Tirpitz and the Imperial German Navy

Tirpitz and the Imperial German Navy

Patrick J. Kelly
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Format: Hardback 26 b&w illus., 4 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-35593-5
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Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (1849–1930) was the principal force behind the rise of the German Imperial Navy prior to World War I, challenging Great Britain’s command of the seas. As State Secretary of the Imperial Naval Office from 1897 to 1916, Tirpitz wielded great power and influence over the national agenda during that crucial period. By the time he had risen to high office, Tirpitz was well equipped to use his position as a platform from which to dominate German defense policy. Though he was cool to the potential of the U-boat, he enthusiastically supported a torpedo boat branch of the navy and began an ambitious building program for battleships and battle cruisers. Based on exhaustive archival research, including new material from family papers, Tirpitz and the Imperial German Navy is the first extended study in English of this germinal figure in the growth of the modern navy.

Author Bio

Patrick J. Kelly is Professor of History at Adelphi University.


“Beyond its great interest for naval and military historians regardless of specialization, this work will be required reading for any . . . historian of the Second Reich and the interwar period . . . and for those fascinated by the eternal query, 'Who or what caused the outbreak of the First World War?'”
 — Eric C. Rust, author of Naval Officers Under Hitler: The Story of Crew 34

“As both a definitive biography and detailed evaluation of the historiography of this period, Kelly has produced a compelling portrait of Tirpitz that balances the views of those scholars who have overestimated Tirpitz’s rationality in political, social and military affairs with those who underestimated his opportunism.”
 — Keith Bird, author of Erich Raeder: Admiral of the Third Reich

“Patrick Kelly has written the first major scholarly biography of Tirpitz in English, based on detailed knowledge of vast archival material and an extensive historical literature. With great precision, Kelly’s narrative integrates Tirpitz’s naval and political careers with broader developments within the German Empire and the Weimar Republic. He also treats in detail the international politics of Wilhelmine arms policy, the naval race with Britain, and the ensuing First World War. This book can be thoroughly recommended to students of both German and naval history.”
 — Rolf Hobson, author of Imperialism at Sea: Naval Strategic Thought, the Ideology of Sea Power, and the Tirpitz Pl

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Table of Contents


1. Introduction
2. Tirpitz's Early Life
3. The Aspirant, 1865<N>1870
4. The Young Officer, 1870<N>1877: A Taste of War
5. The Creation of the German Torpedo Arm, 1877<N>1889
6. Interim, 1889<N>1891
7. Oberkommando der Marine, 1892<N>1895
8. On the Verge of Power, 1895<N>1897
9. Tirpitz Ascendant, 1897<N>1898
10. The Second Navy Law, 1899<N>1900
11. The "Quiet" Years, 1900<N>1906
12. Sow the Wind, 1906<N>1908
13. The Whirlwind Rises, 1908<N>1911
14. Denouement, 1911<N>1914
15. Tirpitz at War, August 1914<N>March 1916
16. Uncommon Recessional, 1916<N>1930
17. Conclusion


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