Professor John Derry will be giving a talk on the German High Seas Fleet.
One of the reasons for growing Anglo-German antagonism before 1914 was the German decision to build a modern battlefleet, triggering a naval arms race. Though the German High Seas Fleet was an excellent navy – well-trained officers and men, superbly designed capital ships and outstanding gunnery – it was never able to break the Royal Navy’s command of the North Sea.
While the 1917 submarine campaign inflicted immense damage on allied and neutral shipping, it also brought the USA into the war, with catastrophic consequences for Germany. Eventually morale in the German fleet collapsed and, in November 1918, the sailors mutinied.
Why, then, was the High Seas Fleet built? Did it have any coherent strategy? Or was it (as some German generals claimed) a massive diversion of much needed funds and matériel from the enemy? These are some of the issues which John Derry will address in his lecture.