On December 9, 1941, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, the commander of the Kriegsmarine, lifted all restrictions on German naval attacks against American vessels by his surface and submarine fleets. Atlantic sparring between the two powers had been occurring for several months but would now escalate into full-blown conflagration. For the United States a painful lesson on the consequences of complacency and arrogant refusal to accept outside assistance was coming.

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