Battle Fleet Cruise Around the World
BATTLE FLEET CRUISE AROUND THE WORLD
BATTLE FLEET CRUISE AROUND THE WORLD was ordered by President Theodore Roosevelt in response to recommendations from the Navy Department that the Atlantic Fleet be transferred to the Pacific. On 16 December 1907, the fleet, consisting of sixteen battleships, sailed from Hampton Roads, Virginia, under the command of Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans. It was bound for San Francisco by way of the Strait of Magellan. The cruise served as an exercise in naval training and planning should relations with Japan degenerate because of Japanese aggressive actions in Manchuria and issues of Japanese immigration to the West Coast. Roosevelt, however, recognized that the cruise could also generate support for the navy among the American people and demonstrate American power to the world. Thus the arrangements for the return voyage represented an exercise in naval diplomacy.
From San Francisco the fleet, now commanded by Rear Admiral Charles S. Sperry, sailed to Hawaii, then New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, China, and Japan. It returned home, via the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean, to Hampton Roads on 22 February 1909. Naval greetings were exchanged with fourteen countries, and the fleet was welcomed everywhere it went with huge celebrations. The cruise demonstrated America's new global reach, but its real significance lies in the effect it had on the navy itself, which became more organized, professional, and efficient.
Hart, Robert A. The Great White Fleet: Its Voyage Around the World, 1907–09. Boston: Little, Brown, 1965.
Reckner, James R. Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1988.
Wimmel, Kenneth. Theodore Roosevelt and the Great White Fleet: American Sea Power Comes of Age. London: Brassey's, 1998.