It took a while before Diedrichs was able to assemble his fleet , but by mid June 1898, the German squadron numbering to 5 ships (consisting of SMS Kaiser,SMS Irene,SMS Cormoran,SMS Kaiserin Augusta and SMS Prinzess Wilhelm) were at the entrance of Manila Bay, enough to post a serious challenge against the American fleet. This led Dewey to imposed a naval blockade not only against the Germans but also against the other foreign warships (of Great Britain, France, and Japan) lurking at Manila Bay. But the provoking actions and presence of the German fleet did not end there, the Germans violated Dewey’s blockade of Manila by bringing in supply of flour to the trapped and beleaguered Spaniards and even treating the Spanish residents aboard the German vessels.
The breaking point came when the German gunboat Cormoran refused to acknowledge signals from the Americans to be boarded for inspection. The gunboat had to be stopped by firing a shot across its bow. Von Diederichs then sent an officer to complain about Dewey’s provocative acts. The incident almost got the Americans and Germans to an exchange of fire. Finally, realizing that Spain would not sell the Philippines to her and with the arrival of the American expeditionary forces, Germany abandoned her colonial ambition in the country. Few weeks later, the Treaty of Paris was signed.
|Admiral Otto von Diedrichs (1843-1818). Commander of the "Ostasiatische Kreuzergeschwader" or East Asia Squadron that was sent to Manila Bay 1898 (Photo -"Das Bundesarchiv")|
|The cruiser SMS Kaiserin Augusta- Became the temporary flagship of von Diedrichs fleet due to the unavailability of the "SMS Prinzess Wilhelm" and the "SMS Kaiser" at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, May 1898. |
(Photo US Library of Congress)
|SMS Kaiser 1874 later renamed "Uranus" |
(Photo courtesy www.kaiserliche.marine.de)
|Deutsche Marine Schiffpost. Postcard featuring Malacañang Palace sent by a sailor from the German fleet in Manila 1898.|