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Map 9: Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

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   Germany resumes submarine warfare against American ships


As 1917 began, Germany was growing increasingly desperate. Britain's blockade of German ports was making it harder and harder for Germany to feed its own people. The German war plan had depended on a quick victory over France, but now the Western Front seemed to be in a perpetual stalemate. So the German high command decided to resume submarine attacks on neutral ships in British waters. Their goal was to so devastate neutral shippers that they would become unwilling to trade with the Allies. Germany hoped that would inflict on Britain the same pain Germany itself had been suffering and force the Allies to come to terms. The Germans knew that this was a risky gamble because it could draw the United States into the war, but they hoped to bring the Allies to their knees before US involvement became significant. This proved to be a fatal miscalculation. The submarine campaign never came close to halting American shipping to the Allies, while the flood of American troops in the final months of the war ensured Germany's defeat.



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