Page 3522

3522 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

forth all cargoes of food destined for Germany were stopped.

The case created a great outcry on the

part of the Germans and their supporters.

It is instructive, however, to consider

what treatment the Germans themselves

accorded an American ship and cargo

under practically identical conditions. Late

in 1914, the William P. Frye, the 'finest

sailing vessel in the American merchant

marine, sailed from Portland, Oregon,

with a cargo of wheat consigned "to order"

at Queenstown, Falmouth, or Portsmouth,

England. There was no proof that the

wheat was for any other use than for the

civil population, nor was any such proof

ever brought forward. In the course

of her long voyage the vessel reached the

Atlantic Ocean, and there was stopped

on January 28, 1915, by a German raider,

the Prinz Eitel Friedrich. After inspecting the cargo and papers, the Germans,

against the protests of the American

captain, proceeded to dump the wheat

Into the sea; but, finding this too long

and hard a task, finally took off the crew

and sent both cargo and vessel to the

bottom of the sea. When these facts

became known several weeks later, British

partisans were not slow to make a comparison of the German treatment of the

Frye with British treatment of the Wilhelmina and contended that, if Germany

possessed the control of the sea which

the British did, neutrals would find the

little finger of the Germans thicker than

the loins of Great Britain. Whatever the

merits of the two cases in international

law, the Germans undoubtedly violated an

old treaty between the United States

and Prussia, and, upon protest from the

United States, were compelled to promise

an indemnity.

On the 4th of February, five days before

the seizure of the Wilhelmina, but seven

days after the sinking of the Frye, Germany

announced a retaliatory decree to the

effect that from February 18 they would

treat all waters about Great Britain as

within the "zone of war" and that "all

enemy merchant vessels encountered in

these waters will be destroyed, even if it

will not always be possible to save their

crews and passengers." Neutral vessels

were also warned that they, also, would

be in great danger if they entered the zone,

even though they might be engaged upon

the most harmless of errands. What

the announcement amounted to was that

henceforth any vessel found in British

waters would be liable to be blown up

without any warning whatsoever, and its

crews and passengers killed or drowned.

Neutral nations, particularly the United

States, protested against this order as

contrary to well-established international

law, but the Germans persisted in their

purpose, and the course of events as concerns the United States has already been

described. It will be sufficient to add

here that scores of vessels were blown

up about which Americans heard little, for

the reason that no Americans were lost

upon them.

On the 11th of March, in retaliation,

the British issued a new Order in Council

establishing a virtual blockade, although

the word blockade was not used, and

neutral goods on their way to Germany,

if not contraband, were, when seized,

to be purchased instead of confiscated.

Henceforth nothing was to go into or

out of Germany, either through her own

ports or the ports of neutrals, though

an exception was made in the case of goods

purchased and paid for in Germany by

March 1. The full pressure of sea-power

had closed on Germany's throat.

Some neutral nations protested against

various features of the "blockade" but

secured no important modifications. Enforcement as regards goods originating

in the Central Powers was even more

efficacious than as regards goods destined

for those countries, for considerable quantities of goods managed in one way or

another to leak through neutral states into

Germany and Austria, but very little

was able to leak out. The United States,

for example, suffered considerably from

a shortage of dyestuffs, more particularly

because Germany refused to permit the

exportation of some cargoes of dyes which,

having been purchased before March I,