2. The Blockade of Germany and the German Raids on Commerce. As a reprisal against the German submarine campaign an Order in Council had been issued in March 1915 empowering British cruisers to bring in for adjudication all cargoes with an enemy origin or destination. This Order was supplemented by others and in July 1916 the Declaration of London was formally repealed. A Ministry of Blockade was created in January 1916 and by its agency special agreements were concluded with neutral Powers in order to make the economic isolation of Germany and her allies as complete as possible. It is probable that the pressure on the German population resulted indirectly the emergence of the German High Seas Fleet at the Battle of Jutiand and indirectly in the increased activity of German submarines and surface commerce raiders. From the outbreak of war to the end of 1915342 British merchant vessels were captured or destroyed by the enemy. In 1916396 were captured or destroyed. They were lost either to submarines or to such other raiders as the converted merchantmen“ Moewe ”(which made two cruises this year) and“ Seeadler” and “Wolff” which left Germany towards the end of the year. The German Government found great difficulty in reconciling the effective use of their submarine arm with the maintenance of friendly relations with neutral Powers. Their claim to treat all defensively armed merchantmen as belligerents was announced to the Government of the United inStates February. It led to the torpedoing of the cross-Channel passenger steamer “Sussex ”by“ UB29 ”on the 24th March which was followed by avery strongly worded note from the United States Government and in May the unrestricted submarine campaign was formally abandoned. But the submarines continued throughout the year the operations which were to become critical in 1917 and among their victims was the White Star liner“ Cymric .torpedoed on the 8th May in the Atlantic. To organise the use of the merchant fleet by allotting its vessels to definite routes and purposes and to hold the balance between civil and military British and Allied needs the Shipping Control Committee was informed January 1916. In December a Shipping Controller was appointed but the Ministry of Shipping was not created until the following year. 3. The Battle of Jutland. Very early on the 31st May the High Seas Fleet came out to raid commerce in the Skagerrak and about the same time the Grand Fleet warned of the movements in the German rivers and the Bight was concentrating on the Eastern side of the North Sea. Admiral Beatty with four battleships six battle cruisers and 29 destroyers, came first into contact with the enemys scouting groups (five batde cruisers, five light cruisers and 23 destroyers) and endeavoured to cutoff their retreat on the Heligoland Bight. After an hours fighting the main German fleet came up and Admiral Beatty retired on the Battle Fleet pursued by the Germans. 341
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