Britain’s tactics proved to be highly effective—trade between the United States and Germany dropped off dramatically between 19.However, Germany was not willing to concede control of the North Atlantic shipping lanes.
Unlike surface ships, U-boats, did not adhere to the traditional rules of engagement, which required raiders to stop a vessel, examine its cargo, and allow passengers to escape before sinking the ship.
Instead, the strength of the submarine was its ability to strike without warning, while its major weakness was its inability when surfaced to defend itself.
Despite attempts by both the Allied and Central Powers to persuade U. opinion, President Wilson and the American people remained firmly neutral. Both the Allied and Central Powers hoped to gain advantage over the other by controlling America’s trade relationships. Instead, Wilson attempted to maintain a neutral position as Britain continued to throttle American trade with Germany.
However, America’s neutrality was soon tested on what the U. Britain, who controlled the span of the North Atlantic Ocean, refused to allow American goods to be shipped to Germany and declared all cargo in neutral waters to be contraband. American ships traveling through the North Sea, which was the only route to access German ports, often found themselves illegally searched and seized, sometimes being held for months.
Feeling threatened, Germany declared war on Russia on August 1, 1914.
Only days later, in an attempt to neutralize any opposition from France, Germany moved its forces through Belgium to strike the French nation.
In an attempt to contend with the British Navy, Germany began to produce a new weapon of war—the U-boat.
U-boats, a common English abbreviation for the German word `Unterseeboot', were submarines.
Within less than a month, two coalitions emerged—the Central Powers, which primarily consisted of Germany and Austria-Hungary, and the Allied Powers, which included France, Russia, and Great Britain.
As posturing between the two coalitions persisted, Russia began to mobilize its forces to strike against Germany.