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Australia welcomes Uncle Sam and his fleet

Date: 1908
Dimensions:
Overall: 88 x 143 mm
Medium: Ink, cardboard
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00009349
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    Description
    This postcard was printed to welcome Uncle Sam (the personification of the United States) and the American Great White Fleet to Australia in 1908. Uncle Sam sits on the first ship of the fleet as it sails through Sydney Heads. The fleet's tour was a public relations exercise to express American sea power and strength.
    SignificanceAustralia welcomed the United State’s Great White Fleet tour in 1908 through the production of souvenir items such as this postcard, highlighting the excitement the visit generated within the Australian public.
    HistoryIn December 1907 United States President Theodore Roosevelt sent a US Atlantic Battle Fleet of 16 battleships on a 14 month goodwill cruise around the world. The fleet was a chance for the Navy to practice seamanship and express America's world power. Roosevelt was also concerned about rising Japanese aggression and their expansionist foreign policy. The cruise would be a political and public relations exercise to build domestic support for more naval construction.

    Led by the flagship, USS CONNECTICUT, the Great White Fleet as it became known, consisted of 16 battleships painted white, as was the practice of all US Navy ships in times of peace. The ships sailed in four divisions of four ships each. Early in the voyage the order of the ships was altered to allow the best-looking vessels to be at the front of the fleet. The cruise incorporated six continents, 26 countries and 32 ports with 614 officers and 13,504 crew. It consumed 435,000 tons of coal, more than any other naval expedition and was the largest fleet to ever accomplish a circumnavigation of the globe.

    Australia was not originally on the itinerary route of the Great White Fleet, who only decided to visit after receiving a direct invitation from the Prime Minister Alfred Deakin. One quarter of the Australian population, over one million people, saw the Great White Fleet during its three-week visit to Sydney, Melbourne and Albany. Public holidays were declared and enthusiastic crowds flocked to see the ships and parades.

    Vast arrays of souvenirs were produced for a population caught up in the euphoria.
    Badges, medallions, pins, postcards and photographs all reflected the euphoria generated by the visit of a potential new and powerful ally. The postcards typically represent America and Australia as cooperative partners and commonly depict national motifs including flags, emblems and banners.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Australia welcomes Uncle Sam and his fleet

    Web title: Australia welcomes Uncle Sam and his fleet

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