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United in Kinship the English Speaking Race Unite to Celebrate the Visit of the American Fleet

Date: 1908
Overall: 41 x 39 mm
Medium: Tin, enamel
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Badge
Object No: 00008598

User Terms

    This star-shaped tin badge is decorated with the Australian, British and United States flags. The badge is inscribed 'United in Kinship the English Speaking Race Unite to Celebrate the Visit of the American Fleet'. The verso is inscribed 'Great Britain & America United Armies - 670,165, Great Britain & America United Armies - Navies 210,737, total 880,902, English Speaking Race 176,024,086, 1908'. The badge was produced to commemorate the arrival of the American Great White Fleet in Australia in 1908.
    SignificanceThis badge represents the memorabilia produced to celebrate the world tour of the American Great White Fleet in 1908 to countries including Australia. Memorabilia made to coincide with the occasion emphasised the mutual union between the countries and the good will of the Australian nation toward its American ally.
    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 enthusiasm surrounding a potential new and powerful ally.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: United in Kinship the English Speaking Race Unite to Celebrate the Visit of the American Fleet

    Web title: Great White Fleet commemorative badge

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