Battle of Charleston Bay, 1903

The US-German War (also known as "01-05 War") was a conflict between the United States of America and the German Empire, fought from August 1901 until December 1905. The war was a violent and bloody one, and it made the US General Staff of the Army realize the importance of the Atlantic if ever at war with another European nation.

Build up to war

The roots of the war go back to the Franco-Prussian War. After Germany was formed, many members of the government, and especially the Military felt that Germany ought to have a powerful Empire. During the 1870s, Germany built colonies in Africa, and also into some areas of the Middle East. They purchased Muscat and Oman from the United Kingdom in 1875 for the price of Three Million Gold marks (about Five Million Pounds) and set it up as a member of the Empire. They also purchased Sierra Leone in Africa from the British in 1877 for the lower price of One Million Gold marks. In 1883, Germany began to salivate over the prospect of the Dutch East Indies in the Pacific and Dutch Guyana in South America. They offered to purchase them, but the Dutch refused, and so Germany went to war with The Netherlands. After a quick contest, Germany was victorious and The Netherlands transferred the territories over to them. Then in 1898 the United States of America went to war with Spain, a war that Germany kept a close eye on. They sent a military attache to the Spanish island of Cuba, where they watched the war rage.

The military attache was Colonel Alfred von Schleiffen, who watched the contest with great interest - one battle in particular, the Battle of San Juan.

Alfred Graf von Schlieffen

Colonel Alfred von Schlieffen

Hill, took him by great interest. He watched as young cavalry Colonel Theodore Roosevelt charged into the battle, and the use of Gatling guns to enfilade trenches. He took down notes and after the war ended in a few months, returned to Germany, where he presented them to the rest of the German Chief Staff. When Schlieffen was told that the United States had later annexed the Philippines, Cuba and Guam, he immediately suggested going to war with the US, as he was sure that Germany could win. He said in his suggestion: "The United States is still a fledgling country, and after its war with Spain, is now tired. Germany is a powerful nation, with the best Army in the world and a Navy second only to the British. With the discoveries I have made in the art of American Warfare, I am sure, no certain, that the German Empire is more than able to defeat the USA in naval and land warfare."

The German government decided that taking over the territories annexed by the US would surely put them in the position of a superpower. As relations between the two nations buckled in the three yer between the war, Germany not only built up a much more powerful army but a massive navy as well.

War Breaks Out, 1901

On June 12 1901, the German Navy crossed the Atlantic to take up positions near the East Coast of the USA. Whilst Great Britain feared that this was a move of war (and they also feared for the safety of their Atlantic Island, Bermuda) they simply monitored the German Navy make its way across the channel. In a move very similar to the one made by General P.G.T. Beauregard in 1861, the German Navy began the war by shelling the island of Fort Sumter, and then sent troops to occupy it. At the same time, they also bombarded and invaded eastern Cuba, and occupied military posts and villages on the eastern sea-board. The United States had been caught by surprise, and had no time to mobilize their navy before German battle cruisers were attacking Long Island, New York. Although after the US Navy arrived to defend Long Island, the Germans lost this duel. They had stolen some early victories against the US. The following day, US President William McKinley declared war on Germany. Later engagements between the two navies saw Germany victorious in most. European and South American countries began to panic, thinking the war would cut off vital trade, but Germany promised to use her navy to keep the sea lanes open. In an audacious move by the United States later in the year, they attempted to capture German Navy vessels but to no avail. Germany was winning.

The United States attempted to get foreign aid, but other foreign nations were uninterested. Most of them were involved in the Boxer Rebellion, which the US had withdrawn from to fight Germany. Without assistance, the US was forced to fight alone. Germany on the other hand had support from Mexico and Central American countries and received aid from them. Some Mexicans, eager to get a chance of reclaiming their original territory in the US, organised "volunteer" bands that attacked US troops and supply trains coming from the west. Although this was a cause of great anger in the US, Mexico and the States would not go to war until 1917, sixteen years later. On September 14 President McKinley was assassinated whilst giving a speech in Providence, Rhode Island. It is thought that the shooter was a German sympathizer. He shot McKinley three times in the chest, killing him. Five days later, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt took over the position, promising in his inaugural: "A swift and merciless retribution for this heinous crime against America."

Later in the month, Germany began an offensive against Florida. They began a hard bombardment of Miami on September 23. German soldiers then attempted to land on the coast, but US soldiers pushed them back, and,with the arrival of the US Navy, managed to push the Germans back. But in a second attack, this time on the west coast of Florida, the German Army captured the town of Bradenton, and pushed the US troops back to a farm in central Florida called Arapaho Farm. This was a disastrous engagement for the US, as they had lost ground on their own turf.
Battle of Arapho Farm

US troops fighting Germans in the Battle of Arapaho Farm

The US had a hard time finding a weakness to the German offensive, and US Generals decided that the only way to continue the war would be with the support of another nation. The US government sent requests to Britain, to France and even to Russia for aid. The only one of these to help in any way was France, still bitter over their defeat in the Franco-Prussian war. The sent to the Americans a large amount of field pieces, and money to build more rifles for their soldiers.

1902, The war picks up

The German Offensive in Florida began to buckle as the US brought in more soldiers and armies to face them. In an incredible seventeen day battle, the Germans were pushed all the way from Arapaho to Miami, and then the US fought another incredible bloody battle against the German Army. All the time at sea, the German Navy dealt horrific blows to the Americans, defeating them at the Battle of Norfolk, and again at the Battle of Wilmington. With this, the United States Navy retreated to Maryland and Annapolis. The German Navy contemplated sending a naval brigade to assault down the Potomac, but this was considered unnecessary, as it was thought that soon, the USA would surrender to Germany.

In the summer of 1902, the US Army sent a brigade to Cuba to fight alongside rebels of the German occupation. One of these battle was called the "Great Trek" as the US simply chased the Germans from city to city, with minor skirmishes in between.

US Troops fighting in Cuba during "The Great Trek"

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