Germany uses Haiti to Challenge the Monroe Doctrine

Haiti, who had sympathized with France during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, angered the German community residing there at a time when the bigger country was already smarting from the United States' use of the Monroe Doctrine to thwart their dealings with Venezuela.


Perhaps because of this, Haiti's allegiance to their former colonizers over Germany resulted in a systematic wearing away of the smaller country's dignity by the Europeans. As quickly as was possible, two German warships were deployed to collect debts owed to German merchants. On the command of Captain Batsch these monies were to be collected plus insurances. This move was to demonstrate their power over Haiti and ugly instances of seized Haitian ships, held until the money was paid, being returned with defiled Haitian flags strewn across the deck was a demonstration of the German control. The offending Captain Batsch even returned to gloat months later under the guise of a courtesy visit.

The German campaign to humiliate Haiti seemed a way to thwart the doctrine, and continued in the case of an imprisoned German national whose release and return to Germany was demanded by Count von Schwerin, who later also demanded the dismissal of the involved authorities in the case. Again, war ships were sent to force the issue and threats were made to sink Haitians ships unless the accused man be paid $20,000 and be readmitted to Haiti. They also requested an official apology to the German government among other ludicrous, demeaning demands.

These demands were met and Germany's challenge to the Monroe Doctrine well made. The self-appointed protectors of the western hemisphere thought the offenses not worth fighting for as the country had not been claimed, merely humiliated.

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Read more: United States, Germany, Venezuela, Humiliation, Monroe Doctrine, International

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