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Postcard featuring battleship USS ILLINOIS

Date: c 1908
Dimensions:
Overall: 85 x 135 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00003774
Place Manufactured:Australia

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    Description
    This postcard features the battleship USS ILLINOIS during the Great White Fleet world tour. This blue half tone print depicts the ILLINOIS in calm waters from broadside port view. It is one of a series of postcards issued by Ward Bros of Victoria that depict the battleships involved in the peace time world tour.
    SignificanceAustralia welcomed the United States’ 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. It is estimated that over 25% of the Australian population participated in some way in the public occasion which was celebrated in Sydney, Melbourne and Albany.
    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.

    USS ILLINOIS was launched on 4 October 1898. It served in the European squadron as part of the Atlantic Fleet. Following this ILLINOIS took part in the Great White Fleet world peace tour between 1907 and 1909. It was decommissioned on 15 May 1920 to comply with the Washington Treaty. However it was used as a naval armoury until being renamed PRAIRE STATE on 8 January 1941 and then was eventually scrapped on 18 May 1956.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Postcard featuring battleship USS ILLINOIS

    Assigned title: Battleship USS ILLINOIS

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