The War at Sea

Tian Lin

                                                                                                                                 December 10. 1918

Dear Diary,

The war at sea has finally come to an end. Since the summer of 1914 to the middle of this year, the Germans has attempted to force Great Britain to surrender by interfering with our ships at sea. Their aim was to limit Britain's access to food, weapons, and manufactured materials; however, just like on land, we, the British, did not back down to their declaration of war at sea ("The War at Sea"). Overall, there has been several significant battles at sea that had been just as disastrous as the battles on land such as the Battle of the Bight, Battle of Coronel, and the Battle of Falkland Islands. The war at sea unmistakably held a great significance to World War One through the number of lost lives, the introduction to modern warfare technology, and the power to spread the war rapidly around the world.

As a commander of the British navy, Doveton Sturdee, I am proud to say that I led my team of men to victory at the battle of Falkland Islands. I could remember the memory of it as if it were yesterday. The Germain commander, Maximilian von Spee, wanted to attack one of our colonies on the Falkland Islands, to destroy our coaling and radio stations, in order to cut off our military communications. It would have been an easy victory for them if it weren't for the fact that I had brought my entire British squadron coaling that morning. We were lucky to be equipped with two more battlecruisers than Spee's squadron, and we were able to defeat them ("The Battle of the Falkland Islands, 1914"). 1,871 Germans were killed including Spee himself, and sometimes I wonder what if the situation was reversed. The thought of it terrifies me, but it also reminds me of how many lives were lost due to the war at sea. The reason of the lost of these lives wasn't just the result of the battles; particularly, many Germans died of starvation due to the success of our blockade during the winter of 1916 to 1917. The "turnip winter" was defiantly an unforgotten detail of the World War One, which reminds me that the number of the numerous deaths, due to war at sea, does not fail to compete with the number of deaths that were the results to the war on land ("Impact of World War One on the Weimar Republic"). These countless deaths demonstrated the significance of the war at sea during World War One.

On the other hand, in order for Germans to obtain their goal of limiting our supplies and resources, they decided to manipulate their new weapon: the submarine. Even though we had this new technology as well, we thought that the act of secretly observing the enemy before attacking was very cowardly; therefore, we did not depend on it ("Unrestricted Submarine Warfare"). However, it proved to be the introduction to the change of warfare technology, and its existence has especially affected us greatly during September and October of 1914, when 4 British cruisers and warships were sank by German submarines; this event killed more than 3,000 of our sailors, and it made us recognize how great of a threat the submarines were; therefore, the introduction to submarines also contributed to the significance of the war at sea.

Most importantly, I believe that the war at sea was also the reason that the war spread so quickly around the world. Specifically, the war at sea turned the Ottoman Empire into an ally of Germany when a secret treaty was signed on August 2, 1914. On October 29, when 2 ships, that appeared to be Ottoman ships, fired on Russian seaports, Russia believed that the attack had come from Turkey; therefore, Russia invaded Turkey while Britain and France attacked Turkish forts. As a result, Turkey declared war on all three countries. It is evident how Germany successfully manipulated the war at sea so that Turkey would join the war on the German side (Harlow), which proves that the war at sea was one of the significant causes that War World One spread so rapidly.

As I looked back to the years of the war at sea, I couldn't help but to think that it played a significant role in World War One through all the bloodshed, the fatal technology, as well as its ability to make a small war, that was once just fought by 2 parties, into a war that shaped our history, as well as a war that will shape our future.

Works Cited


Jay, Michael. Battle of the Virginia Capes, 5 September 1781. 2011. EagleOne. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.

The Battle of the First of June, 1794. 2009. History of the Sailing Warship in the Marine Art. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.


Harlow, Jennifer N. "The Ottoman Empire Enters World War I (1914)." Jewish Virtual Library. N.p., 21 Apr. 1997. Web. 21 Feb. 2015.

"Impact of World War One on the Weimar Republic." History Learning Site. N.p., 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.

"The Battle of the Falkland Islands, 1914." First World War. Ed. Michael Duffy. N.p., 22 Aug. 2009. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.

"The War at Sea." Government of Canada. N.p., 23 Oct. 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.

"Unrestricted Submarine Warfare." History Learning Site. N.p., 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.

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