The British also said that they would regard any ship transporting food to Germany as a legitimate target. This infuriated the Germans who felt that the British were trying to starve Germany’s civilian population. Because the German Navy was weaker than its British counterpart, the Germans saw the U-boat as their best way forward.
The Germans made their own declaration in February 1915. They stated that any vessels in the seas around Britain were at risk of being destroyed. In response, the Royal Navy devised tactics designed to limit the damage that U-boat attacks would pose. Ships were told to either flee away from, or try to ram, submarines.
The Germans had been increasingly alarmed by the anger of the Americans, who had lost 128 of their citizens in the Lusitania sinking. They were anxious not to provoke the neutral U.S. into joining the war on the British side. So, the submarine war was largely abandoned in the North Sea and the Atlantic. However, operations continued in the Mediterranean and other seas.