The North Atlantic Fare War of 1904


ARTICLE on the 1904 fare war's impact on migration:

scroll down for it: here


TEXT EXCERPT from Business of Transatlantic Migration, chapter 4


4a  Piercing the historiographical fog


"The 1904 'war' in passenger fares on the North Atlantic was a key consequence of shipping lines' failed attempts at self-regulating competition through corporate combination and inter-firm agreement during 1900-03...The origins and outcomes of this fare war have nonethless long been shrouded in historiographical obscurity. How the war started and ended, who won and lost by it, and even when it occurred have been subject to varying interpretation...The confusion partly arises out of a mystery as to why consolidation in North Atlantic shipping should have intensified competition there...


Albert Ballin masterminded the sharp reductions in passage prices in part of a concerted strategy to press the Cunard Line into returning to the system of agreements it had withdrawn from in the wake of IMM's formation...[but]... Cunard and the German lines underestimated each other's strength and tenacity. They, or at least the German companies, also overestimated the staying power of White Star and IMM under Bruce Ismay."