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Good evening again gents! Does anyone have any knowledge or views on this one please? There is only a photo of the front but apparently the back has the following text: 

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Probably a fund raising token/medal, by the German community in the USA for the interned crew of the German Armed Merchant Cruiser "Kronprinz Wilhelm".

After a successful service, the ship needed supplies and repairs, and in 1915 the commander decided to enter the neutral US harbour of Newport news.

There the ship and crew were interned, as "guests" of the US Government. When the USA gave up neutrality in 1917, the "Kronprinz Wilhelm" was employed in war service by the Americans.

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Hi Odulf


Thanks for that reply, it was interesting. Do you know why the Kronprinz Wilhelm and crew were interned, but the U-Deutschland was allowed to visit and leave twice during WWI before the US declared war on Germany? I have quite a few postcards featuring the Deutschland and her US visits.








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Nice collection, indeed!


The "Kronprinz Wilhelm" was a n AMC, in fact a war ship, and the U "Deutschland" was a merchant ship. Under international law, a neutral country cannot allow any military unit of the belligerent porties on its territory for a longer period of time. If so, these units have to be interned for the duration of the war. To allow a belligerent military's unit to repair and leave the territory would lift the neutrality and make the country a belligerent also. However, a merchant ship, like the U "Deutschland", of a belligerent country is not a military's unit. France, England and Germany could there fore trade with the USA. This situation changed when the USA took Side with the allied nations and Germany become an enemy. At that moment all interned units became spoiles of war.

When ships from opposite belligerent countries would enter a neutral port (for taking in water or coal), there should be a specific time in departure between their leaving, so that they could get to international waters without being shot at in neutral territory. Ships that have to stay in port for a longer period (e.g. to use dry dock) would have to be interned.

During WW1 many Germn ships were interned in neutral countries. Also ship's companies from wrecked ships setting foot on neutral ground should be interned. Note for instance the escape of the late Admiral Canaris from SMS Dresden from Chile, during WW1 and the short stay of SMS Goeben in Messiana (neutral Italy).


Belligerent = country at war
Units = soldiers, sailors, airmen, ships, war planes, etc.

Edited by Odulf
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