People tend to think of the law as slow-moving, immutable and disconnected from daily life. And lawyers have a reputation of being cautious and resistant to change. But in fact, when technology or sweeping changes are necessary to better serve their clients, improve access to justice or simply make their work easier, lawyers can be pretty progressive. While fundamental change can take decades, in the past years legal professionals have eagerly adopted technological innovations, streamlined the law and launched new practice areas that were unimaginable just a century ago.
Naval blockade[ edit ] Britain used its large navy to prevent cargo vessels entering German ports, mainly by intercepting them in the North Sea between the coasts of Scotland and Norway. The wider sea approaches to Britain and France, their distance from German harbours and the smaller size of the German surface fleet all made it harder for Germany to reciprocate.
Instead, Germany used submarines to lie in wait for, and then sink, merchant ships heading for enemy ports. The United States insisted on maintaining the traditional rights of ships registered in neutral countries and protested strongly against American ships being intercepted or sunk: After several violations, Germany stopped this practice but in early she decided to resume unrestricted submarine warfare, in the hope that this would starve out the British before the Americans could make any effective military retaliation.
The strategy behind the blockade[ edit ] The British Royal Navy successfully stopped the shipment of most war supplies and food to Germany. Neutral American ships that tried to trade with Germany were seized or turned back by the Royal Navy who viewed such trade as in direct conflict with the Allies' war efforts.
The strangulation came about very slowly, because Germany and its allies controlled extensive farmlands and raw materials. It was eventually successful because Germany and Austria-Hungary had decimated their agricultural production by taking so many farmers into their armies.
ByGerman cities were on the verge of starvation; the front-line soldiers were on short rations and were running out of essential supplies. We can bottle her up and destroy every ship that endeavors to break the blockade".
He reasoned that since the island of Britain depended on imports of food, raw materials, and manufactured goods, scaring off a substantial number of the ships would effectively undercut its long-term ability to maintain an army on the Western Front.
While Germany had only nine long-range U-boats at the start of the war, it had ample shipyard capacity to build the hundreds needed. However, the United States demanded that Germany respect the international agreements upon " freedom of the seas ", which protected neutral American ships on the high seas from seizure or sinking by either belligerent.
Furthermore, Americans insisted that the drowning of innocent civilians was barbaric and grounds for a declaration of war. The British frequently violated America's neutral rights by seizing ships. House commented that, "The British have gone as far as they possibly could in violating neutral rights, though they have done it in the most courteous way".
German submarines torpedoed ships without warning, causing sailors and passengers to drown. Berlin explained that submarines were so vulnerable that they dared not surface near merchant ships that might be carrying guns and which were too small to rescue submarine crews. Britain armed most of its merchant ships with medium calibre guns that could sink a submarine, making above-water attacks too risky.
In Februarythe United States warned Germany about misuse of submarines.
This act of aggression caused the loss of 1, civilian lives, including Americans. The sinking of a large, unarmed passenger ship, combined with the previous stories of atrocities in Belgium, shocked Americans and turned public opinion hostile to Germany, although not yet to the point of war.
Wilson issued a warning to Germany that it would face "strict accountability" if it sank more neutral U.
By Januaryhowever, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich Ludendorff decided that an unrestricted submarine blockade was the only way to achieve a decisive victory. They demanded that Kaiser Wilhelm order unrestricted submarine warfare be resumed. Germany knew this decision meant war with the United States, but they gambled that they could win before America's potential strength could be mobilized.
Finally, they did not foresee that convoys could and would be used to defeat their efforts. They believed that the United States was so weak militarily that it could not be a factor on the Western Front for more than a year.
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