Dec 16, 1907 The Rise of the US as a Superpower

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by NorwichDad, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    On the warm, cloudy morning of Dec. 16, 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt stood on the weather-deck of the presidential yacht Mayflower, anchored in the waters off Hampton Roads, Va. He flashed his famous broad, toothy smile and thought how "bully" it was to see a mighty armada of US battleships passing in review before him. The President, and indeed the throngs of onlookers gathered on shore, felt a great sense of pride and exhilaration as 16 battleships of the US Atlantic Fleet, all painted white, save for gilded bows, steamed in a long majestic column out of Hampton Roads to the open sea, flanked by their attending auxiliary ships.

    To the familiar strains of "The Girl I left Behind Me," the procession of battlewagons passed before the President at 400-yard intervals with their crews smartly manning the rails. This newly designated battle fleet was made up of ships commissioned since the end of the Spanish-American War. They were USS Kearsarge (BB-5), USS Kentucky (BB-6), USS Illinois (BB-7), USS Alabama (BB-8), USS Maine (BB-10), USS Missouri (BB-11), USS Ohio (BB-12), USS Virginia (BB-13), USS Georgia (BB-15), USS New Jersey (BB-16), USS Rhode Island (BB-17), USS Connecticut (BB-18), USS Louisiana (BB-19), USS Vermont (BB-20), USS Kansas (BB-21) and USS Minnesota (BB-22).

    The four squadrons of warships, dubbed the "Great White Fleet," were manned by 14,000 sailors and marines under the command of Rear Adm. Robley "Fighting Bob" Evans. All were embarking upon a naval deployment the scale of which had never been attempted by any nation before - the first 'round-the-world cruise by a fleet of steam-powered, steel battleships. The 43,000 mile, 14-month circumnavigation would include 20 port calls on six continents; it is widely considered one of the greatest peacetime achievements of the US Navy.

    The idea of sending the new battle fleet around the world was the brainchild of the energetic "Teddy" Roosevelt, former colonel of the Rough Riders and one-time assistant secretary of the Navy. Assuming the presidency after the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901, Roosevelt brought to the White House a deep conviction that only through a strong navy could a nation project its power and prestige abroad.

    http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/gwf_cruise.htm
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  2. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Impressive as this display of American naval power was, by the time the ships returned home, they were effectively obsolete as battleships. In fact the next class of battleships, the South Carolina class, was already under construction when the fleet left Hampton Roads.
     
  3. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    Good Point,
    At a time when the government revenues from taxes were modest. It must have been very expensive to build and deploy these ships. A good part of the US budget. It was a time when wooden ships still sailed. These battleships became obsolete very quickly. Billy Mitchell would prove them altogether obsolete 15 years later.
     

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