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January 21 , 2010

America's U-Boats

Terror Trophies of World War I


The submarine was one of the most revolutionary weapons of World War I, inciting both terror and fascination for militaries and civilians alike. During the war, after U-boats sank the Lusitania and began daring attacks on shipping vessels off the East Coast, the American press dubbed these weapons “Hun Devil Boats,” “Sea Thugs,” and “Baby Killers.” But at the conflict’s conclusion, the U.S. Navy acquired six U-boats to study and to serve as war souvenirs. Until their destruction under armistice terms in 1921, these six U-boats served as U.S. Navy ships, manned by American crews. The ships visited eighty American cities to promote the sale of victory bonds and to recruit sailors, allowing hundreds of thousands of Americans to see up close the weapon that had so captured the public’s imagination.

In America’s U-Boats Chris Dubbs examines the legacy of submarine warfare in the American imagination. Combining nautical adventure, military history, and underwater archaeology, Dubbs shares the previously untold story of German submarines and their impact on American culture and reveals their legacy and Americans’ attitudes toward this new wonder weapon.

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