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Battleships and the Naval Arms Race (1906-1910): Topics in Chronicling America

In the early 1900s, the U.S. competed internationally to build powerful naval armed ships. This guide provides access to materials related to "Battleships and the Naval Arms Race" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"The world's most powerful battleship." April 8, 1906. The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA), Image 5. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Trying to keep afloat in a world-wide naval arms race, the U.S. launches the great USS Michigan on May 26, 1908 swiftly followed by the USS South Carolina in July of that same year. England sparked the race in 1906 when it introduced the “world’s most powerful battleship,” prompting Germany, Japan, the U.S., and a number of other countries to build increasingly larger and more powerfully armed ships. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


February 10, 1906 Battleship HMS Dreadnought is launched.
November 15, 1906 Japan launches the Satsuma.
July 22, 1907 Germany launches SMS Nassau.
May 26, 1908 United States launches the USS Michigan.
August 20, 1910 Italy launches the Dante Alighieri.
July 24, 1910 Austria-Hungary begins building the Viribus Unitis.