La partición de Samoa

Conclusiones del libro de Paul KennedyThe Samoan Tangle (Bibliografía) en las que explica por qué este asunto fabricó la enemistad entre alemanes por un lado y norteamericanos e ingleses por el otro (ver algunas referencias en Raeder y completar con Alfred von Tirpitz):

Tras la partición de 1899, "apart from the Anglo-French administration of the New Hebrides, the Pacific was completely partitioned. Throughout the 1870s and 1880s the policy of the US was to preserve the independence of the native state, even to the extent of risking a confrontation with Germany upon this point. Al acordar una administración tripartita Washington tended to lose interest in the affairs of the group and to regard them as an unnatural 'entanglement'. Even if the British activities in the group seemed peaceful, its tacit support of German policy in the 1880s confirmed the suspicion of the Americans that their natural foe would always back a European power against the young republic.

Aunque su enfado iba más contra Alemania, no se oscurece the powerful anglophobic strain running through the Congress and the press in these years. Salisbury's obvious wish to see the Samoan matter settled by some partition arangement and his great need for Germany's diplomatic support in Egypt and the Balkans had thrown him into Bismarck's camp. Diez años después las cosas eran muy diferentes: Following the Venezuela crisis, which alarmed influential circles upon both sides of the Atlantic, Anglo-American relations steadily improved, but the real breakthrough came inly in 1898 and followed from the British government and press's attitude to the Spanish-American war.

El factor crucial fue que the obvious pro-American feelings of the British at a time when the actions of the United States were being strongly criticized elsewhere was gratefully received in Washington. As Roosevelt himself put it: 'Indeed I shall not forget, and I don't think our people will, England's attitude during the Spanish war'; pero una alianza angloamericana was still considered to be impossible and undesirable.

Hasta la crisis de Samoa de 1889, las relaciones germano-americanas habían sido amistosas. But the confrontation there, where the Americans appeared ready to go to war and their attitude was certainly interpreted that way by Bismarck, indicated a turning point. In 1897, as a result of the mutual resurgence of expansionist activities, the German-American rivalries began to re-emerge. The hostile attitude of the German press during the Spanish-American war, the suspicious activities of Dieterichs' squadron at Manila, and Berlin's pressure for colonial compensations at a time when the US was engaged in battle, were never forgiven by the American government or people, despite the frantic efforts of the Wilhelmstrasse's propaganda machine to repair the damage afterwards.

Estas sospechas se confirmaron con el choque en Samoa en 1899. Tirpitz even seems to have believed that it would lead to a German-American war, and several American senators obviously thought the same way. En 1900, los estrategas de USA empiezan a prever una guerra general en la que ellos y UK están en un bando, y Alemania en el otro, siendo la doctrina Monroe el principal problema para afrontar el poder naval alemán: 'the most important war problem to be studied is based on the supposition that Germany is the enemy', the General Board firmly stated in 1903. Hay que explicar Tirpitz's promise of a 45 battleship force for the kaiser, following which 'England will have lost every inclination to attack us', así como the Admiralstab's fears that Britain, if provoked, would be able 'to stunt Germany's ability to carry out Weltpolitik for generations'. In his Immediatvortrag of 28 September 1899, Tirpitz candidly admited that Germany's great commercial expansion overseas was more or less bound to lead her 'to points of contact and conflict with other nations, therefore power (sea-power is) vital if Germany will not quickly go under'. A few years later, another memorandum stated that 'if we wish to promote a powerful overseas policy and to secure worthwhile colonies, we must in the first place be prepared for a clash with England or America.' (nota 42: On German naval calculations towards Britain in this period, see ibid (Berghahn, Zu den Zielen, pp. 67-68), and also P. M. Kennedy, Tirpitz, England and the Second Navy Law of 1900, from where the above quotation are taken.

Pero esas generalidades no explican por qué in the operation plans, the fleet manoeuvres, the Winterarbeiten and the overal strategic calculations, the German navy was becoming obsessed with the idea of a war with Britain; or why Tirpitz was striving for an ultimate force of 60 battleships or more. The neutralization of possible British attempts to obstruct the outward expansion of Europe's most powerful state emerges as the clear-cut aim of the German fleet construction. Though a long-term plan, it was in fact a short cut to world power. If things did not work out the way they were planned, if Germany's favourable European position collapsed and her naval hopes crumbled after a few years, and if the chief question became one of 'encirclement', this should not obscure the fact that her leaders were optimistically expansionist at the turn of the century. El episodio de Samoa arroja luz sobre the general nature of imperialism in this period. Why, in particular, was so much written and debated about a small island group in the Pacific? Por lo que el autor llama manipulated social imperialism, la dependencia de los políticos respecto a la opinión pública alimentada por el tema: it was not what Samoa was that mattered, but what people at home thought it was, por lo que concluye: the later stages of imperialism in the nineteenth century were 90 per cent illusion and 10 per cent reality.