting for him,
                  as they had cracked the German
                  code and knew his plan.
The Battle: a German victory?
     Unfortunately for Jellicoe, the battle went Germany’s
      way. Three British battle cruisers were blown apart
      when their magazines were exploded by German shells
      (see next slide)
     German gunfire was both more accurate and more
      damaging because of a design fault in the British ships.
     The British losses were 14 ships and 6000 sailors; the
      Germans 11 ships and 2500 sailors.
     However, the Germans had a much smaller fleet and
      could not afford these losses, so Scheer broke away
      from the battle and returned back to port.
Play the video file: the Battle of Jutland
in Windows Media Player
      Who did win the battle?
   In the short term – it was German victory: they sank
    more ships and killed more British sailors.
   But, in the long term, it proved to be a British victory
    because the German fleet never came out to sea again.
    It spent the rest of the war bottled up in its ports at Kiel
    and Wilhelmshaven.
   This left control of the seas to the Royal Navy and the
    British blockade remained in force.
   The effect of the blockade was devastating on civilian
    morale (and so on the morale of the troops, as well):
    750,000 German civilians died during the war as a
    result of the poor diet forced on the by the blockade.
   It could be argued that the blockade (and therefore
    Jutland) was the real winner of the war for Britain.

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