New Zealand is one of those countries that has never once given the United States the slightest bit of consternation. The South Pacific nation of about 5 million people (per Worldometers) is known for sheep, adventure sports, rugby, and Peter Jackson films, and not for being a thorn in the side of the world’s largest superpower. Militarily, the list of conflicts in which New Zealand has provided support in one way or another has involved some internal issues, as well as, of course, World Wars I and II, the Vietnam and Korea Wars, and a regional conflict (per New Zealand History). Not once in its history has New Zealand’s enemy been the United States.
However, at the turn of the 20th century, a fleet of American ships arrived in Auckland. Though no shots were fired, and the locals thought it was just a mundane show of U.S. military presence, the entire thing was something of a scouting mission of sorts, and American troops gathered intelligence about Auckland and the surrounding area to make plans for a possible invasion.
A US plan to turn Auckland into a base
Back in 1908, the United States and Japan weren’t seeing eye to eye, and President Teddy Roosevelt sent ships across the Pacific as a demonstration of America’s naval capabilities, should things with Japan go sour. The “Great White Fleet” pulled into Auckland, and the locals welcomed the visitors, according to Stuff.
As it turns out, the American ships weren’t just visiting. Had war broke out with Japan, the U.S. would have needed a base in the region, and international treaties in place at the time meant that the base would have been Auckland. And just in case the people of Auckland weren’t into that idea, the American military had drawn up invasion plans to forcibly take over the city — plans that included noting that the forts around the city could be taken easily “provided the attack was sudden,” according to documents revealed 100 years after the “visit.”
Of course, the U.S. didn’t go to war with Japan in 1908, and didn’t invade Auckland then or any other year, and to this day the two nations remain allies, not enemies.
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