Wednesday Words & Phrases: Blockade

Union Blockade 700x477


Rather than just dig into the definition we thought it would be fun to do a little Q&A on this particular word.

What is a blockade?

blockade is an effort to cut off supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally.

Is it legal during war?

Yes, but only if it is actually effective and the rights of neutrals are respected.

What is Blockade Running?

Simply put, efforts to get through a blockade to get supplies in or other things out.

Is it just a naval term?

It used to be but now it is possible to use aircraft to effect a blockade. In modern terms it is more about the results than the methods.

Has the United States ever been under a blockade?

Yes, during the American Revolution the British Navy was able to effectively cut off the American Colonies from outside trade. Some supplies did manage to slip through, thankfully.

Also during the War of 1812 by the British again. This one proved a little less effective due to the fledgling US Navy.

So has the United States  ever instituted a blockade on another country?

Oh yeah.

During the Mexican-American War (1846-48) the US instituted a blockade of the Mexican ports on the Pacific and Gulf Coast.

During the American Civil War (1861-65) the US set up a blockade of the Confederate States of America (the legality of this was often question by the European powers due to the fact that the Confederacy was never recognized as an actual nation.)

The Spanish-American War in 1898 saw the US blockading Puerto Rico and Cuba.

A blockade of Japan during WWII (1944-1945).  Wait a second. They were only blockaded for one year? Technically yes as a legal blockade could not be commenced against Japan until the US had undisputed control fo the area.

Technically the US was also involved in an air blockade (No Fly Zone) against Iraq (1991-2003) and was part of the NATO force that blockaded Yugoslavia (1993-1996)

Did I miss any?