Friday, February 27, 2015

The German-American War 1898-1910

Most Gnomish school children know about the German-American War, and it's implications on the world stage, so I don't know why I'm repeating it here, but I'll cover it to make sure the few uneducated Teddy Bears and feral gnomes learn some essential history.

Despite the best efforts at exploration, Spanish gnomes could not maintain an empire and its outposts either became independent or fell into disrepair. We all know that today they are better now for their bullfighting and afternoon naps than international policy.

The British Mercantile Syndicracy moved in to sweep up the possession along the American coast, which ultimately became the countries we have today. The Swiss moved towards Africa and Asia. The French focused on Quebec and, for a time, Mexico.

The unification of the German Empire was completed with the Astro-German War of 1870. With its internal affairs in order, the Kaiser looked towards the far reaches of the world for colonies and an expansion of his power. While the British Mercantile System had set up trading ports throughout the globe, they had never taken steps to "civilize" the interior of Africa, Asia, or any other "Third World" locations.

The Germans still looked for scraps in the Colonial game, but they were plentiful. Cuba, Port Kaiser (Puerto Rico), Guam, and the Philippine's (now Willipines) were easy pick-ups as other

In America, the Northerners had played a delicate balancing act between British and German trade interests. Southerners had two interests to screw with the North. 1) They were interest in adding Cuba as a state/colony but didn't have the strength to do it. 2) They wanted to weakened German trade interests with the North and capitalize on that loss.

Birmingham-based saboteurs formed insurgent groups against German rule. Tourists and stray sailors were kidnapped and sometimes murdered. Bombs were planted, which brought more German troops, but a stronger Northern presence to protect its interests. When Northern Engineers aboard the U.S.S. Maine mixed steam engine modifications and late night drinking, the explosion shook Havana harbor. Southern agents immediately plotted the seeds of German conspiracy to the North, and a dangerous unit of foreign troops to the Germans.

War was soon declared in the Caribbean.

With no Caribbean holdings, and the loss of Florida, the North's troop deployment was complicated. Soldiers were loaded at Baltimore, sailed to the Bahamas, where the sympathetic British let them properly mobilize.    

German defenses were stern and morale high against the invading Americans. The Northerners took heavy casualties, but dwindling ammo finally forced the Kaiser to surrender Cuba and Port Kaiser.

The North's War was an opportunity in the Pacific. The Empire of California was looking for colonies in the Pacific and the German holdings were usually poorly manned, weakly defended, and usually considered "vacations" to the troops deployed there. California already had a steady alliance with the Kingdom of Hawaii, which allowed them to rent a naval base there, so with the explosion on the Maine, the Californian Navy had been quickly dispatched to Manila. The result was close, but a success for California initiative.

With Manila taken, Captain Hank Glass of the CSS Sutter took matters into his own hands and rerouted his ship and the three troop transports it was escorting to Manila, heading straight for Samoa. Samoa had been a hotbed of international intrigue between Germany, Britain, the North, and California. Mata'afa was a lesser chief who was looking to overthrow the Samoan king and set up closer relations to Germany.

Despite a distinct superiority in manpower, the pre-existing foreign powers, and the royal and rebel Samoan forces created a quagmire that stretched on for nearly a decade.  While the Treaty of Tampa in 1900 called for the end of hostilities and a free Cuba, the Samoan Islands and Guam were not listed as existing conflicts.    It was not until the Treaty of Sydney in 1910 that the war officially ended and Samoa was divided into three separate entities.    The western chain would remain an independent entity under Australian/New Zealand protection.  The eastern chain would be protected by Hawaiians under the direction of the League of Gentlemen Gnomes.   The central portion of the island would maintain Samoan sovereignty, but be considered free ports for all nations.   The Samoan king still remained friendly to the Germans.  Guam was to remain a German coaling station.

After years of German dominance among Gnome-kind, the gnomes of the American Hemisphere emerged on the international stage.   These overseas ventures were lauded by the press, but their costs scared the politicians in San Francisco and the District of Columbia. 

For the Northerners, the addition of Port Kaiser (soon to be renamed Porto McKinley) was considered the Gibraltar of the Caribbean, which could be used to stage naval forces when combating the volatile South American political scene.  It also kept any ambitions by the Republic of Texas and the Aztexican Empire outside the Gulf of Aztexico in check.

For the Confederates, who never fired a shot in the war, the war opened up full and profitable trade with Cuba.   Joint Cuban/Confederate action would undertaken in the early 1910s to help stifle rebellion in Hispaniola and Jamaica.

Popular sentiment in California eventually grew tiresome of the war. However, Emperor Nicholas I had the most vision of any ruler, and also fought with the Aztexican Empire, Russian, and Japan while the fighting in Samoa dragged on.   These rapid successes overshadowed the bloodbath in the South Pacific.  The acquisition of the Willipines created a new gateway to Far East ports that reversed the reliance between California and Hawaii.  California kept only a token presence at Pearl Harbor, and Hawaiians no longer felt completely exposed in the center of the Pacific.

For the Germans, they paid a high cost at home and abroad, to almost maintain the status quo.  Operations in the Willipines were moved the Chinese mainland or a few select trading villages in Japan.  The loss of their Caribbean holdings did not disuade them from getting involved in Latin American politics, although once evidence came out about CSA espsionage, German-Confederate relations were at an all-time low.  Through most of first decade of the 20th Century, Germans focused their colonial ambitions to Africa and China.

For Australians, this was their first independent action on the world stage.    Despite protecting the sparsely populated islands, Aussies proudly took their first step towards expanding their influence.

For the British, it was a diplomatic disaster.  The other impeccable Brits lost influence in the region to both the native population but to the otherwise allied Aussies as well. 

No comments:

Post a Comment