The German East Asia Squadron
) was a German Navy cruiser squadron
which operated mainly in the Pacific Ocean
between the 1870s and 1914. It was Germany’s only major “blue water” or overseas naval formation independent of home ports in Germany.
The Treaty of Peking
of September 1861 between the kingdom of Prussia
and the Chinese Empire
allowed Prussian warships to operate in Chinese waters. As the Far East grew in economic and political importance to the recently united Germany, in 1881 a flying squadron was formed for the area under the command of a flag officer.Gottschall, By Order of the Kaiser
, p. 134 Since African colonies were then seen as of greater value, an African Cruiser Squadron was established in 1885 with permanent status, and shortly thereafter the Imperial Navy reduced the East Asia presence to two small gunboats. The African Cruiser Squadron itself returned to Germany for deactivation at Kiel
Operations in China
With the outbreak of the First Sino-Japanese War
in 1894, Germany revived her interest in China. With full support from Kaiser Wilhelm II
, the German admiralty created a Far East Cruiser Division with the modern light cruiser SMS Irene
and three ageing small ships under the command of Rear Admiral Paul......