Alfred Von Tirpitz

(redirected from Admiral von Tirpitz)
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tirpitz, Alfred Von


Born Mar. 19, 1849, in Küstrin; died Mar. 6, 1930, in Ebenhausen, near Munich. German naval commander and political figure. Grand admiral (1911).

Tirpitz came from a bourgeois family but was elevated to the nobility in 1900. He joined the navy in 1865 and because of his exceptional abilities rose rapidly in the service. In 1890 he became chief of staff of the Baltic Fleet and from 1892 to 1895 served as chief of staff of the Navy High Command. While commanding a cruiser squadron in East Asia in 1896–97, Tirpitz was the prime mover behind the seizure of the Chinese port of Tsingtao and the creation there of a German naval base. From 1897 to 1916 he served as secretary of state for the Imperial Navy Department.

Tirpitz played a major role in shaping the aggressive political course taken by Germany. Expressing the interests of the German imperialists, he was a strong proponent of the naval arms race; he worked to create a strong navy capable of challenging the British Navy and of serving as a tool of German imperialism in the struggle to repartition the world. Tirpitz regarded Great Britain as Germany’s chief enemy and called for an alliance with Japan and the neutralization of Russia.

During World War I, Tirpitz was a supporter of unlimited submarine warfare and merciless air bombings of the industrial centers and military targets of Great Britain. Disagreements with the chancellor, T. von Bethmann-Hollweg, regarding the submarine war led to Tirpitz’ retirement on Mar. 15, 1916. Together with W. Kapp, Tirpitz founded the ultrareactionary German Fatherland Party in September 1917. He maintained a revanchist position after the war. In 1919, Tirpitz published his Memoirs (Russian translation, Moscow, 1957), in which he blamed Germany’s defeat on the failure of the political leadership to make sufficient use of the German Navy. From 1924 to 1928, Tirpitz was a deputy to the Reichstag, representing the German National People’s Party.


Alafuzov, V. A. Doktriny germanskogo flota. Moscow, 1956.
Trotha, A. von. Grossadmiral von Tirpitz. Breslau [1932].
Marine und Marinepolitik im kaiserlichen Deutschland. Düsseldorf, 1972.
Hubatsch, W. Die Ära Tirpitz. Góttingen [1955].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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When the German Reichstag issued its peace resolution in July 1917, disgruntled deputies and their supporters set up the Vaterlandspartei, with the notable support of Admiral von Tirpitz and the industrialist Alfred Hugenberg.
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After the Kaiser allowed that in any future war, Britain would side with France and Russia--"the Anglo-Saxons on the side of the Gauls and Slavs"--which could prompt Germany to conduct a Schlieffenesque offensive in the West, Wilhelm II demanded that the fleet prepare for the war with Britain; that the navy get ready to torpedo British troop convoys in the English Channel and to mine the Thames estuary; that Admiral von Tirpitz step up the production of U-boats; and that the Navy Office prepare the nation for war also with Russia.