by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

Britain’s blockade of Germany severely restricted the ability of American shipping to trade with Germany in non-contraband goods. The German submarine war did the same for our trade with Britain. America’s protests angered everyone, as this editorial in the Capital Journal discusses:

In discussing the protest of the United States against the embargo of the allies on commerce designed for German ports, the Paris Figaro (newspaper) says that the French fleet prevented the arrival of food and ammunition for Cornwallis’ army at Yorktown and so caused his surrender. It asserts that “no historian ever pretended that this was a disloyal act, and we shall be most surprised if Americans in 1915 condemn a procedure which permitted Washington to win American independence.”

That we are actuated by the basest commercial motives is angrily suggested by the London Daily Graphic:

“If the American shipper grumbles, our reply is that this war is not being conducted for his pleasure or profit. The violation of the laws of war by German soldiers and sailors has conferred upon us a clear moral right to put pressure upon the German people by intercepting the whole of their sea-borne commerce. By exercising that right we shall probably save the lives of hundreds of thousands of gallant men, and that hope justifies us in disregarding any protest based upon purely pecuniary considerations.”

Even in Germany, where our proposals, it is claimed, coincide exactly with Germany’s desires, a note of protest is heard. The Frankfurter Zeitung is annoyed with us, and exclaims:

“The State which day and night works in the production of guns, bombs, submarines, and armored motor-cars for our enemies, and by way of amend prays God for peace in its Methodist churches, need not expect that its warnings will particularly affect us morally.”