First World War CentennialFirst World War Centennial

Blockade of Germany

When war broke out in August 1914, the British government moved to institute a trade blockade of Germany, a strategy that had been successfully employed many times by the Royal Navy in previous wars. The main task of the Royal Navy in the First World War was to patrol the North Sea and intercept and detain merchant ships believed to be carrying cargo bound for Germany. This action aroused anger in neutral nations who enjoyed trading with Germany, but it was largely successful, with Germany not seriously challenging the blockade and with very few supplies reaching Germany via the North Sea. The blockade was maintained until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919.