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The largest liners built throughout the early years of the 20th Century were operated between Europe and America. These ships had to grow in size to keep up with the demand for immigration transport to America, and later, to provide travel for the millions of immigrants that had settled in America to visit their homelands. Holland and Sweden built ships of a more moderate size as they had fewer immigrants travelling to America than other European countries such as Britain, Germany, France and Italy.

With Britain, France and Holland’s once great empires having spread colonies throughout the world, their shipping companies built liners compatible in size with the amount of immigration and travel between these countries. British companies operated mid sized ships between Britain and Canada, South Africa, the Far East and Australia. French companies provided a service to French Indo China and South America. The Dutch also operated some of their finest liners between Holland and South Africa and the Dutch East Indies.

The Canadian Pacific Line operated mid sized ships on their east coast service between Vancouver and the Far East, and later, a west coast service between Montreal and Quebec - Britain and mainland Europe. German companies also operated some impressive mid sized liners to keep up with the trade of German immigrants travelling to countries in South America.

As immigration had slowed by the time of the Second World War, most ships were by then mainly being used for passenger services. Australia endured the early years of that war under the constant threat of being invaded by Japanese forces. As that war came to an end, the Australian Government decided they needed to expand their population to make the country more secure. The immigration that followed saw many fine mid sized ships used to carry immigrants from Europe to Australia. The destruction caused during the two world wars also forced the largest shipping companies to build more modest sized ships as they tried to rebuild their fleets.

Although the largest warships built for the two world wars became the most famous, there are a few other fine navy ships in this section that will be remembered for other reasons. Battleships and aircraft carriers also overshadowed submarines, even though submarines sunk more ships than all the surface ships put together.

As the cruise industry began escalating in the second half of the 20th Century, many of these mid sized liners became the first full time cruise ships. This allowed them to stay in service longer than the 30 years they were expected to operate. Cruising has allowed companies to invest vast amounts of money in some of these ships and as a result, a few are still operating in the 21st Century.

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