Despite great efforts made to conform maritime practice at The Hague in 1907, and later in London in 1909, the sheer pace of industrial competition in evidence by 1914 meant not only that disarmament remained out of the question, but further, that new theories of wartime necessity might over-ride the many developed, ‘civilised’ wartime restraints, if to do so favoured victory. One body of rules quickly disregarded was that for armed neutrality at sea, by which is meant a state stance of abstention and impartiality declared on the outbreak of war, in exchange for continued neutral rights of peaceful maritime commerce. Illustrative of the impact industrial warfare had on rules of maritime neutrality was the infamous Baralong incident of 9 August 1915, in which a German submarine was sunk by the British Q-ship. It is argued, however, that the unrestricted manner in which World War 1 was fought was not caused by any deficiency of the known rules of maritime neutrality, per se. Instead, the essence of that war may be sought in political, chauvinistic demands for ultimate success, and an associated greed that would ultimately force neutral states to share the costs of a conflict not of their making.