How Did a Hurricane Stop a War?

In 1888, Otto von Bismarck, the ruler of Germany, wanted to establish a German colony in Samoa, a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean.

A German navy fleet was sent to Samoa to shell native villages. Some of these shells struck American property in Samoa, and German sailors later ripped down an American flag.

The United States sent a fleet of warships to the island to protect the Americans there. But just as the two fleets faced each other in a Samoan harbor, a powerful hurricane struck the islands and destroyed both fleets.

German and American sailors had to help each other to survive the disaster, and the grievances between the two countries were soon forgotten. Had it not been for a hurricane, the United States and Germany might have gone to war that year!