On today in 1918, a German U-boat submarine fires the final torpedo of World War I, as Germany ceases its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.
Unrestricted submarine warfare was initial introduced in World War I in early 1915, when Germany declared the spot round the British Isles a war zone, where all merchant ships, like those from neutral countries, will be attacked by the German navy. To confront the overwhelmingly superiority of the British navy, the Germans utilized their most hazardous weapon, the stealthy U-boat submarine. A string of attacks on merchant ships started, culminating in the sinking of the British ship Lusitania by way of a German U-boat on May 7, 1915. The attack on the Lusitania-which killed 1,201 people, including 128 Americans-sparked the ire of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, who demanded a finish to German attacks against unarmed merchant ships. Over the next year, the German navy reluctantly restricted the practice at the urging of the country’s government, who feared antagonizing the U.S. and provoking its intervention in the war against Germany.
At the start of 1917, nevertheless, naval and army commanders were able to convince Kaiser Wilhelm II of the necessity to need to resume the unrestricted submarine policy, claiming that unrestricted U-boat warfare contrary to the British at sea could outcome in a German victory by that fall. On February 1, Germany resumed its submarine attacks on enemy and neutral shipping interests at sea. Two days later, Wilson broke diplomatic relations with Germany on April 6, 1917, the U.S. formally entered World War I privately of the Allied powers.
The hope that Germany-despite the deadlock on the battlefields of the Western Front-could win the war by naval warfare persisted till the ultimate months of the war, developing fainter with the Allied resurgence in France and Belgium in the summertime time of 1918 and the deepening discontent and aggravation with the war on the German home front, as as among its soldiers and sailors nicely. In mid-October 1918, because the German government grappled with ways to get an armistice without damaging Germany’s chances to get favorable peace terms and its own army commanders contended with the dire scenario at the front end, Admiral Reinhardt Scheer dealt the ultimate blow to Germany’s U-boat approach, ordering all his navy’s submarines to come back with their German bases.
The final German torpedo of World War I was fired in the Irish Sea on October 21, sinking just a little British merchant ship, the Saint Barcham, and drowning its eight crewmen. In a way of measuring the characteristic aggression of German submarine warfare, a complete of 318 merchant seamen have been killed that month alone. Now, however, the German submarines returned home, leaving the complete strategically essential Belgian coast firmly below Allied control.