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Record of a notice concerning German ships

Date: 1914
Overall: 254 x 198 x 1 mm
Medium: Paper, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection McIlwraith McEacharn Limited
Object Name: Notice
Object No: ANMS0707[044]

User Terms

    A memorandum from the Navy Board warning of German Man-of-war ships in the vicinity of Australia. This warning was sent only two days after war was officially declared on Germany. Australia had been aware of the German presence in the Pacific for some time and on the 6 August was recruiting the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force to tackle the German outposts in German New Guinea and the south west Pacific.
    SignificanceThe German presence in the Pacific had been of a concern to Australia for some time and became strategically problematic as soon as war was declared. The Germans already had a squadron in the Pacific, the East Asiatic Cruiser Squadron under General von Spree, which was initially based in Tsingtao in Southern China, and this memo shows how real the threat from them was.
    HistoryBy the time that war was declared in August 1914, Australia and Britain had recognized the German presence in the Pacific as a real threat to any shipping or navy in the area. The Allies also recognized that the threat was not just physical but also that the wireless communication hub the Germans had established in German New Guinea were also dangerous to Allied war efforts. It was under this urgency that the first Australian troops of World War 1, known as the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, were rapidly assembled and departed Australia on in order to destroy or overtake the German colonies in German New Guinea and for New Zealand force to tackle the German presence in Samoa. Despite the initial rush to assemble the troops, the mission proved successful
    General von Spree at the same time recognized that his time in the Pacific was becoming precarious. Now there was the threat of Japan entering the war and the Allied navy’s presence in the region would increase. It would become more difficult to supply the East Asiatic Cruiser Squadron and to communicate with Germany. After dispatching the SMS EMDEN for raiding duties in the Indian Ocean, General von Spree led the remainder of his squadron around Cape Horn in the Atlantic with the idea of heading north. There was an encounter there however with the British West Indies Squadron and on 8 December most of the German fleet was destroyed. The remaining cruiser SMS DRESDEN and a number of smaller vessels made it back to the Pacific and made intermittent raids on Allied shipping until 14 March 1915 when the SMS DREDEN was scuttled and then destroyed in the Battle of Más a Tierra.

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