Photograph of San Pedro Harbor (or Los Angeles Harbor), showing the arrival of the Great White Fleet, ca.1908. Spectators sitting on bleachers (foreground) or standing on the hill near the breakwater (center) watch the 12 visible white ships maneuver in the harbor as it prepares to pull into the piers. Several early-model cars are parked on the hill where the spectators stand watching. A building is situated in the middle of the hill.; "From 16 December 1907 to 22 February 1909 the US Atlantic Fleet steamed around the world on a mission of 'Gunboat Diplomacy'. The ships, commonly known as the 'Great White Fleet' due to their white-painted hulls, called in ports the world over, impressing foreign dignitaries with the appearance of great power. The entire affair was designed to impress, and everything was done to make sure the fleet's appearance was perfect. The ships, however, were not all they appeared to be. HMS Dreadnought had been in commission for a year, effectively rendering all the US ships obsolete. Two of the ships had such severe mechanical problems that they could not complete the cruise, and two more were obsolete and unfit for battle. It was great show, but the military value of the fleet was questionable. This was the last great hurrah for the age of white ships, buff masts and high diplomacy on the high seas. As soon as the ships returned from the cruise they were stripped of their fancywork and much of their bridgework, painted gray, and had their pole masts replaced by functional but unsightly cage masts. The buildup towards WWI had begun." -- unknown author.