Admiral Tirpitz: Secretary of State for the Navy, 1897-1916

David Woodward introduces Alfred von Tirpitz; the creator of the German High Seas Fleet, who was also the advocate of unrestricted submarine warfare.

The British people, in times of stress, have never had any difficulty in finding that their enemies looked odd or even ridiculous. It is not quite clear to what this British attitude is due; whether to generations of brilliant cartoonists and caricaturists, a misplaced sense of humour or, perhaps, to the fact that some of their enemies have, indeed, looked very odd.

This tendency to find that the enemies of Britain looked funny was strongly marked during the First World War; it had manifested itself before and was to manifest itself again, but those whose memories stretch back to 1914, or who look through the pages of Punch, will be familiar with the extraordinary appearance of the Kaiser, with his upturned moustaches, his breastplate and his helmet upon which perched a huge eagle with outspread wings.

They will be familiar, also, with the no less unusual appearance of the Kaiser’s Secretary of Stateof the Ministry of Marine (Reichsmarineamt), Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, with his huge domed bald head and his great forked beard falling over a chest covered with decorations.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.