Send in the Navy

Reply Tue 4 Aug, 2015 05:48 pm
I believe when a country failed to pay a financial debt to another country (or its citizens) the creditor country used to send its navy to the creditor nation to seize property to satisfy the debt.

In what cases if any did this occur?
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Reply Wed 5 Aug, 2015 06:36 pm
In cases such as that, a national navy has seized the customs house in the principle port city, and then taken the customs receipts to satisfy the claims of its citizens. In 1859, the Army of the Reform (the "liberals") in Mexico defeated the army of the conservatives. Benito Juarez subsequently repudiated the debts of the former conservative administration, debts incurred in order to acquire the means to fight the Army of the Reform. Late in 1861, Britain, France and Spain formed a coalition to seize the customs house in Veracruz, to get the funds claimed by their nationals. However, when Britain and Spain learned that the Emperor Napoleon III intended to invade Mexico, they withdrew from the coalition. When President Castro of Venezuela refused to honor the debts of the losing side in the civil war there, the navies of Britain, Germany and Italy blockaded Venezuelan ports in late 1902 and early 1903. The German squadron bombarded a Venezuelan fortress, setting fire to it, and killing about two dozen civilians. President Roosevelt had been attempting to mediate the dispute, but at that point, said that Admiral Dewey was in Puerto Rico with a fleet and prepared to sail with an hour's notice. The British sort of, kind of repudiate the German action, and the coalition fell apart.

This has also been done for other purposes. In 1914, a U.S. Navy squadron landed Marines and sailors to seize the customs house in Veracruz to prevent the delivery of arms and ammunition to the Mexican government by a German freighter in the harbor. By and large, these actions were bullying by powers with modern navies who had nothing to fear from the nations they were bullying, which did not have modern navies. There was little risk to the navies of the countries who used that type of measure. Since the invention of aircraft, however, and medium range ballistic missiles, it has been a far less attractive alternative to actual invasion.
Reply Thu 6 Aug, 2015 05:50 am

Thank you.

So it has never been used successfully to obtain payment of funds owed by the debtor country.

It is not quite the same, but I believe after World War II the Soviet Union lifted whole factories in eastern Europe and transported them to Mother Russia.

Also after World War I, I believe the Allies ordered Germany (or the Axis countries) to pay reparations. I think part of the required amount was paid.

Reply Fri 7 Aug, 2015 02:26 am
I have no idea where you come up with your ideas--certainly not from anything i wrote. In fact, in the middle of the 19th century, when Lord Palmerston was the foreign minister, he frequently extorted payments from the governments of small nations for claims against them, by employing the Royal Navy. In 1862, Britain decided that it had gotten enough money from the customs house in Veracruz to divide among the claimants at the time that it withdrew from its coalition with France and Spain. I was just providing you some examples, i wasn't providing an exhaustive history of military extortion by threatening small nations with one's navy.

You're right, the example of Soviet actions after the Second World War (or, as they called it, the Great Patriotic War) bears no relationship to the initial question. The German/Austrian/Bulgarian coalition in the First World War was called the Central Powers. The German/Italian/Japanese coalition (a work of pure fiction) in the Second World War was known as the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis. I hope i will remember in future not to waste my time answering your questions about history.
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Reply Fri 7 Aug, 2015 03:56 pm
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